A guest viewpoint that I wrote has appeared in the Sunday edition of the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin. It is available here: http://www.pressconnects.com/story/opinion/2016/07/29/guest-viewpoint-gun-control/87703872/. I will also copy the text at the end of this post because there is a paywall after a certain number of free articles per month.
I did not write the headline. I am not going to read comments, which, thankfully appear on a separate page on the web. I am sure some of them will be nasty; there are even a few people from my facktivist days who make it a point not agree with me about anything, including if I write that grass is green.
Regular readers here at Top of JC’s Mind will not be surprised at the content.
Congress Should Act on Gun Control
On June 15, Sen. Christopher Murphy, of Connecticut, took to the Senate floor to lead a 15-hour marathon talk on the need for the Senate to vote on gun control measures.
While some amendment votes were held the following week, none passed; currently under consideration is a bipartisan bill, authored by Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, on preventing those on the no-fly and selectees lists from buying guns.
On June 22, the Democrats of the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Katherine Clark, of Massachusetts, and John Lewis, of Georgia, held a sit-in with the goal of bringing gun violence prevention legislation to a vote in the House. During the 25-hour sit-in, many members told stories from their districts of those affected by gun violence; some shared personal stories, as well. Many held signs with the names of those killed by guns as they gathered on the House floor.
Speaker Paul Ryan adjourned the House early for the Independence Day break rather than hold a vote.
Many polls show that the vast majority of Americans — and of American gunowners — favor legislation to keep potential terrorists, domestic abusers, those whose mental illness predisposes them to violence, and criminals from obtaining guns. Many also oppose selling military-style weapons and ammunition clips to the public. Yet, Congress has not acted.
Some say that enacting any gun control measure violates the Second Amendment, but it does not. The Second Amendment was enacted at a time when there was no standing army; it clearly labels the context by beginning with “A well-regulated militia … .” The courts recognize this.
The Supreme Court recently upheld a federal law keeping domestic abusers from owning firearms. The ban against owning fully automatic weapons has stood for decades. No one expects to have a private anti-aircraft battery or missile silo in the backyard.
None of our freedoms is absolute. The right to free speech and freedom of the press are not license to libel or slander. The free exercise of religion does not permit human sacrifice or physical assault.
When the House reconvenes, the Democrats plan to continue their efforts to pass gun control measures. I call on my representative, Richard Hanna, to speak on the floor in remembrance of the victims of gun violence in our district, especially those who died or were injured in the American Civic Association shooting. Perhaps the fact that he is retiring will give him courage to break with the Republican leadership and vote to protect the safety of the public in accord with the will of the people, acting as a final legacy to his career as a public servant.
Our most fundamental right is the right to life. No perceived right to bear arms should trump another person’s right to live.
Joanne Corey, of Vestal, is a member of the Catholic Peace Community of the Southern Tier.
Update: While on the perssconnects website there is a photo of guns accompanying my piece, in the print edition there is a photo of Paul Ryan waving the Constitution at a press conference on why the Republicans oppose voting on gun measures. I would not have chosen either of those. A photo of the House sit-in or of Rep. Lewis would have been more appropriate to the content of the piece.