I want to talk about tightening gun control and limiting the NRA's influence on government, but first let me try to preempt the inevitable outcries prompted by any mention of gun control: I don't want to take away anyone’s right to defend themselves against tyrants, to protect their families against intruders, or to go hunting. I don't hope to dispatch SWAT teams to people's homes to collect their firearms. I have no plots to set fire to the Bill of Rights.
All of that said, I don’t see how we can go on with our lives and accept regular mass shootings as part of the new normal. We, as a country, need to have some kind of conversation about changing gun laws. More than three quarters of guns used in mass killings since 1982 were obtained legally, Mother Jones reported. That's a problem. I know there are people in the world who think that's not a problem, but let me say it again for clarity: that is a problem.
Of course there are other factors at play, access to health care, for example — which, by the way, faces opposition from many of the same people who cling to their guns and howl like children to teddy bears every time gun control is mentioned. There's the culture of violence, but there's also astonishing access to deadly weapons available for people who wish to enact that violence.
As with every time there's a highly publicized gun incident like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, people on both sides of the gun debate get riled up. On one side people ask, enraged, whether this is enough to prompt a real conversation about gun reform. On the other side, equally enraged, people claim that this violence had nothing to do with guns, but with the gunman.
We'll all yell at each other for a few days, maybe a few weeks since this time small children were involved, but nothing will change.
A real conversation about changing gun laws won't happen in this country until we get a handle on the National Rifle Association and its overwhelming influence on government.
If you want the gun culture in this country to change, take a look at this list of politicians who have close ties to the NRA, and vote accordingly.