It strikes me, as we watch this tragedy in Connecticut unfold that the reason why "today is not the day" for debate is that there's no longer any purpose to debating gun control. We could have a discussion, but why? The battle lines have been well and truly drawn.
And it is a battle. That's why the gun-rights advocates have been winning the last decade or so, because after the Brady Bill they realized that there's nothing to be gained by engaging in a "conversation" about gun control. That just leads to fewer guns sold, fewer guns in the hands of private citizens, and more efforts to restrict gun rights.
Gun control advocates, on the other hand, took the lesson from the Brady Bill that gun advocates could be reasoned with. You could forge a national consensus based on common ground that would restrict the trade of the most dangerous weaponry. And from that platform you could hope for future regulation and cultural shifts that would reduce gun ownership even more.
It's time to stop talking about a "conversation" on guns. There's nothing new to be said. Every tragedy, every shooting spree, every crazy NFL player that shoots his girlfriend, the same things get said.
There are roughly two sides to the debate on gun control.
One says, the 2nd amendment protects the right of individual gun owners to keep and bear arms. The vast majority of gun owners take the responsibility of gun ownership seriously. Guns have a vital role to play in our society as they are used for sporting and self-defense. Sure, accidents happen, and there are occasionally crazy people who use guns, but that is no justification for removing guns from the hands of the people who use them properly. In fact, should you outlaw gun ownership, you'd only be encouraging the criminal class.
The other side says, guns are incredibly dangerous no mater how responsible you are. The most profitable (and popular) guns, handguns and semi-automatic rifles, are also the most dangerous kinds of guns; guns designed not for hunting, but explicitly to quickly kill as many people as possible. Shooting sprees like the one in Colorado and this recent one in Connecticut would be impossible without these weapons that allow a single person to execute dozens of people in minutes. It's insane that we cannot look to our government to regulate these weapons.
If we engage the RKBA people, they insist we only speak in terms they are comfortable with. We only view the topic of gun rights through the framework that they establish.
Well, we don't need to do that anymore. We talk ourselves in circles, trying to find the right argument that will convince gun rights advocates that they and we can solve the problem of gun deaths. But gun rights advocates aren't interested in solving the problem of gun deaths, they wont accept that gun's kill people.
The time for debating with people who disagree with us on very basic principle is long past. It's time to just make our case, frame the subject in the way that makes sense to us, and then stick to it as doggedly as gun advocates stick to theirs, and then let the chips fall where they may.
Our leaders should not be waiting for the "proper time" to talk to the other side about intractable issues. We need our leaders to stand up and say "No More!"
We have the right on our side and we move with purpose to see that our cause wins.
The goal should no longer be an incremental approach, squirming around the 2nd amendment to remove just the "most dangerous" of the most dangerous weapons and hoping Scalia doesn't notice.
Gun control advocates need to follow the route patterned by the abolitionists. The 2nd amendment is the problem. It prevents a rational discussion of whether private citizens should have the right to own weapons of mass destruction. We spend hours yelling back and forth about the meaning of a "well regulate militia" as though that could make any sense in a modern context.
President Obama should go national television (he can wait 'till some more facts come to light if he must) and tell the American people that he will not stand by and watch heavily armed crazy people turn America into a war zone. He will not allow the 2nd amendment or gun-crazy-sympathizers in Congress to prevent the federal government from taking reasonable and necessary steps to ensure that this kind of weaponry is not available to maniacs in the future. He will stand behind mayors and state governors and legislators that are willing to do the hard work of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, out of the hands of crazy people, and ultimately ridding our country of the plague of gun violence.
The effect of such a statement, other than driving the right-wing crazies crazier, would be to galvanize a national movement. You can't amend the constitution overnight. You couldn't even get such an amendment through Congress right now, but the Republicans, and the blue-dogs, need to be made to stand up and say "No! We defend the right of crazy people to go anywhere they want and shoot as many people as they can before they tire of it and kill themselves." Let that be the debate that we have, because that is a debate we will win.
I do not begrudge those who disagree with me. I hope I've made clear that I understand your position on the issue. I sympathize, most gun owners are law abiding and most guns are never used to kill. I see now, that those who believe that gun ownership is as important as free speech, will never acquiesce or accept any limitations on that right. And I can no longer abide gun violence being justified and enshrouded in the founding document of our great nation.