Guns: Call the roll 

The gun lobby is wrong in thinking law enforcement failures in the Florida massacre are arguments against gun control. They illustrate why we must look harder at the devices that do the mass killing and how they get in hands of people even law officers are reluctant to confront.

There are concrete ideas to discuss, beginning with science.

Public health research should consider guns. But the Dickey Amendment prevents research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors are inhibited in asking about guns in homes. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms can't distribute its data. All these limits are products of NRA lobbying against research. Research produced auto safety ideas with proven benefits. Fewer people might have guns in homes if they were required to have liability insurance for accidents or faced meaningful criminal penalties for negligence in storage.

Would any member of Congress from Arkansas vote to open the door to scientific research? The late Jay Dickey, a Republican from Pine Bluff who brought about the ban on CDC research, came to regret it before he died.

Florida legislators, including Republicans, are talking about raising the age on gun purchases to 21. The NRA has resisted this. It's worth consideration, though I admit the contradiction in barring civilian purchase of firearms by people old enough to go to war with even more powerful weapons.

Can't we legislate an end to bump stocks, which effectively create automatic weapons of mass slaughter? Yesterday?

Can't we end the gun show loophole on background checks and move to a universal background check system? Yesterday?

We make women wait days to obtain a legal medical procedure. Why not a waiting period for weapon purchases, particularly semi-automatic military-style weapons of little practical use except killing humans?

Even some conservatives support red-flag laws that would allow a due process court procedure to take guns away from people who've demonstrated a threat to society. Let's have that debate.

Oregon has extended the law on domestic abuse to take convicted guns away in cases of nonspousal abuse. It also prevents gun purchases by stalkers and those under domestic abuse orders. Let's do it.

Rep. Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock) was rebuffed by the legislature in 2017 for his effort to take guns from those convicted of misdemeanor domestic battery. Tucker's bill got 31 votes in the 100-member House. Republican Rep. Bullet Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville) actually said it would just be wrong to take away a Second Amendment right for a "relatively minor encounter." Beating your girlfriend is a minor thing to the gun defenders.

Then the biggie. A ban on assault weapons. It brought an end to mass killings in Australia. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — as easy to buy as an AR-15, cracked a Florida massacre survivor — has already enunciated the NRA's slippery slope argument on this. With what weapon would it end? I say let's debate it.

The old belief that voting the NRA line is the safest political course may be due for rethinking, at least in some states, beginning with swing-state Florida. Tell Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia), Senate Pro Tem Jonathan Dismang (R-Searcy) and anybody else who claims to be a legislative leader to hold the debates. Then call the roll, as Arkansas legislators sometimes shout when exasperated by talking. Make a record of those who value guns more than people. And then let the people, roll calls in hand, vote at the polls. The NRA wants to kill this idea in the crib. They can read the pro-gun-control national public opinion polls as well as I can.

Let's also get a vote from the country's teachers on making them security guards — on top of everything else they do.

Of course, we should provide, at whatever cost, comprehensive school safety measures. But my bet is the cost would be a lot lower if the threats didn't include the country's oversupply of military-style weapons.



Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Along the civil rights trail

    A convergence of events in recent days signaled again how far we have come and how far we have yet to go in civil rights.
    • Jan 18, 2018
  • The Oval outhouse

    One thing all Americans finally can agree upon is that public discourse has coarsened irretrievably in the era of Donald Trump and largely at his instance.
    • Jan 18, 2018

Latest in Max Brantley

  • Newspaper transformation

    Forty-six years ago this week I visited Little Rock in hopes of getting a job at the Arkansas Gazette. Then-Managing Editor Robert Douglas was friendly, but said (with good reason) that I was a little green.
    • Dec 20, 2018
  • Hope and change LR

    While I was away, Frank Scott Jr. won a historic victory in a runoff with Baker Kurrus to succeed Mark Stodola as Little Rock mayor.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • A real mayor

    Baker Kurrus is trying to brand himself as an agent for change as mayor of Little Rock, but labors under a handicap.
    • Nov 22, 2018
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • Yes, he's a liar. Yes, he's a stooge. But too few care.

    If the recently released Mueller Report proves nothing else, it’s that almost everything Trump derided as “Fake News” regarding his campaign’s conniving with Russian operatives during the 2016 election has proven to be remarkably accurate.

Most Recent Comments


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation