Bill Press: Nation of cowards on guns

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Aurora, Colo. Newtown, Conn. Charleston, S.C. Chattanooga, Tenn. Lafayette, La.

What do they all have in common? Only one thing: mass shootings. In each of those cities, and too many more, innocent people were mowed down by a man — in each case, a man — who had no business owning a gun.

{mosads}Mass shootings are happening in the U.S. on average once a week. Lafayette’s is just the latest. But here’s the worst part: Despite all the public grief following each of those shootings, not one action has been taken to make our gun laws tougher and people safer.

Indeed, after the Lafayette shooting, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) rushed to the scene to declare that now is not the time to talk about gun control.

What an idiotic thing to say. Now’s the perfect time to talk about gun control, especially considering the background of the Lafayette killer. 

John Russell Houser was known to authorities as a certified nut case: diagnosed as bipolar, denied a concealed weapon permit in 2006 after being charged with arson and domestic violence, placed under a court order to stay away from his wife and home and committed by a Georgia judge to a mental hospital against his will in 2008.

Yet six years later, he was able to walk into an Alabama pawn shop and walk out with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun. Houser should never have been able to buy a gun. The same goes for Aurora’s James Holmes or any of the others.  

Jindal, a GOP presidential candidate, has got it backward. Now’s not only the time to talk about gun control but also the time to do something about it. 

Unfortunately, as a nation we’ve lost our spine over the issue of gun safety. There’s no movement in Congress toward reasonable new gun safety measures, not even universal background checks. And nobody in Congress has proposed legislation like California’s recently enacted “gun violence restraining order,” which allows family members or law enforcement to go before a judge and request that guns temporarily be removed from individuals, not just because they have a criminal record but because of any history of mental illness, violent behavior or drug or alcohol abuse. A law like that would have stopped Houser from possessing a gun.

Sadly, there won’t be any action this time either, because too many members of Congress — starting with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — are owned by the National Rifle Association, even though the NRA no longer represents hunters and sportsmen. 

You won’t find a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun or AK-47 in a duck blind. Today’s NRA is nothing but a lobby for gun manufacturers, whose only motive is selling as many assault weapons as possible, no matter who buys them or how many innocent people are killed.

Welcome to America today, where you can’t walk into a shopping mall, movie theater, school or even a church without fear of being shot. When it comes to guns, we are a nation of cowards.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Show” on Free Speech TV and author of The Obama Hate Machine.

Tags Boehner Gun control John Boehner Mitch McConnell

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