A well-worn phrase came to mind recently, as opposing parties in the Senate began debating gun control legislation – We must do something. On Thursday April 4, by a vote of 68-31, the Senate voted to begin the process of bringing gun control legislation to the floor. Gun control in the minds of those on the left leaves little room for reason, but allots vast acreage to emotional entreaties. The Sandy Hook murders were a convenient impetus for new restrictions on magazine size, assault weapons (subjectively selected) and background checks, even though none of these restrictions would have prevented one death at Sandy Hook Elementary. Nonetheless, Connecticut acted quickly, passing legislation signed into law on April 4, banning 100 additional models of semi-automatic weapons, setting a 10 round magazine limit, enhancing background checks at gun shows and creating a statewide registry of people who were convicted of use or threatened use of certain weapons. Every politician is susceptible to emotional appeals and the White House continues to exploit the pain of vulnerable victims and parents as leverage over elected legislators. In one recent example, despair was featured on April 13 as President Obama turned his weekly radio address over to grieving Newtown parent. Francine Wheeler’s six year old son, Ben was murdered alongside nineteen other innocents at Sandy Hook elementary school on December 14, 2012. Every caring person empathizes with the boundless grief endured by the Wheeler family, yet watching this President highlight the grief of good people in a sick political game turns the stomach.
If fundamental rights can be eroded and discarded during waves of public sentiment, we no longer have need of a Constitution, instead the nation shall regulate rights via public polling – safety and freedom be damned. As Senator Mike Lee stated, “Any limitation on this fundamental right of self-defense makes us more dependent on our government for our own protection,” he continued. “Government cannot be everywhere at all times, so the practical effect of limiting our individual rights is to make us less safe.”
A purple state electorate in Pennsylvania inspired conservative Senator Pat Toomey to join Democrat Senator Joe Manchin in resurrecting gun control legislation that was considered dead on arrival in the Senate. Our liberty requires responsible courageous representatives and sadly, courage seems to be in short supply and one must assume understanding of the Constitution is also lacking in the Senate. 16 Republicans joined 53 Democrats to stop principled Senators from attempting a filibuster of gun control legislation.
Our statist Senate majority will gain new ground on the road to a gun-free utopia, refusing once again to learn the bitter lessons taught by history. Millions of disarmed people, lives long extinguished, will never have the opportunity to testify before a Senate committee or warn the American people about the end result of these “good intentions”. How much human suffering will we witness when the politicians scream, “We must do something.”