It is a shame when the will of the American public is so clearly and brazenly thwarted, as in the case of the recent failure of the U.S. Senate to enact even modest—and overwhelmingly popular—expansion of background checks for gun purchases.
A ban on assault rifles, and large clip magazines like those used at the Newton, Conn., elementary school and the Aurora, Colo., movie theater mass killings was not even brought up for a vote, although these measures also have a large majority of public support. While a majority of the Senate actually voted for the background extension, because of an arbitrary rule, a 60-vote majority vote was required to pass it.
It is important to note that the vast majority of Americans support responsible limits to gun ownership, such as those previously mentioned. But the will of the NRA has overruled the will of the American people.
The problem is that the pro-gun lobby, led by the NRA, is well-funded, very vocal and maintains a strong and active lobbying presence in Washington, D.C. Senators and congressmen from most states know that if they back even moderate, common-sense gun reform, the NRA’s vast wealth, its bully pulpit of scare propaganda and hard-nosed lobbying will be used against them in the next election.
The majority of these representatives are willing to vote against the will of the majority of their constituents because they know that the silent majority is not well organized, not well funded and not actively lobbying for these common-sense solutions. But this is starting to change, thanks to the active lobbying efforts of relatives of the Newtown massacre and other awakened and outraged citizens.
The solution is for this majority to get more organized and more active in their lobbying efforts for reasonable gun reforms, such as those recommended by the current administration. And if our elected representatives don’t represent our stand on this issue, we need to elect ones who will.
Only then will the will of the people and common sense prevail.
WILLIAM E. FISHER
Salt Lake City