Brian Kieran’s We the People: We need sensible gun regulation in America

The NY SAFE Law will make people in New York safer from threat of mass shootings. The battle to enact a similar federal law will be a long and exhausting struggle but it is one that must be won.

We need sensible discussion followed by action in order to correct this and other problems that face our nation. If we don’t have the fortitude to fight for sensible gun regulation, then we deserve whatever we get from the advocates and lobbyists, and the political process. We cannot accept duplicitous double talk from lobbyists, talking heads or politicians. There are some very smart people being paid a lot of money planning ways to sway enough opinions so that, at the least, the people will fight over words and phrases while nothing of substance is accomplished in Washington. The heart of the issue is gun violence.

Conservative pundits talk about the “plain meaning” of the Constitution until they get to the Second Amendment. That language clearly limits the right to bear arms and inextricably connects the right to military service in the militia, so they won’t dwell on plain meaning for this issue.

They interpret the amendment to mean that the rights of arms manufacturers, arms sellers and firearm owners outweigh the rights of fathers, mothers and schoolchildren. It is the duty of the people to insist that, where possible, the government uphold the spirit of the law and the letter of the law.

Congress must make sensible federal gun regulation a reality. A sober and steady dialogue between Congress, the president and the American people would assure action is taken. When communication breaks down, the lobbyist is rewarded and the people are punished by inaction.


The Archdiocese of New York announced school closings due to the cost of education and reduced enrollment. Many of these schools get better test results from students than the Department of Education although the expenditure per pupil is half that of the DOE.

What would fundamentally change the process of public education for educators, administrators and students to achieve similar results?

The recent unsuccessful negotiation over teacher evaluations makes it doubtful we will achieve progress with the big problems of education. When the people in charge cannot agree on an evaluation form, how will they improve performance for hundreds of thousands of students?


Our nation was founded under a belief that there is a natural law that motivates people to seek a government of the people and by the people and for the people. We adopted a framework of rules to guide us and to protect against impositions on our fundamental liberties when the Constitution was adopted. None of the framers could have envisioned the force that money and mass communication would have on public debate or political action.

The Second Amendment has been hijacked by different groups and subjected to such pressure that it is hard to get our lawmakers to do anything of substance on gun regulation.

A belief that an individual has a natural right to bear arms for hunting or protection doesn’t mean you must accept that the Second Amendment is a license for the individual to own firearms without sensible limit or sufficient regulation. It is time to make fundamental changes to federal gun regulation and, no matter how tortuous or circular the arguments raised by the NRA and their puppets, we must persevere for the sake of future generations. Insist that your representatives share their positions on the subject.

If past performance is an indication of future results, we will have to keep our legislators feet to the fire until something is accomplished. Senate Republicans are still stalling on a Superstorm Sandy relief package and former Senator Alphonse D’Amato rightly described their behavior as shameful.

Representative Paul Ryan actually voted “No” for relief in the House. Keep that in mind when he comes around again seeking a higher office.

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