President Obama stood before the American people one more time to express his sympathy for families of young people senselessly murdered in another school mass shooting. He expressed sorrow for the losses experienced by the nine Oregon families who lost bright and motivated kids to the whim of yet another mentally unhinged man with a gun. He also pointed a finger, not at gun manufacturers or lobbyists, but at the people of America and the politicians who claim to represent them.
Mr. Obama described our collective inaction on gun control as “a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones [for] our inaction.” He is right.
He asked the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws. If we continue to do nothing, we must accept as a regular occurrence a selfish introvert killing 12 in a movie theater in Colorado, a gun-obsessed sociopath shooting 20 young children in a school in Connecticut or a hate-filled racist shooting nine black church members in South Carolina.
Mr. Obama correctly identified that it “will require that the American people ..Democrat or Republican” to demand that representatives take a position and take action on gun control in America. In general, Americans don’t want government gun regulation that completely prohibits ownership but reasonable Americans have not rejected the notion that commonsense gun regulations will keep guns out of the hands of people likely to commit mass shootings.
Recent Supreme Court decisions have been more “pro-gun,” like when Justice Scalia, in Heller, concluded that the Second Amendment encompasses a right to bear arms including “bearing” handguns in the home for self-defense. However, he also found that it was the “complete prohibition” on possession of handguns by citizens that rendered the instant law invalid.
The Supreme Court recognized that many restrictions on gun ownership and use are constitutional under the Second Amendment including: “longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill … or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” This should be the starting point for Congress to fashion better federal gun regulations.
A thorough psychological evaluation, rudimentary training, a background check, insurance and registration should be required by federal law under the Commerce Clause. This would not necessarily restrict the right of any citizen to keep or bear arms, but it would go a long way toward keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill or unstable.
The Brooklyn GOP selected a new chairperson as Craig Eaton bid farewell to the fighting and recrimination that characterized the body in the past few years. State Senator Golden appeared ready to seize control of the party when he arrived with an overwhelming amount of proxy votes to remove Mr. Eaton and replace him with attorney Ted Ghorra.
Mr. Golden came in with 438 proxy votes but only 17 were accepted while 421 were defective. Mr. Eaton had 201 proxy votes with 172 accepted and 29 rejected and Lucretia Regina-Potter had 123 proxy votes with 117 accepted and six thrown out. Mr. Eaton decided to step down and throw his votes along with Ms. Regina-Potter’s votes to Dr. Arnaldo Ferraro, the 79-year-old president of the LaGuardia Republican Club and a one term assemblymember from the 49th A.D. in 1985.
Mr. Golden was thwarted for a second time in his attempt to control the Brooklyn GOP through election of a hand-picked candidate. During the count, there was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth by Mr. Golden and his supporters. The result should boost Ms. Regina-Potter, who is the GOP candidate against Democrat Pam Harris in the November 3 special election to fill the Assembly seat vacated by Alec Brook-Krasny. It remains to be seen if Dr. A. and Senator G. can find common ground to get their party energized in Brooklyn.