We the People: Shooting for sensible gun regulation on the federal level

In 2013, Governor Cuomo stiffened gun regulations in New York with the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act.

He got enough Republican and Democratic legislators to work together to pass the bill which broadened the definition of banned assault weapons, restricted re-sale and required owners to register them, and also expanded background checks and limited high capacity magazines.

Gun rights advocates decried the law, claiming it failed to address gun crimes and was unconstitutional. Representative Collins (R-Geneseo) introduced a bill to have the federal government limit a state’s right to regulate guns. If sufficient language were added to the SAFE Ast to ensure the rights of gun owners as well as improving safety, it could be a model for a new federal gun regulation.

We need uniformity and improvement to our dysfunctional system of gun laws. You will not get it from the Republicans in office or running for office. The key to success for the SAFE Act was compromise and respect for the reasonable arguments adopted by people who oppose gun laws.  

A fair federal gun law could be passed if its aim were not to disarm Americans but rather protect all Americans. Our federal government should make it harder for kooks and lunatics to assemble the tools for mass shootings. Period. Any new law will require cooperation followed by vigilance because any legislative success would be lost due to subsequent backsliding.

Mr. Trump is the antithesis of cooperation or mutual respect which is why he signed an order aimed at fiscally sabotaging the Affordable Care Act by eliminating subsidies that make premiums affordable for poor and working class Americans.

He announced that he intends to undo the Iraq nuclear accord but proposes no alternative to replace it. He nonchalantly threatens possible nuclear conflict on the Korean peninsula despite the fact that George Bush reminded all Americans how costly in lives and money foreign entanglements are for America.

Part of the problem is that Mr. Trump and his Republican supporters are more concerned with the welfare of billionaire businessmen and corporations who profit obscenely whenever American soldiers have to sacrifice themselves on foreign soil. He and all Republicans need to make a choice either to serve their campaign donors or to serve ordinary citizens.

After the Las Vegas mass shooting, ordinary citizens become outraged and advocates for tougher gun laws vowed they would get legislation on gun control passed in Congress. However, the NRA reaches into its piggy bank, and Republicans and Conservatives wait and put debate on the back burner until time passes and nothing happens.

It doesn’t have to be the same old story. America attacked teenage driving fatalities through leadership on a federal level, and the chance of a teen dying in a car crash has lessened 69 percent since 1978. A complete plan including increases in the drinking age, increases in standards and stiffer penalties for DUI and infractions accomplished the goal.

Our plan should be to reduce deaths from gun violence through tougher gun regulation and enforcement.  It would produce similar good results.

The people must push Republicans everywhere to address gun violence instead kowtowing to the NRA. The people must push Mr. Trump to pass laws instead of undoing whatever his predecessor accomplished with executive orders that hurt poor and working class Americans.

The NRA Political Victory fund gives Republican-Conservative State Senator Martin Golden an “A” on its political scorecard. His long-time aide, John Quaglione, who is the Republican candidate in the 43rd City Council race, has not issued a position on gun regulation but announced in response to two gun scares in New York City public schools that the City Council should “authorize funding to purchase bulletproof vests for School Safety Agents … I believe this … will go a long way in protecting our school communities.”

Really? How about taking guns out of the hands of schoolchildren? That will only happen when there is tough, overarching, but fair federal gun regulation that addresses the fact that individual states have totally unsatisfactory gun laws.

Justin Brannan, the Democratic candidate in the 43rd City Council race, has a clearer and stronger position on gun regulation. He recognizes that in a free society it’s impossible to prevent all bad things from happening, but if elected he would make sure to “do everything in our power to ensure what happened in Sandy Hook, and similar instances … never happens again.”

He fully understands that “the price of liberty” does not have to include the deaths of children and innocent people. Mr. Brannan, who has worked for Councilmember Gentile and for the NYC Department of Education, has a vision on the issue of gun violence that distinguishes him from the other candidates.

We the people must call, write and telephone local and federal representatives and insist that something be done to improve gun regulations and know each candidate’s position on all issues and what they stand for on Election Day.

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