Editorial: Congress Must Take Action on Guns

Republican legislators need to stop being on denial. There must be a ban on assault weapons

Editorial: Congress Must Take Action on Guns
Congress should regulate arms sales, especially of military weapons.
Foto: J. Emilio Flores / La Opinión

Every time there is a gun-related massacre, the House of Representatives stages a solemn minute of silence honoring the victims. Then it immediately moves on to another subject until the cycle repeats.

The Republican majority may mention the aggressor’s mental health or the Islamic extremism threat, but there is always silence about the point in common of all those tragedies: The assault rifle AR-15.

This is a weapon created for war and intended to kill people in a quick, efficient manner. It was used at a primary school in Newton, Connecticut; at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado; at county department employees’ meeting in San Bernardino, California; at a community college in Umpqua, Oregon, and at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Opponents to any gun control measure always give the same response: people, not guns, are responsible – a claim that would also lead to allowing private ownership of war tanks and missiles.

The idea of an honest person bearing arms to combat criminals is a fallacy. Statistics show that most of the times guns are used against people who know their killers: a bad breakup, a layoff or any other personal crisis can turn an honest person into a killer because a firearm was available.

The AR-15 rifle was banned between 1994 and 2004, after a massacre in California. The GOP-led Congress let the measure expire following the pressure of the National Rifle Association, which calls the AR-15 “America’s rifle.”

For the past few years, the NRA’s influence has only grown thanks to the permanent fabricated threat that Obama’s government wants to confiscate firearms. This is a strategy replicated by the virtual Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, as he spreads the lie that his next rival Hillary Clinton wants to eliminate the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which regulates firearms.

There are two bills currently waiting to be passed in the House: One would prevent people on the FBI terrorist watch list from buying weapons, and another one would do the same for people convicted of hate crimes. There is also a proposal to prevent civilians from buying war weaponry. Approving those laws would be the best homage to the victims.