(17c) There will be no vote to ban assault weapons

Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid decided there will be no vote on a plan to ban assault weapons, and thus in effect he probably kills off a key part of a gun control campaign prompted by the school massacre in Newton in December. He explains he took the decision after being told by analysts there wouldn't be a majority for the plan as 60 votes out of the 100-members Senate were needed to succeed. However, the plan passed, although only narrowly, a Senate panel last week, and thus there was hope. Therefore, I think his explanation is rubbish.
Indeed, one has to talk in order to reach a consensus, but in the end Members of Parliament have to take their responsibility and vote but they can only do this when there is a vote. Only during a vote can it be sure how many and who support or oppose the ban while during debates leading to the vote one can understand why some members oppose the ban and thus some changes can be made so a majority can be reached. Only then the electorate will know who voted in favour of a ban and who opposed it, allowing people to decide who they will support during the next election. And as it seems a majority of people are in favour of a ban on assault weapons, those in favour of a ban may increase their chances to win (although some Republicans think their own chances to win during next elections will increase if Democrats want tougher gun laws) while those who oppose the ban may still vote in favour of a ban when they think it may increase their chances to win elections. At least then the people will know who is in favour and who is not and thus they will be able to vote with knowledge (as long as the Senators were honest). Finally, if analysts are against a ban, then it seems they only need to say there will be no majority and as a consequence there will be no vote, thus they win. Now the voters can blame Mr Harry Reid for blocking the vote, and thus in effect for vetoing the proposal for a ban. Still, Senator Dianne Feinstein, sponsor of the bill, demands that the 100-member Senate can at least vote on her proposal.

In Newton, the town of the shooting, it seems that in the three months since the shooting more then half the number of gun permits (i.e. 79) were requested compared with the annual licences issued over the past years. I can understand the people are angry and frightened, but I think more weapons will not be a solution.
Further, the US state of South Dakota voted in favour of a law allowing school districts to arm teachers and other school staff, claiming it will prevent mass school shootings as now teachers or others can kill the murderer before he/she will be able to kill many more pupils. But can you imagine what may happen if a stressed teacher standing in front of a noisy class one day flips? Or a student who wants to kill only needs to get to the front of the class to get a gun?

On the other hand, the US state of Colorado has tightened its gun laws, limiting the size of ammunition magazines and expanding background checks for gun buyers and this as a reaction against an earlier massacre in a cinema in their own state. Of course, there should also be actions to prevent some continue carrying those guns because otherwise another drama may result in people demanding less gun control to allow people defend themselves. And thus together with the US state of New York, it became the second state to pass a law for more gun control. I welcome this as less weapons will mean less chance someone uses them, but it take courage to pass these laws while many other states become even heavier armed and thus may smuggle weapons into their states.


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