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The Stronger Emotion

Updated on January 22, 2013

A Tug of War Over Guns?

A month ago, Americans were dealing with the reality and aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. The shooting, in which 20 children and 6 adults lost their lives, seems to have been the wake up call that advocates for the government to exercise its 2nd Ammendment right to regulate the militia.

The debate has been highly emotional, but it seems to me that the responses of the two sides are based on different emotions.

The side advocating for some common-sense reform of America's firearms laws; instant background checks, closing the gun show loophole, and banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, etc seem to be acting out of grief and outrage. What happened in Newtown to these people may be seen as the proverbial last straw. It started in Tuscon, with the attack on former United States Representative Giffords, continued to Florida, with the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Wisconsin and Colorado were the next stops. Newtown was actually the 3rd shooting in less than two weeks; we had not ever recovered from the shooting in Kansas City where a woman was murdered and a player killed himself in front of his coaches, when news of a shooting in Portland, Oregon came across the wires. Those who wish to see Americas gun laws more in line with a 1st world country may see an opportunity and are taking full advantage of it.

Or the other side, we have the NRA and its allies. They seem to be running more on fear. The same old ideas of attempts to take guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens as part of some sort of fascist takeover are the basis of the NRA's rhetoric. Never mind that those ideas in light of Newtown, sound shrill. Of course, since most NRA members seem to live in the right-wing echo chamber, they don't hear how far outside the mainstream the NRA's ideas sound.

What if what the NRA really fears, like so much of the right, is a loss of power. Their decades of setting America's firearms polices may be at an end. But for those who have lost friends and loved ones to their policies, it is too late.


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