Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang...

Guns are a hot topic these days, as well they should be.  Quite frankly, I think that we in the United States are tragically behind the times on gun control.  In the wake of a rolling list of gun-related tragedies, desire for stricter gun control policies is finally a subject that even the politically cowardly are starting to sidle towards.

On the list of people who don't have a cowardly bone in their body is Kathleen Kane who, in her first month in office, has closed the so-called "Florida Loophole" in Pennsylvania.  Ever heard of it?  I hadn't.  Of course, I don't own any guns and I don't ever plan to, but now that I've found out about the loophole I'm glad that it's a thing of the past.

In case you're unfamiliar, the Florida Loophole allowed people who were denied a concealed carry permit in Pennsylvania to obtain one from Florida and then - because of a reciprocity agreement - carry a gun as though they had gotten their permit in PA.  Why is this a problem?  Well, because Florida's standards for concealed carry permits are much more lax than Pennsylvania's.  The problem occurs when someone attempts to get a concealed carry permit in Pennsylvania and is denied and gets one from Florida successfully.  They can now carry a concealed weapon around a state that already determined that they shouldn't have one.  Now, if Florida had the same standards as Pennsylvania, that would be one thing, but if Florida's concealed carry standards are anything like their standards for a car that is legal to drive...well...  In any case, Kathleen Kane is tackling the gun control problem head-on in any way she is empowered to do so and that is fantastic.

Meanwhile, the NRA and their affiliates in Congress and various state legislatures are doing business mostly  as usual.  You may have noticed that the NRA hasn't been pushing as fervently lately against new gun control measures.  It's not that they've changed their minds about anything.  (After all, you have to have a mind to change it.)  No, they're waiting until the "Connecticut Effect" subsides.  "The what now?", you may ask.  The Connecticut Effect is apparently their hip new term for liberals getting all wanked out of shape about gun policy in the United States in the immediate aftermath of a tragic mass shooting that left twenty-six children and adults dead. 

Oh, is that all?

Yes.  Once we all get past the fact that a single person took a legally purchased assault rifle to a school and murdered a bunch of children, they'll get back to the business of making sure that American citizens have the power to buy more assault rifles and shoot-on-sight anyone who looks at them funny.  In the article I linked above from ThinkProgress, you can read the adolescent bellyaching of a former Republican legislator turned NRA lobbyist about how they can't jam their legislation through full-throttle until rational human beings in this nation get over the murder of children. 

The NRA is looking to get back to the hard work of pushing legislatures to pass Stand Your Ground laws like the one in Florida that resulted in the death of Trayvon Martin, among others.  What I hope is that the "Connecticut Effect" never subsides.  I hope that the sobering reality that rational people are beginning to face in the wake of Newtown doesn't ever stop.

When I started writing, I was really angry about the words "Connecticut Effect".  However, much like the term "Obamacare", let's go ahead and appropriate it.  Yes.  The "Connecticut Effect" is happening.  Rational human beings whose souls grieve when children are murdered are not going to stand aside and apologize anymore.  Your Second Amendment rights do not trump my right to live in a world where I don't have to fear for my kindergartner's life, and I'm not sorry about that.