By Ann Jacob, Staff Writer
Last Tuesday, the Team 26, a group of 26 cyclists from Newtown, CT including the father of one of the children who was killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School last December and Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) arrived in Washington, D.C. after a four hundred mile bike ride from Newtown.
Team 26 is named for the 26 students and teachers who were killed in Newtown three months ago. When the group arrived in D.C. they were greeted by well-wishers, and their objective was to talk to legislators about gun reforms.
Ultimately, the goal of the Team 26 and the other group associated with Newtown, Sandy Hook Promise Innovative Initiative is “a ‘call for ideas’ to reduce gun violence and a commitment by leading venture capitalists and angel investors to fund promising innovations in gun safety, mental health research and related new technologies.”
David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times wrote a piece last week on the odd relationship between the decline in gun ownership and the increase in gun sales. He posits that this can be attributed to a fearful few Americans purchasing many guns, while most Americans stay away from guns. As Horsey reports, according to the General Social Survey, “the number of U.S. households with guns dropped from 50% in 1973 to 34% in 2012. This decline has shown up everywhere, including the historically gun-toting regions of the South and West.” The question remains: if gun ownership is declining and American views on guns and gun ownership is shifting, why not use this moment to develop consensus?
The New York Times created some graphs on American views’ on gun control in January, which illustrate that most Americans favor background checks on potential gun buyers, a national database of gun sales, as well as a ban on high capacity magazines. Also, most Americans favor stricter gun control laws.
So, if specific kinds of weapons that use high capacity magazines meant for the battlefield are used in mass shootings, why not limit those kinds of weapons? According to an article on Politico.com, opponents of gun control legislation, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) state that legislation to ban specific weapons would be violating the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which grants U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. However, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) put is best in the Judiciary Committee when she questioned how many guns Americans need. Sen. Feinstein has proposed a ban on “157 different models of assault weapons, as well as magazines containing more than 10 bullets,” which is set to come before the Senate soon.
The important part of the legislation that Americans who are opposed to such legislation need to keep in mind is that even though the bill may ban 157 weapons, there are still over 2000 guns that people may purchase legally, as discussed in the Rachel Maddow Show. The bill essentially is limiting or banning the types of weapons or magazines that have been involved in the most horrific mass shootings in the last few decades. Hopefully, the Senate and the House will come to a consensus on this issue, if not for the safety of our citizens and country, then at least for their own political futures.