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Republicans Use Grief as Excuse for Inaction; Biden Prefers We Solve Gun Violence Now

Responding to reporters the mass shooting in his city Wednesday, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said, “If we want to have a policy discussion that is something to be had in the future but not tonight, not tonight.” Bynum deflected policy questions by saying it was time to grieve, not talk about potential solutions.

That deflection is cowardly and deadly hogwash.

Over in Ukraine, when Putin invaded and started murdering civilians, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy didn’t say, “Wait, let’s not mobilize our troops, secure arms from NATO, and galvanize world opinion to cut trade with Russia; let’s just sit and grieve.”

Three years ago, when coronavirus started killing Americans, we didn’t say, “Wait, let’s not send workers home, close the schools, and pour billions of dollars into developing vaccines; let’s just sit and grieve.”

Tulsa and Uvalde haven’t had time to bury their dead, and already, while Mayor Bynum and other Republicans have sat and grieved and thought and prayed, more people have been shot and killed at a funeral in Wisconsin and a church parking lot in Iowa. Death and evil do not give us time to grieve. Death and evil keep coming and killing, and we cannot wait for our grief to stop before we start discussing and implementing solutions to stop that killing.

President Joe Biden isn’t waiting. He has some obvious solutions for America’s obvious problem of uniquely rampant gun violence. Able to grieve and govern at the same time, President Biden laid out those solutions in his address to the nation last night:

We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21.  Strengthen background checks.  Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws.  Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability.  Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence [President Joe Biden, Remarks on Gun Violence in America, WhiteHouse.gov, 2022.06.02].

These aren’t new proposals; these are long-standing proposals that have been delayed after every shooting by the specious grief-dodge deployed by Bynum and other gun-beholden Republicans. We tried banning assault weapons before, and it worked:

We should reinstate the assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazines that we passed in 1994 with bipartisan support in Congress and the support of law enforcement.  Nine categories of semi-automatic weapons were included in that ban, like AK-47s and AR-15s.

And in the 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down.  But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled.  Those are the facts [Biden, 2022.06.02].

Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand each experienced awful mass shootings, and their grief did not stop them from swiftly implementing gun buybacks and restrictions. If those nations can respond almost immediately to gun violence with policy solutions, so can the United States of America.

We need to grieve the lives we lose, but we need to save the lives we have. Don’t exploit grief as an excuse for inaction. Turn grief into action, and save lives.

44 Comments

  1. Donald Pay 2022-06-03

    If these mass murders wanted to do some good, they’d aim their AR-15s toward any Republican Party convention or meeting. Let the bastards grieve to their hearts content, and do nothing, as long as they are the victims.

  2. All Mammal 2022-06-03

    Your words, along with President Biden’s speech; on point. Thank you, Mr. H.
    The future is damned if the state of classrooms remains in the chokehold it is in right now. Double damned if we don’t enact our president’s gun laws. He is almost being too reasonable with the toddlers across the isle. He could go all out fanatic and tell them to go to hell. Pull an Anti-Kristi and sign a bunch of executive orders. But he is being extremely diplomatic so they don’t throw a hissy fit, which they are anyways. Because that’s what they do. Stomp their foot, cry around and shoot when they don’t get their way.

  3. Eve Fisher 2022-06-03

    “In the 1996 law, Australia created a buyback program that took 600,000 semi-automatic rifles and shotguns out of circulation – roughly 20 percent of all firearms nationwide. They banned private gun sales, instituted thorough national background checks, required that owners register all their remaining weapons, and, perhaps most importantly, they required that gun buyers provide “a justifiable reason” at the time of purchase. Self-defense was not considered a justifiable reason.
    In the decades since the law was enacted, roughly one million semi-automatic weapons have been sold back to the government and destroyed. And Australian hunters can still hunt. In 2016, one hunter told Time magazine: “When (the prime minister) proposed the gun law, I marched like everybody else did in opposition. But I now fully endorse what he did… At the end of the day, it’s a small price to pay not to have the nutjobs walking through shopping centers and massacring innocent people.”

    Because we all know – even Mitch McConnell and the NRA – that this isn’t a “well-regulated militia”, but a free-for-all of death and destruction, permitted so that the gun manufacturers and the NRA can make a profit, and the media can watch the show and get more clicks.

  4. mike from iowa 2022-06-03

    Gun violence hit a church in Ames, iowa last night. Some guy murdered 2 women and then shot himself. Magat pols are descending on Ames like vultures, likely offering hopes and prayers which means no hope or prayer of serious gun legislature anytime soon.

  5. John 2022-06-03

    The assault weapon ban must be permanent. Corporate democrats pulled the politicians game of making good public policy temporary in order to raise funds on it and campaign on it. It’s cowardly and despicable.
    Those same corporate democrats are turning the families of victims of Buffalo and Uvalde into marionettes by asking them to “testify” in congressional theater next week. There is NO NEED for the corporate democrats to re-victimize the grieving. The problem and solutions are self-evident. Tweaking the age is well-intended, but falls FAR SHORT and, if done, will certainly prove to be meaningless.
    Corporate democrats hold the White House, Senate, and House — yet are incapable of punching their way out of wet paper bag.

  6. Allen Jeris 2022-06-03

    Tunnel vision. Think of all the individuals that needed to use guns to protect themselves and family. Good luck with the gun grab, you will need it.

  7. John 2022-06-03

    The ages of and genders of the US mass shooters shows that by tweaking the age of assault weapon purchases to 21 merely deflects less than 10% of the mass shootings. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/06/03/why-so-many-mass-shooters-young-angry-men/ (paywall)

    Only a ban on assault weapons is the answer . . . in addition to Australian or Swiss – like regulation of the “well regulated militia”.

    The nation’s educators should plan for and execute a general strike this school year unless the US bans assault weapons and adopts Australian or Swiss – like gun regulation.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-03

    Allen, the guns stacked around the country by the “well-regulated militia” aren’t saving any lives. Tunnel vision is worshipping guns for an almost-never-invoked purpose while ignoring the daily death and destruction guns cause.

    Regulate the militia. Lock up all the guns. Or just ban sales of guns to people under 21.

    Do something. Save lives.

  9. John 2022-06-03

    The gun community long lost control of sensible, rational national policy. (Thanks, $enator$)
    Instead of acting like, “One nation” – we have a horrible patch-work of 50 state and thousands of local laws.
    Here is one example of gun confiscations working in Florida (of all places). Apparently even the goofballs of Florida are fed up with the morons substituting guns for manhood. Florida passed a gun confiscation law – that should be a national law. It’s almost Swiss-like in that the local chief of police can tell/ask a court to order confiscation of a moron’s guns. They’ve disarmed 8,000 morons so far. (Apologies to morons.)
    We must do this nationally. Do not expect a South Dakota judge to order gun confiscation – even in court cases with domestic violence, simple, or aggravated assault. If a perp whines about not being able to hunt, the answer is to pick-up a bow and arrows – the season is longer, too.

    https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/01/politics/florida-red-flag-law/index.html

  10. P. Aitch 2022-06-03

    @JerrisAllen

    Masked-up liberal: “I gave up my guns to the buyback to help stop gun violence.”

    Unmasked MAGA: “Did you cut off your penis to stop rape?”

    MAGA’s won’t get it but the message is strong. The MAGA penis is so weak and ineffective it must be supplemented and worshipped with a mechanical device of extended length and velocity.

  11. P. Aitch 2022-06-03

    Sioux Falls mall locked down for bomb threat? WOW!!
    Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day, where we wear orange to honor the lives taken or forever changed as a result of someone with a gun. We MUST work towards a future where people can go to school, a grocery store, or the movies without fear that they or their loved ones will be shot.

  12. Richard Schriever 2022-06-03

    Mr. Jaris, if you could please, cite ONE instance where an AR-15 was actually used in self-defense or defense of the family by anyone other to a sworn LEO. Not “all the times”, just one. Waiting. Thinking.

  13. Mark Anderson 2022-06-03

    Quick, red flag Allen Jervis. I’m from Florida. It’s easy to do. Let’s see, the “gun grab” is a tunnel vision thing. It’s used in the week after, I’ll pray for them. By then the initial shock has worn down a little and it’s used to sell even more guns. The industry needs more deaths, especially children to boost sales. It’s America after all. Just leave before closing time.

  14. mike from iowa 2022-06-03

    Ames shooter used 9mm pistol, but he did have and AR and ammo at home, fwiw.

  15. Allen Jeris 2022-06-03

    Richard- Kyle Rittenhouse…..JA

  16. Allen Jeris 2022-06-03

    Mark Anderson- your comment is exactly why red flag laws will be a slippery slope.

  17. Allen Jeris 2022-06-03

    Woman draws pistol, kills man who was firing AR-15-style rifle into crowd, police say
    Associated Press May 27, 2022 Updated Jun 2, 2022

  18. cibvet 2022-06-04

    Ban all semiautomatics and then Congress should pass a law where all current people with semi-automatic weapons must train in an organized militia for two months and pass physical qualifications where they will be issued a license and then complete a minimum of 80 hours of continued education, physical and mental, every year or lose their license and weapons. These cowardly paint ball shooting couch potatoes,who pee down their leg when they dump 30 rounds at a piece of paper,will be exposed for exactly what they are.
    Meatheads who want guns should be limited to 6 shot revolvers, pump or bolt action rifles or shotguns and limited to 6 round mags.

  19. leslie 2022-06-04

    Such laws, plus red flag laws and those taking guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and people who abuse alcohol, would lower our gun violence rate as a nation….in this midterm election year protection from gun violence is one that voters could really advance. Surveys routinely show that gun control measures are extremely popular with the U.S. population.

  20. larry kurtz 2022-06-04

    George Washington was a warlord because enslaved people afforded him cannon, muskets, powder and ball. And, if they were alive today he and President Jefferson would be horrified to learn the US is operating on a manual written in the Eighteenth Century. Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt would be putting American Indigenous in concentration camps arguing it’s for their own protection.

    But prohibition won’t work. Raise the age of possession, operation and ownership of all firearms to 21, levy 100% excise taxes on the sales of semi-automatic weapons then tag the revenue for Medicaid expansion so parents have the resources to address the devastating effects of Fox News on American youth.

  21. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-04

    Looking at Allen’s story from Charleston, West Virginia: do we really want a society in which we all must carry weapons and be prepared to use deadly force to stop attacks from barbarians? At that point, aren’t we admitting failure to build a civil society and just choosing to live by the law of the jungle, with some guns and ammo to keep us alive a little longer as long as we are the faster draw, but only until the supply chains and factories and gun stores made possible by civilization collapse, and we’re all back to stone knives and bear skins?

    It seems it would cost less, fiscally, physically, and spiritually, to take civil action to reduce the accessibility and cultural veneration of guns and promote peace and civilization than it would to arm and train everyone to live in a constant state of war.

  22. grudznick 2022-06-04

    Even cave clans and tribes had arms races with sharp sticks and rocks. Ultimately it is the tribal politics that bring out the madness in the mob, even today with the libbie alt-left and the whack-a-doodles.

  23. Edwin Arndt 2022-06-04

    If those age 18 can carry a weapon and fight and die for our country, and if they
    are considered competent to vote in our elections, and help to choose our President, can we truly deny
    them the right to buy a gun? That is surely a question that will have
    to be settled. I don’t claim to know the answer.

  24. larry kurtz 2022-06-04

    Bullying can lead to massacre but when the US ended the draft the number of mass shootings began to rise. Compulsory military service might indeed be one way to slow gun violence.

  25. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-04

    The children in Uvalde were torn to pieces by AR-15 rounds…4 required DNA analysis as their parents could not identify them. Automatic assault rifles are “point and shoot” weapons of war…they make a poor “sporting arm” and I can’t think of anything you’d want to hunt with one except police and school children, if you’r of that inclination. Ban them as we once did….and no harm done.

  26. Donald Pay 2022-06-04

    Edwin Arndt has an interesting point. Look at the Rapid City schools, where some adults are trying to ban certain books from other adults (students in senior English classes) because those books have “inappropriate” content. Can we truly deny them the right to read a book in class? Any of those students can go out and legally engage in oral sex and buy a firearm, but they can’t read about it in a very small part of an award winning book in Rapid City schools. Does that make any sense?

    I have no problem with an 18-year-old buying a gun. The kind of gun and the sized magazine that young adult, or any adult, buys is a different matter.

  27. cibvet 2022-06-04

    Arlo is correct. The bastardized use of the second amendment may give anyone the privilege of owning a firearm, but it certainly
    does not say that the weapons and people cannot be regulated.

  28. P. Aitch 2022-06-04

    Only women should be allowed to buy, own, and operate guns.
    There’d be some serious grudnutz huntin’, eh ladies?

  29. O 2022-06-04

    cibvet, the Second Amendment has not been static on the issue of gun ownership. The GOP has again played a long-game to redefine that amendment (through test legislation and justice selection) to an individual, even near absolute right. Again, a bit of history undermines the whole thesis of an individual right or of self-defense (or insurgent) justifications. That has become a pure fiction created by the GOP.

  30. P. Aitch 2022-06-04

    Good point, Larry.
    What drives mass shooters? Grievance, despair, and anger are more likely triggers than mental illness, experts say.
    The motivations of mass shooters are hard to parse because many die at the scene of their attacks and leave nothing behind to explain their actions. But research has shown the causal link between mental illness and mass violence is tenuous. – BostonGlobe today

  31. mike from iowa 2022-06-04

    P Aitch, no offense intended, but is your name a play on words? (PH)

  32. mike from iowa 2022-06-04

    If mental health was behind mass shootings, then why don’t more countries have them like the U.S.?

  33. mike from iowa 2022-06-04

    https://www.rawstory.com/republicans-uvalde-mass-shooting/

    Strategy memos obtained by Rolling Stone from a “variety of conservative candidates and organizations” urge changing the topic and letting the news cycle change following the latest string of mass shootings in America.

  34. Mark Anderson 2022-06-04

    Oh Allen Jeris, of course get rid of red flag laws, it will only increase the deaths. What is needed are some good photos of grade school deaths, unidentifiable little kids lying in a bloody pile and the words ” Coming to a School near You” printed on it. Billboards, t-shirts you name it. Democrats have to show the price Americans pay for this bloody bull sheet that the good guys with guns are causing. They have no stop for it, nothing planned either, just pray for the dead while the manufacturer’s prey on you.

  35. mike from iowa 2022-06-04

    Thanks, P Aitch.

  36. ABC 2022-06-05

    Australian and New Zealand political leaders care about gun slaughter. USA political leaders don’t.

    Voters in USA dont care enough to vote OUT the gun loving Congressmen and the Presidents who nominate
    gun lickers to the Supreme Court.

    The tyranny of the 44% of the population that owns guns vs. the 56% that don’t own guns.

    Impeach the minority! Coddle guns, children die. Civilized countries have prevented this with legislation. USA hasnt.
    Both parties have built this monster.

  37. larry kurtz 2022-06-05

    Enlistment could look like the Swiss model where soon after high school eighteen year olds would join for two years then re-up or enroll in the college or vocational training of ones choosing.

  38. John 2022-06-05

    Larry, you’re on to something . . . it’s time for the Pentagon and politicians to consider returning to national conscription . . . on the Swiss model.
    Since 2009 the US birthrate dropped 20%. The birthrate never recovered after the great recession.
    The Pentagon has a very hard, overly expensive time recruiting volunteers for the elective wars of itself and the politicians. The only alternative to conscription to fill the ranks would be using immigrants. ‘Mericans cannot be bothered for public service, too selfish. So, like Rome, those ‘Mericans would rather farm-out military service to foreigners. (Perhaps that demographic hole is encouraging pro-birth republicans to fill the void with mostly poor useful for military fodder.)
    Conscription must include all genders and foreign and domestic public service options (non-military).

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