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Editorial: A show of political resolve

House Democrats in the nation’s capital displayed a modicum of civil disobedience Wednesday by taking over the House floor and demanding action on gun control measures that 85 to 90 percent of Americans support.
Yet on Monday, the Republican-controlled Senate defeated two measures brought by Democrats that would have banned the sale of guns to those on the federal terror watch list, and expanded background checks for online and gun-show purchases.
Republicans sought to escape the political backlash by proposing two measures of their own: a measure agreeing to a three-day wait before those on the federal terrorism watch list could buy a gun, and a measure that would have increased funding for background checks but not expand them. To paraphrase, the latter measure was a nonsensical waste of taxpayer money, and the other measure approved the sale of guns to known terrorists who are actively being watched by the CIA and FBI.
Voters can only shake their heads in disbelief.
Polls show that more than 85 percent of Americans favor the two modest restrictions proposed by Democrats. And yet Republicans in solid unity rejected those wishes in order to remain beholden to one lobbying organization and the money it shells out to keep Republicans in office — the National Rifle Association.
Arguments against such modest limitations to gun purchases are ludicrous and specious. While Republicans put up a show of defending the Second Amendment, in no way do either provisions deny law-abiding Americans from buying a gun, and interestingly enough, gun-owners are more adamant about gun control laws than non-gun-owners. Support for requiring background checks for all gun sales is 85 percent among gun owners and 83 percent among non-gun-owners, according to researchers with the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research. In 2015, a survey also found that 76 percent of gun owners supported prohibiting people convicted of domestic violence from having a gun for 10 years.
What is clear is that by not preventing known terrorists or criminals easy access to high-powered weapons, we place innocent and unsuspecting citizens into the direct line of fire as well as endanger law enforcement officers.
Monday’s defeat of the two rational proposals by Democrats in the Senate was another new low, in a year of low points, for Republican-inspired politics. Hopefully, Americans will rally to the Democrats’ perspective and force Republicans to reconsider this critically important issue, but don’t hold your breath.
Angelo Lynn

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