Time after time we are shocked by senseless shooting. Six killed on LIRR train in 1993, 13 killed at Columbine High School in 1999, 32 killed at Virginia Tech in 2007, six killed at a Tucson, Arizona shopping center in 2011, 12 killed at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater and this week six more killed at an Oak Creek, Wisconsin temple. All the while senseless killings on Beach Channel Drive and Seagirt Boulevard on our own peninsula continue.
We support those who try to end the violence by prayer vigils, job programs, and protest marches, but those alone are not able to control the problem. After the wounding of President Ronald Reagan and the wounding of his press secretary Jim Brady federal legislation was passed to control the sale of assault weapons. With the expiration of this legislation these most dangerous weapons are again available in many parts of the US.
Some have thought that new gun control legislation would be sure to be found unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. In a recent interview Justice Antonin Scalia said that he considers the intent of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms to refer to the types of weapons available when the Bill of Rights was adopted. Carefully written laws to control the public distribution of modern military weapons might get Scalia’s approval as well as those who usually find the right to bear arms was meant to apply to the militia that defended early Americans from British conquest or hostile Indians.
Recently Senator Charles Schumer introduced legislation banning large magazines for weapons, and keeping weapons away from mentally ill persons. He got the support of Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez (NJ), Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Jack Reed (RI). We cannot wait to see if copy cats carry out their hatred or mentally ill fantasies by shooting up our churches and synagogues, supermarkets, community meetings or beaches before we do whatever we can to stop this madness. Most mayors and police officials, at least in larger cities support this type of legislation.
However carefully written, it would be difficult to pass any gun control legislation in the current House of Representatives. A Texas Congressman thinks the best way to stop a massacre in a movie is to have many armed patrons start firing at a possible gunman in a darkened, smoky theater. Fortunately, our neighbor, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, has been a clear voice for gun control even when outnumbered by those who refuse to try to find a way to separate unbalanced or casual killers from those who hunt deer or turkeys in season.
While many politicians are believed to take positions just to get elected, all know that Carolyn, a Republican nurse, got into politics to end the madness that killed her husband and grievously wounded her son on the LIRR. This year Carolyn will be targeted by the National Rifle Association and their friends. If they can silence her there will be few willing to speak up. Carolyn’s district includes most of the 5 Towns, Long Beach and much of nearby Nassau County. If you have friends or family in the area you can ask them to do us a favor as well as themselves by keeping Carolyn in Congress. Carolyn has an on line petition STOPONLINEAMMO. COM. Contributions can be sent to her website at Friends of Carolyn McCarthy. With the winners of some Rockaway elections already picked by the politicians, we can do something useful to see that we do not lose Carolyn McCarthy.