A year ago I was performing in the middle of Pennsylvania. In my set was a joke about guns. Four white dudes between 25 and 35 came up to me after. They said in the middle of the conversation that they were hunters but then three of them made fun of the one of the four of their group who was an “Obama gonna git my guns… 2nd Amendment is the 3rd part of the Bible” style “thinker.” Seems about right based on polls that a majority of them, though liking hunting, would find that guy absurd.
Free speech has limits that everyone accepts (no threatening the president, no yelling fire in a crowded theater, etc.), but over the last decade stupid people (or disingenuous people interested in selling guns or denigrating the left or both) have convinced enough people and politicians that guns are less dangerous than words and that freedom requires less gun restriction, not more.
It should be surprising to no one that it was Clarence Thomas of all justices who, in a footnote to a late 90s case (US v Lopez I think) started the Supreme Court’s path towards enshrining a ridiculous reading of the 2nd Amendment.
But Obama is black and Newtown was a fake so let’s “wait for all the facts”
Laws are not just about criminalizing an activity immediately and like a magic wand all is right. Laws, for good and bad, can dictate and cultivate changes in culture that may not always materialize over night. And I do believe there is WAY too much violence in our popular culture (exception – John Wick – that dude can’t be violent enough – HE RULES)
So of course for some shootings, laws may not have stopped them, but 20 or 30 or 50 years from now if we are a country that treats guns like dangerous weapons as a last resort (like the way countries view nuclear weapons) instead of accessories or extensions of genitals we may see a shift that cannot be easily quantified by a simple signing of a law.
But the left recently is always stuck having to tell a dumb and increasingly impatient ADHD populace that things like gun violence, universal pre-K, affordable housing, family planning, environmentalism, etc. are for the best, which they are, but they take time and require patience and a little less self-interest and a little more common interest. But for people who will say “laws could not have changed this” think back to legislators around the country that wanted to limit assault weapons or magazine capacities after Sandy Hook. They either failed, or the legislators (in places like Colorado) were voted out., even though if the Sandy Hook killer had not had access to high round magazines (either because of scarcity or illegality), some of those slaughtered kids would be alive.
We have too many guns and are too violent a culture. Everyone should take some responsibility. TV and movies, legislators who limit funding for mental health services, but most of all gun lobbyists who fear monger (the NRA is a gun seller lobbying group masquerading as a gun rights group) and people who oppose sensible legislation. We need to make changes now so that immediate changes take place, but more importantly the culture is given the chance to change long term.