Over the last four years, we’ve dealt with a new and annoying brand of gun control activists. The Parkland shooting spurred a lot of people into action, many of whom think they know a whole lot more than they do.
But even those who were around before that seemed to think this was going to be a watershed moment for them.
Unfortunately for them, nothing happened.
Now, a year into the presidency of Joe Biden–who ran on gun control and the promise to “do something” about Parkland–folks are less than pleased.
Four years after 17 people — the vast majority of them children — were shot and killed at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, President Biden is touting his accomplishments on gun reform, and urging Congress to do more to rein in America’s addiction to gun violence.
“We can never bring back those we’ve lost,” Biden said in a statement commemorating the anniversary of the Parkland massacre. “But we can come together to fulfill the first responsibility of our government and our democracy: to keep each other safe.”
“For Parkland, for all those we’ve lost, and for all those left behind, it is time to uphold that solemn obligation,” he continued.
Those accomplishments, however, are a far cry from his campaign rhetoric on more far-reaching, dramatic proposals, such as expanded background checks and banning assault-style weapons. For a man who once boasted that he’s “the only person that has beaten the NRA nationally,” Biden’s actual track record as president has been decidedly lackluster.
It’s a gap between rhetoric and action that has not gone unnoticed by a group that’s seen the devastation unchecked gun violence can cause. While Biden spent the morning touting his successes and placing blame on congress, members of the Parkland community itself— from survivors, to families who lost loved ones — used this anniversary to demand more from the White House.
Now, in fairness to Biden, what do they legitimately expect him to do? Oh, they say they want a national office for gun violence, but they have yet to tell anyone exactly what that would do or why tax dollars should be spent on making an office just to make them feel better about their lives.
Because that’s all that’s on the table, to be sure.
Luckily for them, they can still demonize the NRA.
Gun control seems like pie in the sky in a gridlocked Congress and in Florida. The best the state Legislature did in the aftermath of the state’s deadliest school shooting was pass a law that Walker himself argued might not prevent the next mass shooting, writing, “It is not clear how much the Act does to prevent tragedies like the one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.” Many 18-to-20-year-olds can still obtain a firearm through parents or other relatives, he added.
The law’s small reach isn’t an excuse to throw it away, but a reason to strengthen it, though that’s unlikely to happen given the conservative backlash lawmakers faced after they passed the the legislation’s baby steps into law. As the state argued in court, 18-to-21-year-olds are more likely to commit violent crimes than people in other age groups.
The NRA’s position has nothing to do with the law’s effectiveness in preventing mass shootings. For decades, the organization been able to stifle any proposal that limits access to guns in Florida — and it is not ready to give that power up.
The deaths of 17 people on Valentine’s Day 2018 won’t change what the NRA — no matter how weakened by its recent financial and legal woes — considers to be of critical importance.
Nor should it.
See, what these people don’t seem to get is that the NRA–and that’s almost always a proxy for gun rights advocates in general–doesn’t believe gun control is a good thing. Almost none of us are sitting here thinking that gun control will do a lot of good but still objecting to it on some other grounds.
We don’t believe it works and it restricts the rights of law-abiding Americans. Yes, I’d still oppose it even if there were unquestionable proof it would do everything the gun control crowd claims, but no such evidence exists.
There’s ample evidence to suggest that gun control has the opposite effect. There’s also evidence that guns are not now and have never been the problem in the first place.
While there’s a focus on gun control in Parkland, there’s a complete lack of basic understanding that a lot of failures led up to that horrible day.
But they’ll just blame the NRA and all of us for failing to do what they know to be right, all while failing to actually listen to us and understand that we legitimately disagree.
They can push for all the laws they want and we’ll do everything we can to block them. So far, we’re doing a good job on that. We just need to keep it up.