Before discussing the state of minority rule regarding the health crisis of gun proliferation, a moment of silence for the National Rifle Association.
No, the NRA isn’t dead. It is, however, in a life-threatening pickle. It is frantically trying to skirt justice, Donald Trump-style, as New York prosecutors probe fraudulent uses of charitable dollars.
It sought bankruptcy to blunt the investigation. Denied, said a federal judge.
In another Trump-style ploy, it seeks to reincorporate in Texas (Florida losing the coin flip), viewed as more hospitable to fanatical gun groups, the Texas Legislature being one.
In a host of ways, an organization that touts the “good guy with a gun” looks like a garden-variety con with a gun.
Part of the reason why the NRA is on the ropes is that increasingly Americans see behind the con.
Sixty-five percent support tougher laws in the wake of the Atlanta and Boulder massacres, according to USA Today/Ipsos.
So why don’t things change? One reason is that the dwindling minority still has the means of blunting national action. It has the filibuster in the Senate, and it has the advantage of a patchwork of reasoned gun laws in states and communities side-by-side with Wild West militarized zones.
Most destructively, the gun lobby and its operatives in lawmaking have blunted even the notion of treating gun violence as a public health matter.
Hands now: Who’s heard of the Dickey Amendment?
Named after the late U.S. Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas, and more appropriately called the Dickey Gag Rule, the 1996 rider to an omnibus budget bill effectively prohibits the Centers for Disease Control from taking a position on the role of firearms in wave after wave of death and destruction.
In other words, like the Republicans who purged Liz Cheney from her leadership post so as to promote the Big Lie, the “enemy of the people” remains anything approximating truth.
In Colorado, lawmakers have decided to start ascertaining and disseminating the truth.
A measure advancing in the Democratic-led Legislature would create a Gun Violence Prevention Office to inform citizens about issues related to gun safety and compile data from a public health perspective.
Meanwhile, Colorado lawmakers are also addressing bigger issues toward gun laws that mean something.
A week before a gunman killed 10 in Boulder, a judge overturned a Boulder law that banned the very types of assault-style weapons the killer used.
The ruling held that state law preempts local ordinances.
In direct response, and in keeping with the majority of Americans who want reasonable steps taken by their communities, Democrats in the Colorado Capitol are advancing a bill to give local communities greater freedom to adopt their own gun laws.
The Democrats also are proposing expanding background checks, blocking those convicted of violent misdemeanors from purchasing guns for five years.
The same bill would close the “Charleston loophole,” which absurdly allows a person to acquire a gun if a background check isn’t completed in three days.
President Biden has cited the loophole which in one year alone – 2016 — allowed gun sales to over 4,000 people with criminal records, mental illnesses and other conditions that would have prevented it under federal laws.
We need federal laws with teeth in them. We need a return of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. We need limits on high-capacity magazines.
As with the NRA’s search for a favorable venue, the majority continues to lose out to the minority because the gun lobby has just enough clout to seek and find pockets of resistance to what most Americans want.
As for the ridiculous Dickey Amendment, its namesake apparently listened to his conscience after he left office, because he decided that the research his bill prohibited could have been conducted without harm to gun owners. It's never too late to listen to the voices of reason.
We need to hear what the majority says about guns and stop listening to cons.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.