As predicted last week, Trump is already caving on his latest feint toward gun safety legislation after promising to “look very strongly” at universal background checks and red flag laws in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres — this despite the fabled moderating influence of Ivanka.
The NRA is at its lowest ebb in decades. Board members and employees are running from the organization like Trump White House lackeys fleeing a process server. Even a Fox News personality called out the epic corruption of the NRA’s Trump-scale tacky-grandiose chief Wayne LaPierre last week. So this cave is the latest data point on Trump’s crap negotiating skills.
My husband is famously bad at negotiating. Our daughter and I still tease him about walking into a Ford dealership several years ago, clapping eyes on his future truck and exclaiming, “Oh my GOD! I LOVE it!” right in front of the salesman. We were fleeced most thoroughly soon after, of course, and the mister is no longer permitted to even ATTEND major purchase events.
But the mister is steely-eyed and canny at the long table in comparison to the credulous fool in the White House, who has handed over our economic fate to China’s Xi, been pantsed by tin-pot dictators worldwide and sports Vladimir Putin’s brand on his ass. In that context, it’s no wonder the weakened sociopaths at the NRA were able to vaporize Trump’s mealy-mouthed resolve to “look very strongly” at new gun safety regulations with a single phone call.
Luckily, the March for Our Lives group, founded by Parkland massacre survivors, isn’t waiting around for Trump to nut up. This morning, they released an ambitious gun safety proposal: A Peace Plan for a Safer America. Here are its main points:
1. CHANGE THE STANDARDS OF GUN OWNERSHIP: Advocate and pass legislation to raise the national standard for gun ownership: a national licensing and registry system that promotes responsible gun ownership; a ban on assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, and other weapons of war; policies to disarm gun owners who pose a risk to themselves or others; and a national gun buy-back program to reduce the estimated 265-393 million firearms in circulation by at least 30%.
2. HALVE THE RATE OF GUN DEATHS IN 10 YEARS: Mobilize an urgent and comprehensive federal response: declare a national emergency around gun violence and announce an audacious goal to reduce gun injuries and deaths by 50% in 10 years, thereby saving up to 200,000 American lives.
3. ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THE GUN LOBBY AND INDUSTRY: Hold the gun lobby and industry accountable for decades of illegal behavior and misguided policies intended to shield only themselves; reexamine the District of Columbia v. Heller interpretation of the Second Amendment; initiate both FEC and IRS investigations into the NRA, and fully repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.
4. NAME A DIRECTOR OF GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION: Appoint a National Director of Gun Violence Prevention (GVP) who reports directly to the President, with the mandate to operationalize our federal goals and empower existing federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) – agencies that have all been structurally weakened by the gun lobby. The National Director of GVP would begin by overseeing a down payment of $250 million in annual funding for research by the CDC and other federal agencies on gun violence prevention.
5. GENERATE COMMUNITY-BASED SOLUTIONS: Fully fund targeted interventions addressing the intersectional dimensions of gun violence, including community-based urban violence reduction programs, suicide prevention programs, domestic violence prevention programs, mental and behavioral health service programs, and programs to address police violence in our communities.
6. EMPOWER THE NEXT GENERATION: Automatically register eligible voters and mail voter registration cards to all Americans when they turn 18. Create the “Safety Corps,” a Peace Corps for gun violence prevention. The younger generations are disproportionately affected by gun violence. They should have a say in how their country solves this epidemic.
It’s a smart plan that frames gun violence as a national health issue that reaches far beyond mass shootings. And it focuses on political mobilization, which is critical. It also signals that the Parkland group possesses political savvy that morons like Trump, his dingbat daughter and wastrel son-in-law can’t begin to match. Unlike those clowns, the Parkland kids are building on the past work they’ve done nationwide and swinging for the fences when opponents are at a weak point.
Senator Murphy of Connecticut sees hope (The Post):
“My hope is that they focus like a laser on youth turnout,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said of March for Our Lives’s 2020 efforts, after reviewing the proposal. “The election is over the minute young people decide to turn out. The only reason that Trump would get reelected is if young people stay home. The issue of gun violence is one of the only issues that truly motivate young people to shake off their indifference and aversion to voting.”
Democrats, who in the past would at least nod toward gun owners and do photo ops while hunting, are embracing gun control with greater urgency than they have in any election in recent memory, a sign that they are sensing movement among voters. During the 2018 midterms, when Democrats recaptured the House majority, nearly 70 percent of registered voters said gun policy was “very important” to them, ranking the issue ahead of taxes and immigration, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
This is what we’ve lacked — a sense of urgency to match that of the gun nuts. But thanks to the gun nuts’ maximal resistance to commonsense positions backed by 90% of Americans — and the insane among that group’s limitless appetite for mass murder — the pendulum might finally swing toward sanity, and perhaps a lot further than seemed possible even a couple of years ago.
You can read more about the plan, sign the petition and donate to March for Our Lives here.