ENOUGH! This is the battle cry of Americans following the massacre of 14 students and three staff members in Parkland, Florida — one of the worst in U.S. history — and just another in the series of many mass shootings that have killed students and civilians in just a few years.
President Donald Trump and Congress said they wanted to solve this worsening gun violence in the country. However, the tough rhetoric and “thoughts and prayers” have not translated to sensible gun control laws and regulations — thanks but no thanks to the lobbying of the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) and its hefty campaign contributions to Trump and the Republicans in Congress.
Trump even repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have prevented people with mental illness from buying guns, an initiative the former president did in response to the non-action of Congress to legislate stricter gun laws after the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
Trump proposed to strengthen implementation of background checks, and to arm teachers with guns. He initially pushed for increasing the minimum age to buy guns from 18 to 21, but has been deemed to be noncommittal about this since Friday, February 23, and after the open opposition of the NRA to this plan.
Trump also vowed to write a law banning bump stocks if Congress does not do its job — these are accessories that convert semi-automatic weapons to rapid firing machine guns.
Great, but why stop there, Mr. President? An AR-15 assault rifle was used by the shooter in the Parkland massacre. Assault rifles have been used by civilians in other mass shootings.
Assault rifles were invented to kill people in the war zones, and were not intended to be used by civilians for sports or hunting hobbies. Even the Republican conservative icon and former President Ronald Reagan, with his strong ideological conviction to uphold the Second Amendment, did not agree that these deadly war weapons should be used by civilians.
What hold does the NRA have on Trump and the Republican lawmakers? Have these elected public officials been listening to the American people — a big majority of whom- Democrats, Republican, Independents and even responsible gun owners — are demanding for stricter gun laws to solve this fatal epidemic?
Let me share with you the results of two polls that support this call.
• 70 percent of Americans now favor stricter gun laws.
• A majority of people (57 percent) who live in gun-owning households favor some new restrictions, and 49 percent of Republicans are onboard.
• Some specific measures that are broadly popular: 87 percent favor banning felons and those with mental health problems from getting guns; 71 percent favor banning anyone under 21 from buying a firearm; and 63 percent favor a ban on high-capacity magazines.
• The poll also showed that President Trump is at his lowest approval rating — 35 percent — since taking office.
USA Today/Suffolk poll:
• 61 percent say “tightening gun- control laws and background checks would prevent more mass shootings in the United States.”
• 63 percent say semiautomatic weapons should be banned. And 76 percent say people who have been treated for mental illness should be banned from owning guns.
• That poll had Trump at 38 percent approval and 60 percent disapproval.
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos