In the wake of the horrific slaughter of the teachers and children in Newtown, Connecticut, the issue of gun regulation is now front and center. But in the national conversation that has ensued, Republicans,primarily, are proving that they are not the adults in the room. This is a moment when Congress and the President should be on the same page. It is clear that something must be done. And the president has acted with that in mind.
Yet the Republicans and their surrogates in the media would rather cloud the issue by creating a phony hysteria about gun confiscation by the federal government. Or by ginning up fears about Second Amendment rights. Or by disingenuously denying the central problem: the easy availability of assault weapons to unstable individuals.
So we hear right-wing extremists like radio talker Alex Jones shrieking at Piers Morgan on CNN: "Hitler took the guns, Stalin took the guns, Mao took the guns,...I'm here to tell you 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms." And the Drudge Report reinforcing this maniacal demagogy with pictures of Hitler and Stalin.
This is sheer revisionist malarky---Vice-president Biden might say. The fact is, and Martin Bashir pointed this out yesterday on MSNBC, Hitler didn't take the guns. In 1938, with the German Weapons Act, he actually loosened restrictions on firearms, expanded exemptions, lowered the age of gun ownership to 18, and extended the firearm permit from 1 to 3 years.
This is a propitious moment for all Americans to come and reason together. We don't need historical misconceptions. We don't need constitutional smokescreens. We need a civil discourse based on the truth. No one is taking away guns from their owners. No one is threatening Second Amendment rights. What we want and need is plain and simple. We want and need background checks, a national database. And sensible, responsible regulation of assault weapons and ammunition clips, like the ones used to savagely murder the teachers and children at Sandy Hook Elementary.
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