Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt of President Ronald Reagan. Although Reagan managed to survive with no permanent injuries, the same cannot be said for Jim Brady, his press secretary, who remains paralyzed to this day after taking a bullet for his boss.
Three decades later, Brady is still using his influence to push for greater gun control laws in the country, now focusing on re-instituting the restrictions that were passed in early 90′s thanks to his advocacy. Waiting periods and automatic weapons restrictions were addressed in the Brady Bill passed in 1993, but it expired a few years ago and has not been approved by lawmakers since.
Today, many lawmakers have caved into the pressures put on them by the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, a majority of them Republicans. Yet if the Republican Party really wanted to be the party of Reagan, they would bring back the controls that expired in 2004, restrictions that even Reagan himself approved of.
Robyn Ringler was one of Reagan’s nurses at George Washington University Hospital, where he was taken after being wounded on his way out of the Washington Hilton. Now an anti-gun activist, she noted that Reagan endorsed the Brady Bill on the 10th anniversary of the shooting.
While he opposed a push for gun control immediately after the shooting, Reagan wrote an op-ed for The New York Times in March 1991 supporting waiting periods and background checks. He noted that he signed a 15-day waiting period into law as governor of California.
“So even our revered President Reagan really supported this effort,” Ringler said.
Jim Brady, quiet for most of the event, chimed in: “He certainly did.”
But instead of supporting restrictions, today’s Party of Reagan is looking to expand gun ownership rights more than they have ever been expanded before. In fact, some South Carolina legislators are pushing to allow guns everywhere.
Even in daycare centers.
Think Progress reports:
A proposed law making its way through the South Carolina legislature would loosen gun ownership to an astonishing level. If passed, legal gun owners could bring their weapons to restaurants, day-care centers, and churches. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Thad Viers (R), says that expanding the places that one can carry a concealed weapon in the state is an effective anti-crime measure:
“It puts criminals on the defense,” said state Rep. Thad Viers, R-Horry, a co-sponsor of the bill and the owner of about 25 firearms and a concealed weapons permit. “Criminals don’t know if you’re carrying or not.”
Amazingly, the only debate in the legislature appears to be whether the bill goes far enough. Ed Kelleher, president of GrassRoots South Carolina, a powerful gun group in the state, says the bill “violates the constitutional rights of gun owners” because it only allows for adult, state residents to carry guns in these places — not young people or out-of-state residents. “While the bill might make it better for people in South Carolina, it’s going to be a lot worse for others, including those visiting us,” Kelleher said. “We depend on tourism here, and this has chilling effect on that.”
Exactly what sort of crimes are rampant at churches and daycare centers that a person needs to be armed at all times? Is there a rash of people dipping into the Holy Water, or toddlers stealing each other’s juiceboxes?
Those who advocate for unlimited gun rights point to the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment rights. But the founding fathers likely never imagined a time where automatic weapons would be capable of unloading dozens of bullets in minutes without the need for reloading. When the constitution was written, the use of a gun was a slow, deliberate process, with ammunition, powder and reloading. An accidental shot was unlikely — two in a row was impossible.
Photo courtesy of wikimedia commons
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