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A long-term gun control strategy

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By Rick Howell

The gun control debate, renewed in December and January after the brutal child massacres in Newtown, Connecticut, has calmed down a bit, despite having been featured in President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
    This is certainly not a surprise. We live in an age when the 24-hour news cycle constantly turns over new and newer topics. Thus, even the horror of the murder of little children who ought to be safe at school, has faded a bit since it happened.
    Not for the families, of course. They will never be the same. They will  always have to live with the fact that the deranged son of a gun nut – who was, by all acounts, “a responsible gun owner” until she became a victim of her own arsenal – took their children’s lives away.
    The tears that President Obama and so many others shed on that occasion must not be wasted. Instead, they should serve as seeds that grow into a long-term battle that must be won over the NRA and its subservient membership.
    Obama knows that at least some of his gun control proposals – universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, a system of gun registration – are doomed to fail in this Congress, defined as it is by tea-party Republicans and too many cowardly Democrats.
    That’s why the president was reduced in his speech to merely asking for a vote, despite the public’s support for such things as universal background checks and closing loopholes at gun shows that allow any bozo to purchase a gun without any such check.
    So he said that Newtown “deserves a vote,” (naming the locations of recent gun massacres) and that Blacksburg “deserves a vote” (surely the only time that Blacksburg, Va. has been mentioned in an SOTU address, and for what a tragic reason).
    Well, they do, of course. But they deserve more than just a vote. They deserve some reasonable, common sense gun restrictions that, sadly, aren’t likely to be passed anytime soon. The president may get something this year; but it won’t be enough.
    Therefore, the campaign for a decent nation that no longer tolerates routine gun massacres must get ready for a long fight, especially against the defense of gun madness so rabidly pursued by the NRA and its Roanoke-born pit bull, Wayne Lapierre.
    Right now, we are in between massacres. Soon, another major gun massacre will occur. We all know that. Lapierre knows that and is doing all he can to use this time well.
    So the NRA kicks in its Goebbels-like propaganda machine to pursue its own version of “The Big Lie:” that what the country needs is more guns, not less, and that any gun control measure whatsoever is equal to confiscation, the infamous “they’re going to take our guns away” scare tactic.
    Some may flinch at the comparison of NRA tactics to the work of one of the greatest liars the Son of the Morning Star ever produced. But I insist that it is both appropriate and accurate.
    Goebbles once said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will certainly believe it. And when the NRA says – for the one millionth time – that moderate gun restrictions equals gun confiscations, it’s lying. And it’s doing so knowingly and willingly.
    When the Brady bill was passed, no one showed up at the homes of Bedford County deer hunters to take their rifles. Think about that, and think about how hysterically the NRA fought that simple legislation.
    It’s time to hunker down and get ready for a long fight against the machinations of the NRA. But it’s a worthy cause and we will be a better, safer country when we win.

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Rick Howell, a Bedford native, can be reached by e-mail at RickDem117@gmail.com.