Editorial: Blood On The Hands Of Obama, Mitt And The NRA

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The New York Daily News tells it like it is, but I doubt anyone in power is listening. Why not? Because as many Republicans are dictated to by Grover Norquist, politicians on both sides of the aisle grovel at the feet of Wayne LaPierre and the National Rifle Association. Politicians rarely bother to try to explain the actual nuances of gun control, and how it isn't actually a plot to take away your hunting rifles. They almost never come out in support of even the mildest of gun control laws, no matter how many people are slaughtered.

The same people screaming about any attempt to control who gets to buy a gun are the same people demanding that anyone who tries to vote must first jump through numerous hoops. What a screwed-up nation we live in:

The police chief in Aurora, Colo., said he is confident that massacre gunman James Holmes acted alone. The police chief was dead wrong.

Standing at Holmes’ side as he unleashed an AR-15 assault rifle and a shotgun and a handgun was Wayne LaPierre, political enforcer of the National Rifle Association.

Standing at Holmes’ side as he sprayed bullets and buckshot into a crowded movie theater were Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, a President and a would-be President, who have bowed to the NRA’s dictates and who responded to the slaughter Friday with revolting, useless treacle.

Standing at Holmes’ side as he murdered 12 and wounded 59 were the millions of zealots who would sooner see blood flow and lives end than have to check a box on a gun registration form.

In a vain claim of innocence, the fanatics will say Holmes is a monster and a maniac, that he fired and fired and fired as a man possessed. Each protestation clamps their fingers with his around the trigger.

Because they made sure that virtually everyone, Holmes included, has unfettered legal access to heavy weaponry. And they made sure he was permitted by law to drive to the kill scene with a fully loaded arsenal.

Such is the conscienceless extremism of America’s gun lovers that they accept wholesale slaughter as akin to a fatal highway pileup. Accidents happen, in their grotesque view, and so do mass killings by firearms.

Lower death tolls — two, three, four, five — in offices, parks and restaurants slip from memory as awful but routine, cause for momentary pain and nothing more.

The day-to-day mayhem of street-crime shootings, responsible for more deaths than all the mass carnage combined, makes it to the police blotter, the courts, the newspapers, the emergency rooms and the cemeteries.

Every Aurora-like spasm provokes the question: How did the killer get his guns? Overwhelmingly, the answer is that he acquired them legally from a licensed dealer under the permissive laws of the local jurisdiction and the deliberately porous oversight of the federal government.

In Aurora, the authorities say someone lawfully bought the weapons used by Holmes and that he carried them lawfully until the moment he pulled a trigger. Even the purchase of the AR-15, a rapid-fire, military-style semi-automatic fit for nothing but combat, was by the books.

Once, federal law would have kept Holmes’ hands off a superdeadly weapon like the AR-15. In 1994, under President Bill Clinton, Congress outlawed the manufacture and possession of assault weapons, but the statute had a 10-year expiration date.

IN 2004, it went off the books to cheers from the NRA, led by LaPierre, who keeps Washington in line and who went to ground Friday, declining comment “until all the facts are known.” As if they aren’t already.

Obama postures as supporting a new assault weapons ban but has done exactly nothing to restore the prohibition. Nor has he moved to close the loophole that allows for gun purchases without background checks at weapons shows.

His statement about the Aurora massacre was a dodge. Obama said in part: “If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy, it’s the reminder that life is very fragile, our time here is limited and it is precious, and what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things which so often consume us and our daily lives.”

With all due respect, the presidential takeaway should have been a drive for strengthened gun control, if only for the assault weapons ban. In righteous anger, Obama should have confronted the NRA’s political might regardless of polls that show a strong sentiment against restoring the prohibition.

So, too, Romney, who was no less saccharine than Obama in discussing Aurora and is no less craven on gun control. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed a state assault weapons ban and defended tough anti-gun statutes. Then, as a presidential candidate, he joined the NRA and has since professed fealty to the group’s positions.

Through their inaction and their silence, Obama and Romney have fallen into line with all those who enabled Holmes to take hold of that AR-15 and will enable others to do so in the future unless America’s political leaders develop the courage to fight to save lives.

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