On her MSNBC show last night, Rachel Maddow went through the changes in gun laws, noting that they always get more permissive per the gun lobby. No matter what tragedy occurs, she says, we can’t even review these laws. Even the states that do not want these laws like “Stand Your Ground” are getting them forced on them, because we can’t seem to fight the gun lobby.
Rachel said, “I thought after Tucson we could have one tiny little tick toward regulates just the size of the magazines for ammunition in handguns. As a tiny correction for a nation that was shocked by the horror. I was wrong. Gun law changes go in one direction.”
Watch here via MSNBC:
Transcript from MSNBC (with grammatical edits):
RACHEL MADDOW: After Jeb Bush signed the first stand your ground bill into law in Florida with NRA lobbyist beaming down over his shoulder as he signed it, nearly two dozen states have followed with their own laws. The NRA wants this to be a federal regulation that would force this on states that don’t want it. All the changes in law go in the same direction. All the laws go to more guns in more places.
Once one state stakes out radical ground, as soon as one state clears that ground like Florida did in 2005, all the other states rush toward that newly cleared law.
I thought after Tucson we could have one tiny little tick toward regulates just the size of the magazines for ammunition in handguns. As a tiny correction for a nation that was shocked by the horror. I was wrong. Gun law changes go in one direction. Now even in the midst of the national uproar over the Trayvon Martin shooting and the fact that Florida’s gun law says that shooter can’t be arrested, he says the Florida senate will be not reviewing the law.
Usually on policy issues like this we say, what would it take? What you would it take to look at this issue differently? What would it take us to shock us out of pattern we’re in. What would it take? In the case of gun laws, we have an answer. It doesn’t matter.
No matter what happens in the country in terms of gun violence or how we feel about it, there’s no outcry loud enough. We do not get to make these decisions about our laws in this country. We do not get to make the decisions about laws concerns guns. They do. They’re the gun lobby and they decide or at least that’s how they want it to be and that’s how they have had it so far.
Rachel pointed out that in the wake of the Tucson massacre, you would have thought we could at least have a dialogue about extended magazine clips, which were illegal until George Bush let the law expire in 2004. There is no reason why any non-law enforcement would need such a weapon.
But here we are again, post tragedy. And we can’t even force a review of the Stand Your Ground law, which from all appearances was misapplied by the Sanford Police Department. But this begs the question: If the police, who enforce these laws, operate under the misconception that the law means you can shoot anyone and claim self-defense and they can’t arrest you (the law, bad as it is, does not say that), can’t we admit that we have a problem?
What will it take?
Obviously, there is no tragedy big enough to push back against the NRA, now pushing these same bad laws on a federal level. What’s to stop another tragedy like this, and what comfort can citizens take when the police either willfully misapply the law or have been misled regarding its intentions and nuances?
In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, even the co-sponsor of the law in Florida admitted that the law does not prohibit the police from arresting George Zimmerman, but he derided the notion that the law even needed to be reviewed.
So, we go from bad law to misapplied law to the death of innocents, and we can’t even get a review of the law, let alone a revision.
This law fell down in its writing, in its passage, and in its implementation. It is clearly being misused and was written so poorly as to allow such misuse. But we can’t get a review of it, because the gun lobby is so powerful.
Of course, there will be the usual screams about supporting the second amendment, as if that were the only right granted to us and as if it were the only sacred amendment. That strawman can’t face Trayvon Martin’s family.
What about Trayvon Martin, Gabby Giffords, little Christina Taylor Green and so many more? What about their rights? Are we really going to swallow that the second amendment is so precious that we can’t even discuss reviewing a gun law? That argument presumes that all gun “rights” are more precious than life. It also presumes that every more permissible gun law passed is so sacred that it is a right.
It is not so sacred that it should be allowed to stand alone, never being weighed against the other rights of citizens. Furthermore, gun rights do not grant the right to be a vigilante. No one has that right; and to argue so is to stand against the rule of law.
If someone is against the rule of law, they can hardly take honest refuge in the second amendment.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.