Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) became the NRA’s worse nightmare by announcing consensus steps that can be taken to lessen the number of mass shootings in the US.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders said:
Like the rest of the nation, I am appalled by gun violence in our country and the mass shootings in our churches and colleges,” Sanders said. “While there is no simple fix, that does not mean we should do nothing. The status quo clearly is not working and people on both sides of this issue cannot simply continue shouting at each other. Nobody wants more mass killings and serious people are going to have to engage in serious discussion.”
In my view, there are very concrete steps we can take to lessen the number of tragedies and to make those that happen less lethal, including ideas supported by a majority of gun owners.
Sanders went on to detail some of the steps:
– We must strengthen and better enforce the instant background check system.
– We must close the gun-show loophole, which allows unlicensed dealers to sell guns to people who otherwise would not be able to get them.
– We must make ‘straw man’ purchases a federal crime.
– We must ban semi-automatic assault weapons which are designed strictly for killing human beings.
– We must recognize that our mental health system is seriously broken. While there has been much talk about mental health parity in our health care system, we are not even close to achieving it. It’s past time for a serious discussion about identifying, intervening and treating mental illness and ensuring access to care.
The Sanders campaign also noted that their candidate has a (D-) rating from the NRA.
Mass shootings are good for business for the NRA. After a mass shooting, the NRA and weapons manufacturers churn out the paranoia-laden press releases that cause gun sales to go up. The reason the NRA opposes all sensible gun legislation that might reduce the number of mass shootings is all about money, not the Second Amendment.
The worst nightmare of the NRA and others is that a political leader will emerge who can build a consensus on common-sense gun reforms. Bernie Sanders is a successful politician from a pro-gun state. Despite what Clinton supporters may want to believe, Sen. Sanders has never been a friend to the NRA.
What troubles the NRA most isn’t the idea of radical liberal boogeyman coming to take away all of the guns, that illusion is just a sales pitch that is designed to inspire fear and drive up sales. What really scares the NRA is the possibility of a national grassroots movement that forces changes that they can’t stop.
Bernie Sanders is building exactly the kind of movement that should scare the NRA. The revolution is growing, and it is being led by a politician who can’t be bought with gun industry dollars.