Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Analysis, Honesty and Gun Control

I know. You've grown weary of the gun control conversation. Enough with the Facebook posts and the Twitter bombing, already. The tragedy in Newtown seems far away; you can't be angry and upset forever, right?

I get it. I really do. But I can't let this one go.

... Maybe it's because I continue to see my son's sweet face in those of the 20 babies who lost their short lives that day.

... Maybe it's because I know the NRA is just waiting for outrage from the "Connecticut effect" to subside. In February, ThinkProgress reported that a top lobbyist representing the Wisconsin's NRA State Association said at the state's convention, “We have a strong agenda coming up for next year, but of course a lot of that’s going to be delayed as the ‘Connecticut effect’ has to go through the process.”

... Maybe it's because on April 4, Ana Grace Márquez-Greene would have been seven years old. Would have been.


This time, I'm not pushing my outrage under the proverbial rug. I've channeled my despair into Moms Demand Action, for which I am now the volunteer coordinator of the Greater NYC Chapter.
Moms Demand Action was formed in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre with five simple, common-sense goals:
  1. Ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
  2. Require background checks for all gun and ammunition purchases.

  3. Report the sale of large quantities of ammunition to the ATF, and ban online sales of ammunition.
  4. Make gun trafficking a federal crime with serious criminal penalties.
  5. Counter gun industry lobbyists’ efforts to weaken gun laws at the state level.

I often have a hard time committing fully to political organizations. Most issues are so nuanced, so much more difficult to parse than the buzz words each side uses to prop up its side.

The truth is I'm not good at politics; I'm good at analysis and honesty. As a result, I have cut off my nose to spite my face ten thousand ways to Sunday over the course of my 38 years. This is why, despite passions that run high and a mouth to match, I am not a lobbyist or a politician. 

But Moms Demand Action's goals are so obvious, so common-sense as to be -- to me -- almost milquetoast. I am saddened on a daily basis that the conversation in this country is skewed so far in one direction that people are actually fighting the idea of mandatory background checks.

In a country where we are required to have a government-issued license, possess insurance and wear a seat belt to drive a car, how is it that requiring background checks for gun purchases is considered so radical, so scandalous


Tonight I planned on writing a succinct piece on Moms Demand Action Week -- which is being conducted in honor of Ana Márquez-Greene with the backing of her family -- and why I support common-sense gun legislation. 

The goal has proven elusive. 

Instead, I've spent the better part of five hours researching gun control legislation, reading studies, trying to understand the jargon ("assault weapon," "gun-show loophole," "NICS") and peeling away the layers of simplistic, populist mythology foisted upon us by the NRA ("self defense!" "bad guys with guns!") to understand what people on the other side of this argument are saying.



Tomorrow I will share what I learned. More for myself than for anyone else at this point, but I hope you will learn something, too.

[Read Part II: The Very Unsexy, Yet Essential, Backdrop and Part III: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Mother Informed]