Guns and Politics: Is Now the Time?

Politico Arena asked this question today about the role of politics and political leaders following the Colorado shooting tragedy Friday.  Gun control advocates are calling for a renewed examination of the nation’s firearms laws.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein  (D-Calif.) and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are among the most outspoken on the issue.  They wanted to know whether a push for stricter gun laws is appropriate in this time of grief and sorrow.

My heart is so heavy with sorrow for the victims of the Colorado theater shooting that I am almost unable to respond to that question. But respond we must, as individuals and as a nation. And from my own experience with violence toward reproductive health providers, I can tell you that it is of the utmost importance for leaders to respond with solutions, not mere platitudes.

For after we care for our dead and wounded and after we grieve with their families and after all the fine words but no call to action from President Obama and Mitt Romney who wants to be President, then what?

Without question it’s time for stricter gun laws such as this one introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), to ban the sale of magazines that can hold more than ten rounds at a time.

As Senator Dianne Feinstein rightly says “Weapons of war don’t belong on the streets.”

No gun control law can prevent a rampage by a deranged person, or by any person intent on causing harm. But sensible restrictions on access to guns can make such events less likely and less lethal.

It’s shameful to let the NRA browbeat political leaders and the American public into believing we shouldn’t discuss politics at a moment like this. Refusing to tackle the gun control issue—deliberately made controversial by the organization that brooks no restrictions on weapons of mass destruction in civilized society—is pure political cowardice.

I’d love to know how you would have answered the question. Not to argue the merits of gun laws, but rather to address the responsibility of leaders in such a time.

An excerpt from this article ran in the Politico Arena. Here is a link to my response to the Arena question.

Gloria Feldt is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Buy the book here. Engage Gloria for a Speech or Workshop. Tweet @GloriaFeldt and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Gloria is the co-founder (with Amy Litzenberger) of Take the Lead, a new initiative to prepare and propel women to leadership parity by 2025. Find them @takeleadwomen and on Facebook.

3 thoughts on “Guns and Politics: Is Now the Time?

  1. Now must be the time … Insanity, depravity and evil do exist. We must stop pretending that an assault automatic rifle is anything but a weapon of war – not the object of the second amendment. I share your horror and sorrow over Friday’s events in Aurora, CO. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and the community.

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