Tonawanda News

Columns

January 16, 2013

Gun bill is good, process isn't

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — There is the thought that allowing the bill to hang in limbo might have jeopardized its passage. Two thoughts: First, Cuomo’s considerable political power all but guaranteed its passage, even if the NRA and other pro-gun lobbying groups had more time to twist lawmakers’ arms. The votes might have been closer, particularly in the Senate, but it likely would have passed. Second, if a bill can’t withstand three days of public pressure, it doesn’t deserve to become law.

Also, it allows critics like the NRA to complain about the process and lets them off the hook for arguing its merits. To wit, the NRA’s statement:

“The National Rifle Association and our New York members are outraged at the draconian gun control bill that was rushed through the process late Monday evening. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature orchestrated a secretive end-run around the legislative and democratic process and passed sweeping anti-gun measures with no committee hearings and no public input.”

Notice that nowhere in there do they make an argument for why assault rifles or high capacity ammunition clips should be allowed in New York (or anywhere for that matter)?

After Tucson, Aurora, Newtown and Webster, the arguments we’ve heard time and again in favor of more guns on our streets sound different. It’s why the NRA isn’t making them. They’re falling back on zany ideas like turning schools into forts with teachers armed to the teeth. Why not fire the teachers, make combat soldiers and the local SWAT team brush up on their algebra and hire them to educate our children instead?

I’m grateful the legislature passed Cuomo’s gun control bill. I just wish the governor would have realized giving it the proper airing — and thus getting the better of a necessary and vigorous public debate — is critical to winning the larger fight over reversing the perception that a gun owner’s right to carry weapons of war is somehow more important that safer schools and streets and preventing more innocent people from dying.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. His column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. Contact him at eric.duvall@tonawanda-news.com.

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