Florida was forced to do something. Horrific mass murders–and all the accompanying optics– mandate no less. So it did something. Being Florida, it did something less than it should have done. Yes, waiting periods, age limits and mental-health improvements help. But not nearly enough. The partisan political elephant in the room is still militarily armed for battle.
Ban assault weapons? No way. The sacrosanct Second Amendment, regardless of the late, conservatives’-revered Justice Scalia’s sensible take on real-world responsibilities, won’t permit it. Weapons of war–for non-warriors and faux warriors–are still legal and lionized by the Gunshine State’s usual suspects. Beyond frustrating, negligent and maddening.
Or ban assault weapon-enabling oversized magazines? As if.
Or how about mandated, all-inclusive background checks? Alas, that’s a rhetorical question.
Another affront to common sense, another assault on public safety, another outrage with cherry-picked, constitutional bullet points.
You’d think teachers and students would be a cause–and constituency–second to none. No surprise, however, they still ultimately rank behind the National Rifle Association and all the compromised pols who fear being primaried if they go too far. They fear that more than the next mass shooting expedited by an AR-15-type weapon more appropriate for Baghdad than Broward County.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson reined in the rage and summed up the Florida Legislature’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act. “This is a first step,” he noted tersely. “We must require universal background checks on the purchase of a gun and get these assault rifles off our streets. Until we’ve done that, we still have a lot of work to do.”
Until we’ve done that, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods will continue to stake out the moral high ground of social conscience and societal responsibility that lawmakers disingenuously keep abdicating.
“Thoughts and prayers?” Let’s pray for better thoughts.