Le Figaro, France
After Aurora, It’s
Business as Usual
By Jean-Sébastien Stehli
Translated By Tabitha Middleton
Edited by Katie Marinello
France - Le Figaro - Original Article (French)
During dramatic events, we sometimes discover strange things. Recently, we discovered that National Rifle Association members read The New Yorker. As soon as Adam Gopnik gave his opinions about the Aurora massacre on his blog, 207 comments defending the right to possess firearms, even assault weapons if desired, were posted.
So, nothing is going to change. Especially not the ritual that accompanies each massacre.
As with any ritual, this one is always the same: We hear speeches full of good feelings and compassion for the families, but certainly not a word on the essential issue of firearms. No one has mentioned again that the murderer was able to buy, among other things, 6,000 bullets. On the campaign in Florida, Obama asked for a moment of silence for the victims and their families and cancelled the rest of his campaign events, asking that flags fly at half-mast. But nothing was said about the right to possess not just a firearm, but an arsenal. Absolute silence. The Democrats, who blame Al Gore’s defeat in 2000 on his anti-gun position, learned their lesson. Talking about guns doesn’t pay off politically. Let the massacres continue, but protect the campaign.
Mitt Romney himself is a friend of the NRA. On Apr. 13, he spoke before the members of the lobby to defend the right of each person to possess weapons. “We need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsmen, and those seeking to protect their homes and their families. President Obama has not; I will.”
But in 2004, while he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney passed a law forbidding assault weapons. He has trouble today justifying that law, as he does the state’s universal health care law, before his electorate. Fifty-five percent of Republican voters own a firearm, versus 40 percent of Democrats. Forty-seven percent of Americans own at least one gun. More than 300 million firearms circulate in the United States. But what’s worse, for the last 10 years, Congress has abandoned all attempts to regulate the possession of firearms. The law on the possession of assault weapons expired in 2004 with elected officials careful not to renew it, and the waiting period for owning a firearm has not budged. Forty-four states have passed a law allowing citizens to carry firearms outside of their homes.
In a recent issue of American Rifleman, the NRA’s magazine, David Keene, the NRA’s new president, explains to his 4 million members that the 2012 election will be without a doubt, “the most crucial election, from a Second Amendment standpoint, in our lifetimes.” Just that. So there is little chance that we will hear the Democratic or the Republican candidate mention the word “firearms” in their homilies. The massacres can continue.
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