Time gun lobby aims higher than blindly Following Big Tobacco’s losing playbook
This time the aftermath looks, sounds and feels different. In the words of one murdered student’s irate father spoken directly to Donald Trump, “I’m pissed.” So are millions of Americans . . . pissed.
The outpouring of student outrage over the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland may be clearing the air of smoke from the firearms industry and National Rifle Association. And maybe a few mirrors to go along with all the smoke.
Perhaps this boisterous, impassioned response will have a better outcome in sensible regulation of our second amendment, which BTW I support as I carry a concealed weapon permit.
Today the tide is fiercely turning against guns that are still mostly unrestricted. Local parents and students at #StonemanDouglas, as well as the rest of the nation, are more than upset. In fact, they question our nation’s lack of security in schools.
While it would take years and billions of dollars to turn all schools into mini airports laden with security, polls show most people favor sensible gun regulation. Yet gun companies and the NRA are standing firm against waves of outrage.
But now comes a Parkland tsunami.
The firearms industry and the #NationalRifleAssociation would do well to learn lessons from comic books, which faced a similar dilemma in the 1950s. Comics were nearly banned when it was thought they induced crime. In fact, a 1954 Gallup poll showed that 70 percent of people blamed comic books for teenage violence.
Facing the prospect of having their products banned, comic book makers self-regulated. They gave in to demands by those who wanted good superheroes and law enforcement to always win and criminals lose.
Clearly compromise and self-regulation saved comic books, while failure to do the same could cost gun manufacturers and the NRA dearly if they don’t learn from history.
It’s a better model to follow than that of cigarette makers who refused to compromise and now are an endangered species.
Today the no-budge-an-inch gun lobby is heading down a similar path once followed by Big Tobacco that thought itself invincible and untouchable.
Unfazed by warnings by the Surgeon General or the CDC, the industry strongly resisted a policy of restraint or even reform. They felt they could target their product to youths with the Joe Camel series. The industry was tone deaf to public opinion.
Many dismissed the government’s bid to regulate cigarettes as unable to overcome their powerful lobby. But as evidence mounted that the industry was hiding its most dangerous health and addiction findings, the public turned against smoking.
Now smoking isn’t even allowed in public places and bars. Nine in ten Americans support such moves to #regulatetobacco as a threat.
Could a comic book compromise have kept the tobacco lobby from being crushed like a spent cigarette? We’ll never know.
Today the NRA, gun makers and the GOP better embrace sensible change and replace their line in the sand with one more intelligent and flexible.
Just a few years ago, all three were battling against measures to prevent even accused terrorists on the “no-fly list” from owning a gun in the wake of the Orlando shooting.
Failure to support reform will cost gun manufacturers, gun owners like me, and even the GOP their position of power.
Let there be no more smoking guns on school grounds.
End the inflexible myopia that once humbled another giant who became deaf and dumb to common sense and public outcry.
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