"And say do you want to make a deal? How does it feel? To be on your own like a rolling stone."
— Bob Dylan
The "great deal-maker" has left all Americans concerned with firearms violence totally on their own. He obviously does not want to make a deal to broker something that reasonable people can support to lessen the gun mayhem.
Instead, he wrongly implies that Americans fall into two camps: 1) the NRA Wild West types who want no gun control at all or 2) those on the very far left who want all guns confiscated ASAP. In fact, as Trump already knows, the vast majority of our citizens want a gun control policy somewhere between those radical extremes. And, that includes most gun owners, like me.
But taking a stand will bring the fiery political wrath of the NRA down on him. That is why after Las Vegas Trump would rather "ask God to help us through," and "pray for the entire nation to find peace," but do nothing practical to stop the violence.
Mr. President, your prayers did not work. The unthinkable has happened again and this time in a church.
Your latest statements are contradictory. You say that we have a mental health problem in the USA. Then, strangely, you say so do other nations.
Mr. President, I am sure someone has gone over the facts with you. We have far more gun violence per capita than any developed nation.
Are you incorrectly implying that they also have mass shootings like we do? Or are you saying that Americans are crazier than citizens in other nations? On the other hand, could it be that you: 1) are just unwilling to suggest that we look at real, viable solutions to lessen violence or 2) can't figure out how to justify your untenable position?
NRA types frequently tell me that they have not yet seen a "solution" to prevent all gun deaths. Neither have I, but there is a lot that can be done to lessen the number of deaths.
What are a few of the actions that could be taken? Here are just a few that would be supported by many, and in many cases most, Americans:
-Increased mental health services, along with gun ownership restrictions for those with drug, alcohol and mental problems;
-Improved background check data bases, tied in with mental health, criminal and military databases;
-Restrictions on concealed carry permits;
-A total end to the gun show loophole (currently no background checks at all);
-Restrictions on where guns can be taken (i.e., not in government buildings, schools, churches, airports and so forth);
-Stronger sentencing guidelines for those using guns in violent crimes and violating gun laws;
-Prohibitions on automatic and semi-automatic weapons;
-Prohibitions on extended magazines, bump stocks and similar items;
-Increased taxes on firearms and ammunition to pay for the above services;
-Removal of the federal legal ban on suing gun manufacturers when firearms are used in a crime
As Sen. Chris Murphy has stated: "It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren't public policy responses to this epidemic." Obviously, as shown above, there are things that can be done. The great "deal-maker," usually a bully who throws his considerable weight around, has made it obvious he also is afraid to touch the issue of firearms violence.
This deplorable situation will not change until the voting public holds the president, Congress and state legislatures responsible for their irresponsible positions on gun control. The time for you to act is now, not later after another firearms tragedy.
Jack Bernard is the former director of health planning for the state of Georgia and a retired senior vice president with a national health care firm. He was also the chairman of the Jasper County Commission and Republican Party.