Yet Another Deadly Shooting: What Will It Take for America to Get Serious About Gun Control?

How many more lives will be lost before we get our heads on straight?

Guns for sale in Las Vegas, Nevada. Under a proposed law, online sales of ammunition would end, only licensed dealers would be allowed to sell and they'd be required to report the sale of more than 1,000 rounds to anyone other than another license holder.

Ten people were shot Friday morning, with one person reportedly killed, when a man opened fire outside the iconic Empire State Building in Manhattan. The gunman is also now dead.

The New York Daily News reported that the shooter dressed in a gray suit and was carrying a briefcase. Think Progress pointed out that this shooting in New York “follows akilling spree last night in the south and west sides of Chicago, in which 19 people were shot in just 30 minutes, including seven men and one woman, 14 to 20 years old.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a press briefing on the incidentFriday. "New York City, as you know, is the safest big city in the country and we are on pace to have a record low number of murders this year but we are not immune to the national problem of gun violence," he said.

The New York shooting, the latest high-profile shooting in the United States, again casts a light on lax gun laws and the power of the National Rifle Association. Despite the fact that there was the shooting in Aurora; the Sikh temple massacre; the string of violent killings in Chicago; and now the Empire State shooting, there has been no "national conversation" on guns.

While some Democrats have brought up the need for new gun control laws, they haven't gotten much traction. And the Obama administration appears to be sticking to its assertion that "we can take steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them under existing law," as Obama press secretary Jay Carney put it after the Aurora, Colorado shooting.

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) released a statement after the Empire State shooting that called for stricter gun laws. "We must unite to focus our policies on enacting stricter gun control laws that will prevent potentially harmful individuals from accessing such deadly weapons. It is the only way to make certain that our communities safer," said Rangel.

Gun laws in the U.S. are notoriously lax. For instance, in Arizona, where another mass shooting took place early last year, people can conceal lethal weapons that are easily bought. Assault weapons are also easily accessed in much of the U.S. But the NRA's power--measured in its 4 million member and revenues of $228 million--has blocked legislative progress to address the problem of gun violence. Pro-gun groups spend millions of dollars on lobbying Washington to enact laws that make it easier to buy and carry guns.


AlterNet / By Alex Kane

Posted at August 24, 2012, 8:05am

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