By Larry Keane
Thought Michael Bloomberg would be chastened after the disastrous 2013 Mayors Against Illegal Guns group had and the recent news nearly 50 mayors ditched MAIG because of its extreme positions?
You don’t know Mike.
Instead, MAIG was back at it recently, releasing a report on the number of school shootings since the Sandy Hook tragedy and trotting out Senator Chris Murphy to call on Congress to pass more gun laws.
Now, to be abundantly clear: Everyone can agree on the need to find solutions to prevent these tragedies. Even one school shooting is too many. But while more and more attention is rightly being paid to the role mental health – and the nation’s porous mental health system – plays in many, many of these incidents, Senator Murphy is content to stick to his comfortable, flawed anti-gun talking points.
“Congress,” and, presumably, by extension, the American people who elected them, “are guilty of indifference, and I would argue, at times complicity,” Murphy said at an MAIG press conference. This despite the fact a recent Gallup poll found that 56 percent of Americans are satisfied with the nation’s gun laws or believe they are too strict.
Murphy is guilty of at best ignorance and at worst cynical political gamesmanship. After all, just a year ago, Murphy told a town hall crowd this “You can’t solve all this with laws anyway, right? I mean, you can put all the gun laws on the books you want, if these kids have a feeling of hopelessness … no gun law in the world is going to stop somebody from picking up a firearm and doing something dumb with it.
“A lot of my friends in Congress think you can solve all this stuff with gun laws. You cannot.”
Wherever between those two statements Senator Murphy actually falls, his insistence on fixating on the liberal gun rights Boogeyman comes at the expense of taking real action to fix our mental health system and help those affected with mental health issues. By playing politics, Sen. Murphy simply puts more people at risk for the very types of acts of mass violence.
This isn’t the first time Murphy has made a brash statement that reveals his antipathy toward the firearms industry. Last April, Murphy echoed Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy suggesting selling guns to criminals was a basic part of firearms manufacturers and retailers’ business plans.
Taken together, Murphy’s comments reflect the sad state of affairs for the firearms industry in Connecticut. Once home to the “arsenal of democracy,” the state’s ultra-liberal leaders are unceremoniously pushing history out the door to satisfy their liberal leanings . It’s no surprise then that in Connecticut and other states with anti-gun leadership, manufacturers are voting with their feet and relocating their jobs and positive economic impact to places more welcoming.
In the end, the real losers are the people of Connecticut.