Lots of talk over the weekend about guns. On Saturday night, 3,000 house parties and a national town hall discussion took place, hosted by MoveOn.org with Michael Moore and a panel of experts following the screening of the Oscar-winning documentary, Bowling for Columbine. Yoko Ono’s heartbreaking twitter photo of John Lennon’s bloody glasses went viral. And the New York Times covered the new $12 million national advertising blitz by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which “focuses on senators who he believes might be persuaded to support a pending package of federal regulations to curb gun violence.” Bloomberg said on Meet the Press that he’s “optimistic” that Congress will pass something. NRA head Wayne LaPierre said the Mayor is trying to “buy America.” I guess when you represent a lobby group that thinks it already owns America, such a thing must be hard to reconcile.
And among the things that apparently Mr. LaPierre thinks he owns when it comes to guns, is the legal system. It was his lobby group that forced upon the nation a law that not only immunizes gun manufacturers for gun violence at the national level, but also prevents state officials seeking to protect their own citizens, from establishing any meaningful legal accountability for gun violence. It was this same federal law that made it impossible for Colorado lawmakers to include in its recent gun control package some legal accountability for the gun violence that has already devastated that state.
At the same time, the NRA has rushed into Buffalo court to challenge New York’s new gun control law, which includes “a lower limit on magazine capacity and an expansion of the state's assault weapons ban to include some popular and formerly legal semi-automatic rifles.”
Other provisions require five-year renewals of handgun licenses statewide, direct mental health professionals to notify authorities of patients deemed likely to seriously hurt themselves or others and require federal background checks for private gun sales in New York. It will require registration of ammunition sellers and buyers.
Now, New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver says,
[T]he state will suspend the April 15 effective date of New York’s law banning the sale of magazines with more than seven bullets to give lawmakers time to change the statute.
The changes are happening as [Governor] Cuomo, 55, has been attacked by pro-gun groups who claim the law was rushed through. In January, Cuomo, a Democrat, waived a requirement for a three-day waiting period between a bill’s introduction and vote.
The legislature approved the measure within 24 hours of its introduction. Rich Azzopardi, a spokesman for Cuomo, didn’t respond to an e-mail yesterday seeking comment on the lawsuit.
We’ll have to wait and see if the NRA wins its case. But in being forced to drop the Colorado bill that would have included a new liability standard for gun owners and sellers – an attempt to get around the federal immunity law - Colorado Senate President John Morse said, "Cleansing a sickness from our souls doesn't come easy. It's gruesome.”
Like a bloody pair of glasses.