Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The NRA Is Still Winning on Guns

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The NRA Is Still Winning on Guns

Article excerpt

Supporters of gun regulation are celebrating the Senate confirmation last week of Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. President Barack Obama's choice was vehemently opposed by the National Rifle Association, which objected to Dr. Murthy because he had reached the startling conclusion that gun violence, which kills more than 30,000 Americans annually, has a detrimental impact on public health.

Dr. Murthy's confirmation was a rare defeat for the NRA. Yet in the overall context of gun politics, the victory is small. It has been two years since the horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., and Congress is no more likely to craft a legislative response to gun violence today than to hold hearings on the moon.

The incoming Congress will be more hostile to gun regulation than its do-nothing predecessor, ensuring that criminals and crazy people continue to have easy access to firearms. Likewise, legal remedies are a distant hope. Families of first-grade students who were killed in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the manufacturer, Bushmaster Firearms International, along with the distributor and seller of the gun used in the killings. It is unlikely to succeed, in part because Congress voted in 2005 to protect gun manufacturers from liability.

Political cowardice is an enormous problem, but it's not the only one. A Pew Research Center survey released last week showed public opinion shifting in favor of gun rights and away from gun regulation. In the poll, 52 percent of Americans prioritized gun rights over gun control, while 46 percent chose the opposite. During the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, the public preferred gun control over gun rights in the Pew poll.

Meanwhile, the gun industry enjoyed a record Black Friday. And this past weekend, the "Machine Gun America" amusement park opened in Florida. …

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