This Time Gun Control Wins By John Zogby
President Donald Trump has signaled that he could very well support ending loopholes on sales at gun shows and could consider renewing the ban on assault weapons that has not been law since 2004. Generally, Americans who support gun control become enraged when horrible events take place then the outrage dissipates, gun rights advocates win the intensity war, Republicans and Democrats who receive money (and votes) from the gun lobby become squeamish- then the issue disappears until the next time.
But mark my words. Parkland is different. This time the children will lead the way and it will matter. While watching the horrors unfold, I could not help but realize that these high school kids know no other world than one that involves school shootings. The survivors are being counseled by children all over the United States who are part of a network of Americans who have directly suffered from gun attacks.
The Parkland teens took their own videos and posted them so that now all Americans who see something will say something. A prominent Republican donor in Florida will no longer offer money to candidates unless they loudly support an automatic weapons ban. And the Parkland teens are organizing a national march and hope to bring “millions” to Washington to protest the inaction of both Congress and their states.
One of the Parkland spokespersons said she is tired of the rights of gun owners. “We have a right to live”, she told CBS News. Rather than only being scarred for life by this tragedy she and her colleagues are demanding a difference. Those interviewed have been a particularly eloquent group and they do not trust politicians.
But they are seizing this moment to move beyond clichés of distrust and apathy and marking this life-changing moment by demanding change. If hundreds of thousands do in fact march on Washington, then they will also vote in November. So will their parents and grandparents, so will their friends – and so will their growing age cohort.
And they seem to know their Second Amendment. So let's say that the occasional need to support a "well-regulated militia" translates into the right to possess and carry a weapon. And let's suppose that there are "strict constructionists" who oppose stretching the Constitution to fit the modern era.
Does this right to own a gun mean that we have the right to legally possess something that literally pulverizes fellow human beings? Does it mean that my right of self-defense also empowers me to destroy an officer of the law? Does it mean that there can be no limits on what possess? Does it mean that I can conceal a "limited nuclear weapon," a cache or arsenal of weapons to destroy my community, fire accelerants and enough fertilizer to destroy a federal building?
Banning assault weapons, serious background checks, limiting loopholes for sales of guns at weekend gun shows. These are not only the right thing to do. They are good politics. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan may have found himself in a time warp when he said there will be no action on gun safety during this session in the immediate aftermath of the Parkland Massacre. It sounds like the President may have gotten the message this time.
This time the issue just will not go away because this time the children shall lead the way.
John Zogby (@TheJohnZogby) is the founder of the Zogby Poll and Zogby companies, including John Zogby Strategies, and author of We Are Many We Are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in the 21st Century America.