Sure, there is really "no way, theoretically or otherwise" that yesterday's school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, could have been prevented, self-confessed Second Amendment opponent MSNBC's Alex Wagner noted in a closing commentary on her eponymous program this afternoon. She then immediately delving into a gripe that America's fruited plain is riddled with incredibly lax gun laws thanks to that most evil of evil bogeymen, the "gun lobby" [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]:
In countless schoolrooms across the country, the only protection against gun violence is, in the end, the law. And yet, in the very same states that have seen the country's grisliest gun crimes -- Colorado, Virginia and Ohio -- state legislators have remarkably tried to weaken gun control, making it easier to carry concealed weapons, purchase multiple firearms, or eliminate background checks.
Of course, guns don't kill, people do. But then again, when children are reliant on the state to ensure their safety, those in power must do everything to keep them out of harm's way. Standing up to the vocal, but certainly not all-powerful gun lobby, would be a very good place to start.
Of course, the alleged shooter, 17-year-old T.J. Lane violated numerous existing gun laws in the process of his shooting spree, and Wagner failed to identify a single recent change in Ohio law that made Lane any more likely to have been armed and dangerous yesterday. In the end, it's an armed person, either a police officer or a private individual, who can put an end to a deranged person's shooting spree.
But that, apparently, is of little consequence to the liberal MSNBC anchor. Wagner's objective was to hitch her pro-gun control wagon to a tragedy to slam the NRA specifically and by extension conservatives and gun rights backers generally.
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In the segment that preceded Wagner's closing commentary, the Ivy League-educated Think Progress Center for American Progress alumna conducted a softball interview with Virginia Tech shooting survivor and Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence staffer Colin Goddard.
Following Wagner's interview with Goddard, the rest of the day's panel weighed in, with no member therein voicing any skepticism about the predictable liberal prescription for more gun control.
"Why does nothing ever happen?" groused Wagner.
Salon.com's Steve Kornacki blamed pro-gun rights Rust Belt states which are "critical" in presidential elections. What's more, "Democrats seemed to make a decision as a national party sometime after the Gore campaign in 2000 that to compete in those states" that they "weren't going to pick any major fights with the NRA once they got power," he added.
But if Democrats are afraid of pro-gun voters, doesn't that mean it's not the NRA per se but the voters the NRA represents that hold the real power?
Nation magazine editor and publisher Katrina Vanden Heuvel then chimed in to bemoan a lack of "sane gun policy" in America, swallowing her pride to cite former Vice President Dick Cheney's supposed support of an assault weapons ban or high-capacity magazines as a way to suggest America is moving too far to the right on gun rights.
Former DNC communications chief and MSNBC contributor Karen Finney joined the amen chorus, saying that Democrats need to "step up to the plate" on gun control because "we've been total cowards on this" issue.
"We can be in line with the Second Amendment and protect our children so that when you send your kid to school you're not worried that you're going to get a tweet or a text in the middle of the day saying they're on lockdown," Finney preached. "There's got to be a way!"
"It is amazing how powerful the National Rifle Association is in Washington, D.C." not just with Republicans but "also on moderate-to-conservative Democrats, particularly in the South," Comcast Network Washington bureau chief Robert Traynham observed, echoing Finney's complaint of cowardice:
How hard is it for a moderate Democrat from Arkansas or from Georgia to vote for gun legislation? It's very difficult for that person from a cultural standpoint, and also obviously from a policy standpoint.
So, to answer your question specifically, it's extremely difficult. Republicans and Democrats are cowards on this, it's because they haven't stood up to the National Rifle Association.