Guns, Legislation and the Games They Play

I was reading E.J. Dionne Jr's latest piece in the Washington Post called Violent talk blocks sane gun laws. He even coins (or popularizes) a new term, militarized rhetoric, which is always followed by the words "from the right". I will not debate the one-sidedness of that statement.

He mentions that we cannot have a sane debate about reducing the number of rounds you can legally carry in a gun clip (or more correctly, a magazine.) It is reported that Jared Loughner had a Glock-19 9mm handgun with a high-capacity 33 round magazine. Supposedly it jammed which is how bystanders were able to subdue the gunman and keep him from emptying the gun on more people. Let's be honest, even if magazines of more than 5 rounds were made retroactivelly illegal, the millions in circulation would always exist.

What came to mind when I was thinking about this subject was that Congress doesn't know how to pass a clean bill. The first thing out of the mouth of the Democrat minority in the House, concerning the bill to repeal Obama Care was, "the majority has shut down debate, we have no way to amend the bill." It was a simple one or two page bill! What's to amend? Repeal the original bill, yes or no. Next question?

There have been many attempts over the years to legally reduce the number of rounds in a magazine, but these efforts have always been imbedded in a much larger piece of legislation. Later, when a tragedy like this comes up, Congressman X will say that Congressman Y voted against reducing the size of pistol magazines, when really Y voted against a 250 page omnibus spending bill that had a line in it reducing the size of magazines. Y may have wanted to vote for the magazine section, but hated the rest of the bill so he voted no. This type of rhetoric is why none of us can believe a single word out of any politician's mouth and why I named my blog The-Asterisk.

I am not a parlimentarian, so I don't know if it is practical for Congress to pass a large number of small, single issue bills, but if these guys in DC want to get things accomplished, they need to figure out a way to fast-track small items and pass them in an up or down manner. Perhaps, they could have a weekly 'package' bill that includes tens to hundreds of smaller bills. There would be no debate and each item must be specific and single purpose. Each representative would vote yes or no on every item and on the next Tuesday, all of the items that passed would be sent in a package to the other house for approval. When the President receives the package, he would have line-item veto privileges and the ones that passed the House and the Senate, only to be vetoed by the President could go back for an override vote.

Would this work? I don't see why not. We all know that there will always be politicking in politics, but at some point, the adults need to run the show and let the 'drama students' play in the corner.

So, if after a tragedy like Tucson where a once-per-decade massacre that can be attributed to 33 round clips occurs, politicians band together to make high-capacity magazines illegal, let them. If it can pass both houses and the President, then so be it. It won't take away the magazines and it won't fix the problem, but at least they will have done something.

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