As human beings, we have a tendency to avoid unpleasant things. We delay going to the dentist. We avoid coworkers who are loud and annoying. We travel at off hours and take longer routes to stay away from traffic jams. We put off discussions that may lead to an argument. When it comes to politics, most people avoid conversations about “guns.”
Like it or not, there are reports on a daily basis that some innocent person is the victim of gun violence. Maybe it’s a street argument that goes bad, or the killing of a child by a stray bullet. But too frequently, some unhappy or deranged person uses an assault rifle and kills multiple people, whose only sin is that they went out shopping or attended a social or religious event.
If you follow the public opinion polls, almost 90 percent of the country wants there to be universal background checks and a reasonable waiting period for any person buying a gun. An equally high number want there to be a ban on the sale of assault weapons. If you have a conversation with any person who holds a hunting license, very few, if any, would tell you they need a machine gun to hunt rabbits. People die every day, yet many of the people we elect to Congress do nothing about it.
As an elected official, I would frequently attend sportsmen’s nights where gun owners would come to talk about the joys of the outdoors. Many of them joined the National Rifle Association (NRA) thinking it was a group that supported their rights to have a gun for recreational purposes. But the passage of time has shown that the NRA is indifferent to innocent deaths and makes believe that tragedies like Parkland and Pittsburgh are the fault of some sick person who just happened to have killed dozens of people using an AK-47 assault rifle.
There are a few people out there who have a conscience about gun murders. Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, took the initiative to stop selling assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines and requires any purchaser to be at least 21. That corporate policy caused the loss of $5 million in revenue. Walmart has also joined the crusade, and Delta Air Lines and Met Life have stopped working with the NRA. However, no legislation is expected to be passed by the Congress this year.
Killing innocent people isn’t a popular topic to talk about, but thanks to a few brave business leaders, some lives will be saved in the years ahead.
Former State Assemblyman Jerry Kremer is a columnist for Anton Media Group and partner at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.