The current fight over various gun control measures at the State Capitol may seem like the culmination of the battle on this issue. But judging from how these bills are being argued, it looks to me that this is simply Part I of a bigger battle.
We are already getting signs of when and where the part two of this fight may occur. Lawmakers are showing that the second and maybe more impactful part of this fight will be the build up to Election Day 2014.
Both parties are hedging their bets on how voters feel on this issue and how much detail they will remember from this first fight. Sadly, it appears that some of the debate going on is about the bills themselves, but more of it is actually about crafting the language for attack ads next fall.
I say ‘sadly’ because when the tragedies of Aurora and Newtown happened in 2012, the public outcry was, and I believe continues to be, how can we prevent mass shootings like this from happening again, not how can we use this issue to beat up the other political party in the next election.
Both parties are on the hook for this one, even though Democrats hold the majority in both the House and Senate. It’s obvious how both parties are planning to use what is going on with these bills next fall.
I’m not so naïve to think that everything that happens under the gold dome isn’t fair for an election fight. But what dismays me is that so few elected leaders are asking if any of the proposed legislation would prevent future mass shootings.
When 9/11 happened, changes with airport security were immediate and so were adaptations in cockpits. Terrorists were able to get into the cockpits before 9/11, now they are far more secure. Air Marshalls, while not on every flight, became a way to address on-flight security.
While we cannot suddenly protect every school or movie theater like an airport, some measures can indeed happen. We cannot protect every flight that leaves from every airport in America, but we try to do so.
Why haven’t we had the conversation of protecting our students? Is it simply too difficult of a problem to even consider? Is it too expensive? Can we not find 51% of Coloradans or Americans that would pay a little more tax to give schools more security?
I’d be the last person to say that these are easy questions to answer, but I think our community deserves the attempt.
Instead, it’s obvious to me that the emotional issue of gun control is now being used, again by both political parties, for future political gain and not for real solutions.
I do wonder what would happen if either party approached the issue by viewing each bill with the lens of “how does this affect future mass shootings?” It’s hard to imagine the political downside to doing that. However, the downside must exist, or more lawmakers would be using that rationale.
Instead, we’ll have to endure another round, and probably a far dirtier round, of this fight next fall.
But remember, we are the final arbiters of this issue. We can decide how our elected leaders should respond to problems like this and vote with this fight in mind. Or we can respond the way they would like us to when we hear and see the attack ads next fall.
The choice is ours.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.