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Shaw: Tougher gun laws are needed

Shaw writes, "Finally, after the terrifying mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, there were just enough Republicans to go along with the Democrats to pass the bill. Sad to say none of those Republicans were North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Fischbach, and North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer.'

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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It’s a start. The long overdue new law against gun violence is a modest step forward. With enhanced criminal background checks for some buyers, money for state red flag laws, and funding for mental health services and school security programs, lives will be saved.

Finally, after the terrifying mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, there were just enough Republicans to go along with the Democrats to pass the bill. Sad to say none of those Republicans were North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Fischbach, and North Dakota Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer.

Armstrong shamefully complained that the bill restricts the rights of gun owners. It would be nice if Armstrong was more concerned about innocent people who go to elementary schools or grocery stores and get shot to death.

Fischbach obscenely complained that the bill was “a publicity stunt for Democrats to try to capitalize on a national tragedy.” Actually, it was an attempt by Democrats to prevent future tragedies. Much different than Fischbach’s strategy to do nothing. It’s stunning how tone deaf and insensitive the remarks from Armstrong and Fischbach were.

Hoeven’s comment about keeping “guns out of the hands of criminals and people who are mentally ill” revealed his hypocrisy. If Hoeven meant what he said, he would have voted for the bill, because of the funding for mental health areas and states that create red flag laws.

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Cramer, who was unable to vote on the bill, still made a startling remark. He told the New York Times that if he supported meaningful gun control, “Most would probably throw me out of office.” So, there you have it. Staying in office is more important to Cramer than saving people from being gunned down. Not exactly a profile in courage.

Unfortunately, the reckless Supreme Court took away much of the enthusiasm for the new law by overturning common sense gun control laws in New York and other states. The high court has now established the shocking law that people have the right to carry concealed weapons in public. This ruling will result in more fatal shootings.

It used to be that Supreme Courts balanced Constitutional rights with public safety. The determination that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater comes to mind. This court will have blood on its hands.

Meantime, there’s more work to be done. The new law doesn’t go far enough. There needs to be an assault weapons ban, a limit on magazine capacities, a national red flag law and the raising of the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. How many more horrific mass shootings will it take to get these provisions passed?

We know tougher laws are needed because most of the firearms used in mass shootings, such as assault weapons, were legally purchased. Some gun rights supporters say all these shooting deaths are the price we pay for freedom. That’s insane. Real freedom is being able to attend an elementary school, a grocery store or a Fourth of July parade without fear of being shot to death.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

READ MORE FROM INFORUM COLUMNIST JIM SHAW
InForum columnist Jim Shaw argues it's high time for North Dakota to legalize marijuana. "I have never smoked marijuana, and don’t encourage it," Shaw writes. "However, the time has come for North Dakota, like 19 other states and Washington, D.C. to legalize it, regulate it and bring in millions of dollars in taxes."

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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