Henderson: Time For Gun Control Now

Why Hasn’t Congress Done Anything Yet?


I totally understand why gun rights advocates believe they have to fight any attempt to restrict access to weapons. It may a sad reflection on our times, but I think they have a point when they say tougher laws will only lead to better-armed criminals.

Guns do tend to show up in the wrong hands way too often, and despite what extreme members of the National Rifle Association and other groups say, the government is not going to start confiscating them. There are just too darned many guns to even think of that, which I suppose is the NRA vision of Utopia.

The Washington Post reported last year that there are more guns in America, an estimated 310 million, than there are people. Hillary Clinton, no matter the lie that Donald Trump spreads, is not going to do away with the Second Amendment.

So stop the runaway nonsense, OK, and focus on things that make sense.

Denying anyone on the terrorist watch list the “right” to legally purchase a weapon would be at the top of that common-sense list. Interestingly, Trump said Wednesday he agrees with that. Senate Democrats held a filibuster that lasted nearly 15 hours just to force the body to consider such a ban. Nearly 60 percent of Americans, including the NRA, say they favor that benign restriction.

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In a statement, the NRA said its position “has not changed.”

“The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period,” the statement read.

“Anyone on a terror watch list who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing. If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist.”

It should be noted that adopting this restriction would not have stopped either Orlando shooter Omar Mateen or Syed Farook, one of the San Bernardino killers. Neither was on the FBI’s list at the time of their crimes, although Mateen had been on the list previously but was removed following an investigation.


No single law is going to stop everything.

We should never pretend it will. And gun rights advocates will argue that among the more than 1 million Americans on the watch list, some are there unfairly and should be removed.That’s twice in the space of just a few column inches that I have agreed with the NRA. Please alert the people from Guinness to see if this is a world record.

Republicans in Congress have blocked previous attempts to pass a “No Fly, No Buy” bill on the grounds that it might restrict the rights of those who on the list but shouldn’t be. I hope they do realize that is utterly moronic.

Maybe passing this bill would make only the barest scratch in the gun problem and it is probably symbolic at best, but we have to start somewhere. A good place to do that is by telling suspected terrorists they can’t legally buy one.

So what is the problem?

Pass it already.

After nearly 42 years as both a sports and news columnist, along with a variety of other roles, at the Tampa Tribune, Joe Henderson brings his slant on politics and sports to NewsTalkFlorida.com and SportsTalkFlorida.com. Originally from the small town of Lebanon, Ohio, Joe resides outside of Tampa with Elaine, his wife of more than 35 years. Their two grown sons stop by when there is time, and their faithful Watch Cat, Sassy is always on guard.