Those, we can do something about. Sen. Joe Manchin, from the rural, hunting state of West Virginia, has an A rating from the NRA. He is a friend of NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre, and he asked LaPierre to come to Capitol Hill to talk face-to-face about changes to our gun laws.
“Taking some weapons away is justified, let’s do it,” Manchin said. “I’ve been hunting all my life, and I don’t know anyone who ever had more than 10 clips. It’s not part of the sport.”
He didn’t get involved in gun-control legislation before, Manchin said — but never before have so many 6- and 7-year-olds been slaughtered at once. “I’m a proud gun owner and member of the NRA,” he said. “But I’m prouder of being a parent.”
Letting it blow over has always worked for the NRA. If the past is a guide, weeks from now, LaPierre will go about his business, pursuing his agenda of getting concealed weapons in parks, churches and bars.
Still, some politicians might. Obama, for one, was visibly changed by what happened in Newtown. Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, a Democrat, said he was ashamed that he has ignored gun control.
We can’t repeal the Second Amendment. There are things we can do, however. At a minimum we should reinstate the lapsed assault-weapon ban. Who can vote against that now? There is other legislation that can be pulled off the shelf. And if it’s too hard to control guns, maybe we can — as the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan recommended almost two decades ago — increase taxes on ammunition. It might have made a difference in Newtown.