Perspectives: Gun issues still alive in D.C. and here, too.


Byline: Marshall H. Tanick

"I gave the categorical order to confiscate the largest number of weapons of every sort and kind."

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini

"I've got a firm policy on gun control; if there's a gun around, I want to be the one controlling it."

Actor/director Clint Eastwood

It's been nearly four months now since the three mass shootings in Gilroy, California, followed a week later in El Paso, Texas, and then Dayton, Ohio, that killed and injured dozen of victims. President Trump initially responded by promising bold action, raising the possibility of supporting expanded background checks for purchasers and even "red flag" legislation at the federal level.

While he subsequently retreated when taken to task from his friends and financiers at the National Rifle Association (NRA), he later characteristically swerved and hinted support for at least upgraded background checking. He also said weeks ago that an administrative legislative proposal would be unveiled momentarily for submission to Congress.

But other events intervened in the nation's capital: impeachment proceedings, military withdrawal from Syria, the slaying of the ISIS leader, and even the Nationals participation and triumph in the World Series (Congratulations, Nats). As a result, gun safety has receded from a blazing issue to the back-burner, despite these new shootings, taking a dozen lives in Santa Clarita and Fresno, California, which have very restrictive gun laws, and Oklahoma, which does not.

Pair of proceedings

But the inattention at the White House does not mean that the once-lively issue of gun safety is now dead.

A couple of miles away, a pair of pending proceedings at the U. S. Supreme Court could profoundly affect gun safety issues nationally as well as here in Minnesota. One to be heard on Monday, Dec. 2, is a NRA-backed lawsuit entitled New York State Rifle and Gun Association v. City of New York, No. 18-280, which challenges a quirky New York City law barring lawful gun owners from transporting their weapons outside the municipality, even on innocuous occasions such as taking them out for target practice, hunting, or to their cabins or other residences for their personal safety beyond Gotham.

The challengers argue that the unusual measure "violates their right to bear arms" under the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the first time the high court will consider that clause in nearly a decade dating back to the 2008 case of Washington District of...

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