Yes, Virginia, there can be a conversation about gun control. Think Progress has identified five regulations that NRA members have said they support. According to Think Progress, new research released in July by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for Mayors against Illegal Guns, finds that gun advocates overwhelmingly support common-sense measures typically described as “gun control.” Here’s a summary:
1. Requiring criminal background checks on gun owners and gun shop employees. 87 percent of non-NRA gun-owners and 74 percent of NRA gun owners support the former, and 80 percent and 79 percent, respectively, endorse the latter.
2. Prohibiting terrorist watch list members from acquiring guns. Support ranges from 80 percent among non-NRA gun-owners to 71 percent among NRA members.
3. Mandating that gun-owners tell the police when their gun is stolen. 71 percent non-NRA gun-owners support this measure, as do 64 percent of NRA members.
4. Concealed carry permits should only be restricted to individuals who have completed a safety training course and are 21 and older. 84 percent of non-NRA and 74 percent of NRA member gun-owners support the safety training restriction, and the numbers are 74 percent and 63 percent for the age restriction.
5. Concealed carry permits shouldn’t be given to perpetrators of violent misdemeanors or individuals arrested for domestic violence. The NRA/non-NRA gun-owner split on these issues is 81 percent and 75 percent in favor of the violent misdemeanors provision and 78 percent/68 percent in favor of the domestic violence restriction.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get a federal law with these policies through Congress immediately. Even the hardest-line, NRA-funded Congresspeople would have a tough time opposing it, given the overwhelming public support for these provisions–particularly among NRA members. It would be an excellent way to break apart Congressional gridlock, demonstrate a good faith effort to do something positive, and start a shamefully overdue conversation about gun violence in America. Enough hand-wringing, praying, hiding behind the gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment, and symbolic lowering of flags to half-mast. Let’s get to work. If Congress can’t pass this one, after what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, they might as well turn off the lights and go home.
Gloria Shur Bilchik is a freelance writer and community volunteer in St. Louis, Missouri. She is the editor of Occasional Planet. She views the preservation of progressive values as vital to making the US a humane, livable place for her children and grandchildren.