After a day like today, many of us are still trying to process the unthinkable tragedy in a Connecticut elementary school. As a parent, I’m horrified and extremely grateful to be able to tuck my kids into their beds tonight, thinking about those who won’t have that pleasure.
And I’m angry. Angry, mostly because these events keep happening and nothing is ever done. After Virginia Tech and again after Tucson, we had brief national conversations about mental illness and guns, but nothing happened. More recent incidents haven’t even led to a conversation. The NRA and gun advocates have become so good – and why wouldn’t they with so many events around which to practice? – at ritually shaming anyone in the public realm who would dare speak about our violent gun culture in the wake of a tragedy and (gasp) politicize it! How many calls were there for Bob Costas to be fired for suggesting guns might be a problem?
We need that to stop. Republicans should know that just like it’s OK to say no to Grover Norquist, sometimes you can say no to the NRA.
And we can start that conversation in Ohio.
State Representative Bill Patmon has an idea we can talk about right now – even before details of today’s shooting are clear. It doesn’t matter what type of gun was used, where it was obtained or what mental state the shooter was in. Patmon’s Bill, HB 519, simply says that Ohio schools can use Homeland Security funds to install metal detectors. Simple. We use them in airports, why not schools? It’s worth a conversation, but the bill has only had a single hearing, without an opportunity for public testimony or a vote.
In the wake of Newtown, Governor Kasich should call a special session of the legislature and insist that hearings be held on the Patmon bill.
And while he’s at it, Kasich should also veto legislation that passed in Ohio this week that would relax Ohio’s concealed carry laws. It’s the wrong move at the wrong time.