In the wake of horrific tragedies in Charleston and Sandy Hook, our national conversation persistently returns to guns, but goes nowhere. Why? In part, I think, because we have ignored a fundamental truth: most Americans think lots of 'common-sense' gun rules are already law.
There should be something disturbing to people committed to love and peace about the fact that, among all economically-developed countries, the United States has by far the highest rate of gun-related murders in the world.
When it comes to articulating a rationale for gun safety laws, even the oratory skills of President Obama seem to come up short. Leave it, instead, to a comedian, Australian stand-up Jim Jeffries. His hilarious, but easy to understand arguments slay the Second amendment.
We Americans think of ourselves as advanced, at least technologically. The images of the first man on the moon, put there by American ingenuity and organization less than 200 years after the country's founding, can still thrill.
Yes, I know that Dylann Roof's gun purchase was legal. Perhaps no regulation would have prevented him from attaining a weapon. But is it possible that this disturbed young man felt entitled to take things into his own hands because of our gun culture?
Last week in Charleston we were tragically reminded yet again that domestic extremists pose a serious threat to our society. And the threat they pose is magnified many times over when extremists like self-confessed shooter Dylann Roof have firearms.
The NRA and many gun advocates argue that background checks and registering guns won't work because criminals will still get their guns. Yet it is many of these same conservatives that support voter ID laws despite the fact that criminals will still find ways to commit voter fraud.
While we are busy debating what the flag represents in the minds of those who see it compared to those who wish to fly it, we are not talking about the issues that really matter.
Although I agree with Vaughn that the 2nd Amendment was meant to enable us to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government, nowhere in the 2nd Amendment does it state that there's a right to carry weapons around in our daily lives, in public, in plain view.
Republicans must go beyond the flag debate to confront the simmering ideological stew on the far right. The idea of nullification in its own way is equally odious. It is a failed constitutional theory that should likewise be banished to a museum of legal antiquities.
Most of us are silent as one more senseless mass shooting traumatizes a community, this time in South Carolina. I am sick and tired of silence. Silence is killing us. Who is ultimately responsible for dozens of gun lobby sponsored bills advancing each year in conservative legislatures? We are.
Nearly everyone would agree that convicted, violent criminals should not be able to purchase guns. Everyone, that is, except first-term Colorado Rep. Ken Buck -- who is now advancing NRA-supported legislation to reinstate a federal "guns for felons" program.
Nothing makes slaughter right. Nothing explains gun violence. Hate is hate -- plain and simple whenever or wherever it strikes.
The fact is, this racially charged mass shooting -- in one of America's oldest African American churches -- was entirely predictable. The danger signs were flashing. Unless we stop making it ludicrously easy for dangerous people to get their hands on guns, these killings will continue.
Pro-gun mouthpieces couldn't even wait 24 hours after the unspeakable event to begin peddling a shabby version of "they got what they probably deserved." But the simple fact of the matter is that mass shootings aren't supposed to happen in churches or schools. These places are sanctuaries in every sense of the word.
My advice to these misguided television hosts, and to all of us, is that we reserve judgment until we know the facts.