Contrary to the public anguish so loudly expressed by gun control proponents about the defeat of gun legislation in the U.S. Senate, I feel optimistic about the vote. The fact that 54 senators, a majority, actually voted for even such modest reform legislation represents a major breakthrough.
Further, the fact that many of the senators voting for the bills come from states where gun ownership is widespread and gun rights are fervently defended is a huge plus.
These encouraging developments tell me that we are heading in the right direction. Eventually sane gun control measures will prevail without threatening the Supreme Court’s flawed interpretation of the sacred and sacrosanct Second Amendment.
This may sound like a bizarre point of view when contrasted with the moaning, groaning, and hysterical hand-wringing emanating from the White House and so many gun control advocates. But we have only to look at past examples of legislation that this nation sorely needed and that eventually prevailed.
It took from 1948 to the mid-1960s for two of the most important pieces of legislation ever considered by Congress to become law: Civil rights, and Medicare. Both landmark initiatives were introduced in the House and Senate many times, gradually gaining strength until societal events caused minds to change and the forward progress of civilization to overcome legislative resistance and make it possible for the right side of history to triumph.
These epic successes were not unique. American history is rife with similar stories of eventual victory in our legislatures and courts. That the voices of reason when it comes to gun control will ultimately prevail is, I think, assured.
When poll after poll reports that 90 percent of Americans support expanded background checks, members of Congress who are terrified by the prospect of primary challenges by gun rights zealots funded by the National Rifle Association will not be able to continue for much longer to place their own insignificant and evanescent political careers above the public interest. History moves forward and invariably rolls over those who resist it.
The Newtown father who lost his 6-year old child in the Dec. 14 slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School said it best at the White House news conference following the Senate vote: “We return home disappointed, but not defeated. We always knew it would be a long road.”
If he can express this admirable attitude in the immediate aftermath of the Senate defeat, then all those who fight for common-sense gun control need to calm down and keep battling toward the inevitable outcome.
Richard Hermann is a part-time Canandaigua resident and Canandaigua Academy graduate. Email him care of Messenger Post Media at firstname.lastname@example.org.