Just as the U.S. Senate this week was wrangling over an amendment to the military budget bill that would have allowed people to carry concealed weapons across state lines, Marc DiNardo, a police officer in our circulation area, died of gunshot wounds sustained in a July 16 clash.
He was a young man, all of 37 years old, a husband and the father of three young children. He is also the latest in a sad string of reminders of the literal deadliness of guns and the complicit deadliness of those who lobby to weaken already weak controls on them.
Thankfully, the amendment – proposed by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) – was shot down, so to speak, with the help of New Jersey’s Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez and their like-minded colleagues. As New York’s Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand put it, “I strongly believe that the gun laws that are right for New York are not necessarily right for South Dakota, and vice versa.”
As The New York Times pointed out in an editorial on Tuesday, “[a]t least 35 states prevent people from carrying concealed weapons if they have certain misdemeanor convictions. At least 31 states prohibit alcohol abusers from obtaining a concealed carry permit and require gun safety training.”
And yet, if the Thune amendment had passed, it would have effectively overridden such wise regulations enacted by those states to protect their citizens.
Many governors and mayors, although they could not vote on the amendment, inveighed against it. New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in particular, had some pithy words to say about it. He called it “an anti-police, pro-gun-trafficker bill,” and added, “This is going to put a lot more guns on the street.”
We’ve never been able to understand the mystique surrounding guns, even among Jews. Some rationalize their passion for guns, pointing, for example, to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising as an instance in which Jews, even if they could not save lives, preserved honor. Others allude to Israel’s military preparedness. But these, while certainly meaningful examples, don’t tell us enough about head-strong attachment to guns. It’s not just about honor; it’s not just about self-defense. It may come from deep wells of rage, of free-floating hostility – and gun control laws keep the rest of us safe (safer, anyway).