Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 | 2:02 a.m.
Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut is producing nothing more than our leaders uselessly tiptoeing around the issue of gun control. And the reason is not the Second Amendment.
It is no more absolute than the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. pointed out almost a century ago, no one has the right to cry fire in a crowded theater. As for the “no establishment of religion” clause in the First Amendment, religious institutions’ exemption from taxation is a subsidy and, ipso facto, an establishment.
The problem is not the Second Amendment; it is the power or alleged power of the National Rifle Association single-mindedly opposing politicians who call for gun control.
The answer to this fundamentally political problem is leadership and organization — leadership by the president, governors and members of Congress, supplemented by plain citizens, working for gun control legislation and politically supporting those the NRA attacks.
Federal law must ban automatic and semi-automatic weapons. If it is argued by the NRA that this would be but the first step on a slippery slope, so be it. The killer’s mother bought the gun, presumably passing a background check, so they are no better than passing a driving test.
I don’t pretend to know all or most of the answers to a Sandy Hook situation, but we must deal with gun violence now. It is already too late for too many.