More than ever, assault weapons are an undeniable threat to representative government

More than ever, assault weapons are an undeniable threat to representative government

President Joe Biden is calling for a ban on assault weapons. The political give-and-take at the heart of a democracy can’t function under a threat of armed violence. The Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has warned our nation, like nothing that’s come before, that lawmakers at all levels are vulnerable to such threats. The United States needs to act before elected officials become paralyzed by threats from a small minority of pro-gun absolutists. For too long, threats of violence have been used to intimidate lawmakers who are trying to address gun violence. The Jan. 6 insurrection will only embolden those who make the threats. These are the “good guys?” Gun-rights advocates have long argued that “good guys” with guns are an important defense against “bad guys.” But we have now seen how many people, who up to that moment might have been classified as “good guys,” were willing to attack police officers, smash their way into Congress and call for the death of a vice president and a speaker of the House. Two big steps needed now are the elimination of the open carrying of weapons in the United States and the elimination or rigorous regulation of civilian ownership of military-style firearms. On Jan. 6, America saw an act of anarchy aimed at stopping lawmakers from doing their jobs. No one can feel confident that our nation won’t see more such attempts, from Washington to state capitals to city halls. Current laws are so lax they essentially […]

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