New federal gun-control legislation has been declared all but dead on arrival this week. Gridlock in the U.S. Senate, where a supermajority of 60 votes is needed to move most legislation these days, is proving to be an insuperable barrier to any meaningful change in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association is pushing its controversial agenda to place armed guards in every school, increasing the number of guns in our society and further entrenching gun culture.
While the final funerals for the victims of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre have been held, gun violence continues apace, most notably with the Christmas Eve murder of two volunteer firefighters in rural Webster, N.Y., at the hands of an ex-convict who was armed, as was the Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, with a Bushmaster .223 caliber AR-15 semiautomatic rifle. James Holmes, the alleged perpetrator of the massacre last July in Aurora, Colo., stands accused of using, among other weapons, a Smith & Wesson AR-15 with a 100-round drum in place of standard magazine clip.
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"Your shopping cart is currently empty."
This little notice popped onto my screen as I browsed the website of one of Canada's biggest gun retailers, surveying the wide assortment of assault weapons it offers for sale online -- including one virtually identical to the semi-automatic rifle used in last week's horrific school slaughter in Connecticut.
Canadians often take comfort in the notion that spectacles of gruesome gun violence are part of a U.S. pathology that has prevented Americans from putting in place sensible laws to limit the availability of personalized weapons for mass destruction.