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COLUMN: Republican lawmakers must give in on gun control


Opinion Editor Dominick Mastrangelo

I was sitting on a friend’s rickety porch with a cold drink in my hand when news of the latest mass shooting reached my iPhone.

An active shooter was on the loose in Kalamazoo, and at the time, four people were declared dead.

My sister is a sophomore at Western Michigan University and lives in an off-campus sorority house.

Terrified, I called her.

Thankfully, she was fine.

When the shooting spree was finished, six innocent people had been randomly murdered and another was on life support.

This latest rampage did not hit me at home. But it came too close for comfort.

Because 2016 is an election year, almost any major news event gets immediately politicized.

Such was the case within my family the next day.

My father, an aging baby boomer and 1969 Woodstock Music Festival attendee was screaming at me on the phone.

“We’ve got to do something about these guns," he said. "It’s too easy to get one. Too easy!”

Then he took the conversation to another level.

“Six people are dead, Dominick,” he told me, as if I had forgotten. “And the (National Rifle Association) does whatever it wants. And YOUR party protects their interests.”

I hung up.

I was angry because he was right.

Members of the GOP in Congress and the Senate watch as mass shootings ­– there have been 28 of them in two months so far this year – define a generation.

Legitimate gun reform in America is long overdue. It’s time Republican leaders stop resisting change on what should be a non-issue.

It blows my mind. Why fight so hard to protect the tools of a phenomenon so clearly out of control?

America faces much more pressing issues like curbing our nation’s irresponsible spending and defeating the Islamic State.

I’ve always thought true Republicans are defined by their moral values. That’s what should define us from loose and shortsighted liberal philosophies.

The right to life, sanctity of marriage and fostering of the free enterprise system should mean more to us than whether or not an everyday citizen should have easy access to an AK-47. To be clear, the Kalamazoo shooter used a semi-automatic handgun. 

Let’s be honest with one another. Nobody needs that kind of firepower.

The Second Amendment is not going anywhere.

Every American deserves to feel safe and should be able to protect his or her family from a violent attack.

But personal security does not justify fear-mongering GOP politicians claiming the Washington establishment is “going to take your guns away.”

Save it, guys … please.

Statements like those make me want to crawl into a hole and keep my voting record secret forever.

I understand where the emotion comes from.

My anxious mind leads me to imagine from time to time what I would do if I ever found myself staring down the barrel of an automatic weapon in broad daylight.

I don’t own a firearm because guns scare the hell out of me.

And so does the way the Republican Party is presenting itself on gun control reform.

The GOP is on the brink of colossal strategic meltdown. America’s strongest defenders are losing the fight for her God-given freedom.

Stronger scrutiny for who can have what types of guns does not infringe on anyone’s freedoms or safety. It keeps dangerous weapons out of the hands of people who seek them out to do harm.

Republicans need to find as many issues as we can to unify and solidify our core principles in the changing political climate. That’s the only way the Democrats can be beaten.

To win the larger political war, we need to pick our issue-to-issue battles.

On the fight against gun control, republican lawmakers still cling to their weapons.

Sadly, each of these tragedies highlights the Republicans’ dwindling supply of ammunition.


About Dominick Mastrangelo

Dominick Mastrangelo is the Editor in Chief of Central Michigan Life. Contact him at: 


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