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State, national columnists

Women should be leading the charge to end gun violence

By From page A11 | January 11, 2013

This is a tale of two female politicians, one a longtime supporter of gun rights who is now coming down on the side of more gun control. The other is also a longtime supporter of gun rights who, even following the Newtown, Conn., mass murder of innocents, is still walking down the aisle with the National Rifle Association.

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly this week launched an anti-gun violence group called Americans for Responsible Solutions. The move came sadly on the second anniversary of her near-fatal shooting at an Arizona shopping center where she was meeting with constituents.

Before being shot, Giffords, a Democrat, was nonetheless a pretty ardent supporter of gun rights. One needs to recognize, after all, that it’s virtually impossible to get elected from a gun-happy state like Arizona without supporting gun ownership.

While in Congress in 2008 she opposed Washington, D.C., prohibitions on possession of handguns in the home as well as having usable firearms in the home when she signed onto an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to support its overturn. Conservatives in Congress, who normally stand up for states’ rights, went out of their way to take over what should have been local control of gun laws.

Despite Giffords’ support of the override of that law, gun-rights groups saw her as a turncoat. Nothing but absolutely fealty to unlimited access to even military-style weapons will satisfy those groups. She received a D-plus rating from the National Rifle Association. Again sadly, her attempted assassination apparently at the hands of a mentally disturbed man, gave her the courage to speak out on this issue.

Then there’s North Dakota’s newest senator, Heidi Heitkamp, also a Democrat from a gun-happy state.

Last week on ABC’s “This Week” she said of a reported plan from the White House to pursue a ban on assault weapons, universal background checks and stricter penalties for giving guns to minors: “I don’t think that proposal necessarily fit the bill for me . . . I’m not a big believer that this is a one-size-fits-all solution. We need to have a balanced approach and we need to live in reality, what can you actually get passed.”

I understand the politics of coming from a Western, rural state where hunting is still a sine qua non. But Heitkamp is in a unique position to help change, “what you can actually get passed,” and she relinquished that opportunity by sticking by the NRA’s playbook.

The NRA describes itself as a civil rights group. It is anything but. It may have started out that way. But today it is nothing but a shill for weapons manufacturers. According to an April 2011 report by the Violence Policy Center, “since 2005 contributions from gun industry ‘corporate partners’ to the NRA total between $14.7 million and $38.9 million . . . The vast majority of funds – 74 percent – contributed to the NRA from ‘corporate partners’ come from members of the firearms industry: companies involved in the manufacture or sale of firearms or shooting-related products.”

The NRA is as much in the business of selling weapons as are the gun manufacturers that support it.

Of course, the NRA would see the solution to the Newtown massacre as putting an armed security person at each public school in America. That move alone would sell hundreds of thousands more weapons.

Women should be leading the charge to end gun violence. As givers of life, they should challenge societal norms that lead to the destruction of children and innocent civilians. We cannot afford to lose even one to the dark side.

Bonnie Erbe, a TV host, writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service. Email [email protected]

Bonnie Erbe


Discussion | 11 comments

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  • G-ManJanuary 11, 2013 - 7:25 am

    Women...should be obscene and Not heard

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  • Here's how to end Gun Violence!January 11, 2013 - 5:35 pm

    FOCUS ON CRIMINALS..not law abiding citizens!

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  • ElleJanuary 16, 2013 - 3:53 am

    Why any woman would still vote Republican is beyond me! The Senate with bipartisan support passed a version of Violence Against Women Act, but House Republicans refused to support the Bill. All the Republicans care about is what their lobbyist groups ( aka:the NRA) wants them to do.

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  • ElleJanuary 16, 2013 - 7:12 am

    @ G-man your impulse to degrade woman shows me you lack all confidence and have a desire to retaliate for feelings of rejection, humiliation, and impotence. Pathetic! SMH

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  • G-ManJanuary 16, 2013 - 10:47 am

    Where were you when I was spending 1700.00on analysis?....I believe I said "certain" women"...like "Elle" who wrote "why would any woman still vote Republican"...or Bonnie Erbe intimating Gabby Giffords is a gun supporter for political gain...Elle I'm impressed that you could make a diagnosis about my mental condition from a single post..and as a Salesman I've certainly experienced a lot of rejection..humiliation??..can't recall..don't think so..and impotence?..well I don't know..how 'bout giving me a hand!

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  • What is WRONG w/you?January 16, 2013 - 10:02 pm

    Stuff it up your memory hole you Minister of Misogyny.

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  • G-ManJanuary 16, 2013 - 10:47 pm

    I love it when it hurts.

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  • CD BrooksJanuary 16, 2013 - 8:20 am

    We have grand kids that spend a lot of time at our house. We have a son and daughter-in-law one hundred percent opposed to guns and especially guns in the home. I have been told that if I choose to have a gun, the kids would not be allowed to stay with us. Now I have many problems with that threat but that is their belief, their kids so if I make a decision to get a gun, I’ll have to deal with those consequences. My wife doesn’t like guns and she won’t like me either if I go that route! I’ve never been a gun owner I don’t hunt and frankly, have never feared intruders. I don’t go places where I know our safety is at risk but then, who knows where we are safe anymore? This isn’t a man vs. woman argument at all. On the surface, it is very simple, allow gun ownership period. Wouldn’t that be interesting running into a grocery store with everyone packing? Spend time talking to other moms with their cute little holstered 38 hanging from the shopping cart. Guns stuck in the back waistband, front waistband, shoulder holsters, standard holsters and quick draw holsters everywhere you look! Guys at home depot with bullet belts wrapped over their shoulders carrying a magnificent AK47 discussing their weapons with other guys. Yeah, just another day in paradise you gonna take a chance and rob that place? On the other hand, some guy cuts you off in the parking lot or on the freeway and good night Irene! If one starts shooting, everybody starts shooting. We can’t legislate stupid, that’s why we have the problems we have today. I don’t know the answer but I prefer everybody on the same level playing field with the same gear.

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  • G-ManJanuary 16, 2013 - 10:58 am

    @CD Brooks....Morning CD..there are plenty of ways to keep a gun safe in a home w/children..I ask you and your loved ones to think of that home invasion in CT...The Doctor the wife..two beautiful young girls..McMansion neighborhood..sun shineing all of a sudden there's 2 monsters in your house beating the Doc near to death..assaulting the women..burning the house down..The Doc survived..the men were caught..and while this was going on the police were right outside..YOU have to be proactive in your own defense..You want a level playing field w/ the same gear?..Well my friend until executive orders can prevent some thug from kicking down your door..that means a firearm..unless you're really good with those Ninja stars.

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  • CD BrooksJanuary 16, 2013 - 5:02 pm

    Hey G-Man! Yeah, I understand and you are right. My skills probably don't involve any Ninja techniques. Probably more like Forrest Gump! :)

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  • G-ManJanuary 16, 2013 - 8:56 pm

    Well...you could throw a box a chocolates at the bad guys...call it a Sugar Attack..Forest Gump

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