The Norman Transcript

Columns

September 16, 2013

What we should learn from the recall defeat

NORMAN — In Colorado, the gun lobby has taken its revenge.

The NRA and other pressure groups financed and helped organize the first recall campaigns allowed under Colorado law to take out two key Democratic state senators, John Morse — the upper chamber’s president — and Angela Giron.

What offense had these legislators committed? They supported legislation that limited the capacity of ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and mandated universal background checks on gun purchases.

Gun rights groups wasted no time in crowing about these victories, even though they will not wrest the legislature from Democratic control. “The people of Colorado Springs sent a clear message to the Senate leader that his primary job was to defend their rights and freedoms and that he is ultimately accountable to them, his constituents, and not to the dollars or social engineering agendas of anti-gun billionaires,” read a statement from the NRA.

Actually, the message was anything but clearly from “the people.” Turnout in Morse’s district was 21 percent and in Giron’s it was 35 percent. Large amounts of money flowed into the recall efforts from both pro- and anti-gun control groups from out of state. The recall drive had originally targeted four legislators but only ended up mustering enough signatures to go after Morse and Giron.

Still, the recall should be a wakeup call for gun control advocates everywhere.

Future legislative efforts need to be accompanied by massive voter education on how current gun laws affect crime, how they inadequately address mental health and a whole range of other problems. Gun violence is a very complicated issue — much more complex than the shallow sloganeering of the public debate can fathom — and it’s not enough simply to muster enough votes to pass laws if a vocal and well-funded minority can prevail in single-issue campaigns by exploiting ignorance and fear.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Congress must accelerate solutions

    Congress has roused itself, at the last minute, and now is scrambling to save the Highway Trust Fund. Better late than never. Better still will be if lawmakers agree to come up with the money to prevent the fund from becoming insolvent. ...

    July 20, 2014

  • The heavy burden of college aid

    Return on investment is a clear measure of what you get for your money. Incredibly, the federal government doesn’t apply that simple concept to the $137 billion a year it spends on college financial aid....

    July 19, 2014

  • James bears weight of Cav’s dreams

    LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician....

    July 17, 2014

  • Steve Boaz.jpg Breathing Rhythm Studio a center for creativity

    Recording engineer Steve Boaz has brought his musical ambitions to fulfillment in a downtown Norman studio.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Matt Lauer is so last century

    How about we rename “The Today Show” the “Yesterday Show” since host Matt Lauer asks questions from 1953? Isn’t what Lauer asked GM CEO Mary Barra about whether she’ll do “well” at being simultaneously an executive and a mom about, oh, 30 ...

    July 14, 2014

  • Religion’s role shrinking

    Surveying the response to last month’s Hobby Lobby decision, I was struck by a comment from progressive Massachusetts senator and possible Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren....

    July 12, 2014