Assault weapons ban is correctly off the table

An assault weapons ban will not be part of gun legislation being deliberated by the U.S. Senate. So what happened to defeat the initiative after all the talk of it following the Newtown, Conn. school shooting. Here’s what we think happened:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who does everything by a political meter, surveyed the lay of the land through his fellow Democrats, particularly those who eked out tough wins in recent years in traditional Republican areas.

What he found was that, in real America, such a ban is not supported and would amount to political suicide for many Senators.

Not wanting to risk losing the Senate majority or have no gun legislation at all, Reid made the political calculation to go against the wishes of the ban’s sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Here’s what we wish would happen:

Politicians should take a step back and look at facts. The Constitution calls for the right to bear arms rather specifically. The bearing of these arms is not the impetus of crime. In Pennsylvania, firearms sales increased dramatically from 2006 to 2011 and crimes committed with guns went down 20 percent.

A previous 10-year ban had no impact on crimes committed with them. These are the facts.

Beyond them is the reasoning behind the Founding Fathers’ emphasis on a citizen’s right to bear arms. Citizens in a free society are supposed to be able to defend themselves. And when it comes to firearms, a free society is not supposed to be at the mercy of government.

The most important steps to take to stop the horrific crimes that have happened in recent years are psychological ones. They pose the most difficult path, which explains why more attention hasn’t been paid to the issues of monitoring the mentally unstable in our society. Those are the people who deserve help and care before they pursue the tragic actions that have been too much a part of our headlines in recent years.

Assault weapons bans won’t stop these crimes. A society that gets at the root causes of these crimes might.