Gun Industry Recoils From Horror
There’s a triple entendre in this headline: guns recoil, people pull away from horrors, and both gun lobbies and snakes regroup and recoil when threatened. Militia groups with their Gadsden flags are most certainly in a defensive frame of mind after the Newtown massacre.
The U.S. gun industry faced a new set of challenges to its financial and political power Tuesday as more of its Washington allies called for gun control and a major investor sought to get out of the firearms business entirely.
In Washington, a trio of new senators — all elected with National Rifle Association backing — said they were willing to discuss tightening gun laws. The White House gave a stronger signal of President Obama’s support for reinstating a ban on assault weapons.
A new law, if it should come, is still far off. In the business world, however, there was action Tuesday. Cerberus Capital Management, a huge investor in the gun industry, said it would sell its marquee gun company. Also, Dick’s Sporting Goods promised to stop selling “modern sporting rifles,” at least temporarily.
All of that would have seemed impossible a week ago, before a man with a semiautomatic rifle killed 20 students and six adults Friday at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Suddenly, the debate over guns took on more ferocity. Now, even some allies of the gun industry say that weapons like those of the Connecticut shooter were looking a little less necessary.
“I don’t need a 25-round clip for effective home defense, and I sure don’t need one for hunting,” Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), a newly elected senator from New Mexico who had “A” ratings from the NRA, told a local newspaper. “That’s just too much killing power. It defies common sense.”
The NRA, which had been silent since the tragedy, released a statement Tuesday saying it had refrained from commenting out of respect for the Newtown families but is “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” The organization said it will hold a news conference Friday in Washington.