Times Columnist: In Shooting Discussion, Pols Avoid the Topic of Guns


The controversial shooting death of Trayvon Martin near Orlando last month has devolved into a political debate over tangents, like hoodie sweatshirts, writes Gail Collins in the New York Times. “This is pretty much par for the course,” she writes. “Whenever there is a terrible shooting incident somewhere in America, our politicians talk about everything except whether the tragedy could have been avoided if the gunman had not been allowed to carry a firearm. You would think that this would be a great time to address the question of handgun proliferation, but it has hardly come up in Washington at all. This is because most politicians are terrified of the National Rifle Association.”

Collins continues, “The Violence Policy Center has a list of 11 police officers and 391 private citizens who have been killed over the last five years by people carrying concealed weapons for which they had a permit. That includes a man in Florida who killed four women, including his estranged wife, in a restaurant in 2010 and another Floridian who opened fire at Thanksgiving, killing four relatives. You would think all of this would cause states to stop and rethink. But no. And, personally, I'm worn down from arguing. Florida, follow your own star. Arizona, arm your kindergarteners. Just stop trying to impose your values on places where the thinking is dramatically different. Really, just leave us alone. If you don't like our rules, don't come here.”

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