WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The gun lobby in the United States can be defeated, but current US political leaders lack the confidence to recognize the possibility and seriously try to overthrow it, experts told Sputnik.
“I do think the Gun Lobby is beatable — we’ve seen that on the state level across the country,” Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Director Mark Walsh said in an interview on Friday.
Walsh was speaking after Wednesday’s deadly shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopalian Church in Charleston, South Carolina that left nice African Americans dead.
“The responsibility to stand up to the Gun Industry Lobby is not just the President’s and Congress’s — it’s ours,” Walsh added. “Again, after the Emanuel Church shooting — the public outcry has been loud and clear that something has to be done to stop this madness.”
Walsh expressed hope that the Charleston tragedy would force Congress to act on the issue.
“We need a national universal background check system to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have access to firearms,” he said.
State University of New York Cortland Political Science Professor Robert Spitzer said the US public and President Barack Obama wanted to see gun laws tightened.
“Obama would like to see gun law changes, but Congress will not oblige him,” he said.
Walsh argued that gun law reformers needed to push harder to rekindle a passionate national debate on the costs of almost unregulated gun sales across the United States.
“We need to have a serious, heartfelt discussion about why there continue to be these types of mass shootings in America,” he said. “The fact that guns are readily available is part of the problem.”
Walsh also argued Americans needed to have an honest conversation about race relations and how to come together as a nation. “The divisiveness on so many issues is literally killing us,” he said.
Walsh agreed with Spitzer that Obama was on the side of the gun control activists.
“This is the 14th time in his presidency, that President Obama has addressed the issue of gun violence in this country,” he said. “Following the Sandy Hook shootings, he proposed 23 policy reforms on the issue. Some have been enacted, some have not.”
The Sandy Hook massacre occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut when 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staff members at an elementary school.