Editorial: Time to take a stand, Sens. Young and Braun |

Second Amendment

Indiana’s two U.S. senators, Todd Young and Mike Braun, are in deep with the National Rifle Association.

Young has received $2,897,582 in support from the NRA. Only seven current senators have gotten more.

Braun isn’t far behind. He’s enjoyed a $1,249,967 NRA windfall, ranking 16th in the Senate.

While Braun isn’t up for reelection until 2024, Young is running for his second six-year term this fall, against Democrat Thomas McDermott.

Young has expressed a willingness to work with Senate Democrats on gun control in the aftermath of the May 24 school mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. But given his deep ties to the NRA, he’s unlikely to follow through with support of any meaningful measures.

A package of commonsense gun control measures, known as the Protecting Our Kids Act, has already passed the House of Representatives.

The legislation would require purchasers of semiautomatic rifles to be at least 21 years of age, would ban ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds, would beef up regulation of gun storage in homes and would strengthen the regulatory ban on bump stocks, devices that effectively turn semiautomatics into automatic weapons.

Now, seriously, who in their right mind would vote against these mild measures, particularly in the United States, where mass shootings happen far more frequently than in any other developed country not torn by war?

The answer, tragically, is the vast majority of Republicans in Congress.

And all of them are way out of touch with Americans, who consistently express support for stricter gun control laws.

Most recently, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll posed this question: “Do you think it’s more important to control gun violence or to protect gun rights?”

Fifty-nine percent of respondents chose controlling gun violence; just 35% opted for protecting gun rights (the remaining 6% were undecided). Perhaps most tellingly, 56% of gun owners said gun control is more important.

Seemingly, Braun, Young and their Senate GOP brethren care more about the whims of the NRA, which represents gun manufacturers, than about what Americans demand.

Here, before Republican senators, lies an opportunity to change that narrative, to side with children and other innocents who are among the tens of thousands of Americans killed each year by guns.

The Protecting Our Kids Act wouldn’t enact drastic measures like the gun reform bill poised to pass in Canada. That measure would freeze the sale of handguns and create a mandatory buyback program for assault-style rifles. The U.S. package is far from an affront to the Second Amendment.

Muster the courage, Mr. Young and Mr. Braun, to turn your backs on the NRA and to break ranks with your party. Follow where your conscience and humanity surely must lead you.

Don’t reject this bill or conspire to water it down. Vote yes.

Now is the time for courage, not politics.

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