The ‘heartburn’ of an assault weapons ban | News, Sports, Jobs

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Since the age demographics for readers of this column leans toward older rather than younger, there’s a good bet that you’ll remember the vintage TV series “Dragnet,” with Sgt. Joe Friday, aka Jack Webb.

Say hello to state Rep. Tyrone Carter, from Detroit, who is a former law enforcement officer and a “just the facts, ma’am” kind of cop, like Sgt. Friday.

However the Democrat brings infinitely more personality to the job than Joe, who never cracked a smile, and the lawmaker has a savvy about how things work — or don’t work, as the case may be — in our town.

An avid supporter of banning assault weapons, he argues the facts are decidedly on his side.

More than 85% of the mass shootings in this country reveal that the weapon of choice for the perpetrators is the assault weapon.

More facts: After the Brady Bill was enacted that took those guns off the market for 10 years, an amazing thing happened, the supporters of the ban claim. Mass murders went down about 75%. Then Congress, under the watchful eye of the NRA, allowed the ban to lapse.

Which brings us to the debate over that ban in Michigan. Carter would like to argue the issue on the facts, but he knows that, when it comes to the pro-gun side of the equation, emotions sometimes trump logic.

“The hardest thing to do is to change someone whose mind is already made up,” he laments.

Most everybody in town reflects that, assuming the state Senate passes a red-flag law, the governor will sign it, just as she did two other bills in her “common sense” anti-gun-violence package.

But passing a ban on assault weapons is a whole different animal, according to Joe … er, Tyrone.

He is not working on the “what’s next?” agenda for the Democrats on gun safety legislation, but he expects to be consulted, and, if there is a bill to ban assault weapons, “I’m a definite yes on that.”

But some of his Democratic colleagues do not share his enthusiasm.

“It may take a little harder push with our gun rights activists on our side of the aisle when we go a little further,” he reveals as those colleagues, whom he is not going to out, have told him “there are a few who have said that will cause them a lot of heartburn.”

If, indeed, that is true, and that “heartburn” morphs into a no vote on the assault weapons ban, that would mean the Democrats, with only 56 votes to play with, might have to court some Republicans to get the job done.

To which Carter opines: “That would probably be a ‘good luck with that.’”

So, if there are not enough state House Democrats to vote yes and it would take “good luck” to coax any Republicans to make up the difference, it appears the ban is DOA?

“You never know,” Carter says. “You never know. The only thing we can do is put a good-faith effort forward to move this legislation that so many people have an appetite for.”

Unfortunately for the former officer in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, those people with that appetite don’t vote in the Michigan House.

Dum-de-dump-dump, the theme from “Dragnet” goes.



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