May 23, 2019 | 66° F

Billionaires hold power in gun control

Letter to the Editor

Do you remember when a group of activist hedge fund managers successfully waged a brutal coup over at Olive Garden, toppling its longtime CEO Clarence Otis for his appalling crimes against Italian cuisine, including fried lasagna fritta and "Tuscan" hummus? If you're anything like me, you probably avoid Olive Garden like the plague, but the idea of Wall Street using its massive powers for good rather than evil probably warmed the cockles of your hearts.

That's why I'm writing this open letter. If you truly want to leave a better world for Max Chan-Zuckerberg, you and all of your billionaire friends need to pool your resources and do the same to the American gun lobby.

The chief sponsors of the NRA, a group of arms manufacturers that includes MidwayUSA, Springfield Armory Inc., Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, Beretta USA Corporation, Cabela's, Sturm Ruger & Co Inc. and Smith & Wesson are all publicly traded companies. Under new management, they could divert the billions and billions of dollars they spend every year on lobbying Washington to making safer products such as biometric locks, limited capacity magazines, manufacturer restrictions on online sales, end-user license agreements and so forth.

I'm just tossing out ideas here, but I'm certain that a case can be made that these reforms would result in a safer and better product for firearms enthusiasts. The truth, though, is that the general public has not effectively made a case for sensible firearms regulation, because in America, money talks and the arms manufacturers have a disproportionate say in Washington. The result is that Max Chan-Zuckerberg will grow up in an America where senseless tragedies occur with the frequency and impact of weather events, unless something is done now.

That is why we need to stop looking to Washington and the voting public to solve this problem and take the fight directly to the only votes that really matter on this issue — issues that belong to the Merchants of Death and their allies in Congress. I can't accomplish this myself, but perhaps you can.

Charles G. Haberl is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian Languages and Literatures.

Charles G. Haberl

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