Now that Ed Rendell is never running for office again, he's going to tell us what he really thinks! Can Pa. handle the truth on guns?
On Monday, Rendell defended his weekend veto of a bill expanding gun owners' self-defense rights - but declared his efforts to reduce gun violence through legislation "an abject failure."
"It's a lost cause in Pennsylvania," Rendell said in a conference call with reporters. He accused the General Assembly of kowtowing to the National Rifle Association.
"The legislature proved consistently in my eight years that they are scared to death to buck the NRA," he said. "It's incredibly frustrating, the hold the NRA has over the legislature. It's embarrassing."
It is embarrassing, and it's a shame, too. Culturally, the canyon (Corbett Canyon?) on guns is greater than ever, but practically, the two sides should be able to find common ground. I think gun-control-minded liberals need to acknowledge that for many law-abiding citizens, firearms are as American as apple pie, and that that's OK. That said, I think gun owners need to agree that there are some restrictions that are constitutional and that could make it harder for criminals to buy and use guns while not impinging on their own right to hunt or defend their home or business in obvious cases of self defense. But a) the two sides just distrust each other too deeply and b) professional lobbying groups on both sides don't really want a compromise that would put them out of business. And so the gun issue beats on, ceaselessly, into a new decade and a new (pro-NRA) governor. Sad.