By BRIAN A. HOWEY, in Nashville, Ind.

1. Time to grow a spine on gun reform

Here are your Friday power lunch talking points: U.S. Senators take this oath: "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office  on which I am about to enter: So help me God." 

Following the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Congress and President George W. Bush took an array of security steps to defend Americans from foreign terrorists. We experience these every time we fly or go into a security sensitive area. These measures have been largely successful. In 2019, Americans are facing a virtual guerrilla war from domestic sources  ranging from white supremacists to nihilist and anarchists. Current members of Congress have abjectly failed to respond  to hundreds of mass shootings ... this year ... that have claimed 246 deaths and 979 wounded. That's a total of 1,325 victims, about a third of the 9/11 total. There is now palpable panic. In this wake, Americans are so insecure that they stampede at the sounding of a motorcycle backfiring on Times Square or a mall sign falling. It is time for Indiana members of Congress to fulfill their constitutional duty  to protect the population from domestic terrorists. Or they should step aside  and let someone else step up and make the tough decisions. 

Fox News Poll: Two-thirds, or 67%, support a ban on “assault weapons.” That’s up from 60% in 2018. Support includes over half of those living in a gun-owner household (53%). Over half of independents (58%) and an overwhelming majority of Democrats (86%) favor a ban.  Republicans split 46-46%, which is a shift from 2018 when it was 41% favor vs. 56% oppose. Most Democrats (88%) and Republicans (75%) favor “red flag” laws, as do voters in gun households (77%). Universal background checks are favored by Democrats at 92%), Republicans (89%), and gun households (93%).

It's time to grow a spine, congressmen, congresswomen, and senators.

2. Indiana sees 12% opioid death decline

National Drug Czar Jim Carroll was in Indiana and reported a 12% decline in opioid overdose deaths  in the state. The national decline was 4.2%. Carroll: “I came to learn was the way that you were training local doctors and local providers in some of the rural communities. How to be addiction doctors, how to help patients who have an addiction, instead of farming it out to another doctor, that might be an hour or two away.” Carroll said Hoosiers leaders are seeking a partnership with the feds. “That's one of the things we've done today is build that relationship,"  Carroll explained. "So that we can call it a shoulder so we can have easy dialogue, to make sure that we're working together to help people."

3. Mayor Pete & polls

An Iowa Starting Line-Change Research Poll  has Sen. Elizabeth Warren leading with 28%, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders tied at 17%, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 13% and Sen. Kamala Harris at 8%. Politico  reports that Mayor Pete now has 57 staffers in Iowa, but has yet to snag a single endorsement. Fox News Poll nationally: Biden 31%, Warren 20%, Sanders 10%, Harris 8% while Sen. Cory Booker, Andrew Yang and Mayor Pete come in at 3%. The Fox News Poll  shows Joe Biden leading President Trump 50-38%. Bernie Sanders leads Trump 48-39%, Elizabeth Warren 46-39%, and Kamala Harris 45-39%. It does not show a head-to-head matchup between the president and Mayor Pete.

4. Hottest July in recorded history

NOAA reports that July was the hottest month in recorded history. It calculated that the average land and sea surface temperature world-wide for the month of July was 62.13 degrees Fahrenheit. The previous record was July 2016. And 2019 is expected to be among the hottest five years on record.

5. Brown County venue opens

Ten years after the Little Opry was consumed by fire, the 2,017 Brown County Music Center opened on Thursday. I'll be on hand for the Aug. 24 debut concert featuring Vince Gill. Coming soon will be Henry Lee Summer (Sept. 6) Tesla (Sept. 7), Art Garfunkel (Sept. 12), Breakfast Club (Sept. 13), Tanya Tucker (Sept. 19), Clint Black (Sept. 20), Gordon Lightfoot (Sept. 28), Gordon Bonham's Blues Band (Oct. 5), Home Free (Oct. 6), Josh Turner (Oct. 12), Duke Tumatoe (Oct. 17), George Thorogood & The Destroyers (Oct. 13) and Here Come The Mummies (Oct. 26).

Thanks for reading, folks. We appreciate your readership. It's The Atomic!