A hard law to pass
In Jennifer Rubin’s Aug. 6 anti-Trump rant, “Democratic candidates seized the high ground,” she mentions “... a country flooded with semi-automatic guns.” That kind of thinking is why it is so hard to get any gun laws passed.
Of course the country is “flooded” with such weapons. The majority of guns in the U.S. are “semi-automatic.” This is a weapon that fires once when the trigger is pulled. To get it to fire again, you have to pull the trigger again. Most pistols and revolvers, probably half of all the rifles and significant portion of shotguns, are semi-automatic by this definition. So it would be almost impossible to pass serious restrictive laws against these weapons at present.
Rubin should be ranting against “fully automatic” weapons. These fire when the trigger is pulled, and they don’t stop until the trigger is released or the ammunition magazine is empty. To my knowledge, most of the mass shootings of the past few years have involved fully automatic weapons.
My suggestion for immediate action is to outlaw fully automatic weapons of any kind except for law enforcement and military use. Make it immediately illegal for civilians to own, buy or sell such weapons, or to modify semi-automatic weapons to make them function as fully automatic. Set a buy-back period funded by the federal government for owners to turn in their weapons to be destroyed. Anyone found violating the law should be imprisoned for a minimum of five years. No exceptions.
Following the recent horrific events in Gilroy, Calif., I’m struggling to understand why a 19-year-old’s rights to buy an assault rifle outweigh the rights of 6-year-old Stephen Romero, the rights of 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, the rights of 25-year-old Trevor Irby to all live long and productive lives along with the rights of countless parents, friends and families to not have to live the rest of their lives mired in guilt over placing their loved ones in danger.
Should the rights of one individual outweigh the rights of so many?
No license to kill
Aside from the demented killers themselves, who is responsible for the unending mass murders in the United States?
Aside from the NRA, the firearms and ammunition industries, and “we the people,” I would say the responsibility lies with the Supreme Court, for its failure to appropriately interpret the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
That amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
This clearly did not anticipate providing a license to kill for any and every lunatic who comes along, but requires a well-trained and disciplined police force, which we already have in our layers of state, local and military police forces.
If we still need another militia per se, then we can and should design a well-trained and functioning national police force.
A more productive discussion
The messages we read in the Readers’ Forum every day may not be representative of opinions at large, but they are telling in a different way. They tell me that we are very divided and polarized — this much is certain. However, they also tell me that we are talking about the wrong thing. Why do we continue to feud about the president when we could, and should, have a vigorous conversation about the thing which supersedes even that grand personage: the fate of our Republic?
The lesson from Richard Nixon was “no man is above the law.” The lesson from the current president could be “no man is above the Republic.” What worries me as a citizen is that our public priorities, far from being concerned with the common good and how we define, increase and protect it, are distracted by the persona of one man.
A far more productive and necessary discussion remains to be had regarding what we want to see in and must do for our ailing Republic. I fear that if we continue to yield to the temptation to think only in terms of one man’s record-setting ego, we will only further shirk our civic duty to focus our attention and energy on real solutions addressing the problems of the day, not on rhetorical salvos that frustratingly elude them.
For the Republic!
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