Sure, the mass murders get our attention! There have been so many, in fact, that we can’t keep track—Columbine, Virginia Tech, of course Sandy Hook when 20 First Graders and six adults were massacred, last year’s Pulse in Orlando, and this week’s 59 deaths in Las Vegas. But above and beyond all that, the everyday (unfortunately) shootings take the lives of many, many more Americans, some 8,121 in 2014. Yes, these murders have become so obscenely common that they are only reported in the local newspapers.
Some Americans have breathed a sigh of relief recently, since Donald Trump, the GOP Majority in Congress and even the National Rifle Association—the face of the Guns and Ammo Industry—have agreed that something must be done about “Bump Stock” devices, which convert semi-automatic riffles into automatic. That means they can spew their deadly cartridges at the rate of nine per second, rather than only one. In essence, the death dealers and enablers might be throwing us a bone; but, let’s read the fine print!
Most people in America are killed by handguns, rather than rifles. Consider: the seven year old girl playing on her front porch who was caught in a drive-by; the 18 month old who reached into his grandmother’s purse for candy; suicides; the boy walking to his high school graduation who was killed in a cross-fire; domestic abuse; neighborhood arguments; armed robbery; drug gang shout-outs; and so many, many more. When will this madness end?
In 2014, a mass murderer drove around Santa Barbara California, near the University of California-Santa Barbra, shooting people at random—just after he had earlier stabbed a family to death. Richard Martinez, the father of slain Christopher Martinez, posed a very important question.
As the pro-gun lobby, namely the NRA, led the call to preserve our Right to Bear Arms, Mr. Martinez asked: “They talk bout Gun Right…What about Chris’ Right to Live?” Toward the beginning of our Declaration of Independence, which states the premise for America’s Independence, the “Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are clearly presented.
So, before we get too euphoric about the potential “Bump-Stock” legislation, let’s keep our focus on the need to control all guns—from purchase, to use, to possession to training. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are inalienable rights, which are more basic than the questionable interpretation of the Second Amendment, demand it!
NOTE: Earlier today, I outlined my basic ideas for acceptable Gun Legislation, enabling law-abiding citizens access to firearms, while also protecting the rights of all Americans to live in peace and safety. If you wish to plow through it, the outline is as follows:
In the beginning of The Declaration of Independence, which lays the groundwork for who we are, as a People, it states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…” Life is a given, without context and wouldn’t change, throughout the years.
Now, Amendment II of the Constitution–“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” This right was added, as part of The Bill of Rights, the first ten Amendments, on December 15, 1791, in response to the British Quartering Act, among other unjust laws of England.
Placing this in context, the Right to Bear Arms was intended to enable the Colonies to defend themselves against external forces. Additionally, at that time, all men and boys of a certain age, owned muskets to hunt game for the family table. This was just before “rifling”–the curved groove within the barrel, which enhanced accuracy by spinning the bullet–became common.
I believe that, in that context, universal ownership of guns–especially semi-automatic and automatic assault rifles, high capacity magazines, silencers, bump-stock rifles, and other “Toys of War”, would have required new legislation. Additionally, safeguard–a 72 hour waiting period to purchase, registration of gun shops and shooting ranges, background checks, a National serial number registry, required courses for the proper use, maintenance and storage should be included. Background checks should be required periodically.