I’m just going to say it. No one should have access to weapons or weapon accessories that make it possible for an individual to shoot over five hundred innocent human beings in less than 12 minutes. No one.
Yet the evil monster who perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in modern times—a man who possessed dozens of semi-automatic weapons (several being fully-automatic thanks to accessories he purchased)—broke no laws, until he took aim at a crowd of thousands of happy concert attendees and started pulling the trigger.
The usual arguments supporting the right of individuals to legally purchase and own guns simply do not apply in the case of the weapons used by the Las Vegas gunman:
“Those legally-modified, fully-automatic rifles with 100-round clips could be used for hunting deer.” No sportsman I know would ever hunt with such a weapon.
“They can be used for personal defense.” A shotgun is much more practical for repelling home invasions, and a simple handgun will do the trick to thwart an attempted mugging.
“We just need to make sure these types of guns don’t fall into the hands of the mentally ill.” So, should there be an on-site psychologist employed at every gun shop to make sure gun buyers aren’t gun nuts?
“The Second Amendment says I have a right to own such weapons.” Nope. Try again.
I have been accused in the past of picking and choosing which amendments to zealously defend. While I admit that I have been more vocal in my support of First Amendment rights, I believe in the original intent of the Second Amendment as well. Amendment II of the United States Constitution says, “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.”
There has been much debate over the years concerning the original intent of the Second Amendment. Some folks believe the Framers enshrined our God-given right to arms in order to prevent the government from violently suppressing dissention from the populace. That may be true, but no matter how many fully-automatic guns every man, woman, and child in this country can manage to acquire, untrained civilians would stand no chance of winning an armed conflict against the United States Armed Forces.
Others have argued that the Framers had no way to envision the type of advanced weaponry available today when they wrote the Bill of Rights. Single-shot weapons were all that they knew, and they had no reason to foresee a future in which one man could shoot hundreds of people in mere minutes with easily procured, rapid-fire weapons.
We have no way of knowing for certain what the Founding Fathers would have changed about the Second Amendment had they known what destructive powers would one day be available to the average American. Personally, I think they would be mortified to see how easily innocent life can be taken by guns. I also think that if they were here today, they would take action to repeal and replace the Second Amendment.
Here’s how I think the Second Amendment should be re-written: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms for hunting, sport, and defense shall be well-regulated.” This solution is at once simple, fair, and effective. It guarantees the right to keep and bear arms for the aforementioned uses, and it allows laws to be passed by our democratically-elected representatives to regulate the manufacture, sale, possession, and types of weapons available to private citizens.
Contrary to what my conservative friends/detractors may believe about me, I do not think the solution to our nation’s gun violence problem lies in taking away everyone’s guns. I do, however, feel that eliminating assault-style weapons and accessories designed for maximum lethality is a common sense idea.
Some say that a mass shooting is attributable to the madness of an individual. I say that madness is continuing to allow individuals access to weapons of mass destruction.
It’s time to stop the madness.