With all of the discussion the past few days concerning the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut the media and elected officials are emotionally reacting with suggestions that the solution to Newtown and mass shootings in general, is to ban military-style “assault weapons”. This emotional reaction is understandable but nonetheless, trampling on the Constitutional Rights of citizens is always wrong and makes for poor public policy.
According to the Center for Disease Control, falling out of bed accounts for 450 deaths each year. According to the FBI, last year only 358 people were murdered by rifles.
In this post I show why those that seek to limit our rights and freedoms are wrong and I propose a solution that would limit future mass shootings.
Yesterday I felt the need to respond to a post on the GovLoop website calling for the ban on “assault weapons”. As typical with most emotionally driven folks, they never define what is an “assault weapon”. Is it a weapon that looks like a military gun? Is it a weapon that contains a large magazine that can hold 30 rounds of ammunition? Again, those that wish to weaken certain elements of the Bill of Rights, never are able to articulate what exactly needs to be removed from civilian use. Some in Congress are now calling for banning the popular AR-15 rifle that is by far the most popular rifle sold in the U.S.
Civil Unrest and Domestic Riots
It seems that the gun control crowd has forgotten the aftermath of Katrina and the L.A. Riots of 1992. A little refresher is in order.
Starting in April 1992 there were six days of widespread rioting in Los Angeles where the police were largely absent as it was deemed “too dangerous” for them to be out on the streets. 53 people were killed during the rioting and there were over 2,000 injuries. Citizen and shopkeepers were forced to defend themselves from the rioters and looters, as the government was unable and unwilling to protect its citizens.
Some Korean-American shopkeepers used AR-15’s to defend themselves and their shops from the looters. They were largely successful but the citizens and shopkeepers without AR-15’s and other firearms had their stores destroyed. In all 2,300 Korean-American’s had their shops looted or burned.
Many Los Angeles citizens wanted to purchase firearms to protect themselves from the rioting but the 10-day waiting period in California prevented them from adequate self-defense while the rioting was ongoing.
Therefore it is reasonable that AR-15’s and other so-called “assault weapons” including large capacity magazines should be in the hands of law-abiding private citizens. If one were to take a look at the rioting that has taken place in Europe over the past few years it is not unreasonable to suggest that civil unrest is very likely to occur in the United States given the economic and fiscal crisis that awaits us.
This discussion is about Civil Rights
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has had two notable rulings on the Second Amendment. The first, UNITED STATES v. MILLER, 307 U.S. 174 (1939), concerned a “sawed off shotgun” and the Justices ruled that the 2nd Amendment applied to “ordinary military equipment”. It acknowledged that citizens have a Constitutionally protected right to “ordinary military equipment” and the AR-15 fits into that category as far as the media and politicians are concerned.
In the recent DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al. v. HELLER, the Court found that the 2nd Amendment was an “individual” right to “keep and bear arms”. Whether the reason for wanting an AR-15 is for target practice, hunting or self-defense, the 2nd Amendment guarantees us the right to keep and bear these arms. Radio talk show host Mark Levin has recently responded to the, “Why do you need a military style gun?” question. Levin says it is the “Bill of Rights not the Bill of Needs.”
So please, let’s be honest about this discussion – the anti- 2nd Amendment crowd want to deny citizens of their constitutionally protected rights. There is a legitimate way to do that and it is thru the amendment process (2/3 of Congress and ¾ of the States). Good luck with that. Instead, the gun-ban crowd will once again trample on the Constitution instead of using the amendment process.
Is mental illness the common thread of mass shootings?
The common thread is not really mental illness as the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas showed us. The common thread is the so-called, “gun free zones”. US Army base Fort Hood (like all Army bases) do not allow the possession of firearms unless they are on-duty and authorized to carry a weapon. The mentally ill, evil and terrorists use gun-free zones to execute their mass shootings.
A common sense solution
If we really were interested in reducing these types of mass shootings we would encourage all law-abiding citizens to be trained in the safe and competent use of firearms and be encouraged to carry them in all places at all times. By definition, we have nothing to fear from law-abiding citizens. We need to ensure that these responsible citizens are in a position to protect themselves and others from the depravations of the mentally ill and ideologically driven terrorists.
Instead of feel-good “solutions” of banning “assault weapons” that would not have prevented the shootings in Newtown, CT, how about supporting a licensing and registration process that allowed law-abiding citizens with proper firearms training to carry firearms in all places at all times?