“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”

Justice Antonin Scalia – District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)


Only 21 weeks in to the year and the United States has witnessed 213 mass shootings, a staggering average of 10 per week … with 27 having taken place in our schools, more than one per week!

After each of these tragedies, our politicians can’t race to microphones fast enough to offer a menu of platitudes, “thoughts and prayers”, “condolences”, “it’s a time for healing”, calls to address “mental health” issues and “condemnation” of the shooter.  Sadly, none will bring back slaughtered loved ones nor prevent future murders of innocent people.

When it comes to tackling the one common thread in all of these gut-wrenching events, the proliferation of guns, more often than not automatic and semi-automatic weapons specifically designed to enable a shooter to massacre as many people in as short a time as possible, Congress refuses to act!

Recent polls suggest 56% of Americans support banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, 86% are in favor of “Red Flag” laws removing guns from people judged to be a danger to others and 89% want universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers.  These statistics include gun owners, many members of the NRA, and non-gun owners, alike.

Despite alarmist claims to the contrary, such regulations would not take guns used for hunting, competitive target shooting or even self-protection away from law-abiding Americans.

Yet, enough so-called “conservative” members of Congress, and Senators in particular, indebted to the NRA and other gun lobbies lack the courage to take controversial and possibly unpopular positions supporting sensible gun control for fear of losing a future reelection.  Instead, they fall back on the mantras, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and “I believe in and support the Second Amendment”.

While it is true people do kill other people, it is far easier to do so with a gun, and in greater numbers and in far less time with automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. 

As for the Second Amendment argument, even one of the Supreme Court’s most conservative icons, Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority in District of Columbia v. Heller noted, as with freedoms enshrined in the Bill of Rights, “the Second Amendment is not unlimited”.

While gun regulation legislation presently stalled in Congress will not eliminate all gun-related violence, a failure to enact any new and possibly bold initiatives is a formula guaranteeing the carnage in our schools, supermarkets, retail stores, houses of worship and on our streets will continue and likely escalate … an irresponsible and insane option. 

As Albert Einstein properly noted, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” 

How many more senseless, gun-related tragedies will we have to witness before courage prevails over partisan and personal priorities?