“If guns don't kill people, why do mass killers arm themselves with guns?”

DaShanne Stokes

When just one of 7.7 million people who had J&J’s Covid vaccinations died and five others experience a blood clots, those vaccinations were halted across the US and Europe, although no direct correlation has as yet been proven.

After only a few non-life-threatening injuries and the tragic death of a small child last month the Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered Peloton to recall its Tread Plus treadmill, although whether resulting from product design, a lack of parental oversight or other causes remains undetermined.

Yet, on December 14th, 2012 when 26 innocent people, including twenty 6- and 7-year-old children, were mowed down at Sandy Hook Elementary School by an AR-15 and two hand guns with high-capacity magazines, all our elected officials offered were “thoughts and prayers”.

A year later 13 people were slaughtered by gunfire at the Washington Navy Yard.  In 2015, one man killed 16 in San Bernardino, CA.  49 Orlando night club patrons were massacred in 2016.  The Las Vegas shooter mowed down 16 and wounded 411 in October 2017 followed a month later by a shooter who took 26 lives at a Sulphur Springs Texas church.  The following year 17 students died when a gunman opened fire at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.  In 2019 a man with an assault weapon took 22 lives at a Walmart in El Paso.  Last week, it took less than 60 seconds for a mentally-disturbed former employee cut down 8 FedEx workers.

These are a sampling of the bloodshed brought on by the unregulated proliferation of guns, particularly military-grade weapons whose sole purpose is to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

Between 2018 and April 18, 2021, Americans witnessed an estimated 1,385 mass shootings (defined loosely as when 3 or more people are killed or wounded in a single incident) … an appalling 25 this April alone … resulting in 1,477 deaths and 5,420 wounded.

The response from the NRA, vocal militia groups, a minority of gun owners and spineless politicians financially dependent on the NRA … “thoughts and prayers”.

When limited and reasonable gun control legislation is proposed and supported by the vast majority of Americans including a majority of gun owners and Republicans;

  • Requiring background checks for all gun sales and transfers and extending the 3-day waiting period for background approvals.
  • Banning the sale of automatic and semi-automatic weapons, high-capacity magazines and “ghost guns”.
  • Requiring licensing before a gun can be purchased.
  • Enacting a national “Red Flag” law.

the macho, do-nothing “thoughts and prayer” crowd scream about taking away their Second Amendment rights despite no one advocating the banning hand guns, rifles or shotguns for legitimate hunting, target or personal safety purposes.

These self-proclaimed constitutional scholars forget the liberties enshrined in Bill of Rights are not absolute and without limitations.

  • Free Speech doesn’t allow on to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater, advocate actions designed to incite an immediate breach of the peace or share child pornography.
  • Freedom of Religion doesn’t allow tax-exempt religious organizations to endorse political candidates or preach politics from the pulpit or the practice of polygamy.
  • Freedom of Assembly can be prohibited if it poses an immediate threat to public safety.
  • Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure apply only if a person has a “legitimate expectation of privacy”.
  • Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination do not apply with issues unrelated to criminal matters; taxes are not covered and do not protect individuals from having to provide required materials to the IRS.
  • Fifth Amendment protection from double jeopardy does not insulate one from facing similar charges in both Federal and State courts. 
  • Sixth Amendment rights to a “public trial” in criminal proceedings may be curtailed and closed to the public and the media for “overriding” reasons, such as national security, public safety, or a victim’s serious privacy interests.

Where the Second Amendment is concerned, the Supreme Court has recognized in Heller, “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”

  • Firearm ownership is prohibited to felons and the mentally-ill.
  • Guns are often prohibited in certain venues such as schools and government buildings.
  • The ownership of certain kinds of firearms by civilian Americans has been banned for decades. 
  • The National Firearms Act of 1934 restricts the ownership or sale of “machine guns (fully automatic rifles or pistols), short-barreled (sawed-off) shotguns, and silencers.”   Owners of these types of devices must undergo deep FBI background checks and register the weapon with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives' National Firearms registry.

It is difficult to argue an AK-47, AR-15 or similar weapon is not simply a modern-day machine gun.

Admittedly, the proposed legislation will not stop some individuals who should not possess a gun from acquiring one, some banned weapons from being obtained on the black market or all mass gun-related incidents and deaths.  However, enacting it is certainly worth trying as continued inaction is a guaranteed recipe for more needless carnage.