“YES” TO COMMON SENSE GUN REFORMS

Orlando

^ victims of the killer : LGBT, but also almost all Hispanic

—- —- —-

Once again, an horrific mass shooting forces us to discuss the regulation of guns and ammunition. The killings in Orlando, Florida seem a work of bigotry as well as terror, and of a kind — terror in the name, misguidedly, of Islam — made much of by folks on the right. I will discuss this point later. But first, a look at the law regarding guns and ammo: because the many mass shootings that have wounded our nation these past several years  were enabled by military grade weapons in the hands of civilians.

I see no justification whatsoever for individual civilians to possess military grade weapons and ammo. The very nature of such weapons demands their possession and use be strictly confined. Every argument to the contrary cannot stand.

It is said, “guns do not kill people, people kill people.: True; but people cannot kill people without weapons to do it.

It is said, “the only that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Yes, but that is why we hire police and sheriffs. We do NOT entrust the stopping of bad guys to roving vigilantes, and for very good reason: to do otherwise is to make them judged, jury and executioner. We have the criminal justice system to do that, because we are a nation of laws, not of anarchy.

It is said, “the Second Amendment gives individual people the right to own and use weapons.” No, it does not. The Second Amendment was enacted in order to prevent the Federal government from hiring a standing army of mercenaries, such as fought against us in the Revolution and were often quartered, ith guess what consequences, in private homes. Indeed,k the clause in the 1688 English Bill of Rights whence the language of the Amendment was taken included an individual right, words that were expressly NOT INCLUDED in the “2 A.”

The “2 A” addresses service in a militia, an army of civilians called to duty. Such armies have almost all become part, now, of the standing Armed Forces. The move from militias to standing, conscript armies became universal in Western Civilization during the period 180 to 1875, complete with barracks, so that no soldiers would be quartered in private homes. Today, therefore, the “2 A” is quite obsolete and either should be repealed or radically amended.

The Second Amendment was always understood as addressing service in a militia. Not until the 1980s did the notion arise that it contained a private right to keep and bear any kind of weapons without careful regulation. Civilian ownership of military-grade weapons and ammo is still controversial — t.hank goodness. We oppose it under any forseeable circumstances.

Private ownership of guns and ammo has become an established custom; I accept the fact. What I do call for is sensible regulation, to include the following :

1.successful completion of a municipally approved gun safety course

2.obtaining adequate liability insurance for weapon ownership and use

3.background checks at time that weapon purchase is sought, with no exceptions, said checks to be renewed every five years after purchase. Inclusion on a terrorist watch list to be an absolute (but appealable, because terrorist watch lists can err) bar to ownership of any gun-type weapon

4.no military grade weapons or ammunition under any current circumstances.

I recognize that guns in a rural setting, unlike in big cities and suburbs, serve useful purposes such as hunting and that rural communities are the first to insist on strict community control of weapon use.

At least 90 percent of Americans support some or all of these simple recommendations. All or most must eb adopted, and soon.

And now back to the Orlando massacre. The killer seems to have targeted gay (LGBT) men and women; thus his crime was one of hate as well as terror. No one has yet remarked something else: everyone of his victims, of the names so far released, was Latino. The killer’s hate thus spans two communities of Americans.

Much out=rage has emerged from the Trump camp, and from the radical right generally, accusing “Islamic terrorism” and calling for a ban on all Muslims coming to America. I see no such outrage from the radical right in cases where the killer is a white person and native. There the cry is “mental health issues.” The hypocrisy is infinite.

On the other hand, the radical left vents its outrage upon killings by native whose people and often downplays that by “others.” If we can’t even agree that all mass shootings are evil and must be stopped, without demonizing entire groups, how can we ever remedy the problems ?

Mass killings carry out two agendas that our society cannot tolerate. First is our allowing people to own military grade weapons. Second is tolerance for hate. Though the Orlando killer acted pervertedly in the name of Islam, radical perversions of Islam are hardly alone in calling for LBGT people to be killed. The same call arises from radical pastors claiming to be Christian. Is it not time for the entire nation to reject ANYONE who calls for killing this or that sort of person ?

America is a nation enhanced by its diversity. And, as Mitt Romney said at the beginning of this horrible political year, “every religion enhances the national character.” Those who seek — mostly from the radical right — to exclude any faith community or immigrant culture from our nation of all is an enemy of the American mission. We must be clear about who we are. We should be proud of what our nation is and ready to defend and promote it and to turn back those who would poison our pluralism in the name of nothing good.

And at the same time, and for the same purpose, we must enact common sense guns and ammo controls.

—- Mike Freedberg / Here and Sphere

Author: hereandsphere

Here and Sphere is an online journal of news, opinion, reviews, advice, & bits n' pieces of everything else - from HERE to SPHERE...... Co-founded by Michael Freedberg, a long-time Boston Phoenix journalist, and Heather Cornell, a South Coast Massachusetts columnist and editor.

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