“When babies die at a church school, it is time for us to move beyond thoughts and prayers.” Those are the words of U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black the day after three children and three staff were murdered at a Presbyterian school in Nashville. U.S. Rep. Jim Burchett (R-Tenn.) disagreed, saying “We’re not going to fix it.”
Today, the leading cause of childhood death in America is gun violence and the answer, according to too many, is that we’re not going to fix it. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Not for these little ones. The faulty, in my opinion, interpretation of the Second Amendment seems more precious than these lives. Politicians offer thoughts and prayers and blame mental health and of course say: “Guns don’t kill people.” Steven Spainhour, an early responder to the Allen Texas Mall massacre rebutted that mantra by calling for gun control. “When you get hit with automatic weapon fire at close range, there is no opportunity for survival. I don’t know what the gunman’s problem was, but it wasn’t mental health that killed these people. It was an automatic rifle with bullets. I’m a gun lover. I have guns. I’m a former police officer. I’m a former Army officer. But these M-4s, AR-15s, they’ve got to get off the streets, or this is going to keep happening.” Agreed.
So, what would I do if I were in charge? A right to bear arms would include significant federal and state regulation (a well-regulated militia). A person would need to be 21 years of age, pass a background check, receive training appropriate for the particular weapon, get and maintain a license, and provide appropriate secure storage and trigger locks to purchase most guns. Some weapons and high-capacity magazines would be banned with buybacks for those already out there. Red flag laws would allow law enforcement to confiscate weapons from someone deemed a danger to themselves or society. Gun and ammunition sales taxes would help pay for enforcing these regulations.
I believe that these rules could be applied if the Second Amendment were properly interpreted but I understand completely if you disagree completely. If courts continue to say regulations are too restrictive, we can “fix” that. The Founders realized that the world would change and their living document, the Constitution, would change too. I am absolutely certain that many of the Founders would look at an AR-15 and what it and its bullets do, and cry out that the Second Amendment shouldn’t allow civilians unfettered access to that. They would also look at the streets of cities where criminal handgun violence is rampant and say that the Second Amendment wasn’t supposed to allow that. Kid shot for knocking on the wrong door? Nope. Shoppers mowed down at a mall or worshipers slain in a synagogue? No. Other founders might see all of this and say, “Yes, that’s freedom!” I doubt it; but, I know someone reading this is certain of it.
Here’s what I’m certain of. Those Founders would have clear advice. If you don’t like it, fix it!
Of course there’s a story. … When I was stationed in Texas, a friend talked me into buying a gun so we could go target shooting. We brought our guns back to base and, as required, checked them into the armory. We took them out a few days later and went to the woods for target practice. He was incredible. I sucked. I hated that gun. We took the guns back to the armory but I kept a package of paper targets in my room. During a “health and welfare” inspection (looking for drugs) they found my targets and grilled me. “Where’s the gun?” I showed them my armory receipt and all was good. Before I left for Korea another friend on base asked me to give him the gun. I did. He checked it out of the armory one afternoon months later. The airman in charge felt there was something off and headed to that other guy’s room. He found him, bleeding from a self-inflicted wound and got help. My friend lived a long life, grateful he’d been saved. He survived because we had regulations and people who cared. I think we all care. That’s why we need to act. Beyond common sense safety laws, we also need to take a dive into the mental, moral and spiritual health of our nation. Things are deeply wrong but I know we can, over time, make things better. That’s why the CDC should be fully funded to look at violence as a national health crisis.
The Senate chaplain reminded the Senate that “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” We are good people. Let’s do something.
Craig Wiesner is the co-owner of Reach And Teach, a book, toy and cultural gift shop on San Carlos Avenue in San Carlos.
I know you don't have unlimited space for your article but I wonder if you could expand on the friend that wounded himself? You said that the airman in charge felt something was wrong and went to look and found him bleeding. I am curious to know, if you know, how or what indicated to the airman that something was wrong? Did he hear a shot? Was the other fellow late for his duty station? Did he get the gun from the armory at an odd time? As for your friend with the gun, was he playing Joe cool and accidentally shoot himself or was it an attempted suicide that he didn't do very well? Like I said, if you know I am curious, but if you don't know or prefer not to elaborate I understand that also.
I don't have the details other than knowing it was a suicide attempt and that he was really grateful that he had survived. It was a pretty small base so people stationed there long term knew each other pretty well.
Here we go again… Sorry, Mr. Wiesner, it’s difficult to give credence to your thinking you know better than our courts considering you push the misleading report that gun violence is “the leading cause of childhood death in America” which conveniently ignores the fact that the report counts 19 year-olds as “children.” Meanwhile, you don’t seem bothered that Chuck Schumer blocked a school safety bill proposed by Republicans and the families of the Parkland School shooting. It sounds like Schumer and complicit Dems are okay with putting politics over our school children, teachers, and other innocent people. If you consider these folks good people (and many don’t), it’s apparent they don’t want to do anything. And it’s apparent they don’t want to do anything about criminals with guns, either. Meanwhile, a prohibition against 18 to 20 year olds to buy handguns was recently found unconstitutional.
When 20 children were massacred in Newtown, CT, only four GOP members in the U.S. Senate voted for a bi-partisan (Manchin-Toomey) bill that would have mandated criminal background checks for sales over the internet and at gun shows. An initiative that was backed by the majority of Americans and even the majority of NRA members. Then again, it probably is a waste of time to bring up Sandy Hook as you may be of the Alex Jones theory that it was just a setup and the victims were actors.
GE52 – you conveniently forget the other side of the story… five Dems voted in opposition to your referenced bipartisan bill. Meanwhile no comment regarding Schumer and complicit Dems putting politics before people? Are you in agreement with their divisiveness? Then again, it probably is a waste of time to expose your bias as you appear to follow the Dem lemming theory of “if you tell me what the Dem playbook says, I’ll repeat it over and over and over again, no matter how illogical, ludicrous and easily debunked it is.”
As you so often say in your replies, it probably is a waste of time to expose your bias as you appear to follow the Repub lemming theory of if you tell me what the Repub playbook says, I’ll repeat it over and over and over again, no matter how illogical, ludicrous and easily debunked it is.
BTW, did you find your mirror yet and when are we going to get the results of your great bamboo fiber conspiracy?
Tafhdyd: Some are so Right-twisted that they won’t understand even the simplest thing going against what they have been indoctrinated with, no matter how simply you put it, no matter how many times to try to explain it. Not worth the effort, regardless how much you’d like to help those lagging behind. All you get back, is a salad of your own words mixed up and around.
Hilarious. Taffy and Jorg with their usual bloviating jibber-jabber but no response about Schumer prioritizing politics over people... Knowing rabid lefties gobbled up the Russian collusion delusion and insurrection garbage conspiracies tells our dear readers about their lack of credibility. Of course, we also have Taffy’s fervent belief in some historical Republican to Democrat Party switcheroo nonsense while he again delays the results of his great panda pie fiber study – I hoped he double gloved and double masked - masks are not effective against COVID but may be effective against sample particles. And we can see wrong-twisted Jorg… enough said…
Kind of like the ole "rigged election", "rampant fraud" claims from the one-term, twice-impeached, indicted former president spewed? Where are THOSE facts?? Hilarious. GOP is a clown show.
Oh, how right you are, Craig, - I’m sorry to say! Obviously, the 2nd Amendment has been misinterpreted, deliberately, causing the loss of precious lives, young and old, over and over again and again. Both grammatically, logically, and not the least socially, this unfortunate, and now unnecessary, amendment has been badly misinterpreted in more recent times, as explained in a previous LTE. How dishonest, and cold-hearted do you have to be to disagree with such basic, common sense?
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.