Our gun culture kills and kills again

October 12, 2017

By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter

Once again, a mass shooting. A man using guns he shouldn’t have been able to legally obtain gunned down nearly 600 people at a music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 before taking his own life in his 32nd floor hotel room 300 yards away.

I’m already hearing the conspiracy theories – that no single person could fire that many hundreds – thousands? – of rounds by himself. That more people had to be involved. That no law would have prevented this individual from obtaining the semi-automatic weapons he acquired and turned into automatic weapons.

Well, yes, there are laws that would prevent legally obtaining guns not made for hunting or self-defense but, rather, for simply killing people. On a mass scale.

Like this man did in Las Vegas.

The Second Amendment isn’t absolute. There are allowed limits to what kinds of weapons Americans can introduce to this deadly gun culture.

Banning semi-automatic weapons intended for military or law enforcement actions from being purchased by you and me is certainly reasonable. Making sure thorough background checks are performed on every person buying a firearm is surely reasonable. Ensuring that weapons being obtained are for responsible hunting or self-defense, not brutal-offense, is absolutely imperative.

Yes, we have to make sure the mental health system can handle unsettled folks who get guns, by whatever method.

But the shooter in Las Vegas had no history of mental health problems. He, indeed, had no history that would indicate he might unleash his deadly anger on a crowd of folks simply enjoying a night and listening to country music.

Politicians owned by the National Rifle Association seemingly always bemoan the discussion of some form of gun control after these mass shootings. They say this is not the time. Well, it is the time. It is also the time we should express our condolences to the victims and their families. To pray for the healing of the wounded, the souls of the dead.

Yet, once the event gets further away from our consciousness, that’s not the time to discuss gun control, either. Because the NRA still has its hooks and money bags attached to so many of our elected representatives, to so many of our citizens who believe a gun culture will help “Make America Great Again.”

There’s a little rumbling about outlawing the so-called “bump fire stocks” that allowed the Las Vegas maniac to allow his arsenal of semi-automatics to turn into rapid-fire weapons. How about outlawing any weapon that can be turned into a rapid-fire gun, regardless of bump stocks? That’s not the only way to rig an assault rifle or other semi-automatic weapon.

No, that’s going too far, say the politicians and the NRA. The Second Amendment says people can own these guns – it doesn’t. Imagine if George Washington’s feeble army in the Revolutionary War had weapons that could fire hundreds of rounds in seconds. Or, worse, if the British had them.

The weapons used during our nation’s birth could maybe fire a round a minute, and only by the most skilled marksman. That’s the atmosphere and reality in which the Second Amendment was written.

We don’t allow citizens to own mortars or bazookas. It’s illegal for a person to own an FIM-92 Stinger missile as a home-defense weapon.

So we’re just drawing lines, and the law allows us to do that, without violating the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

We can do it, but we won’t. Because we love our guns, and the badder the gun, the better.

With more than 300 million firearms of all kinds at large in the United States, and that number growing daily, the madder we are, the deader.

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected] 

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