Reasonable gun control is long overdue


The time is long overdue for the American people to require Congress to establish national standards for the possession and use of firearms by civilians. It is time to ignore the bullying NRA and the bleatings of right-wingers who think the Second Amendment gives civilians clear license to own an arsenal of weapons ranging from sporting arms to assault rifles designed for mass killing.

These advocates of unrestricted gun ownership, who confuse liberty with license, dismiss the restrictive “a well-regulated militia” clause the founders put in the post position of the Second Amendment, and they presume to know the intentions of the founders. It is highly improbable that the creators of our Constitution could have imagined the type of weapons now available. Very likely, they would have limited the use of such weapons to the military.

In our campaign for some reasonable gun controls, we should not be distracted by the semantic fussings of right-wingers laboring over distinctions without a difference to show that “clips” are not “magazines.” Our dictionaries list the two terms as interchangeable, and in current usage, “clips” is dominant.

We are further informed by the gun lovers that all weapons are “assault” weapons, presumably from pea shooters and sporting rifles to AK-47s. Realistically, we do not speak of “assaulting” deer and ducks. We merely shoot them. Many a sensitive hunter has shed a metaphorical tear over killing a beautiful deer. “Assault” suggests malice aforethought and applies to soldiers in combat and disturbed civilians bent on mass murder.

Our culture is marked by violence, manifest in hate groups, the entertainment industry, and our imperial nationalism. We are the world’s largest gun dealer. We have started unjustified wars in Vietnam and Iraq, tortured prisoners of war, and employed private military companies that too often engage in random violence. Our national character is being defined by an unrestrained military-industrial complex. Do we need over 700 military bases around the world? The Pentagon has become a shameful bulge on the body of our economy and moral posture. Wake up, America.

Denton May