I’d like to both agree (on one view) and take issue with Susan Stamper-Brown’s Guest Commentary of Aug. 3 (“The Futility of Gun Control”). I find several of her views to be very closed-minded and illogical, as I do those of many people who advocate no attempt at sensible gun control.

First of all, we do have gun controls right now. They just haven’t prevented mass-murders such as Columbine, Virginia Tech and Aurora. In my mind, that means that a rational and sensible public should look at what we might do to address that deficiency.

Second, before we go any further, let me state the following:

• I am not a gun control “activist.” I’m just a citizen interested in making our world a better and more safe place in which to live.

• My view of the Second Amendment is that it was wise and correct for its time, and still is (with modification in implementation for the changes in weaponry over the years). When it was written, the most deadly weapon an individual could carry could be shot roughly three times in a minute by a marksman expert at re-loading. It was also a time in which military states imposed their will over “rebel” colonies by military might. In those days, that was much more of a concern in the USA than the actions of a lone individual of questionable mental stability. Our Founding Fathers wisely divided our military into multiple branches to reduce the potential for military oppression. They did not take into account the multiple-round weaponry available to individuals today.

• It is illogical, if you think about it, to reject any reconsideration of “weapon control” at the same time as our government steadfastly is pursuing a goal of preventing nuclear weapons capabilities in other countries. It’s a matter of scale (i.e. how many people can be killed with this weapon?). So, as guns and other individually operated weapons increase in their potential to kill, we ought to think about who should be allowed to possess them.

Back to the Second Amendment: Grenades, IEDs, chemical weapons, etc., were not addressed, but certainly could be used by citizens as a defense against an overbearing government or a potential home invasion. Yet, those devices are not allowed to be possessed by ordinary citizens. So, what’s the difference? It’s probably the combination of what was explicitly inked in the Second Amendment (the weapons of that time), and the financial clout of the NRA.

My view is that “gun control” should involve increased scrutiny and background checks as a weapon’s potential to kill increases. For example, if you want to buy a rapid-fire, large ammunition volume “assault rifle” or large clip handgun, you need to “pass” a higher level of scrutiny than if you want to buy a non-concealable, single-shot rifle used to hunt.

If you are undergoing mental counseling for violent tendencies, for example, you are not permitted to buy an AK 7. And, some weapons may be restricted to that “well-regulated militia” (National Guard?) and simply not be allowed to be sold over-the-counter. Sorry, gun dealers, but it isn’t just about your profits. It’s about safer schools, malls and movie theaters for all of us.

My one area of agreement with Stamper-Brown is that it is people behind the trigger that we need to be most concerned about. But, I’m also concerned about the people who gain financially from guns sales and who really don’t care about balancing their financial gain with societal safety interests. One broad statistic that Stamper-Brown did not mention is that gun-based homicide rates in Europe (where guns are much less available) are roughly 1/4 or less than in the USA and that the average of 35 other higher/middle-income countries is 1/8 that of the USA. Availability is not the only factor, to be sure, but it’s impossible to deny the correlation.

I reject the premise that gun control is futile just because what we have right now has not prevented multiple tragic incidents. I don’t suffer from the illusion that all mass-murders can be prevented, but I am willing to consider what we might do, as a society, to make destructive weapons less likely to end up in the wrong hands.

I believe that this issue is worth continued examination and that we, as a society, can do better than live with the status quo and intransigent (and/or profit-motivated) gun rights views.

• Bob Beane is an economics graduate of the College of Wooster and an MBA accounting graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is also a bicycling advocate and has been a resident of Ahwatukee since 1992.

(3) comments

BambiB
BambiB

What a great idea! Have the highest level of scrutiny and most detailed background checks whenever someone wants to buy a relatively "more deadly" weapon!

So let's start with the largest mass-murder by a single individual in US history. It happened at the Happy Land dance club in New York City in 1990. The perpetrator was able to kill EIGHTY-SEVEN people! That's more than SEVEN TIMES the number of people slain during the Cinemark Massacre in Aurora. Clearly, anyone wanting to purchase so dangerous a weapon as that used in this mass murder should receive the HIGHEST and most INTENSIVE SCRUTINY of ANY weapons purchase.

So head on down to the police department, get your fingerprints taken and your mugshot, pay the $500 application fee, wait 6 months and if the investigation shows that you're not a shady character AND if the local police chief concurs, then you may purchase the same weapon used at the Happy Land dance club...

...a gallon of gas.

But not TWO gallons. After all, nobody needs an "arsenal".

/sarcasm

BHirsh
BHirsh

My, how "rational". How "sensible". How "logical"

Here's the reality that you ignore:

The people's common law right to arms exists independent of any written instrument (U.S. v. Cruikshank, 1875). Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution was added to enumerate rights of the people that could not be intruded upon by the federal government. This includes the Second Amendment, which guarantees the aforementioned people's common law right to arms. The right exists even if the Second Amendment didn't.

In 1939, the Supreme Court issued an opinion titled U.S. v. Miller. In it, the Court held that keeping and bearing a sawed-off shotgun was not protected activity under the Second Amendment, because no evidence was presented that it was "in common use" or that it "[bore] some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated milita." In doing so, the Miller decision created, de facto, a two-pronged test that defines what types of arms are protected for the people's possession and lawful use. By this precedented definition, semiautomatic so-called "assault weapons" (sic) are protected because they meet both criteria of the test. Done deal. You can't unring that bell.

In 2008, the Supreme Court finally was presented with a "ripe" case affording the opportunity to address the broad meaning of the Second Amendment, and the Court held that it protected an individual right unconnected with militia service, and that the Miller test defined what arms are "protected". You can't unring that bell, either.

In 2009, the Court heard the McDonald v. City of Chicago case, and incorporated Heller's interpretation to bind the states. That's the third toll of the bell, Mr. Beane.

Now, being that you are a "logical" and "sensible" and "rational" individual, it certainly must have dawned on you that your plea to ignore this reality is not logical at all. There is no logic in undermining the First Principles of our republic that have been addressed and established in Supreme Court precedent. It is demagoguery hawked as "common sense".

No sale, Mr. Beane. Take your snake oil wagon and move on to the next town.

Mike the Limey
Mike the Limey

Two years ago, in & around the town of Whitehaven, England, a guy called Derrick Bird shot & killed twelve people & injured more.
Firearms laws in the UK are amongst the strictest in the world, with mandatory licensing, no handguns or semi automatic rifles allowed & restrictions on both the amount & type of ammunition a firearms owner may possess.
Derrick Bird shot & killed the same number of people as Holmes did, yet he didn't have a handgun or a semi automatic rifle; he had a bolt action .22 rimfire rifle of the kind used to shoot rabbits & squirrels & a shotgun mainly used for pigeon & pheasant.
Tell me again how more restrictive laws will prevent mass shootings.........

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