July 21, 2019

American Savage: Weapons of Mass Distribution

“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Most of you dear readers will recognize this as the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. No typos — it really is written like two halves of different sentences, squished together by a lazy legislator.
In Rock Hill, a municipality just north of Webster Groves, the second Amendment is once again in play.  Last week, the Rock Hill Board of Aldermen voted in favor of an amendment outlawing “open-carry” gun rights in their city. Packers-of-the-heat in Rock Hill will now have to conceal their weaponry when out in public, thus encouraging more violent crimes and handcuffing the American spirit of individuality.
This is all nonsense, of course, and only here in the Midwest could such an absurd argument take hold of a seemingly no-brainer issue. Missouri passed a law in 2003 allowing permitted individuals to carry concealed firearms on their person. Gun rights advocates have argued endlessly that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry guns will prevent crime.
But then, why conceal the weapon, asked a theoretical NRA supporter, probably while scratching his temple with a 9mm. So Missouri was wide open for open-carry unless specifically prohibited, which Rock Hill has now done.
But fear not, lead-spitting gun wielders — the NRA has sprung to the support of machines designed specifically to maim and kill. In a brief press release, the NRA condemned the Rock Hill law, and urged locals to call their alderman and demand an explanation for this gross infringement on their rights.
The problem? The constitution doesn’t give you the right to own a gun. It technically provides citizens can “bear arms.” And in the 21st century, ladies and gentlemen, arms can mean guns, tanks, bombs or weaponized plutonium.
But of course, the framers of the constitution didn’t know about our advancements in weaponry, argue the pro-gun lobby. Of course, they say, there should be restrictions on the average man’s access to deadly weapons. But then, the logic stops.
Let’s forget the fact that the Second Amendment reads a lot more like a law protecting state militias (always known for being reasonable, high-minded, dutiful people of unquestioned integrity) from having their guns stolen by the army. Let’s forget this law was written when all we had were single-shot muskets (to say nothing of street lights and armed police forces). Let’s forget nearly every other nation on earth with less guns than us also has less violent crime.
Forgetting all of that, let’s remember when a man entered a Carson City, Nevada IHOP and opened fire with an AK-47 last week. He killed four people, including himself, after entering the restaurant and opening fire on a group of uniformed National Guard members.
Eduardo Sencion shot a total of 11 people before taking his life outside the busy shopping center where the IHOP is located. He purchased and carried his weapon legally, and now he is a murderer.
Can we come together and agree that this goes too far? Can we argue, with reasonable heads and indoor voices, that military-grade assault rifles should not be readily available to the public (specifically ones with a history of mental instability, as Sencion’s family has indicated)?
Can we agree on some practical idealism? Guns will never vanish from our country, and they shouldn’t. There is too rich a history of sport with firearms to eliminate it from out cultural understanding.
Authorities have yet to release whether Sencion’s AK-47 had been illegally modified to fire fully automatic. Allowing only semi-automatic machine guns, which can be easily modified, is a lazy law that gets people killed.
Can’t we agree on machine guns, like in Carson City, or in extended magazines, like in Tucson? Can’t we agree that even if you need a pistol for self-protection, you probably don’t need to be able to fire it 30 times and murder a score of civilians and elected officials?
Can’t we agree that nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green didn’t deserve to die to protect Jared Lee Loughner’s right to more bullets?
Christina was born on 9/11, and even appeared in a book entitled “Faces of Hope.”  The right of the people, to keep and bear arms has trumped her right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

American Savage is a weekly column by Journal opinion editor Collin Reischman

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