With the Washington Post essentially singing the praises of the Everytown for Gun Safety anti-Second Amendment group in Wednesday’s edition, perhaps the time has come to ask the billionaire-backed gun prohibition lobby a couple of important questions.
Why are you so determined to penalize the nation’s 100-million-plus law-abiding gun owners for crimes committed by a minority of miscreants, and suicides committed by self-destructive individuals whose acts of desperation are hardly reflective the firearms fraternity in general?
Where did you get the notion that your lifestyle, which possibly includes guilt and remorse over someone’s self-inflicted death, should become a national mandate?
A story in the Burlington Free Press tells about the effort by the family of a recent Vermont suicide victim to impose waiting periods on all gun buyers in the state because their loved one purchased a gun one morning and used it to end his life that same afternoon. In his obituary, the story notes, the family asks readers to “work for legislation that imposes a reasonable waiting period between firearm purchase and possession to provide a cooling off period to guard against impulsive acts of violence.”
Tens of millions of other gun owners didn’t hurt anyone, or themselves, on the day this man was overcome by his own despair. While suicide is a terrible tragedy with devastating impacts on families and friends, should it be used to leverage against the constitutional rights of the people at large?
Washington State voters recently approved an initiative that strips young adults of their Second Amendment rights to buy or own semiautomatic rifles because a 19-year-old monster opened fire at a Florida high school in February, and another 19-year-old murdered three of his friends, including a former girlfriend, at a party more than two years ago. Last year’s Las Vegas mass shooting is irrelevant because the killer was in his 60s, and there is still no known motive.
Clearly, proponents of these restrictive anti-rights measures judge all gun owners by the behavior of a relative handful of people who misused firearms. Against what other social group is it considered fashionable, and is it condoned, to practice such broad brush discrimination? Cities across the country have declared themselves “sanctuaries” for “undocumented immigrants” (illegal aliens), despite reports such as the one in Salina.com that the Center for Immigration Studies examined data that concluded “noncitizens are more likely to commit federal crimes than citizens — crimes that have nothing to do with immigration issues.”
Writing at The Daily Signal, Amy Swearer, a legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the Heritage Foundation, reported, “The facts tell us that most commonly proposed gun control measures are already ineffective at preventing mass public shootings in states where they are currently implemented, and that they will continue to be ineffective at preventing future tragedies.”
She also took issue with gun prohibition lobby claims about widespread mass shootings.
“Although some gun control advocates claim there have been more than 300 ‘mass shootings’ this year,” Swearer added, “that number is a product of using deceptive and largely meaningless definitions that include incidents far removed from the context commonly associated with the term.
“Since Jan. 1, 2018,” she noted, “there have been 11 mass public shootings in which three or more people other than the shooter were killed, parameters derived from Congress’ definitions of ‘mass shooting’ and ‘mass killing.’”
At the heart of this debate is a constitutionally enshrined fundamental right, spelled out in clear language that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed twice in the past ten years. Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, has recently argued that anti-gunners have dropped all pretenses and are openly campaigning to reduce the right to keep and bear arms to the level of a heavily-regulated privilege, or erase it altogether from the Bill of Rights.
Incidentally, Gottlieb has championed a suicide prevention pilot effort in Washington State in cooperation with the Forefront Suicide Prevention project at the University of Washington.
At some point, rights activists are increasingly contending, the Supreme Court will be unable to dodge its responsibility to the Constitution and put the brakes on this regulatory erosion of one what many believe to be the most important tenet of the Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment protects the right of the people to have the ability to protect all the other rights. That may be unpleasant to some and abhorrent to others, but rights are rights, and simply because some people abuse those rights cannot be an excuse to impair, infringe or deny them to everyone.