A troubling piece appeared Jan. 11 in the Daily Republic: “. . . [In Vacaville] police seized two pounds of marijuana, 170 marijuana plants, an AR-15 assault rifle, a shotgun, a machine gun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.”
An AR-15? A machine gun? Dear brothers and sisters of self-defense: you are not the problem. You respect guns and what they can do. You’ve educated yourselves about safety. You don’t “go postal.” You’re not the problem. If everyone were like you, we could all own AR-15s and machine guns and there would be no headlines. But your ferocious defense of your “right” to own such military weapons of mass killing enables both the above scenario and our periodic sickening massacres.
Here’s what happens. These weapons “ooze” out into the wrong hands. They get transported from somewhere. They get stolen. They’re sold in the parking lots of gun shows. They end up in non-NRA hands.
And lots of innocent people die. It can’t continue.
All the constitutional defenses fall short. If the Second Amendment allowed unrestricted gun ownership, it would have been placed in the First Amendment. There, the Founders placed no restrictions (although they knew such extreme liberties would be later tempered by case law or codes for common-sense reasons). They wanted those freedoms to be maximized.
The Founders put guns into another amendment and restricted ownership to use in a militia to “repel Invasions and suppress Insurrections” (Section 8). Notice that the militia is to “suppress insurrections,” not cause them. No constitution on Earth provides for its citizens to shoot its own officers. The Constitution only allows us to use ballots to alter our government, not bullets. Don’t kid yourselves about some imaginary unrestricted freedom to carry.
And can we please leave God out of this? Mr. Huckabee claims that the recent massacre happened because we’ve “kicked God out of our schools.” Humans can’t kick God out of anything.
What about stories about how dictators confiscated guns? These stories are a misuse of history. With regard to Hitler, he actually relaxed gun controls to give Germans more guns after the Treaty of Versailles had disarmed the country. Yes, Jews were not allowed to have guns, but who believes that if they had fought back, the result would have been for the Nazis to have humbly backed down?
There is also no evidence that Japan ever wanted to invade the U.S. Their goal was the conquest of East Asia.
Comparisons to nations with totally different histories and cultures from ours are irrelevant.
Efforts to identify likely future perpetrators will probably fail. Only a small number of mentally ill people become murderously enraged. Only a small number of normal people become murderously enraged. We will find that almost everyone becomes murderously enraged at some time or other in their lives. The point is, they must not have a military weapon close at hand.
Because recently a line was crossed.
Our quandary about how to solve this complex problem can be reduced to this: We are facing a 30-year struggle to remove military-style weapons from our society. People may die in this struggle. But no sane society should allow widespread ownership of machine guns and assault rifles.
Jack Batson is a former member of the Fairfield City Council. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.