Monday, February 19, 2018

Who Is Killing Our Children?

Popular Economics Weekly

The fact that the NRA contributed $30 million to Donald Trump’s campaign is all we need to know about who is responsible for deaths of 14 high school children and 3 adults in Florida, or the 58 killed and 851 wounded in Las Vegas.

What made the NRA the killing machine it has become, from the sporting association it once was? The NRA contributed a total of $55 million to 2016 presidential campaigns.

We can thank the Second Amendment of our Constitution that enshrined gun ownership as an unalienable right, and to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller that interpreted its original wording: “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.” to mean every individual has the right to bear arms. But he added, that does not prevent the state from banning “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

We can also thank the gun manufacturers themselves that fund the lobbyists that keep Republican congressmen opposing all forms of gun control. We really should be talking about gun safety, rather than gun control, since gun owners aren’t required to have a license or training to own a gun, as is required for operators of other dangerous machines, like car owners.

We also know the carnage that guns can wreak. In 2016 alone there were more than 38,000 gun-related deaths, according to the Center for Disease Control. Just-released autopsy reports from the Las Vegas carnage show the damage done by military-style assault rifles at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.

A military-style assault rifle bullet travels 3,000 feet per second—more than 3 times the speed of a pistol bullet because it is meant to kill instantaneously. It has such power that many bodies of the Las Vegas victims were literally torn apart by bullets that were probably tumbling by the time they reached the victims more than 500 yards away from Stephen Paddock, the Mandalay Bay Hotel’s 32nd story shooter.

Military-style assault rifles have been banned before; during the Tommy gun era of 1930’s gangster wars, and in 1994 after a series of similar mass shootings with semi-automatic weapons. But it had a ten-year sunset clause that was never renewed when Republicans again dominated Congress.

There have been 1600 mass shootings since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre of elementary school children, according to Maureen Dowd.

When will American children again feel protected? When a Congress is elected that admits military-style, semi-automatic guns of all shapes and sizes are “dangerous and unusual weapons” needed only by those trained to use them—the police and members of our military.

Harlan Green © 2018

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