In the first part of Guns: Weapons of Mass Destruction, we discussed the tragedies that happened in Tucson and Garden City, both acts of violence committed with handguns. I made the argument that guns have become America’s personal weapon of mass destruction (WMD). Although there was a federal assault weapon ban, it expired in 2004 and hasn’t been successfully revived. Finally, in Part One, there was the hope that we could turn from WMD to Weapons of Mass Construction. In Part Two, we briefly look at how deregulation and the impact of special interests have taken the Second Amendment and created one of America’s WMDs.
Despite the significant number of civilians and police officers who have lost their lives to guns, the National Rifle Association (NRA) continues to argue that the Second Amendment should win the day. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of the free state, the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” As the second entry on the Bill of Rights, folks have made the Second Amendment a significant source of local ordinances (e.g., Washington DC’s handgun ban) and even more case law, where judges go back with the power to invalidate a law. The NRA has an opportunity to be a voice of reason for those who use guns for lawful and legitimate reasons; reasonable regulations and screenings will limit the access of these individuals or diminish their ability to be sportsmen.
These are alarming times. Popular political-like figures put congressional districts on sniper cross hairs. A Congressperson who represented one of those districts is very blessed to be alive. We have a problem with bullying in this country and we’ve already seen bullied children seek retribution with a handgun. We see folks who are hopeless because they feel they’ve been robbed by a bank; the only hope they see is murder/suicide with a handgun. In every way imaginable—economically, physically, emotionally, socially—Americans are feeling pushed to the limits. In this environment, mental health issues become challenging. Those individuals on the brink fall off the edge.
What happened in Tucson was a terrorist act committed by someone who had fallen through the cracks. We need to heal, not hurt. This time, I offer the challenge, and I hope that you’ll provide sane, rational solutions for WMC—Weapons of Mass Construction.