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Allan Brawley Headshot

Ban Battlefield Weapons -- At the Very Least

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It is well past the time to stop the nonsense about the Second Amendment that is put forth by all of those involved in the current gun control debate. Our children, family members and friends continue to suffer death, terrible injury and lifelong suffering caused by the greed of the gun industry, its lobbyists and those public officials who do its bidding. While we have become accustomed to hearing the pro-gun folks support their position by invoking the Second Amendment, what is astonishing about the current dialogue is the fact that many of the strongest advocates for sensible gun control laws are buying into or, at least, paying lip service to this narrative. By doing so, they are giving Remington, Smith and Wesson, Walmart, the National Rifle Association, the political right, and all their allies the same cover they have used for decades to continue to pursue their own selfish interests regardless of the costs incurred by American society as a whole.

It is amazing to hear even the most serious gun control advocates, including the president, paying homage to the Second Amendment, assuring everyone, including their opponents in this struggle, that they believe that every American has the right -- if not God-given then certainly Constitutionally-guaranteed -- to own guns. This may be a calculated political move to gain as wide support as possible for the necessary reforms, but it is just as likely to have the opposite effect. They would be better advised to state frankly that the Second Amendment is an historical artifact of the time it was written and has no practical or constructive application today.

Ironically, much of the extreme and supposedly patriotic fervor expressed about the Second Amendment emanates from those who see our own government as the enemy. And how, exactly, do these gun-toting patriots plan to protect their liberty -- and ours, whether we want them to or not -- against the full force of the U. S. military? Presumably, they will take to the hills with their assault weapons and defy their government and all of its armed forces -- tanks, planes, drones, and all the rest. Such a proposition is laughable and should be dismissed out of hand. The broader societal costs of buying into this anti-government rhetoric are enormous and need to be exposed for the dangerous fantasy that it represents.

Is there a legitimate argument for gun ownership by responsible individuals? Of course. There is nothing wrong with hunting rifles and shotguns in the right hands, as well as handguns for home protection, providing all of these weapons are registered and the owners have undergone thorough background checks. But, we already have an estimated 300 million guns in America -- virtually one for every man, woman and child. How many more do we need?

What make no sense at all and is certainly not sanctioned by the Second Amendment is marketing and selling battlefield weapons and ammunition to ordinary citizens. The types of people who want these weapons are precisely the ones who should not have them. For decades, the gun industry, its lobbyists, and their political allies have demonstrated no interest in protecting the public. On the contrary, they have pursued maximum profits and political power regardless of the terrible collateral damage they have inflicted on thousands of innocent victims. For these folks, the Second Amendment has provided potent cover for their cynical and wholly self-serving actions and they will continue to use it as long as we let them. The time is way overdue to bring about comprehensive gun control measures of the type proposed by the president.