I have been an American patriot since my birth into a patriotic family 75 years ago. I love my country. I also love our flag and what it stands for and have served it well over the years. I want our country to be great again and stand as a shining example to the rest of the world of the many fruits enjoyed by a prosperous, civil and fair democracy for all of its people.
I have also been a staunch conservative and Republican voter these many years but I am about to have a falling out with the Republican Party over its failure to address the major gun control disaster in our country. I know I am among millions who feel the same way and our Republican leaders are squandering the Republican control of both Houses and the presidency by not making America safe again.
Of the 200 constitutionally based democratic style nations in the world today only three contain a citizen’s “right to bear arms” provision. The United States is one of the three. The other two are Guatemala and Mexico and their right to bear arms provision contains numerous restrictions on its application. Our Second Amendment to the Constitution has no restrictions of any kind. So if we are “one of a kind” out of 200 civilized nations a legitimate question to ask is “who’s crazy?” I think we are.
At the time the Second Amendment was enacted in 1791 we were a democracy in its infancy and perhaps somewhat fragile. We were an agrarian/rurally based society with many of our citizens located in remote areas living on and working farms. As such, they were somewhat endangered by possibly hostile Indians, bandits, or foreign forces of countries who thought our nation was ripe for takeover. So the Second Amendment gave our citizens the right to bear arms to protect their families and homesteads, and to maintain a “well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state.” It was written in the context of the time and its reference point a was ball and rod musket and not semi and fully automatic assault rifles. Also we certainly don’t have “a well regulated militia” as required in the Constitution unless the individual states’ National Guard units serve that purpose in which case they are already well-armed and well-regulated.
The time of the enactment of the Second Amendment has come and gone, and it needs to be repealed or changed to protect the citizens of the United States from any further carnage inflicted on them by maniac killers like the one we have just seen in Las Vegas. I’m looking to Congress to take action on this now.
Reinstitute the ban on assault rifles that was enacted under the Clinton administration in 1994 and which Congress, surely influenced by the NRA gun lobby money, allowed to expire in 2004. Since that time we have seen many mass murders all over our country using various assault rifles. Other than a brief moment of silence in both Houses after each mass murder, Congress has done nothing to stop the slaughter. It needs to stop it. Our country now suffers under a gun inflicted murder rate that is 10 times higher than 23 other First World countries, according to CBS.
As an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam I have seen first-hand over and over again the horror of what an AR-15 (M-16) or AK-47 can do to large numbers of human beings. I see no useful purpose that these weapons could possibly have in the hands of honest law-abiding citizens unless we really believe that we could be invaded by a foreign army or space aliens or anything else.
There have been previous Supreme Court rulings that these kind of weapons can be regulated or banned and not violate Second Amendment rights. Congress has failed on many occasions to exercise its power to get rid of assault rifles. Also, how did the Las Vegas killer manage to acquire 30 weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition over the past year without being stopped? That is enough arms to equip a radical Islamic terrorist cell. What is Homeland Security doing to protect our people regarding this problem? Obviously very little or nothing. They along with Congress have failed us again. Now is the time to act on a strong gun control measure and stand up to the NRA. The current discussion in Congress on banning “bump fire stocks” is an appeasement measure at best. Congress needs to act boldly on this gun crisis and needs to do it now.
Bruce T. Jacobs, Sr. is a Savannah resident.