Somebody owes Saddam Hussein an apology. Those weapons of mass destruction we spent millions of dollars looking for over in Iraq, are right here at home, in the good old US of A. They’re called AR-15 Assault Rifles.To the families of the many victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting, my sincere condolences. The Orlando Sentinel has posted the names and profile info on some of the persons who lost their lives. To the many wounded victims whose conditions are still up in the air, I pray for physical and emotional recovery.
Here we are again as a nation, facing the horror of mass-scale gun violence at the hand of some poor, misguided, misunderstood, misdiagnosed, miscreant with an assault rifle.
Maybe it’s just a coincidence that this Thursday the United States Supreme Court will decide whether or not to review the case of Shew v. Malloy, which challenges gun control laws passed in Connecticut after the December 2012 massacre at the Newtown Connecticut Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children aged between 6 and 7, and 6 adults, mainly using an AR-15 made by Bushmaster.
Last October, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld the Connecticut law, which banned the use of large capacity magazines. The 2nd Circuit covers New York, Connecticut and Vermont. Lanza used a number of 30-round magazines during his massacre at the school, and was able to get off 154 rounds in less than five minutes.
Guns rights activists want the Connecticut law overturned. After all, the 2nd Amendment grants citizens the right to bear assault rifles, doesn’t it? The Connecticut law will likely be upheld, at least until the Senate confirms somebody to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Right now, the court is split 4-4. By doing nothing now, the justices can wait and take the case up later when one side or the other has a clear majority.
The age-old question under debate in our country is whether ordinary citizens should be allowed to “bear” military-grade weapons. For me, and I’m sure one or two of you, the question kind of answers itself.
The AR-15 was originally designed as a fully-automatic military weapon, but even its civilian semi-automatic counterpart fires about three rounds per second. In the wrong hands, and with high-capacity magazines, it is a devastating weapon, as Saturday night’s shooting proves.
The AR-15 is so effective at killing that the gun rights groups involved in the Shew v. Molly case freely admit in court documents that it’s “the best-selling rifle type in the United States.” Priced at $1,200 to $5,000 and up, the AR-15 is the mass murderer’s weapon of choice.
Omar Mateen used a Sig Sauer AR-15 in his deadly Sunday morning assault. According to witnesses, his shooting rampage lasted for the full length of the song that was being played at the time.
I give it about 60 days, and the furor over the latest mass shooting will start slowing down. There will be calls for more gun control, but the gun lobby will buckle down and make its usual arguments. The voices of care and concern will again subside– content with having spoken up at all. And the nation will march onward satisfied with a system that does a poor job of keeping assault rifles out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill and offers no protection whatsoever from the otherwise sane but bitter, angry, jealous, rejected, hate-filled people who suddenly snap and wreak havoc upon the rest of us.
I really hope I’m wrong; that maybe this time things will be different; that the voices of reason will prevail and a change in how we regulate assault weapons will result. Am I optimistic? No, I’m not.