The politics of guns

To the surprise of no one, anti-Second Amendment supporters seized the moment on Monday in an effort to pass sweeping gun control legislation, using the mass shooting tragedies that took place in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend as their backdrop.

“We do not need to debate one day longer on why mass killings take place in America. We’ve seen enough people killed in schools, in houses of worship, in malls, at movie theaters and stores. We know why. We don’t need to collect more data. We need to take action and we need to take it now,” National Education Association-New Hampshire President Megan Tuttle said during a Monday gathering of gun control advocates at the State House in Concord.

“Only one person has the power to start saving lives of our friends, our families and our school-aged children. That person is (Gov. Chris Sununu),” Tuttle added.

Talk about hyperbole!

Taking a somewhat less frenzied approach on Monday was U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., who had already been scheduled to address the Rotary Club of Nashua.

“We need to pass common sense gun safety measures, such as requiring criminal background checks for all gun purchases, and getting weapons of war off of our streets,” Hassan told Rotarians.

To be sure, there is no single factor that leads to the tragic events that took place during the weekend. The multiple reasons for these killings include, but are not limited to, access to guns and ammunition, disregard of one’s fellow humans and mental illness.

Because of these multiple factors, it is ridiculous to believe that simply initiating strict gun control measures is going to stop these killings. Restricting guns also will not do anything to hinder anyone from attacking people with a knife, – like what happened today in California – a chainsaw, a pipe bomb, a Molotov cocktail or an improvised explosive device.

On the other hand. …

The rather vague Second Amendment, ratified in December 1791, states simply: “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.”

Keep in mind that in 1791, our Founding Fathers likely thought of arms as either a single-shot musket or a bow and arrow. It is doubtful they envisioned fully automatic, or even semiautomatic, rifles and handguns of today.

We’re not sure why any private citizen needs an M16, an AR-15 or an AK-47. Where is the sport factor in such a weapon?

We also are not sure why Second Amendment advocates are so resistant to background checks and licensure for gun usage. Do they also believe motorists should be able to take to the highway without a driver’s license?

We, therefore, have no problem with thorough and mandatory background checks for gun purchases. However, we do not believe this is going to resolve the problem of gun violence. The way to stop such violence is to learn to respect those who are different from you. Until that happens, expect violence to continue.