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Weapons and Amendments and Rights

We will be celebrating another 4th of July next week, looking forward to gathering with family and friends to enjoy the holiday. However, fireworks have already rocketed into view in many places, and the rhetoric associated with these fireworks is hateful, to say the least.
Most recently, we see representatives of Congress at a “sit in” on the floor of the House of Representatives with House Speaker Paul Ryan trying to call for order. Order, of course, is the last thing on the agenda. The cry of those seated was to call for a vote on two aspects of gun control: no gun sales to people on the “no fly” list and expand background checks.

So far “failed” is stamped on every piece of gun legislation that is brought forward. It’s a good bet that almost every person breathing is against using guns to slaughter innocent victims, but no matter how many people decry the violence, nothing substantial or concrete is done about it.

I thought that killing children at Sandyhook Elementary School in December 2012 in Newtown, Conn., would have propelled every politician on earth to clamber for gun control and pass it immediately. Like the killings of young people in Littleton, Colo., it produced no legislation, no change to gun laws. We’re all still shaking our heads.

The rush to protect people’s rights not only to bear arms but also to own assault rifles is incredible to some people, myself included. I’m certainly not against shooting, but I don’t think folks need to be armed with the same type of weapons that are used in armed conflict to hunt. What would happen to a deer taken down by a burst of gunfire from an AR-15 or other semi-automatic weapons.

Few people could have foreseen the number of intensity of conversations that have been started on and about guns: the use of them, the access to them, the sale of them, the control that so many people want to put on them. The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights was adopted Dec. 15, 1791 when U.S. citizens carried Matchlock or flintlock rifles, muskets and pistols, research shows. If we were talking about those weapons, the conversations would be radically different.

However, the guns under discussion now are those that not only kill but also annihilate whatever or whoever is the target. These are not guns that hunters need to pursue their sports, but somehow passing legislation to change what has come to be a bloody, violent status quo seems impossible.

As we gather this year to celebrate our nation’s birth, we must ask ourselves about the intent of those who wrote and signed our constitution. Surely if they had any idea of the massacre of innocents that has taken place in this country in recent history, they would have crafted their writing more clearly and precisely to protect all citizens from the bloodshed perpetrated by deadly weapons.

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