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Sun Dec 16, 2012, 01:03 AM

When the price of individualism is just too high [View all]

Individual rights, like everything else, has its price. When that price far exceeds the benefits, society has the duty to curtail the right. I believe we have gone far beyond the tipping point when it comes to gun ownership. I assume that even if the Supreme Court wrongly interpreted the thrust of the 2nd Amendment, their decision is, in fact, the law of the land. If, however, a democracy is unable to correct its most egregious mistakes, what use is it?

So why is it that despite a myriad of facts concerning America’s yearly slaughter, we refuse to reconsider the gun issue? I suggest that we are at the mercy of the gun lobby, which includes not only the National Rifle Association, but also those who manufacture and sell firearms. Killing off Americans, including the 20 murdered children, flows from the political clout of a big lucrative business, and there is not a politician in sight who dares to confront that well-financed lobby.

The last time I ventured onto this thin ice, in another forum, there were three responses that repeated the shibboleth,“Guns don’t kill people, people do.” I was reminded that cars kill more people than guns, and no one is in favor of doing away with automobiles. How absurd! I use my car for lots of things, but it was not manufactured and sold to me with the sole purpose of giving me the ability to put a large hole in someone—or twenty someones.

I believe there are three steps that might be quickly taken that will not deny appropriate gun ownership.

1-The reinstitution of the prohibition on the ownership of assault weapons. Outside military use, they have no purpose other than mass killing. We don’t allow civilians to purchase or own machine guns or bazookas.

2-The control of extended ammunition clips. While we cannot easily control guns, we can control bullets. The only purpose for ammunition clips of 50 projectiles is mass slaughter.

3-The carefully control of gun sales by making them available in licensed stores where there is both a waiting period and a thorough background check of potential customers. The easy availability of almost any weapon in sporting goods stores or in gun shows makes it almost impossible to keep them from the hands of the mentally ill, or common criminals.

I assume, and will be quickly corrected if I am wrong, that none of these three steps would violated the guarantees of the 2nd amendment. But nor would their implementation solve the larger problem. Nevertheless, they may be reasonable steps that might make far less likely the slaughter of children in some community grade school while they are safely learning how to read.

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