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Well Regulated

Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. ~ John F. Kennedy

Like most reasonable people, I’m disgusted with what happened in Newtown Connecticut last Friday. Sadness and disbelief cast a pall over much of the office that afternoon. On Facebook and other social media, I started to see prayer chains, calls for peace and understanding. Nothing bad or offensive, but then I noticed a few outlandish items slowly start to creep in that bothered me. But for clarity and space, I’m only going to focus on one for this week’s column. 

 “If the staff had been armed this could have been prevented.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Arming teachers. In elementary school. Am I the only person who hears this and thinks, “That person must have been dropped on their head as a small child?” If you think that arming teachers is an answer to this issue, I’m not even sure you should be a part of the conversation that needs to happen.

Guns have never really been an "issue" of mine. I do not own any guns but neither do I live in fear of gun violence but enough is enough. We've had SEVEN mass shootings this year. SEVEN! I'm not in favor of repealing the Second Amendment but I am in favor of well-regulating it with severe penalties (including prison) and stiff fines if your legally obtained firearm is used in the commission of a crime where fatalities result. EVEN if the gun is stolen from you. If you are not responsible enough that you cannot adequately store your weapons, you should pay the price with criminal and civil liability.

I’m also in favor of registering all guns and closing the loop holes in the private gun market. Including mandatory classes and insurance coverage. Yes, I know that criminals will still use guns in the commission of crimes and they will be vigorously prosecuted like always. However, criminals are not going on mass shooting sprees. Seventy-five percent of all the guns used in the more than 60 mass shootings over the past 30 years were obtained legally. (Source: Mother Jones)

John Oliver summed it up best when he said, “One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take off our shoes at the airport. Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our gun regulation.”

Not a single person died on that plane yet it spawned an over-reaction that still boggles my mind but we refuse to take action to prevent tragedies that involve firearms. Tim McVeigh blew up a building with fertilizer. Guess what? We now regulate and track the sale of fertilizer. For the love of Mike, I can't even buy the good Sudafed without having to show my license.

This right here:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY, provide for the common defense, PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Trumps this:

"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."

It doesn’t get more general welfarey than being allowed to not die in your classroom or your place of worship. Save the tired arguments about forks and pencils. They’re stupid. No one has killed a group of people by eating them to death nor has anyone died in a mass misspelling. I’m also pretty confident that no one has stabbed to death a room full of people with either a fork or a writing tool.

So this doesn’t get twisted into something it’s not, I AM NOT CALLING FOR A REPEAL on the Second Amendment. I’m calling for well-regulating it and if you can’t handle some regulation perhaps you’re not mature enough to be a gun owner.

Barbara Mulvey-Welsh is a mother, writer and blogger raising kids and a husband in Plymouth. Check out her blog at "Did I Say That Out Loud?"  Use caution when reading around the family, there is some strong language.

mark cool December 21, 2012 at 12:24 AM
David - you wrote: ... there is plenty of data out there that shows that more guns mean more gun violence. ~ I won't disputing that. Yet I truly don't thing think that's the fundamental argument. Rather, I think the fear of those law abiding, God fearing, good people out there, bearing witness to the developing societal chasm of differences, don't want to be left defenseless against the "bad guys" that have uninhibited access to "unreasonable" firepower. Do you think for one second, any of those Fathers in Newtown, if witness to the horrific deed on their child, wouldn't have wishes he had been there with a bazooka to defend his child? In simplest terms, I believe all would go to the nines to defend family or home. The true question is whether it's "appropriate" to place a disadvantage on those that would defend wives, sons or daughters? If folks would answer honestly, without the echoes of "jumbya" filtering their instinctual response, I think the the answer would be clear. We started this conversation with more guns translating into more violence... and I agree. More violence would be on those law abiding, God fearing, good people out there that utter words of temperance and misplaced trust in enforcement of current law. I pray none of us have such an ordeal, but if the ordeal is ever realized, I pray I (if not others) am not the sheep confronted by the wolf.
BHirsh December 21, 2012 at 12:39 AM
David KEnt, you wrote: Jack Burton says: There are “millions upon millions of ARs and AKs in the hands of law abiding citizens” Hmmmm… not according to the Congressional Research Service… http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32842.pdf … which says of the United States in 2009: “By the year 2009 the estimated total number of firearms available to civilians in the U.S. had increased to approximately 310 million: 114 million handguns, 110 million rifles, and 86 million shotguns” … “data are not available on the number of ‘assault weapons’ in private possession or available for sale, but one study estimated that 1.5 million assault weapons were privately owned in 1994.” Let’s see: 1.5 million out of 310 million: That’s less than a whopping one half of one percent Jack! Now, the assault weapon estimate is pretty old. Why don’t I give you the benefit of the doubt and double the assault weapon percentage to 1%. I’m sorry Jack, but Americans don’t own “millions upon millions” of assault weapons. Assault weapons most definitely ARE unusual. _________________________________________________________ Irrelevant. The Miller test is: that they are in common use (they are); that they bear some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia (they do) THAT is the only thing that counts, per precedent.
David Kent December 21, 2012 at 01:02 AM
Come on Mark, do you really think that people are buying AR-15s with large ammo clips to protect their families? No way man! Those types of weapons are being purchased by collectors and by guys who just love the feel of a bad a** weapon in their hands. Have you ever heard of a home invasion by people armed with military-style weapons? Perhaps you have, but let’s be sensible here: That’s EXCEEDINGLY rare. No, hand guns are the dominant weapons of choice for home invaders, that is, by people who threaten families. So a hand gun, or perhaps a conventional rifle, is the appropriate weapon for someone looking to protect his/her family. There’s no need for them to arm up as if they're patrolling a dangerous sector of Baghdad! Now, even if home owners DID employ assault weapons, that wouldn’t be a problem if a side effect of that didn’t exist: The fact that they’re also available to mentally unstable people like the Newtown shooter. But, as we see over and over, that side effect does exist. So, allowing average citizens to overarm with assault weapons is bad for society.
David Kent December 21, 2012 at 01:05 AM
One half of one percent is common BHirsh? Not very I'm afraid.
BHirsh December 21, 2012 at 03:23 PM
David, I don't know what dimension you inhabit, but down here in the three we're familiar with, military-pattern semi-auto rifles are (and have been for quite awhile) de rigeur. That's just a fact. Besides handguns, what rifles have been flying of the shelves over the last decade? (rhetorical, but I'll answer it anyway) The very rifles you say are not in common use. I guess since they're buying them but not using them, they got them as investments, right? [eyecross] Please. You're in denial.

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