During the 50’s and 60’s, the time was never right for integration. Of course, later meant never. In recent years, the time has not been right even to discuss gun control. Of course, not right now means not right ever.
The Second Amendment is quite clear despite its strange construction: “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.” The purpose of this amendment was to ensure that, in a largely dispersed society close to the frontier, people could defend themselves against invading European forces or hostile native tribes. It was not to enable citizens to take up arms against government, state or federal, or fellow citizens. Even so, in the modern world, we do not have any militias because they can serve no purpose; we have organized, trained, and well-equipped military forces for national defense. The very idea of a citizen-militia is an anachronistic absurdity. So, too, the Second Amendment.
The irony is that the Second Amendment, in guaranteeing the right of defense to protect lives is now the justification of the right to endanger them. Instead of militias with a sensible rationale, we have random or clustered wing-nuts, crack-pots, men with doubts about their masculinity, and women with a belief that a show of machismo will prove their equality (women who seek to be the equal of men lack ability and ambition). These deviants from normality and reality do nothing to promote “the security of a free state” and everything to imperil the security of a free people and their “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”
Yet the sociopathic solons of the National Rifle Association insist that the availability of multi-round, rapid-fire weapons is indispensable to the fulfillment of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, any arms at all, even of weapons of mass death. They have cowed legislators into bowing and scraping in servility to the idea that automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons are the symbol of a free people. So these wise men—always, men—are content with repeated massacres of—has anyone noticed?—mainly women and children in schools, churches, temples, malls, and theaters. For them, such murders are an acceptable price paid for by these victims in a cause neither realistic nor realizable. But to NRA officials, the symbolic value of, and the business in, such weapons have become the basis of their political power and personal wealth. And to elected officials, support of such mass-death-dealing weapons earns NRA contributions and enhances the chances of elective success. In defense of their benefits, these officials object to and obstruct any efforts by society to protect itself, as an outrageous travesty of the Constitution.
Time’s up. The Second Amendment can no longer be used as a fig leaf to cover up the mass murders of people by gunmen using weapons of mass death. There is not more time for postponing the discussion of assault weapons; there is not more time for any discussion about assault weapons except for deliberations leading to decisions and action. I propose the following. One, no private ownership—and none grandfathered—of automatic or semi-automatic weapons and ammunition. Two, no kits for converting single-shot weapons into multi-shot weapons. Three, registration of all guns and rifles (except air guns or rifles). Four, mandatory sentences for any illegal sales: no plea bargains, long terms, and heavy fines. Five, manufacturer liability for the production, distribution, and export of automatic or semi-automatic weapons and ammunition.
In this effort to prevent future carnage, I urge hunters to realize that their dues to the NRA are supporting what, but for a specious cause, would otherwise be regarded as a criminal enterprise; and to pay dues to hunting organizations instead. Hunters no more need the NRA to enable them to own hunting rifles than drivers need the American Automobile Association to ensure their right to own cars and trucks. The alternative is for hunters who continue their NRA membership to accept some responsibility for perpetuating mayhem and murder.