Let’s Repeal Newer Gun Legislation, Not the 2nd Amendment

Unfortunately, I could not make it down to DC for the March last Saturday. I did, however, watch a lot of the events on News Channel 8 which is a sister station of WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington D.C. I do not know these students, but they made me proud. Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with their positions, I think these young people should be praised and not chastised or in some cases vilified. Yes, they had assistance with organizing. Who doesn’t need help with an operation of that size or one in a distant community?

On the local news, I saw a group of Moms from my area who helped find lodging with volunteer families for many students. Local vendors provided items and services at discounted rates and many donated their goods and services. I know that some airlines allowed groups to charter jets. Robert Kraft provided a Patriot aircraft for transportation. I have not seen any reports, but I suspect that teachers helped prepare speeches.

At the very least give credit to the young people who delivered remarks on stage. Public speaking has always been fear for many people, and how many of us have stood before so many people to speak into a microphone. I even agree with Rick Santorum because I hope these young people are learning CPR back in their communities.

I’ll disagree with Mr. Santorum because I believe that the young people participating in the various marches were engaged in active learning. More importantly, they were demonstrating what it means to be human. They care. It’s sad to me that many critics under the veil of our Constitution belittle these young individuals. Somehow the critics must have forgotten the idea that we are all supposed to have the same rights.

Let us all think back to the times when we were kids or teens in school. If you’re anything like me, I imagine that at least once you have thought or remarked that “THIS IS CRAZY” upon hearing the latest episode of school violence, violence in your or any community for that matter, or some shooting be it an individual, a mass shooting, or even some unintentional discharge resulting in the loss of life. For these young people, FOR OUR KIDS, this is their NORMAL not in a foreign land but here in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. These “crazy” events happen in urban areas, in rural communities, suburbia, exurbia, and the sticks. It’s nuts. Regardless of where one stands on the “gun control” / “gun rights” debate, we should all agree that what’s happening in our country today in terms of violence needs to stop.

How to stop the violence. How to stop the bullying. Those are questions that we need to talk about together. We need to communicate with one another and stop shouting without listening. From my observations, that’s what these young people are really advocating. They don’t have all the answers just like my generation doesn’t have all the answers. They’re just the ones who have spent their entire lives with this “NEW NORMAL.” Folks, Enough is Enough.

I see these 15 minutes of fame pundits (well it’s more like 15 hours thanks to all the social media) asserting that these young people have no real plans of action or are too focused on what are just artificial scapegoats in guns and the NRA. They say the students neglect the root causes of society.

I call BS.

Look, I don’t think firearms are the sole reason for the violence and discord.

I’ve seen all these social media memes, listened to pundits, and read some well-researched arguments about how guns aren’t the issue. All relevant points and I do believe that the core of the gun violence problems/school discipline problems / poor worker attitude / poor supervisor or management attitude / seemingly fewer manners / seemingly less common courtesy / just a general lack of respect / etc., etc., etc., is society in general.

That said, take your pick as to what aspects of society. It could be bad parenting, being too lenient or soft, pushing people beyond a breaking point, television, video games, social media, and so on, and so on, and so on.

I don’t know, and I don’t have a solution.

Well, I do have a means to a solution which is everyone putting aside their egos and biases for real discussions and then working together on what is practically an infinite number of problems. Many of these problems are unique to that location so a single answer isn’t the right answer everywhere. I just know that nothing will change if we insist on talking at one another instead of with one another. I can’t be alone in my repetition of that belief.

Yesterday I heard the argument that these students and people like me should care more about abortion because more lives are lost there.

Perhaps.

Here, I’m not typing about abortion. I’m not typing about repression or an individual’s right of control over their own body. I’m not typing about “pro-life” being equated with “pro-birth.” I’m not typing about the unborn.

I’m most certainly not SHAMING any woman. I’m most certainly not disparaging the March For Life.

I asked the critic. What besides overturning Roe v. Wade and defunding Planned Parenthood do you propose to stop abortions?

I didn’t hear anything about the complex societal or social problems that might contribute to abortions. What about the cost of health care or other issues of poverty for example? Aside from being more “pro-life,” SCOTUS, Planned Parenthood and intimidating or demeaning young girls and women, I honestly feel challenged to think about what else this critic felt could or should be done. This exchange was like so many others of which I’ve heard or been a part.

Support adoption?

I’m obviously pro-adoption. If I wasn’t then I would not be an adoptive father. I can also talk your ear off about how difficult it is to adopt a child. If a biological parent had to complete all the paperwork, undergo all the background checks, provide details about one’s life in every state where one has lived since the age of 18, various safety inspections of one’s home, all the references, and then take a financial hit from closing retirement benefits accrued at a previous job in another state, I truly believe that the number of unwanted or unintentionally pregnancies would drop significantly which might in turn reduce the number of abortions.

I got off topic and repetitive, but can people just agree that many of the issues that lead to abortions are the same as issues that lead to violence?

Back to the point:

As a Professor of US Political and Southern History, I can argue about interpretations of the 2nd Amendment. Admittedly I believe that the legal interpretation during 217 years of precedent from ratification in the year 1791 until the SCOTUS decision in Heller is more accurate than the new legal interpretation we have had for about the past 10 years. Your opinion may differ.

I’m certainly not anti-gun. As a rural farm boy in South Louisiana, I often had my .22 rifle in my truck when I drove to school. Most friends had shotguns or rifles in their trucks as well. Unlike them, I did not hunt, but I encountered my fair share of cottonmouths and copperheads out on the water fishing or running my lines. None of us ever thought about using a firearm on campus. A gun is a tool. Too much power is just as dangerous as too little power. For example, it would have been asinine for me to use that .22 or my Glock if for some reason I went deer hunting or knew that I might encounter a large nuisance gator. Likewise, if I used my 30/06 to take out a field mouse running toward the berry fields instead of the woods while I was bush hogging or baling hay that would have been stupid as well.

I agree that criminals do not obey laws.

I’ll also argue that laws are necessary in a free society. It’s true that to have freedom one must sacrifice freedom. Discipline isn’t an enemy. It’s the extremes that we need to fear, and a proper balance that we must strive to obtain. That’s what our Founding Fathers accomplished with the drafting and ratification of our Constitution. We aren’t a monarchy. We aren’t a democracy. We are a Republic.

I do think certain laws are needed. Old ones need to be enforced and in some cases, new ones need to be written and adopted. I get frustrated if I must wait for a red light, but I wouldn’t want to drive where every intersection is a 4-way stop or involves a round-a-bout. It’s scary to think of an America today without traffic signals. When it comes to guns, however, any mention of a law seems to lead to nothing but arguments.

I have my ideas about reforms, but I’m going to pitch a hanging curveball for either side to hit out of the park. For gun control, how about if we REPEAL specific restrictions about guns.

No, I’m not advocating a repeal or any changes to the 2nd Amendment. I lack both the eloquence and knowledge of retired Justice John Paul Stevens.

For those criticizing Justice Stevens, he did not suggest the confiscation of guns. He understands, better than most of us, that the repeal of an amendment requires a new amendment to be ratified. Unlike most of us walking the planet today, he witnessed the only time in US history when such an action happened. I do not know his intent, but I read his Op-Ed as another attempt to facilitate rational discussion based upon the facts today and historical precedent.

YES, I said REPEAL some restrictions, and restrictions that only became enacted since I became an adult.

With this proposal, guns would be considered just like other tools. Guns are powerful and can be deadly, but so can several tools or “modern” conveniences/tools such as automobiles.

If I recall my statistics accurately, the National Center for Health found that the likelihood of death due to an incident with any motor vehicle is approximately 1 in 100. For comparison sake, the chance of death from cancer or heart disease is something like 1 in 6. The chance of death from a foreign-born terrorist is in the ballpark of 1 in 45,000 while suicide or poisoning (including overdoses) is in the 1 in 100 range.

The chance of death due to an assault with a gun is about 1 in 300+.

In other words, there are certainly things more likely to result in death or injury than firearms and things less likely such as being dying as a victim of a cataclysmic storm which is about 1 in 66,000. I knew people who died because of all the conditions or events typed above, and I mourned those who passed regardless of how. A life is still a life, and a death is still a death. Whether one (1) or ten thousand (10,000), humankind is affected and thus am I and you because we are part of humankind.

Keeping those general statistics in mind, let’s repeal 3 statutes that our system codified in “modern” times.

These happened after I turned 18, and I had graduated from high school where my friends and I kept firearms in our vehicles parked on school grounds. It seems like everyone argues in favor of the “olden” days when things apparently weren’t “Crazy.”

Obviously, violence is not new, but I’m just asking if your or my 2nd Amendment rights were being violated prior to these statutes that I suggest we repeal to at the very least start over from those “olden” days when my generation walked the schools as students?

  1. The Dickey Amendment that is part of Public Law 104–208 which passed in 1996.

Yes, repeal a law that has only been on the books for 22 years. I know that the recently passed Omnibus funding bill makes alterations to Dickey, so please spare me that argument.

What the omnibus doesn’t address, however, is that for those adjustments to mean anything then the Tiahrt Amendments need to be addressed so:

  1. The Tiahrt Amendment that became attached permanently to DOJ Appropriations in the fiscal year 2007. It began as a rider to DOJ Appropriations in the fiscal year 2003. One can easily look up DOJ Appropriations for any year which I encourage readers to do.

Here, I’ll just link 2 pieces about Tiahrt from different perspectives, Gifford Law Center and NRA-ILA.

Yes, repeal something that first appeared in 2003 or 15 years ago. It’s true that Congresses since the 110th which made Tiahrt a permanent attachment have passed subsequent legislation altering its original scope. Still, nobody seems to agree about what information can and cannot be obtained because of the quagmire.

Let’s just repeal Tiahrt.

  1. 15 U.S. Code Chapter 105 enacted into law in 2005.

Yes, repeal a law that has been on the books for less than 13 years. I know, the avoidance of lawsuits and burdening our court system is a given. Other industries do have similar, although more limited protections. I’m not denying that fact.

Yet, just compare the industry often used to “prove” the argument that this law is necessary for the firearms industry. Remember this protection only began at the federal level in 2005 or 214 years following the ratification of the 2nd Amendment.

The automobile industry:

Can you imagine today if buyers of cars today were anti-safety instead of anti-regulation? If not for the threat of liability and regulations, seatbelts would not have been mandated and standardized in 68. State’s would not have passed laws requiring usage. Air bags would not have been required for all cars since 1998. Manufacturers would not have experimented with and marketed safety mechanisms such as crumple zones and anti-lock brakes.

Today, people would not seek out additional safety features such as:

  • Automatic emergency braking (AEB):
  • Forward-collision warning (FCW):
  • Blind-spot warning (BSW):
  • Rear cross-traffic warning: Visual, audible, or haptic notification of object or vehicle out of rear camera range, but could be moving into it.
  • Rear automatic emergency braking (Rear AEB): Brakes are automatically applied to prevent backing into something behind the vehicle. This could be triggered by the rear cross-traffic system, or other sensors on the vehicle.
  • Lane-departure warning (LDW):
  • Lane-keeping assist (LKA):
  • Lane-centering assist: Continuous active steering to stay in between lanes (active steer, autosteer, etc.)
  • Adaptive cruise control: Adaptive cruise uses lasers, radar, cameras, or a combination of these systems to keep a constant distance between you and the car ahead, automatically maintaining a safe following distance. If highway traffic slows, some systems will bring the car to a complete stop and automatically come back to speed when traffic gets going again, allowing the driver to do little more than pay attention and steer.

Sure, some of those technologies work far better than others. There’s always room for improvement, but most of that list are things developed after the year 2005. What if firearms saw similar advancement during that same period?

Think about it. The number of deaths due to vehicle accidents is lower today than it was prior to my birth. Does anyone really think the reason for the drop is less cars on the roads or better and less distracted drivers?

Why can’t gun manufacturers do the same as car manufacturers? Again this law providing additional protections for the gun industry passed 214 years after the ratification of the 2nd Amendment.

Remember that I’m not suggesting touching the 2nd Amendment, the modern legal interpretation, or adding any new laws. I’m proposing doing away with changes enacted in 1996, 2003 (became permanent in 2007), and 2005.

Please consider:

The Dickey Amendment technically did not ban gun research, only advocacy. Its real goal and one it easily achieved, was to scare federal agencies into thinking twice about even collecting data that might reflect badly on gun ownership.

Tiahrt prevents the opportunity for the public to experience and demand newer technology. It limits the effectiveness of laws on the books by handcuffing law enforcement. It prevents the release of necessary data to conduct legitimate research upon which to base rational arguments.

15 U.S. Code Chapter 105 affords the gun industry-specific protections that other industries do not have. Others have some protections, but not to the same degree and scope as firearms.

Perhaps you might not care about possible technological advancements in safety, but this law also affects your pocketbook. Sure prices have increased for practically everything except for our paychecks, but seriously look at what the cost difference for essentially the same firearm is today than it was back when we were the age of the students Marching For Our Lives. Now think about the cost of ammo from back in those “good ole days” to now.

Could it be that the gun lobby has too much power?

Is the NRA really protecting 2nd Amendment rights or their financial interests? Prior to the Harlon Carter takeover of the NRA in 1977, I would have said that the NRA sought safe and proper usage of all firearms as its primary mission. Please don’t take my word, research for yourself how the organization has changed since the events that occurred in 1977.

Today, I see the organization as one that limits innovation, research, and in fact, advocated and succeeded in banning more weapons than Barack Obama managed as President. Yes, I know about the state law in Massachusetts, but that is a single state. The Armatix may not have been the right choice for everyone, but it should have at least been a choice.

Please in what type of sanity is a .22 deemed more dangerous and threatening to one’s safety than say a .500 S&W Magnum or an AR-15? Sure all can kill, but which has more force or the ability to fire the greatest number of rounds in the shortest amount of time.

One just cannot cross the NRA without suffering the consequences. Public opinion is to the point where one does not even feel the emptiness in their pocketbook because they want to believe the message at any costs.

Consider the case of Smith & Wesson when the company announced a move to increase gun safety in 2000.

Perhaps you don’t agree with these students marching. That’s your right just as they have the right to march. These children are our future. Agree or disagree at least they are attempting to create dialogue. I think we have many complex issues that need to be addressed. I don’t have all the answers, but I think we need to communicate and at least try to work together. If you feel threatened by these students, perhaps the problem is looking you in the mirror. If you feel it necessary to belittle or ridicule these young people, then what hope to do we have as a country?

Don’t accept what you want to hear as the truth, especially when the information comes from big money. Do some research and learn about the past which is filled with both mistakes and accomplishments.

I’m proud of the young people speaking out and saying that Enough is Enough.

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