I heard some information that was both heartbreaking and maddening. Some of the details of the Sandy Hook shooting have been released that estimates that more than 150 bullets were shot in less than five minutes before the shooting stopped. During that period of time, the shooter had to stop only five times to reload because he had a high capacity magazine that held 30 bullets. However, if he had been limited to only a 10-bullet magazine, then he would have had to stop and reload 14 times. Fourteen times! Don’t you think that would have slowed him down? Perhaps a few children could have been saved if the shooter had had to stop that often to re-load. At least it would have made it more difficult for him — and don’t we want to make it more difficult for the criminal and the insane to rain death down on our children?
When we ask why responsible gun owners need to have assault weapons and high capacity magazines, they never really give a good reason, just that it is their right to do it and their rights cannot be limited. But that is not really true — all rights are limited. As soon as one person’s rights begin to trample another’s, then there are limits. The right to free speech is limited — there are libel and slander laws, copyright laws, laws against inciting violence and the old stand-by — not being able to scream fire in a crowded theater.
The rest of us have rights too — to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (Life being mentioned first leads me to believe it is the most important one.) Gun violence threatens us all. If by requiring universal background checks and banning high capacity clips and weapons of mass destruction like assault weapons give us some protection of our rights, why aren’t we demanding it?
It’s unfortunate that we don’t have a high-powered lobby like the NRA fighting for our rights. Even though all polls show that there is a majority of Americans that support better gun control, our government representatives still worship at the feet of the gun lobby.
The old argument is always that citizens need to be armed in order to fight an oppressive government if necessary. Well, that is something that is hypothetical and, if we are diligent in maintaining democracy, will hopefully never happen. But the deaths of our citizens by gun violence is something that we are enduring right now and needs to be addressed right now.