…because it is well past the time. There needs to be some sanity brought to this issue on a nationwide basis.

On this national holiday celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., let’s take a brief moment about the end of his life, his cold-blooded murder by James Earl Ray. Fast forward this situation to today in America. While Dr. King and his entourage were moving along the balcony of that motel in Memphis, if this were today, Ray would have used an automatic assault weapon and easily taken out not only Dr. King, but the Reverend Ralph Abernathy, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and the rest of the group. The difference between a single shot rifle and an automatic assault gun. Does this little example open any eyes at all? I don’t know but I can only hope.

On that horrible day in November of 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated at the shooting hand of Lee Harvey Oswald. Oswald used a high-powered single-shot rifle and got off a few shots, one being the fatal hit on the President and some that wounded Governor Connally. What would the difference be in that situation had Oswald used one of today’s popular automatic assault weapons? The shooter only needs to open up in the area of the target and then simply spray bullets around until the intended job is completed. How many other people would have been killed and injured?

Remember the University of Texas clock tower shooter? Charles Whitman used high-powered sniper rifles to kill 16 people and injure another 32. If you remember the video tape from the incident, the shots were separate and distinct, sometimes with several minutes between shots. Can you even imagine that same scenario in America today? Using automatic weapons with large magazines and ammo clips, Whitman probably could have easily killed many more people.

Again in 1968, Sirhan Sirhan was able to enter the hotel in Los Angeles armed with a simple single shot pistol. At close range, he was able to murder Senator Robert Kennedy with one head shot. If you remember how crowded the room was, if this were in today’s America, Sirhan would have been armed with a Glock type assault semi-automatic or automatic hand gun, and the result would have been many people murdered on site rather than just the Senator.

The last example brings us to the tragedy in Tuscon last week. This deranged person, Jared Loughner, was able to simply waltz into the area of Congresswoman Gifford’s Congress on the Corner meeting, pull a Glock out from his pocket, hit the Representative with a clean head shot at close range, and then sprayed bullets around, killing 6 people and wounding several others. Thankfully, the Congresswoman survived.

In the gang and drug wars being waged on the streets of so many of American cities, assault weapon gun play has become so commonplace, that in many cities, the news stories are on back pages of the local section of their major newspapers. These rotten people can perform drive-by shootings while squeezing one time and firing up to 31 bullets at a time! The result of any assault weapon violence is the “collateral damage”. In other words, the innocent bystanders who just happen to be in the area. Right here in Minneapolis, in the past couple years, there have been so many heart wrenching stories of youngsters being hit by random gun fire and killed. This is what the lack of serious gun control laws results in. Would the bad guys still get automatic weapons? Sure. Would the access to these assault weapons and multi-bullet clips be as easy with strict gun control measures? Of course not.

In 2004, the federal assault weapon ban for private citizen use expired. From that point, the sale of assault weapons, AK-47’s etc, automatic hand guns, Glocks etc, has skyrocketed. For whatever reasons, Americans in general, have a love affair with guns. The population of the United States in about 308 million people. Estimates are there are over 275 million guns in the hands of Americans. That’s about 90%! Not only is this insanity, but it makes for living as peaceful life in America a tad more difficult. There are actually many states that have “conceal and carry” laws! That’s comforting, isn’t it? Some states even allow persons to enter public buildings, places of worship, and even bars while “packing heat”! Is this insane or what? What possible reasons would a law-abiding person have for carrying a gun to church? The state of Arizona has become the American poster child for weapons insanity. The gun laws there are so lax, it literally has an environment of the old “Wild West”. Fortunately in Arizona, there is a bastion of some kind of sanity in Tuscon. It probably has to do with the academic environment driven by the University’s presence there. I have to believe most common sense driven educated people see the insanity of private gun ownership, except for hunters and gun sportsmen. Other than former Governor Janet Napolitano, it seems from the outside looking in, most Arizona politicians very much favor gun lawlessness in their state. I believe it’s a state driven by the wacked out fringe on the right that hide behind the 2nd Amendment to support weapon insanity. This nut job that performed the multiple murder in Tuscon, simple goes into Wal-Mart and buys 31 bullet clips for his Glock along with his toothpaste, deodorant, and other personal items and then proceeds to the killing site. That is so wrong in so many ways. I have to say, Loughner is not the only nut job with blood on his hands, I indict the whole state government for allowing the ease of this whole action that ended with horrible results.

The new Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, had an interesting give and take on the campaign last summer. In a debate with his opponents, both of which resist tight gun control, cornered a questioner about “cop killer” bullets. Dayton questioned the need for them because they serve only ONE purpose, to kill people. Tom Emmer, his republican opponent apparently believes conceal and carry, assault weapon ownership, hollow tip and cop killer bullets, and automatic hand guns are fine for personal private citizen ownership. The standing belief of the extreme right being “gun control laws only give the government more control over the citizenry” and therefore are bad for the liberty and freedom of Americans.

Over 100,000 thousand Americans die each year as a result of guns. Granted, a minor portion of that includes gun fired suicides. It has become too easy in this country for gun ownership. This country has more gun crimes committed annually than the next ten countries combined. The United States has more political or government leaders killed by gun than any other developed country in the world since it’s inception. The gun lovers will say it’s because of the freedom we enjoy as Americans. We enjoy the right to kill people freely? I have noticed you can’t debate the issue with NRA members or their leadership. To them, it’s all about the 2nd Amendment. That amendment was written to protect the central government from internal overthrow. “Arm yourselves and form state militias to fight the take-over of the government”. The amendment was written in Colonial times of early America. Can that really be equated with today’s society? No, at least not rationally. You see, in Colonial America, there were no armed and dangerous gangs marauding around urban areas killing people with automatic weapon fire.

I now blame the Democrats in Congress and since 2009, the President for not fixing the problem of the expired automatic weapons ban in 2004. In 2004, Congress and President Bush were bought and paid for by the NRA, arguably the most powerful lobby in Washington pre-Citizens United ruling. The republicans had no reason or desire to re-enact the measure. That, I understand. But, the Democrats took control of Congress in 2006, and kept control until January of this year. President Obama has been in the White House since 2009. As far as this writer is concerned, the Democrats and President share the culpability for this dangerous time Americans are living with today.

Let’s face it. There is no rational need for private citizens to own or have access to assault type weapons, rifles and hand guns. There is no rational reason for there to be access to multi-bullet clips for automatic weapons. Once these concepts of common sense bans has sunk into the minds of Americans, the government needs to ratchet up the background examinations of all people wishing to be a gun owner, including hunting guns. There needs to be complete and accurate checks for mental stability and criminal histories. If it takes weeks, even months to perform these checks, Americans simply need to plan ahead accordingly.

Denying Americans the “right” to own or possess assault weapons is not denial of their rights as a citizen of the United States. It is common sense for a world that is completely different from the world our framers of the Constitution lived in. The Constitution is a fluid instrument. It has to be or our society would cease to exist. We are not a society of hunters and gatherers anymore, and the Constitution or framework has to change to accommodate this modernization.

I don’t look at the issue of gun control as having to be partisan. Gun control laws are for the protection of all Americans and it is not right for one political faction or lobby group to hold sway over this protection. It requires a free debate free from the shackles of the NRA and others. I hope in the wake of the Tuscon tragedy, Congress can reinstate nothing less than a return to the automatic weapons ban which expired in 2004. Even tighter controls would be better but I’ll take what we can get for now. Thanks for today’s read and I look forward to your comments.



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  2. tomobert63 Says:

    Let’s face it – all disputes should be settled with an all out gun battle. Heavy drinking as a prelude is heartily recommended. You could sell tickets and concessions – heck, make a reality TV show!

  3. jim Says:

    Stop trying to scare people with fake facts. Only a few people are legally obliged to own full automatic firearms and the requirements are strict. The rifles you are refering too are semi-automatic sporting rifles, not assault rifles.

  4. Brandon Says:

    You missed the fact that the faster a gun fires, the less accurate it is, if lee Harvey Oswald used an automatic rifle, he probably would have missed JFK if he fired really fast. I Own and Shoot a semi automatic AK and rapid firing it at long range would not help at all, It is deadliest when fired 1 shot every second because I can hit my target much better than firing faster.

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