December 6, 2023

and regulate within the Second Amendment

Today’s Events in Historical Perspective
America’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932
Register and regulate within the Second Amendment
By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift         
          WASHINGTON — The Constitution states: “No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty five years, and been seven years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”
          Two representatives among others are proving the inadequacy of that clause. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., is distributing assault weapon-shaped lapel pins and Rep. Cory Mills, R-Fla., is distributing inert grenades to their Republican colleagues, all in the wake of the latest round of mass shootings.
          Perhaps an I.Q. test is in order.
          The time is past time for meaningful gun control legislation, and it need not come into conflict with the Second Amendment.
           Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia pushed through the 5-4 Heller decision in 2008 that expanded the interpretation of the Second Amendment to individual gun rights and not just the well-regulated militia stated by the Founding Fathers. In that ruling, Scalia said in writing for the majority that the right to bear arms is not unlimited, and that guns and gun ownership would continue to be regulated.
          The late Scalia was and still is a conservative icon, and he was fine with regulation, so why are we doing nothing as innocent people are gunned down for no apparent reason other than it is ridiculously easy to get ahold of firearms?
          Mass shootings have become an epidemic, occurring somewhere every day when four or more people are shot. These events have become so frequent in American life that only the shootings with a higher death toll stay in the headlines for more than a day or two.
          It is time to once again pass an assault weapons ban. We had one in the nineties when Bill Clinton was in the White House, but it expired after 10 years, a compromise made to get it passed. Clinton’s successor, George W. Bush, said he would sign an extension if it got to his desk, which it never did because of the gun lobby’s opposition.
          Twenty years later we have more guns than people, and mass shootings can happen anywhere, on the street, during a parade, at a church or synagogue, in a school, or supermarket. Our kids go through practice drills to prepare for an active shooter.
          The time has passed for gun enthusiasts to cite the Second Amendment to hold back gun control. Its place in the Constitution is sacrosanct, but it shouldn’t be used as a shield against gun registration and regulation.
          Register and regulate should be the mantra when it comes to guns, which are deadly weapons if used incorrectly. Cars are also deadly weapons if used incorrectly, so we require them to be registered and for drivers to be licensed to drive.
          The same safeguards should be used for guns. It would not take away anyone’s right to own a gun if that weapon is registered and properly secured when not in use, and the owner has demonstrated that he or she knows how to use a gun and is a responsible gun owner.
          Super-majorities of the American people want common-sense gun reform. Lawmakers are supposed to serve the people, not the gun industry. President Biden should shame Congress for its inaction, and the American people should demand an end to the craziness where gun rights matter more than public safety. 
          See Eleanor Clift’s latest book Selecting a President, and Douglas Cohn’s latest books The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency and World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers).
          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn
          © 2023 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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