COMMENTARY: America worships guns | Opinion
Still discouraged and inconsolable for the past month or more, this heartbroken scribe has been unable to write commentary on dysfunction in America. The dysfunction is overwhelming, with thoughts that didn’t get written down.
Buffalo, Uvalde, Highland and Jayland Walker are the reasons for this “ill-being” which seems unshakable. Readers may characterize this as a rant and a rave, but written here is a call for reasoned thinking with hope for more sensible action.
It is true that “the choices we make in life really matter. Not only do they enrich or threaten our own lives, but they also affect the lives of those around us. So, finally putting those thoughts together on paper, this commentary must sadly conclude that America worships guns; it is idolatry.
America, not the whole nation, but part of it and some of those who govern us love guns. Even since 23 children were massacred in Newtown, Connecticut some 20 years ago and now 19 children in Uvalde, Texas, who will our children turn to?
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After 30 years, President Joseph Biden signs the Gun Safety Act – “a narrow bill that focuses on mental health and school safety with incentives for states to pass laws on the red flag”. For the record, 193 House Republicans and 33 Senate Republicans voted against the legislation. It’s a beginning, a beginning, but there’s a Christian principle in Zechariah 4:10, “don’t despise small beginnings.” More legislation for universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons must be our future.
President Bill Clinton signed the last Assault Weapons Ban and the Crime Bill of 1994. Thereafter, crime declined for 25 years.
For a nation that calls itself Christian, Rick Warren wrote that “worship should be based on the truth of Scripture, not our opinions of God.” There is separation of church and state, but there is clearly misinformation and misinformation about the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
“Too many Americans and lawmakers claim they have a divine right to guns. Indeed WWJD – What would Jesus do? The only purpose of a gun is to hurt, injure and instantly kill the thing or person. America has the right to the pursuit of happiness without the daily potential of being publicly murdered.”
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Here are two unassailable “truths” about guns. According to a report by the Small Arms Survey, American gun owners own 393.3 million guns (the highest in the world with India second at 71 million). That’s more than the US population, which is around 330 million. And, 13 million U.S. homes with children contain at least one gun, according to Be SMART, a program designed to help parents and adults normalize conversations about gun safety and take responsible action that can prevent firearm deaths and injuries among children.
The acronym SMART represents these actions:
• Secure all firearms in your homes and vehicles.
• Behave responsibly around firearms.
• Ask about the presence of unsecured firearms in other homes.
• Recognize the role of firearms in suicide.
• Tell your peers to be SMART.
For free is another truth: guns have parents and owners; firearms are inanimate and cannot function “in locus parentis”, according to Terrence M. Cummings.
COMMENT: Punishment or Pontification
To revisit the Second Amendment, it should be clear that the Founding Fathers were referring to a typical Revolutionary-era musket. It had a single-shot magazine capacity, an effective rate of fire of three rounds per minute, a muzzle velocity of 1,000 feet per second, with a maximum accurate range of 50 yards.
Now think about the typical modern day AR-15. It has a magazine capacity of 30 rounds, an effective rate of fire of 45 rounds per minute, a muzzle velocity of 3,260 feet per second, and a maximum accurate range of 550 yards.
In light of the opinions of the United States Supreme Court, Chief Justice Warren Burger and Associate Justice Antonin Scalia weighed in with reasoned opinions on the Second Amendment.
Judge Burger is recorded in the annals of SCOTUS as remarking, “The Gun Lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest frauds. I repeat the word fraud on the American people by special interest groups that I have never seen in my life. The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that the armies of the state – the militia – would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an absolute right to any type of weapon they desire. »
Justice Scalia in his lifetime spoke loud and clear in the history of the Second Amendment in an opinion: “Nothing, in our opinion, should be taken to cast doubt on the long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by criminals and the mentally ill, or laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of weapons. We also acknowledge the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual” weapons and a long-standing legal precedent to consider bans on the carrying of concealed weapons.
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Scalia didn’t mix the words. Further, he stated, “Like most rights, the right guaranteed by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” It is “not a right to possess and carry any weapon whatsoever, in any manner and for any purpose”.
Judges Burger and Scalia hinted that America had begun to misinterpret the Second Amendment, worse, by using the Constitution to worship guns more.
Burger, a conservative, had seen what the gun lobby was doing before. The National Rifle Association and gun lobbyists have been beefing up and bribing and paying lawmakers who will support their unholy cause to keep American idolatry and gun worship pervasive in American life. We are no longer safe in schools, malls, churches, parades, homes, or any other place where we breathe.
The late Senator John McCain, during his tenure, received the largest amount of dollars from the NRA, $7,740,521, as reported by The New York Times in 2017. Since then, Senator Mitt Romney has received 13 $647,676 in funding from the NRA. America declares itself a nation for the people and by the people, but our gun-loving legislators rule by quid pro quo.
Again, to whom will our children turn? America worships guns; it is idolatry.
Terrence M. Cummings, originally from Orangeburg, is a freelance writer and periodic contributor to the editorial pages of The T&D. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 803-735-8486.