Las Vegas – When Are we Going to Do Something about Assault Weapons?

When she woke me up this morning, my wife told me that I might not want to tune into CNN as is my custom because at least 50 people were dead and many more injured in Las Vega  Some crazy gunman opened fire on a outdoor music festival from the upper floor of a nearby hotel.  So of course I turned on the TV and tuned it to CNN.  What I learned in the next few minutes you probably know better than I because I am not a morning person and I usually don’t wake up fully until I have several cups of coffee.

However, one thing got my attention immediately. CNN aired a video someone had recorded on a cell phone of the first minutes of the shooting.  The sound of continuous automatic gun fire was unmistakable. It had to be military type weapon which had been altered from semi-automatic to automatic, not a difficult thing to do if you know what you are doing.  Due to the length of the burst, the shooter had to be using a very large ammunition magazine with the weapon – probably one which allows you to fire 300 or more rounds without reloading.  Scarier still was the fact that after the shooter apparently ran out of ammunition there was a pause and then the continuous automatic fire started up again – the shooter had multiple automatic weapons with large magazines or at least multiple magazines loaded with ammo.

The deadly effect of such weapons on a packed crowd laid out before a shooter in that situation would have been overwhelming. No marksmanship would have been necessary. The shooter would onlyhad to hold down the trigger and move the mussel of the weapon around while aiming at the crowd in general.  The “shooting fish in a barrel” saying isn’t even appropriate – it would be much easier than that. The second and third and fourth rounds of shots would have been almost as effective.  People by then would be trying to take cover, but in the open like that there was little or no cover that would keep them from being hit.  Meanwhile the shooter had only to pick up another fully loaded weapon or slap a new high capacity magazine onto the one he was using.  The carnage would stop only when the shooter ran out of ammo or the police killed him, whichever came first.  Evidently it was the latter.

When in the hell are we going to learn?  When is the public’s right to be reasonably safe in their ordinarily lives going to be more important that the typical gun enthusiastic’ right to be able to go to a gun range and tear up targets with semi-automatic fire from military type weapon. Because that is literally all these military weapons are good for.  No hunter needs a semiautomatic assault weapon to bring down game. No homeowner needs a semiautomatic assault weapon to protect his family and his property.  Such weapons are made only one thing – killing many people quickly.

There is little doubt the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution has limits.  The Supreme Court has made that clear. Private individuals can’t buy or own 60 mm machine guns or weapons which fire rocket propelled grenades.  You and I can’t go down and buy a military surplus tank mounted with an operational large cannon in its turret.  Like it or not there are limits to our 2nd Amendment rights; all civil authorities have to demonstrate reasonable cause for establishing those limits.

If the shooting of innocent children in Sandy Hook, the shooting at the Pulse night club, and this new shooting in Las Vegas are not reason enough to begin the process of banning military assault weapons, then we are doomed to live our lives in fear whenever we gather in large numbers anywhere.  Or we must give up other rights to be able to allow police authorities try to ensure that such shootings can’t happen again.  When do our rights to be reasonably safe from deranged individuals or terrorists with assault weapons outweigh the rights of NRA members to tear up targets at a gun range?

Cajun   10/2/2017

One thought on “Las Vegas – When Are we Going to Do Something about Assault Weapons?”

  1. Whenever we see an incident involving guns we find an outcry to ban various contributory elements involving that particular use of firearms. We find public outcry, article in newspapers, on radio, on TV, statements by politicians and others. All followed by a deafening silence until the next such incident.

    There are more guns in the US than there are people. A fact that should not only disturb but should lead to further questions. What is it about us that makes this nation so “unique” in this regard around the world? Why this love affair with weapons, hand guns, rifles, why do some folks need automatic rifles, high capacity magazines, and the like?

    If we enacted laws today banning the selling of kits to turn semi automatic weapons into fully auto, banning the sale of high capacity magazines, even banning military style rifles, we would still see hundreds of millions of such already in the hands of far too many people.

    I believe the key to ending such horrific acts as we speak about here today lies in diagnosing a sick culture. The reasons that individual did what he did in Vegas may never really be known, but obviously it was the act of a very sick human being.

    I fully support the restrictions on kits that turn legal semiautomatic weapons into military style weaponry, increasing lethality, I fully support banning high capacity magazines as well.

    But , if we are sincere about ending these slaughters then we must go deeper than an attempt, doomed, I believe, to failure, to ban gun ownership and seek the causes of such sickness, all too common it would appear, within our culture.

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