Once again, our country has been forced to reflect upon the actions of a mad man armed with an assault weapon. This time, it was in Aurora, Colo. Who knows where it will happen next time?
It is with this uncertainty that we should feel a need to seriously start thinking about how we can minimize the damage that a deranged individual can inflict upon the rest of us.
Like many of you, I've involved myself in numerous conversations about the tragic events that took 12 innocent lives and injured dozens more last week. I've read and heard the all-too-familiar stock responses from people on all sides. But for me, the most disturbing are the voices who insist that this is not the time to start talking about gun control.
If this isn't the time, when is it? Twelve people were just brutally massacred for no reason other than they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have just as easily been Glendale, Burbank or Pasadena. Acts like these are random and have no borders or safety zones. We, and those we love, are all the next potential victims.
Frankly, I'm quite tired of hearing gun lobbyists use hyperbole to side-step the issue.
So I've decided to address some of that rhetoric and agree with it. That's right. I'm going to agree with gun lobbyists.
First, I agree that “guns don't kill people. People kill people.”
This has been a rallying cry for the National Rifle Assn. for years. Unfortunately, people kill a lot more people when they have semi-automatic weapons that can hold and fire 50 rounds per minute.
Second, I agree that criminals may still be able to get their hands on assault weapons. Why would I argue against that? Criminals will do just about anything. As such, we as a society should be doing everything we can to make it difficult for a criminal or mentally ill individual to obtain any weapon of mass destruction — and assault weapons should certainly be classified as such.
Third, I agree that you can kill someone with a knife or a baseball bat.
Aside from merely deflecting the argument away from gun control, this argument fails on an apples-to-apples level. I could be wrong, but I don't know of any instance where someone walked into a public place and killed a dozen people with a semi-automatic Louisville Slugger.
Finally, I wholeheartedly agree that the 2nd Amendment gives every American the right to bear arms and it should never be taken away.
You want to own a gun? Great. You want two of them to protect your family? Help yourself.
What you do not need is the right to own a gun that can kill dozens of people in minutes. I do not know a rational hunter or sportsman who uses an assault weapon to hunt game.
As far as the original spirit of the 2nd Amendment is concerned, can we at least agree that it was written at a time when society and technology were different? We are holding onto a constitutional right that was adopted when guns needed to be loaded one round at a time. There were no high-capacity magazine clips to go in a musket.
I can't speculate what our founding fathers might have written into law if there had been such devices, but I'd like to think, based on the brilliance of our Constitution, that they would have been intelligent enough to put some limitations on the 2nd Amendment.
The truth is, our founding fathers wrote the 2nd Amendment based on what was in existence during their time. I believe they did so out of a desire to make their future more secure and stable for everyone.
It seems to me to be most un-American for us to seek no improvement to our own laws and to not constantly strive for ways to form a more perfect union. That's why our ancestors came here in the first place. Or did we forget?
If we can't agree that it's time to modify the 2nd Amendment, get rid of assault rifles and make it more difficult for criminals to kill us, then I do believe we are destined to relive tragedies like the one in Aurora.
GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.