“In Guns We Trust” Update

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Too bad there weren’t better Founding Copy Editors. That gives awkward a bad name. But we digress.

You don’t have to be a constitutional lawyer–or channel Barack Obama from his constitutional law-instruction days at the University of Chicago–to see that the sacrosanct, “In Guns We Trust” Second Amendment is far less than a seamless rationale for why we should allow assault weapons beyond law enforcement and military use.

It has everything to do with the post-Revolutionary War, “militia” and musket context of 1789–as well as contemporary common sense and public safety–not some unwitting scenario where the Founding Fathers were perversely prescient about the counterproductive needs and priorities of 21st century America.

Needs, according to the National Rifle Association, gun manufacturers and Second Amendment self-servers, that included private citizens having access to weapons of war. Priorities that included going to the political mattresses to prevent gun confiscation that would ostensibly begin with the banning of AR-15-like rifles and high-capacity magazines. Constitutionally, save us from our slippery slopes.

No lack of irony that the Gunshine State–of concealed-carry popularity and Stand Your Ground infamy–is now in the rhetorical cross hairs.

Gov. Rick Scott is against banning assault weapons such as the AR-15 that was legally purchased by mass murderer Nikolas Cruz. Scott diverts in predictably disingenuous, faux patriot fashion. “I know there are some who are advocating a mass taking of Second Amendment rights for all Americans,” he said, in full Founding Fodder mode. “That is not the answer.”

Of course it isn’t–merely a helluva sensible place to start.

Neither is the rationale espoused by Florida Senate President Joe Negron. He equates an assault weapons ban with a Constitutional violation. “I think there’s a delicate balance,” said Negron. “Even in difficult times, we have to follow the Constitution. We have to show fidelity to the Constitution.” As if a common sense ban that would help thwart mass murder would be Constitutional infidelity. Thanks, Joe.

And then there’s always Republican State Sen. Dennis Baxley, the Stand Your Ground author, who treats gun-control as manifested in an assault weapon ban as tantamount to treason. “I don’t see any interest here on that,” he said. “We’re pretty comfortable that freedom works.” In other words, you Second Amendment wimps are yet again trying to make the case for an infringement on freedom.

Surely, the Founding Fathers weren’t hoping to inspire zero-sum, bumper-sticker sophistry that would imperil the innocent. Surely.

However, increasing the assault weapon age limit to 21 could, ironically, be less than helpful. It could give the impression that something quite meaningful had actually been done, when, in effect, it becomes a political talking point of negligible help. Which would be readily apparent at the next horrific mass shooting.

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