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We Need Aggressive Legislation To Ban Automatic Weapons

automatic weapons

Here is why we need aggressive legislation in favor of banning the sale and use of automatic weapons.

Gunshots fired away in Terminal 2 of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Even as the suspect Esteban Santiago remains in police custody, the greater debate continues to escalate with one essential question remaining: how much more attacks before the change in gun control laws?

Guns have polarized the United States. From presidential elections to Congress, they have remained at the center of the divide and rift. As devastating attacks continue to occur, many American citizens are left feeling as though they do not have a voice. Specifically, regarding the sale and use of guns and automatic weapons in the US. By feeling disenfranchised, many citizens have lost hope in regards to immediate change.

Legislation includes an amendment proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) to deny gun sale to anyone if there is “reasonable belief” against them, which was followed by a Republican alternative proposed by Senator John Cornyn (R- TX)  that would require law enforcement to be notified if someone on the terror list attempted to buy a gun. There was also an amendment suggested by Senator Chuck Grassley (R- Iowa) that would make it more difficult for people with any record of mental illness to purchase any type of weapon. Lastly, an amendment was recommended by Senator Chris Murphy (D – Conn) that would close the “gun show loophole,” thus making it impossible to purchase a gun without a proper background check and official licensing. These 4 Bills all failed to be passed in June of 2016. The standstill in Congress continues. Thus, the questions feverous debates increase along with people’s impatience.

The basic facts in the recent Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting are similar to those in other mass shootings.Five people were killed and several others were killed in an assault planned by Esteban Santiago, a discharged member of the US Military.  A man with an automatic weapon and a recent colorful mental health history. Even though his licensing had expired post-discharge, he still carried around his military identification and had it on him during the attack. The gun he used in the attack was one he had acquired during his service in the military. He was a member of US armed forces, still carrying military identification despite the fact he had been discharged under the illusion of many mental problems after his return from service in Iraq. Born in Puerto Rico, and later a member of the Alaska Army National Guard, Santiago has no true belongings left, no money in his bank account and could be facing the death penalty. As more facts come to the surface, the atrocity continues to plague many with grief and impatience towards congress. A controversy on top of an already heated issue has created some political turmoil.

With that and the end of Obama’s presidency, America is faced with many daunting questions regarding the future of US legislation, Congress’s ability to work cohesively, and more specifically, the lack of gun control reforms. Gun control and mass shooting have plagued and polarized the United States. Many have become not only fed up with the archaic legislation and constant defense of the Second Amendment, “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,” but also the systematic problems in Congress. The right to bear arms has been upheld by the Supreme Court as recently as in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. Therefore, we as a country need more concrete and aggressive legislation in order to combat mass shootings. It is no longer the time of the Revolutionary War, and so the need for an active militia is no longer prevalent or relevant to how guns should be purchased, tracked, or treated in the 21st Century.

As Trump steadily begins his transition in the White House, it is now apparent that the same divide across the aisle exists between the Democrat and the Republican parties. It is up to newly elected officials to inspire and create change within the system itself. Bill Clinton’s gun law, the Brady Law,  expired many years ago, and a similar one banning automatic weapons has yet to take its place.

Gun control has remained a heated and controversial topic since Obama’s inaugural term in 2008. No real change has been made. This most recent tragedy in Fort Lauderdale emphasizes the importance of immediate change. Despite the fact that Mr. Trump was endorsed by the NRA, some hope still remains that he will pass aggressive legislation in favor of banning the sale and use of automatic weapons. Hopefully, under the dawn of a new president, new policies will be implemented in order to abate mass shootings.

 

46 Comments

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  • You should only write about things you know about. Automatic weapons are machine guns. Machine guns are already highly regulates and new sales to civilians has been banned for years. Many of the guns used by the 30 million plus gun owners in America are semi-automatic firearms. Which are distinctly different from automatic weapons and have been in the public domain for well over 100 years.

    The problem is not the fact that many people own guns, the problem is that a very few of them use them to cause harm.

    • Thanks for the clarification, Elizabeth is still right. These semi-automatic weapons are dangerous, and not needed for self defense. I have a glock 26, and that’s enough. If a good guy with a gun wants to stop a bad guy with a gun, he doesn’t need a semiautomatic. We’re not getting attacked by a bad army with guns.

      • Re: ” If a good guy with a gun wants to stop a bad guy with a gun, he doesn’t need a semiautomatic”

        Since a Glock 26 is a semi-automatic weapon, your comment doesn’t make a lot of sense. Also, the Second Amendment is not about hunting, target shooting or home defense. Its purpose is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights – specifically “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the regulars. After all, if they weren’t equally matched, it would be pretty hard to deter or prevent a “misconstruction or abuse, of the government’s powers” – so in reality, the citizen militia of today should have the same firearms as the current US military. Unfortunately we are no longer equally matched because we have let our gun rights be eroded by buying into this notion if we just compromise to accommodate the people who – for whatever reason – don’t like guns they will quit trying to take away our gun rights. The problem is history has shown that no matter how much we compromise, it’s never enough so we need to stop compromising.

      • “These semi-automatic weapons are dangerous, and not needed for self defense.” You have no idea what is needed for self defense. A Glock 26 is a semi automatic, so you’re effectively talking out of your ass.

  • Re: ” A man with an automatic weapon and a recent colorful mental health history”

    It was a semi-automatic weapon. Automatic weapons are heavily regulated, cost several thousand dollars and are limited in number because of a law passed in 1986. Nevertheless, according to the government (BATF) there were 505861 fully automatic weapons in civilian hands in 2013 and since 1934, I can find only 2 cases where a legal one was used in a crime and one of those was by a police officer that killed an informant.

  • Re: ” As devastating attacks continue to occur”

    According to the CDC, in 2014 there were 33599 deaths from firearms and most were suicides while 10945 were homicides. If someone wants to kill themselves it’s a matter of individual choice where the person can pick the time, place and method and an argument can also be made that an individual’s life belongs to them exclusively and not you, the State or anyone else. Note also that the number of suicides committed with firearms (21334) is less than the number committed by other means (21439) so as long as there are other options, it’s not clear that restricting firearms would have any effect on the number of suicides.

    Homicides are a different story. 10945 people murdered by firearms in the US works out to about 29 people per day. These are the “word doctored” figures the news media and anti-gun folks like to publicize because people relate to the magnitude of those numbers and it sounds like a lot of people until you realize this is out of a population of 320 million Americans. In that context, it works out to about 1 person out of every 29,000 people being murdered by a firearm. Dwell on the magnitude of your individual significance next time you are in a stadium with 29,000 people. To me, 1 in 29,000 is an acceptable cost to help ensure the security of a free state and the right to own a firearm that has harmed no one. It is also estimated there are 109 million gun owners in the US which means on any given day 108,999,971 gun owners didn’t kill anyone yet because the news media magnifies these relatively isolated and infrequent events to the level of an epidemic, the anti-gun folks answer is to take the guns away from people who harmed no one. The number of firearm homicides will never be zero. So given the fact that deranged individuals and murderers are an intrinsic part of the human race and we currently live in a free society, what number of illegal firearm homicides would ever be acceptable to you to the point you would say “we don’t need any more restrictions on the private ownership of firearms”?

  • Re: “close the “gun show loophole”

    There are no real “loopholes”. This is progressive speak for wanting to pass laws to monitor and control loans, transfers or physical access of firearms, ammunition, or “high capacity” magazines to distant relatives, friends, domestic partners, significant others, roommates, employees, house guests or other acquaintances you have known for years. You can see this philosophy reflected in the laws passed in CA, CO, NV, OR and WA and proposed in ME. Since many of these affected people are single and in a rising demographic of voters, opponents of this law should publicize the fact to these people that if they have or want to have firearms, they could be inadvertently breaking the law with their living arrangements and be subject to intimidation and entrapment by overzealous and unscrupulous authorities who are aligned with an anti-gun agenda. The only “loophole” that needs closing is the reluctance to enforce existing laws. You could start by quit allowing people who use a gun illegally to plea bargain away the illegal firearms offense. The feds are one of the worst offenders. Straw purchases and lying on the 4473 form you have to fill out for a background check to purchase a firearm is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine – yet in 2010 76142 people failed the background check, 4732 were deemed worthy of prosecution and only 62 were prosecuted. Another thing you could do since most of the gun homicides are caused by gangs or repeat offenders is to advocate for a law that would impose a mandatory death sentence on any recidivist with a violent criminal history that uses a firearm to commit a crime regardless of childhood upbringing, economic impoverishment, mental health, age, IQ or ethnicity.

  • [I have inserted my tongue firmly into my cheek, so please note that the following is not actually advocated]

    I fully agree with one thing Ms. Brewer has said. Anyone who has mental issues such as that they don’t recognize and acknowledge reality should forfeit the right to firearms, and also be considered for involuntary mental health incarceration. This includes:

    – those who call a semi-automatic handgun “automatic”
    – those who use the term “assault weapon” for any firearm that wasn’t state of the art for the18th century
    – those who believe that inert tools, including firearms, are evil
    – those who believe that such inert tools cannot possibly be used for good purposes, such as self-defense against evil actors (If lawful concealed carry were possible in the Florida airport, a good person might have stopped the illegal acts with fewer innocent lives lost.)
    – those who believe that only people who believe as they do are good, and people of other beliefs are, by default, evil
    – those who believe that “greedy” is defined most clearly by those who work hard, have taken advantage of educational opportunities, and provide a valuable service for their pay want to keep what they’ve earned, and not by those who want government to seize the earnings of those in order to give it to the less prepared and diligent merely because they have a “need”
    – those who believe that something the government provides for them is actually free, instead of costing somebody else, somewhere or somewhen (national debt is about $20,000,000,000,000 and down the road, this will need to be paid)
    – those who deny the science of biology, and refuse to acknowledge their own gender.
    – those who deny the scientific method regarding “manmade” climate change, in that they still believe the predictions of the same “scientists” whose predictions have not been found accurate by the empirical evidence, such as the predicted inundation of coastal lowlands, the coming ice age, the lack of ice in the arctic, and the extinction of the polar bears…
    .
    [Now that I’ve restored my tongue to it’s usual and customary location, I know that I’ve gone beyond the subject of Ms. Brewer’s irrational rant, but it is often true that irrational individuals seek like-minded folk with which to associate in order to be comforted through mutual affirmation, rather than perform a rational self-analysis of their false beliefs… just my opinion, mind you.]

    • It is clear who is irrational here, she might strike quite a nerve so you had to comment like this. You, the gun owners, you are all the old news

      • Violation of anybody’s rights by government agents is NEVER a small matter. Ms. Brewer advocates many things, including denying Second Amendment Rights if there is a so-called “reasonable belief” that the individual may have some mental illness. My post, outlining the gross absurdity of such unconstitutional actions, is intend to provoke thought. Obviously I, too, struck a nerve… and I never said that I own firearms. That, Shon, is an assumption without evidence, whether it be true or not.

      • Too bad we outnumber you, and are well armed.

        Otherwise we’d have a paradise where only criminals and police,
        (I’m sure you trust our racist police) are allowed to be armed.

      • Reiterating, time and time again, the truth and the facts is old news? Yeah, well, I guess it literally IS old news.

        The problem is that you dimwits either don’t remember it or refuse to accept it despite its verity, therefore it must needs be reiterated, IN PERPETUITY.

        Automatic weapons are so heavily regulated that a de facto ban already exists. Semiautomatic weapons are in common use, have militia utility, and are the preferred arms of the American people. The SCOTUS has ruled that these weapons are within the ambit of Second Amendment protection (U.S. v. Miller, 1939), meaning that YOU CAN’T TOUCH THEM.

        The states and locales that have passed such bans are in for a rude awakening. They will eventually be struck down by the Court, and the wailing and gnashing of liberal teeth will begin.

        There’s a new sheriff in town, and he’s got the next three SCOTUS picks. Your agenda is doomed.

  • Re: ” amendment proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) to deny gun sale to anyone if there is “reasonable belief” against them”

    This “amendment” was a proposal to ban people on the no-fly or terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm. The problem is there is no due process requirement levied upon the government to put a person on the no fly or terrorist watch list. In addition, a person on a no-fly list at the airport can be pulled out of line and questioned or detained. A person who fails a background check at a gun store is allowed to walk out of the store with information about how to challenge the denial. The no-fly and terror watch lists are supposed to be secret so all this really does is allow a terrorist to find out if he is on a list and realize he has to come up with another identity to 1) get a firearm and 2) get on an airplane. So the dirty little secret here is that in order to make this work like they think it should, everyone wanting to purchase a firearm would first have to go to a law enforcement organization for a background check and be detained if they failed. This would accomplish two things the anti-gun zealots dream about – 1) Allow arbitrary denials of the right to bear arms 2) A registry of all gun owners – and keep in mind in every instance where governments have confiscated firearms, it has been preceded by registration.

    If the government really wants to implement this, they should be required to follow due process – or more specifically go before a judge to seek approval to add someone’s name and allow the accused person the option to be present to defend him or herself with the right to appeal.

    Right now, the criteria for being on the no-fly or terrorist watch list is somewhat secret and arbitrary and the legislation that was proposed would allow the Attorney General to add anyone based on some undefined, subjective things called “a reasonable belief” or “appropriately suspected” the person is connected with international or domestic terrorism – and the term “domestic terrorism” is so nebulously defined in 18 USC 2331(5) that it could include anyone the government doesn’t like.

  • Re: ” Bill Clinton’s gun law, the Brady Law, expired many years ago”

    I think you’re confusing the Brady law with the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) that expired in 2004. The Brady law for background checks is still in effect but the 5 day waiting period was eliminated because computer technology made it possible to determine instantaneously if a person was prohibited from owning a firearm. The AWB was not renewed because these weapons are seldom used in a crime (most gun crimes involve handguns). According to the FBI UCR crime reports, rifles (which includes so called “assault weapons”) are used in less than 4% of all gun homicides.

  • Re: ” proper background check”

    Currently, there are only 2 ways to legally sell a gun in the US to a private citizen. One is a private sale between individuals (typically like between family and friends) or by a gun dealer licensed with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the federal BATF. Only individuals with an FFL can run a background check through the government NICS database of prohibited persons. Private citizens cannot. Note that a person can purchase a firearm online, but the physical transfer of the firearm still must go through an FFL at the seller or an FFL local to the buyer. So anyone wanting to improve the process should encourage the federal government to do 2 things:

    1) Allow any small gun dealer to get an FFL without having a storefront. Currently, thanks to the Clinton administration’s effort to reduce the supply of guns, you can’t get an FFL if you want to sell guns only at gun shows (Google BATFE form 5310 FFL application and look at question 18a). As a result someone that wants to sell guns but can’t afford the inventory costs, zoning challenges and overhead of a storefront has to sell illegally or discretely at the edge of the law as a “private individual” and hence can’t run a background check. Rather than throwing these “kitchen table” sellers out of the system like Clinton did hoping they would go away, they should allow them to get an FFL and subject them to BATF rules, audits and oversight like they were before the Clinton administration let political anti-gun ideology get in the way.

    2) Give anyone free, public, anonymous online access to the NICS database. I don’t understand why a federal database of people prohibited from owning firearms can’t be available in the public domain like federal databases for s_x offenders. Unlike the s_x offender database, the NICS system is really a go/no go process and no useful information has to be displayed to facilitate phishing expeditions for identity theft other than what was already known by the user making the query. It’s certainly no more revealing than the FAA’s pilot and mechanic license query system, which provides more detailed information on presumably law-abiding citizens. Once this system is implemented, you then tell private sellers if you sell or give a firearm to someone and don’t retain documented proof that says you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. This would effectively close the so-called private sale loophole and still preserve the anonymity of the parties involved the same way the current background check system does now. If a private sale firearm shows up at a crime scene, the BATF follows their current procedure of using the serial number of the firearm to contact the manufacturer and ultimately the last FFL that sold the firearm to a private citizen to obtain that citizen’s name and address from the ATF form 4473 the FFL is required to keep on file. That citizen is then contacted and produces the piece of paper from the NICS background check that identifies the second private citizen who is then contacted, and so forth.

    The real benefit of this proposal is how it can help identify the illusive killer with questionable behavior patterns or mental health issues that is causing so many problems. As it stands now there is no easy, fast, non-bureaucratic method for someone to determine if a suspicious person (client, neighbor, employee, student, etc) is a potential threat to society. If someone thinks an individual could be a threat, a query to a public NICS database would at least tell him or her in a few seconds if the individual could obtain a firearm. Then, armed with that information the appropriate authorities could be notified and they could decide if it was erroneous information or whether to investigate further. As it stands now, if you tell authorities you know a suspicious person they will probably ignore you, but if you tell them you know such a person and by the way according to the NICS database he can buy a firearm, they will probably be more inclined to investigate rather than risk embarrassment later if the worst happens. The same would be true if you see a suspicious acquaintance with a firearm when the NICS query says he’s prohibited from having one. It would also help provide piece of mind and a method for victims of violent crimes to ensure their assailants either on parole or still at large have not been excluded from the database because of some bureaucratic foul-up.
    Other specific public safety issues where it would be useful are:

     >Allow potential victims to vet known stalkers or acquaintances under a restraining order
     >Allow gun clubs to vet potential members
     >Allow shooting ranges to vet suspicious customers
     >Help prevent straw purchases by allowing FFL’s to vet all individuals involved with the purchase of a firearm as a gift
     >Allow mental health workers to vet troubled individuals like the Aurora Colorado theater killer
     >Allow resource officers and school officials to vet suspicious students like the Arapahoe High School killer in Colorado
     >Allow the family of the mentally troubled Lafayette, LA killer to verify he couldn’t purchase a firearm
     >Allow police officers to vet anyone they contact – (note the routine background checks performed by police often do not include information about firearms because they don’t directly access the NICS database)

  • Re: ” Congress’s ability to work cohesively, and more specifically, the lack of gun control reforms”

    In 1934, 1938, 1968, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994 I suspect similar arguments were made for “gun control reforms” when more restrictive federal gun laws were passed. Since all of the regulations derived from these laws are apparently not enough, maybe you can understand the reluctance of gun owners to entertain the idea of quietly accepting the any more. The problem is the real agenda of the people leading the charge for more gun control is to ban all guns except for the government and governments (unlike individuals) have the track record for killing people that don’t agree with them. This is really just about using relatively infrequent, isolated incidents of gun crimes to whip lawmakers into an emotional frenzy to goad them into quickly advancing the agenda of gun control irrespective of any facts in more incremental “progressive” steps in order to set a new baseline and move the goal posts to the point where an unscrupulous government would have the option to do what ever they please.

  • Re: ” It is no longer the time of the Revolutionary War”

    The purpose of the Second Amendment is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights – specifically “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the regulars. After all, if they weren’t equally matched, it would be pretty hard to deter or prevent a “misconstruction or abuse, of the government’s powers” – so in reality, the citizen militia of today should have the same firearms as the current US military. Unfortunately we are no longer equally matched because we have let our gun rights be eroded by buying into this notion if we just compromise to accommodate the people who – for whatever reason – don’t like guns they will quit trying to take away our gun rights. History has shown that no matter how much we compromise, it’s never enough so we need to stop compromising.

  • And what kind of that so-called “education” you have in mind Doug? Gun education? You are all extremists, weapon owners thirsty for blood. Leave the writer alone, you are full of aggression and you cannot even put the argument together.

  • Automatic weapons?

    First off the Florida shooter did NOT use an automatic weapon, he used a semi-auto handgun.

    Secondly, truly automatic weapons are one of the most heavily regulated things in the US. They require an application, photo, fingerprints and a $200 check to be sent to ATF. The buyer must then wait 9-12 months for an approval and tax stamp issued by ATF. Only then can the person take possession of the firearm.

    Like the other comment said, try doing some real research before you make yourself look foolish in front of the entire world

  • Re: ” the need for an active militia is no longer prevalent”

    Not true. According to current US law there are 2 types of militias – organized and unorganized. The National Guard is part of the organized militia and everyone who is not in the organized militia is in the unorganized militia – see 10 USC 311 at http : // www . law. cornell . edu / uscode / text / 10 / 311

  • Re: ” This most recent tragedy in Fort Lauderdale emphasizes the importance of immediate change”

    The sad fact is you can’t stop every lone wolf who is a first time offender so the reality is you need to get used to it. Even if all the guns could be banned, there are plenty of other methods available to kill a lot of people thanks to the internet – i.e things like pipe bombs (San Bernardino), pressure cooker bombs (Boston), propane tank bombs (Columbine), truck bombs (Oklahoma City), gasoline cans and a match (Happy Land fire on 3/25/90), heavy truck crashing in to a crowd of people (Nice, France), home made flame throwers made from plumbing parts and gasoline (nowhere – yet) and any pressure vessel filled with shrapnel and gun powder manufactured the same way it has been since the 6th century that will momentarily confine an explosive pressure wave. And when any of those things are used and there are no civilian firearms to deter the government from limiting our Bill of Rights, it’s likely no one will know about them because at that point in order to silence any criticism for actions they can’t control and to maintain civilian support and power, the government has no reason to allow them to be reported. In other words, banning “assault weapons” and standard capacity magazines just starts us down the road of incessant, progressive bans on other firearms with the end result being that only criminals and the government will have guns

  • Re: ” banning the sale and use of automatic weapons”

    As I said somewhere else it was a semi-automatic firearm – nevertheless you can’t blame it on the gun. The first semi-automatic handgun was invented in the late 1800’s and the most popular version went into production in 1911. It is also noted the so-called evil “assault rifles” with standard capacity 30 round magazines are not new technology. A harbinger was invented in 1890 and the current versions evolved and were mass produced in the late 1940’s and have always been available to the public (note the “47” in AK-47 stands for 1947, the year the firearm went into production). As a matter of fact fully automatic versions (i.e. machine guns), which are true military grade rifles, were readily available to the general public until 1986 and background checks on firearm transfers weren’t required until 1994 – yet nobody talks about mass shootings with any version (semi-automatic or automatic) of these guns during the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s so it’s a relatively new phenomenon and logic would indicate it’s being caused by something else.

    Note also that the worst mass killing in a US school occurred on May 18, 1927 in the Bath schoolhouse in Michigan where the killer used dynamite. And rather than immediately rush in an emotional tizzy to pass new laws to restrict the sale of dynamite, cooler heads prevailed and it took 43 years until October 15, 1970 when the law was changed. Up until that date anyone over 21 could walk into a hardware store or farm coop and buy dynamite and blasting caps

  • Please note that in this article, E. Brewer is NOT saying that she believes that legislation which would restrict or entirely ban assault weapons will solve ALL of the current problems relating to gun violence throughout the U.S. She clearly acknowledges that the issues are far more complex than that. She mentions that Esteban Santiago was known to have mental health issues, so this article clearly shows that problems within our mental healthcare system are one of the factors which contributes towards random shootings- thus illustrating that reforming our mental healthcare system is needed too.

    She’s also NOT proposing banning ownership of ALL guns, only the most dangerous assault weapons. In the 4 proposed legislative acts that Ms. Brewer has mentioned in this article- Senator Feinstein’s proposal from last year, Senator J. Cornyn’s proposal, Senator C. Grassley’s proposal as well as Senator C. Murphy’s proposal would ALL have allowed hunting and fishing stores to continue to sell guns to anyone who wants to purchase them for target shooting or for hunting- provided that they do not have a prior history of mental illness and that they have no felony convictions. Furthermore, people who DO have histories of mental illness or past criminal convictions would still have the right to hire an attorney and to request special circumstances, for example if they live in areas where they’d need a gun to protect themselves from dangerous wildlife and they can demonstrate that they do not pose a threat to the public.

    In this article, Ms. Brewer discusses the recent January 6th, 2017 shooting at the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport. This is a particularly complicated situation because Esteban Santiago-Ruiz had served in the National Guard from 2007 through 2014, and people who have served in our military are usually permitted to keep their weapons after they have been discharged, unless they demonstrate that they pose a threat to the public. With specific reference to the Jan. 6th airport terminal shooting, Esteban Santiago-Ruiz had clearly demonstrated that his behavior was becoming unstable when he’d walked into an FBI field office in November of 2016 and he’d told people that he’d been hearing voices (auditory hallucination) and that he believed that the CIA was attempting to control his thoughts (delusion.) And yet, no one thought to attempt to confiscate his weapons, or to prohibit him from flying with them.

    • “people who have served in our military are usually permitted to keep their weapons after they have been discharged”

      This has not been true since about 1919. How old was this guy?

    • @Scott Benowitz

      Re: ” proposal would ALL have allowed hunting and fishing stores to continue to sell guns to anyone who wants to purchase them for target shooting or for hunting”

      The Second Amendment is not about hunting, target shooting or home defense. Its purpose is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights – specifically “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the regulars. After all, if they weren’t equally matched, it would be pretty hard to deter or prevent a “misconstruction or abuse, of the government’s powers” – so in reality, the citizen militia of today should have the same firearms as the current US military. Unfortunately we are no longer equally matched because we have let our gun rights be eroded by buying into this notion if we just compromise to accommodate the people who – for whatever reason – don’t like guns they will quit trying to take away our gun rights. The problem is history has shown that no matter how much we compromise, it’s never enough so we need to stop compromising

    • @Scott Benowitz

      Re: “would still have the right to hire an attorney and to request special circumstances”

      So someone gets put on a “list” by some un-elected, unaccountable bureaucrat with no due process and then the person can hire an attorney at their own expense to go up against the unaccountable, unelected US government bureaucracy that has an infinite amount of time and money. You don’t see anything wrong with this concept?

    • Scott, you’re confusing the US military with the Swiss. At no time in the US since the creation of the National Guard has a discharged serviceman been allowed to take their service weapon with them after discharge.

      The Swiss require their discharged servicemen to take their assigned personal weapon home with them along with a sealed box of ammo.

    • @Scott Benowitz

      Re: “She’s also NOT proposing banning ownership of ALL guns, only the most dangerous assault weapons”

      And what happens when the killings continue? Do you really think the anti-gun folks will stop their proposed bans with so called “assault weapons”?
      The anti-gun folks really want to ban all guns except for the government and are only going after “assault weapons” because they are the low hanging fruit and look menacing and are misunderstood and used in very few crimes. (According to the FBU UCR reports, all rifles account for less than 4% of firearm homicides and “assault rifles” are a subset of that number). People willing to break the law will always have guns if they want them. If worst comes to worst they will be smuggled into the US from Mexico inside a bale of marijuana and sold to them on the black market

    • So you start with a known lie, then you just progress hysterically from there.

      This shooter used a 9 mm handgun. So why the hysteria about “AUTOMATIC WEAPONS”?
      Because you do not care about either automatic weapons or the facts.

      Automatic weapons are machine guns, and are very difficult to obtain, and very expensive.
      I believe only two legally, privately owned automatic weapons have been used in murders since the NFA of 1934 was passed. One of those cases was BY a sworn police officer.

      This shooter ran into the legal system, and the mental health system which failed,
      spectacularly, and he went more and more into his mental illness.

      A judge should have declared him mentally incompetent, and as such his right to be legally armed could have been revoked.

      Not The fault of the NRA, this is all in the lap of the government which you trust to execute every happy law you propose.

      Why is it that every time the legal system releases a would be killer into our midst, people like you want to pass restrictive laws against the 200 million citizens who didn’t do it?

      It’s almost as if you have an entirely different agenda.Travis

  • If you don’t know the difference between and “Automatic” and a “Semi-automatic” firearm you are the equivalent of an Amish farmer suggesting regulations on jet aircraft. There are a number of things that both gun owners and folks like yourself could agree on but that has been hampered by the incredible lack of understanding of folks like you.

  • If banning the type of gun used by the Lauderdale shooter is the intent of this article, not clear in the manner written, then the idea would not only be a certain fail, any attempt or partial implementation would result in 10s of 1000s of rapes, deaths, and other forms of criminal harm. Before writing about utopian ideology, please place the proposal in a realistic context.

    • Why can’t people defend themselves with a non automatic pistol? I’m so sick of people acting like banning a certain type of gun is the same as banning ALL GUNS!

      • Re: “’Im so sick of people acting like banning a certain type of gun is the same as banning ALL GUNS!”

        We “act” that way because that is the stated goal of the people leading the charge for more gun control. They used to be honest about it like in 1976 when a gentleman by the name of Nelson Shields said the following “The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second is to get handguns registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition – except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors – totally illegal.” Nelson Shields was one of the founders of Handgun Control Inc which is better known under their current “re-branded” name as The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In 1987 another gentleman by the name of Josh Sugarmann said regarding so called assault weapons “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.” In a Jan/Feb 1994 interview in Mother Jones Magazine he said, “To end the crisis [gun violence], we have to regulate- or, in the case of handguns and assault weapons, completely ban- the product…. We are far past the where registration, licensing, safety training, background checks, or waiting periods will have much effect on firearms violence.” In 1988 in response to an NRA comment about criminals always being able to get handguns he also said “The NRA is Right: But We Still Need to Ban Handguns”. On 11/4/99 he said in a NYT interview “A gun-control movement worthy of the name would insist that President Clinton move beyond his proposals for controls — such as expanding background checks at gun shows and stopping the import of high-capacity magazines — and immediately call on Congress to pass far-reaching industry regulation like the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act introduced by Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, and Representative Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island. Their measure would give the Treasury Department health and safety authority over the gun industry, and any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns. Real gun control will take courage. In the long run, half-measures and compromises only sacrifice lives.” Josh Sugarmann is currently the head and founder of the Violence policy Center and was one of the founders of The Coalition to Ban Handguns which is better known under their current “re-branded” name as The Campaign to Stop Gun Violence. While the names and tactics of these organizations may have changed, the goals and a lot of the personnel remain the same.

  • Good article, Elizabeth! I read some of these comments, and some people seem to think that if you don’t know the difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic, then you don’t have a valid point. Are those people who were killed saying, “Well, the guy killed me with a semi-automatic instead of an automatic, so…” People are dying! And these people want to argue about the difference between a fast killing machine and a faster killing machine?

    • Re: “killing machine”

      While guns may be designed to be a “killing machine”, that is not how they are always used. They have 4 uses – deterrence, intimidation, control and lethal force and only the latter causes injury or death. For a legal gun owner, shooting someone is a last resort because every bullet has a lawyer attached to it. Criminals, of course, don’t care. Many times no shots are fired as was evidenced in a study commissioned by the Obama administration after Sandy Hook (“Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-related Violence”) that concluded that there are about 108,000 to 3 million defensive gun uses per year in contrast with about 11000 gun homicides per year.

  • New Yorks 1,000,000 new illegal gun owners..

    REFUSED TO REGISTER THEIR GUNS….

    One million plus new felons, all armed with scary, high capacity, media labeled assault weapons!

    The deadline for New York residents to register their so called “Assault Weapons” and “High” (read standard) Capacity Magazines came and went.

    An estimated million plus, formerly law abiding, gun owners have refused to comply with Cuomo and down state Democrat’s naive belief that the NY Safe Act, passed in a so called emergency session of the New York legislature, could force free people to register their hard earned property.

    And who can blame these once lawful gun owners, with a president that picks and chooses which laws he will follow or enforce, as well as an Federal Attorney General that operates daily with a Contempt of Congress charge and gun running scandal, “Fast & Furious”, hanging over his head. Why should the average New York joe, bother to follow the law, especially when it is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States, the one true law of the land.
    ammoland,forbes etc

  • I don’t know why I’m wasting time replying to another wanna be debater and liberal who doesn’t know what she is talking about before using the keyboard to highlight her ignorance. I would therefor suggest before posting any additional personal positions or opinion on any topic, let alone this one, to take some time to understand the smallest bit of the facts before the left side of your brain thinks it knows what it’s talking about and you embarrass yourself. In order to help you, I would also like to offer a suggestion to go to a local gun range, take a safety course, rent a 9MM SEMI-AUTOMATIC handgun and let the range master assist you in firing a few hundred rounds down range at a target. I’m willing to bet, at the end of the day, you will be smiling from ear to ear and possibly pick up a new hobby. You obviously enjoy the 1st amendment, why wouldn’t you try the 2nd amendment before forming and posting your opinions and putting it out there ? You know, in this particular case, that you are making a point of banning “automatic weapons” the US government not only trained this animal but also took his weapon when he voluntarily admitted himself to Alsaka police. The police then evaluated him, decided he was not a threat and gave his weapon back to him and you know the end of this sad story. And of course you already know from the numerous replies you received that he didn’t have a automatic weapon. I’m sue you also remember the other slaughter in the Florida nightclub? That scumbag was on a terrorist watch list but USG dropped his case believing he was no threat, wrong. To begin to stop this carnage, we need to enforce the over regulated laws that are currently in place, relax some where prudent, provide mental health solutions and get the guns out off the hands of criminals, especially in the cities.
    One last point, we know the media loves blood and guts, so they splash it all over the place (1st amendment) for ratings and that in turns help those nuts on the edge to try to get fame by doing copycat crimes. More violence, better ratings and political agendas. Many times, it’s a viscous cycle that’s you and others in the media are partially to blame. Even though there are NUMEROUS false or fact free claims that you made in your article that I would love to call you out on, I just don’t have the time.

    I would like to end by saying that I hope you take up my suggestion and enjoy that day at the range, be safe! It’s a lot of fun.

    I’ll check in on the Naked Opinion from time to time to see if you have taken the advice.

  • The weapon was not an automatic (machine gun) which ARE illegal and by the way should NOT be (Look up Tenche Coxe)

    Also, inalienable, natural rights are not subject to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility (otherwise you are clearly NOT talking about rights)

About the author

Elizabeth Brewer

Elizabeth Brewer

Elizabeth Brewer is an Associate Editor for Naked Opinion. She is Yale Young Global Scholar 2016. In her free time, she enjoys competitively swimming, debating, and discussing current events with her peers. She is energized by international policy and United States politics and hopes to continue to write, read, and research them in the future. Elizabeth is from New York City.

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