I write in response to Cal Thomas’ recent column.
As expected by many when the Newtown tragedy occurred, the outrage over the shootings has declined enough to stop the momentum for change at expanded background checks, but any renewal of the assault weapons ban is unlikely to happen — with the refrain from the gun lobby, that any assault weapons ban would “punish law-abiding gun owners,” as predictable as the entrenchment in their self-interest.
I know this and similar letters will not make a particle of difference to those who worry about any perceived diminishing of the Second Amendment, a protection they interpret as: “We have a constitutional right to as many guns as we wish to possess, and we won’t be punished by any restrictions to this right, including assault-style weaponry.”
Christians, in particular, who can speak the words above without pause (my Christian friends, Mr. Thomas, what say you?), need to understand they don’t know their gentle master very well. “Blessed are the meek,” he said, “for they shall inherit the Earth.” Try to insert “assault weapons supporters” into this promise in place of meek.
But "punished" gun owners is a curious affiliation with the word itself. Punishment implies some kind of harm being done to someone, an irony too great to bear in light of Newtown; or punished, as in the case of a child when some type of censure is being applied. Those frightened children at Sandy Hook were censured by 157 bullets in a matter of minutes, from multi-round magazines quickly inserted in an assault-style rifle.
The punisher in that instance was not Adam Lanza — he was merely the fractured vehicle for the inevitable in a country filling with military-grade weapons. No, the punisher was the gun industry itself, especially those who have made their fortunes spreading weapons that have no place in hunting or anywhere in civil communities.
That a hunter’s pump-action shotgun is regarded by many in law-enforcement to be the single most effective protection a gun-desiring homeowner can have is an argument of clarity the gun industry and its lobby ignores. Even with birdshot at close range it would be effective; filled with buckshot its lethality would be unchallenged. But the arms industry needs to sell lots of guns, many types of guns. Just as the tobacco industry needs to sell many types of cigarettes.
Maybe this is a federal law that would have the chance of Congressional passage, a required label on assault-style weapons: “Warning, the destructive instrument in your hands may provide a rush on the shooting range, but in the hands of the wrong person, it can be harmful to innocent children in schools, and many yet to be born.”
Paul Baribault, Lewiston