Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
Las Vegas, Nevada. Sutherland Springs, Texas. Parkland, Florida. Charleston, South Carolina. Sebring, Florida. State College, Pennsylvania. Aurora, Illinois. Virginia Beach, Virginia. Abbeville, South Carolina. Gilroy, California. El Paso, Texas. Dayton, Ohio..
The list goes on and one. Could these tragedies have been prevented? Some, perhaps, but not all. Not until we can look into the hearts and minds of our children,, co-workers, friends and people we worship with and know when they become so deluded and full of self-righteous hatred that they lash out in impotent rage against innocent men,women and children. And the nation once again mourns.
Is there anything that can be done to at least make it more difficult for someone to commit these atrocities? Yes, assuming there is the political will to do so. The right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed to us by the Second Amendment. However, in his majority decision in the case of Heller vs. D.C. that established the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, the sainted and late Justice Scalia stated that the right to keep and bear arms is subject to “reasonable restrictions“. Here are some of what I believe might be “reasonable restrictions”.
1. Universal background checks for all transfers of firearms whether by public or private sale, gift or otherwise. The NRA and other radical pro-gun organizations will decry that the power to register is the power to confiscate. Really? We have had background checks for most public sales for years; how many confiscations have there been. The “boogeyman is coming” is not a valid reason not to enact the one measure that there is nearly universal approval of as the most effective tool to lessen mass shootings.
2. Enforce existing laws regarding eligibility to purchase guns. The shooter in Sutherland Springs was legally disqualified for gun purchase but his domestic violence was never reported properly by the Air Force.. Let’ start with the laws already on the books, just use them
3. Ban high capacity magazines or “clips” that hold more than 20 rounds. The shooter in Dayton had a 100 round drum in his vehicle that he was moving toward. Imagine the damage he could have done with that! There is no legitimate reason to have that number of rounds ready to fire except at a licensed firing range. Let high capacity magazines be available at gun ranges for lease and use ONLY at the range so people can play with them safely.
4. Make concealed handgun licenses valid across state lines. Someone who has a certain amount of training in the use of handguns should be able to carry them into another state. Make it a requirement that if the holder of the permit remains in another state for 30 days he or she has to register with law enforcement..
5. I am not sold on Red Flag Laws. The high potential for abuse and abridgment of an individual’s civil rights is troublesome. They certainly could be useful in certain circumstances but the safeguards would have to be high and respected.
6. Love your Neighbor. If a friend, relative or colleague is struggling and acting greatly different from the norm, talk to them. If appropriate, say something to a relative or licensed professional or law enforcement..
These, of course,are my thoughts on an extremely troubling issue in our society. Unlike many of my blogs, this one has taken longer to develop. Dubiously, the United States leads the world in mass gun violence. It is time we stopped ignoring or justifying the increasing incidents of mass violence.
What are your thoughts? Love and peace to all.