GUNS: Then and now

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We live in a different world from that of our Founding Fathers. Theirs was a time when a gun was normally something you fired once and then stopped to reload. They hadn’t even the technology of the six-shooter. Firing six quick shots in rapid succession would have been advanced firing capability. They didn’t own firearms for recreational shooting; they owned firearms because they were taming and civilizing a harsh new land, and because they lacked the sophisticated police protection of our modern world.

When they crafted the Second Amendment, the framers of our Constitution could not have foreseen that the term “gun” would evolve into a high powered assault weapon designed specifically for slaughter — one that can riddle the body of an innocent first-grade boy with 11 bullets in a matter of seconds (and if that’s difficult to read, I understand, yet, it is a cold fact — just ask any Sandy Hook parent). These are military weapons of war, not of peace. As one doctor after Parkland said: “With a hand gun, we can see a small line where the bullet went through an organ, and save it. With the AR-15, it tore the organs to shreds. They were dead when they got here.”

Would Washington, Jefferson or Madison have condoned our arming ourselves with these devices — concealed or not? And where does it end? If assault rifles, then why not more powerful weapons that haven’t even been invented yet?

To live in community, we all sacrifice a certain degree of freedom. Citizens don’t have the right to drive down Highway 95 at 100 miles an hour or to target practice on Sherman Avenue. We accept certain limitations on our lives for the sake of society as a whole.

Similarly, isn’t it common sense — for the common good — that we also set a limit on the capacity of the arms we choose to own? Background checks, bans and buy-ins are all possible first steps in this regard. Australia has already provided us with a pathway shown to be successful.

Our forefathers were able to fight a war for freedom, tame a pretty hostile wilderness and practically drive an entire continental population of bison into extinction — all without the help of assault rifles. They didn’t need them. We don’t either.

CHRISTINE BAKER

Coeur d’Alene

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