Leaders must seek solutions
To say there is nothing we can do in the wake of gun violence is to say the most powerful nation in the world is helpless and willing to allow its citizens to be gunned down by the dozens every day because its leaders are beholden to the political lobby of the gun industry.
Even National Rifle Association members agree we need stricter regulation of firearms and ammunition sales. A May 2012 survey of NRA members showed broad support for gun control.
According to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg: "Gun owners and NRA members overwhelmingly support common sense steps to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, even as the NRA leadership continues to oppose them."
It is our elected leaders who must be held accountable. The Brady Campaign is calling on the presidential candidates to state what they are going to do to prevent another Aurora (www.wearebetterthanthis.org).
Ask that question of all candidates this summer, even those running for a city council. If they are not working on a solution, they are part of the problem.
Arntzen is a member of Contra Costa Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Take look at whole Second Amendment
Let's improve our gun laws
Then, we should discount the NRA's deregulation propaganda that the second clause -- "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" -- somehow trumps the first clause.
Firearm proponents furthering under-regulation represents anathema to the founders' conception that well-regulated gunmanship is necessary to ensure the safety of the community; Aurora's massacre is another upshot challenging government to reasonably regulate war-making equipment.
There's no civilian use for assault weapons; and survivalists' hegemonic contention that they're necessary to overthrow our own government is manifestly treasonous.
There's no unassailable need (it's unsportsmanlike) for hunters to use large-capacity detachable-magazines (LCDMs) and semi-automatic weapons. Firing more than 10 rounds in shooting competitions obliterates the targets. Stop selling new LCDMs.
There are First Amendment limits: You cannot falsely shout "fire" in a crowded theater. You shouldn't be able to fire or possess bullets, either, and defend it as Second Amendment rights.
Understanding the Second Amendment
An honest discussion of gun laws, including whether current laws and practices regarding concealed carry permits should be simplified and streamlined for responsible Americans, needs to reflect an understanding of the fundamental purpose of the Second Amendment -- the right for the people to bear arms.
Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, who also authored the Declaration of Independence, summed it up concisely: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."
Tyranny is: "The government or authority of a tyrant; a country governed by an absolute ruler; hence, arbitrary or despotic exercise of power; exercise of power over subjects and others with a rigor not authorized by law or justice, or not requisite for the purposes of government." Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini are examples.
Jefferson said, "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."
Frank discussion is impossible
An emphatic yes to changing gun laws.
Nothing in our Constitution's Second Amendment references the number of rounds a gun can discharge without reloading. I've always believed a weapon's capacity should be lawfully restricted to a reasonable number. It can't be argued that that limitation infringes on the intent of the Second Amendment.
The more important question is, will a frank discussion on the issue follow the massacre? My equally emphatic answer is, "no!"
On July 20, a talk-show host took calls on the tragedy. Two callers expressed the profound nonsense that prohibits an intelligent conversation in this country about guns.
One said, "My gun has killed fewer people than (the late) Sen. Edward Kennedy's car." The other contribution was, "The registration of guns in this country is nothing but a Nazi scheme."
That attitude, and the NRA's fanatical intransigence, guarantees the United States is doomed to anticipate the frightening prospect of a manufacturer designing a gun that accommodates 200 rounds of ammunition.
NRA's ultimate form of bullying
The United States leads all industrialized nations in the number of gun tragedies each year. And the majority of U.S. citizens supports efforts to change this statistic through common-sense gun legislation.
The National Rifle Association is one of the most powerful lobbyists in our country. Its leadership (not its membership at large) has spent millions of dollars to influence our members of Congress as well as our state and local officials to block most every piece of common-sense gun legislation that has been presented in the past decade.
Isn't it time to recognize this as the ultimate form of bullying? Isn't it time to say, "Enough is enough"?
Aurora and Oslo common thread
The common thread between the Aurora shooting and the Oslo massacre, in a very gun-controlled Norway, is that they occurred in "gun free zones."
Everyone followed existing laws except for the shooter. What new law will help that?
The current cry against "assault weapons" shows how well the media and politicians have misled the public. They are not "assault rifles," which is a military term. They are not machine guns.
The general public uses the term "modern sporting rifles." They function the same as any semi-automatic hunting rifle. They have morphed from the old wooden stocked rifles of years past to polymer parts and accessories. And they are more often than not black, which means scary to the media.
The media ignores the fact they are not a novelty for a few. They are the most popular style of rifle sold in America today.
Remember, someone who wishes harm to another is not going to follow the law. With more than 300 million Americans, keeping track of everyone and expecting 100 percent security is an impossible task.