Hilbert Morales | EL OBSERVADOR
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Following the three community mass shootings at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, El Paso Walmart, and Dayton Business District, there has been an intense outcry demanding that the U.S. Congress enact Gun Control Legislation. This approach runs right into the NRA’s efforts to promote gun sales as the foremost lobbyist for the firearms industry. Also consider that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent case of District of Columbia vs. Heller, established the right of an individual to own and keep guns to protect his/her home, property and family.

This nation does need federal legislation to further define and refine the 2nd Amendment which reads as follows: “A well-regulated militia is necessary to provide security to an independent free State, the right of the people to own and keep guns shall not be infringed.”

It has already been established that all weapons regulated and used by the militia (law enforcement agencies and the military) are those designed with firepower capabilities necessary for combat. High performance rifles, such as the AK-16, is an example of such a high capacity, high performance military weapon which the gun manufacturers have sold to civilians.

Today there are more than 10 million such weapons already owned and kept by their owners who live in any and all communities. All these weapons need to be licensed and their purchase needs to be regulated using permits which require a buyer’s personal assessment. Local law enforcement agencies need to know how many exist and where they are located.

Why does any civilian need to own and keep any high-performance high capacity weapon such as an AK-16? This weapon was specifically designed to provide combat infantry advantageous firepower. It is classified as a military weapon.

An analysis of the three recent community mass shootings (Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton) reveals that the murderous firing of high-performance high capacity rifles were used by the perpetrators to kill 35 individuals within 45 seconds. In these three cases, the perpetrators were neutralized by being killed by local security police within one minute after these mass killings were initiated. In addition, during these incidents, additional bystanders were wounded and several needed medical care or hospitalization.

The real issues is the following: The ownership and keeping of military grade high capacity weaponry such as AK-16 rifles need to be monitored and regulated using ownership licenses and purchasing permits which require periodic personal character assessments plus at least a three day waiting period which enables this due process procedure to be done effectively.

An estimated 40,000-gun killings happen per year nationally. To mitigate the reality this nation faces when considering experiencing 250 community mass shootings during the first 210 days of 2019, the U.S. Congress must enact appropriate legislation which establishes uniform federal standards of gun ownership, keeping and use.  The right of the people to own and keep guns (sidearms, shotguns and hunting rifles) shall remain un-infringed in keeping with the 2nd Amendment. It is important to enact a federal law which requires that any and all military weapons must be licensed (and purchased with permits requiring character assessment).

The personal ownership and keeping of these types of high-performance high capacity rifles (such as the AK-16) used in these recent community mass shootings would then become unlawful. Federal laws would enable uniform national standards of ownership and keeping of these guns.

Federal laws must also make it unlawful to own and keep a military grade weapon such as an AK-16 high performance high capacity rifle. These rifles were designed to provide combat infantry with a high firepower advantage which is not needed by civilians. And it makes sense to store these weapons in a locked cabinet which is child-proof.

These days our nation has already more guns than residents as an outcome of the NRA being a very effective gun sales promoter and advocate. Any attempt by gun safety advocates is immediately opposed effectively by the NRA and its lobbyists who have already influenced members of the U.S. Congress along with many local legislators and elected officials.

The NRA membership must advocate their emphasis on gun safety education and competitive marksmanship. These were the initial objectives of the NRA when organized during 1871 after the Civil War.

Suicides are the main cause of death in this nation. Many suicides involved the use of a gun. Therefore, if access to a gun can be reduced or eliminated, many suicides could be prevented. Suicide attempts using a gun are too often very final with few failures.

Guns in homes need to be stored in a locked cabinet that is child-proof. This alone would reduce the accidental gun shootings that happen in homes when a child finds and plays with a gun which was improperly stored, or a distraught family member makes use of a gun. The main point is that guns owned and kept at home need to always be stored in a secured locked cabinet which requires being unlocked to provide access.

Individuals with personal history of violence and schizophrenic paranoia need to never have access to or possess a gun. Individuals with mental health and behavioral challenges have a documented record of very low gun shooting incidents. It is simply inappropriate to blame those with mental and behavioral health challenges with being a major cause of gun-shootings.  It is simply not true. Records reveal that those incidents involving mental health challenged individuals is less than 1%. More humans are killed in vehicular accidents than by gun-shootings.

A recommended program which any jurisdiction could undertake is to authorize and fund the buy-back of guns in their community. In those communities having criminal hot-spots, buy-back programs may be an effective way to reduce the excessive number of guns already available in that community.

It is my understanding that several laws were enacted by the U.S. Congress when influenced by the NRA: One law prohibits the collection of information involving gun-shootings by any federal agency. A second related law prohibits the Department of Justice from collecting a national database.

Both laws need to be reversed and special interest lobbyists must be prohibited from advocating such laws which prevent the collection of a national information database. Such a national database is essential to the formulation and creation of effective gun safety programs.

The main gun safety issue right now is to deal with high performance high capacity rifles used by perpetrators of community mass killings. Any program which reduces access to a gun reduces gun-accidents. This is a national crisis requiring immediate and targeted resolution. No military weapon needs to be owned by a civilian!