Young: Crossing the bridge to gun sanity in spite of the troll below


The vespidae were aloft over Boulder, Colorado last week.

Vespidae – the family of hornets.

The Boulder City Council stirred up a hornets nest. It voted to abolish the sale and possession, unless registered, of what the city defines as assault weapons, as well as bump stocks and high-capacity magazines.

The action is yet to be finalized, but the unanimous preliminary vote seems to assure approval – as well as a full-court press by the hornet lobby.

Hear the gun industry and fanciers say there’s no such thing as an assault weapon. Hear them say, for instance, that the “AR” in AR-15 is misrepresented as standing for “assault rifle” when in fact the “A” stands for “Armalite,” after the arms maker.

That’s a fact. And it’s beside the fact.

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An assault rifle is what we decide it is. We: the community. We: the nation. We: Americans in concert. We: also known as representative democracy.

The gun lobby and its supporters assert that the AR-15 the AK-47 and other kin of military lineage are just rifles – “sporting rifles.” A most curious claim. However, it is the “we” above who will and can decide if they belong in civilian hands.

This was done by Congress in 1994 with the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Protection Act, aka the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. It lasted 10 years until the Bush administration and a Republican Congress let it expire.

Seven states, including New York and California, have assault weapon bans, as do the Colorado cities of Denver and Vail.

Opponents said such things do nothing to save lives. Not true, said University of Massachusetts professor Louis Klarevas. The author of “Rampage Nation,” Klarevas writes that while the law was in place, the number of mass murders (six or more dead) dropped a “staggering” 37 percent.

A violation of the Second Amendment? Not so, say the courts. Limiting what “sporting weapons” civilians can buy or import doesn’t mean Americans can’t bear arms. Not at all.

The mere fact that not just anyone can have a grenade launcher or machine gun affirms that a law targeting particular arms is fully constitutional.

The NRA opposes gun control? Why did it not object when the Secret Service barred guns from the auditorium in Dallas the other day when President Donald Trump pandered to the (defenseless) crowd?

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You may say the whole concept of “assault weapons” is vague. Agreed. Then again, communities and states only have a vague idea of what speed limit would best save lives, and they make decisions as to what those are.

You may say people are certain to violate this law (buying their weapons outside Boulder), and that will apply to bad guys.

Yes, and the same could apply to speed limits, laws against rape, bribery and anything else. So let’s not have any laws?

The gun lobby is like a troll under the bridge posing a riddle before it allows passage. The vast majority of Americans want stronger gun laws. We should cross that bridge without asking permission.

For the National Rifle Association to dictate our gun laws is like the Alliance of Maserati Owners setting our speed limits. It’s like Big Energy writing our environmental laws. (Oh, wait; that’s what’s happening now under Scott Pruitt and Team Trump.)

The gun lobby shouldn’t write our gun laws. We should.



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