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Patricia Smith: Second Amendment rights are limited

The gun control measures being proposed in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that tragically claimed the lives of 17, children and teachers, are a start but they are not nearly enough.

That an 18 year old can purchase these weapons is totally insane. It is time to ban every assault-style weapon and to admit these guns were only designed for combat situations.

It is simply a false assertion that AR-15’s and semi-automatic weapons in general are protected under the Second Amendment. Four different Court of Appeals have upheld that it is constitutional to ban these weapons and the Supreme Court has refused to review these cases thus allowing the bans to stand. Even the conservative icon Justice Antonin Scalia stated that the right to own firearms “is not unlimited.”

There is a vast difference in the damage inflicted by a handgun and a semi-automatic weapon. Mikes Spies recounted this graphic description experience of a trauma surgeon in this online article for TheTrace.org.

Because of the maximum damage inflicted by these guns, little training is necessary to deliver a lethal shot.

“When a bullet from a high-muzzle velocity weapon hits the intestines, it’s like an explosion, whereas a low-muzzle velocity can be very similar to a knife going through the intestines; there’s bleeding, but it doesn’t destroy the whole area. A high-muzzle bullet, however, destroys whole areas of body.”

“With a bone that’s been shot with a standard-issue caliber handgun, you’ll see a break, a hole in the bone, and maybe some displacement. But a high-muzzle weapon shatters that bone into hundreds of microscopic pieces, in a way that cannot be repaired. You need to essentially clean out the bone that has been struck and remove it from the body; it’s now a worthless tissue. You can’t believe that a bullet could do this amount of damage.”

Because of the maximum damage inflicted by these guns, little training is necessary to deliver a lethal shot.

Some great ideas have been proposed to harden our schools, but the idea of arming teachers is almost too absurd to discuss. If three trained police officers felt it was foolhardy to enter the school building while an armed shooter was on the loose, it is ridiculous to think that a teacher with minimal training (compared to police or military) will be able to respond during the chaos of a mass shooting armed with a pistol against an assault style weapon.

It is immoral to offer teachers “a small bonus” as a “cheap alternative” to fix this problem. Teachers killed during these attacks get no death benefits whereas the surviving family members of police officers or army personnel rightfully receive benefits that can total $100,000 or more. Are we really expecting teachers to be the first line of defense while saying their lives are expendable?

A NRA representative at the CPAC convention made the vile statement “that the liberal press loves mass murders because it is ratings gold for them.” These NRA gun manufacturer shills failed to mention that sales spike after every shooting incident. It’s incomprehensible that two million guns were sold the first month after Sandy Hook.

Here’s a possible solution to those who claim they just love to shoot semi-automatic weapons. How about having shooting ranges or hunt clubs where you can rent these weapons eliminating the need to own one?

To those who say they need these weapons to protect themselves from a tyrannical government, I say good luck facing down a determined government response no matter the size of your arsenal.

To those who say they need semi-automatic weapons for home defense, the numbers belie you. Only a handful of home defense situations using semi-automatic weapons have been documented although there are millions of these guns in circulation.

Every right has limitations. You can drive a car as long as you follow the rules, but driving rights can be restricted or rescinded for any number of reasons.

I propose we use the money that would be needed to arm and train teachers for a buy-back program and then crack down on those who continue to illegally sell or possess prohibited weapons. It won’t completely solve the problem, but it’s a start.

Patrica Smith lives in Penn Valley.

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