Commonsense gun laws are needed

Published 9:36 am Thursday, June 16, 2016

All these mass shootings are getting very old. I remember a time when you never heard about the things. You might get upset, but you didn’t grab an assault weapon and go shoot up your workplace or your school.

It’s commonplace now.

Why? Obviously there’s a lot more hate than there used to be.

Too many people have little regard for human life (any life).

Most mass shootings are not, by the way, committed by Muslims, extremists or not.

I don’t know what the deal is with the Orlando murderer. He was a U.S. citizen who proclaimed allegiance to ISIS after he’d already murdered a bunch of people, so he might have been hedging his bets to get into paradise. He might have just hated LGBT people.

Whatever. He was filled with hate and acted on his hatred. Enough.

I can’t grasp it because I don’t hate anybody. I certainly don’t have any hankering to kill anybody. I don’t think I know anybody that does have such hankerings.

The big problem, of course, is that hate-filled people can get their hands on the tools they need to kill people.

When I was in the Army we trained with M-16s. They were designed for combat and they were very lethal. You could fire off 30 shots before having to reload and the rounds were designed to get inside a human body and do maximum damage because in combat you want your weapon to take down the target before your target took you down.

I was an expert marksman, the highest level you could get in basic training. The M-16 was an effective weapon for what it was designed for – to kill a lot of people. I’m mighty glad I never had to use it for real.

I didn’t know until today that the M-16 is based upon the AR-15 used by many mass killers, including the monster that murdered 49 people in Orlando. It’s virtually the same weapon – designed to kill people effectively and efficiently.

Why do we sell weapons of war for civilian use? Why do we allow multi-round ammunition clips for these weapons? Why do we allow hate filled people to buy these or any other gun?

We need to ban the sale of assault rifles, ban the sale of mega-magazines, and do more thorough background checks on those who want to buy guns. We also should drag the wait time out to about a week.

Nobody’s going to repeal the Second Amendment. Neither the president of Congress can simply change the Constitution. But we should be able to pass reasonable, commonsense laws to protect innocent people from madmen.

The Second Amendment is in the Constitution because when the country was founded, we didn’t have a standing army. We couldn’t afford to have soldiers on the payroll or equip them with the weapons of the day – one-shot muskets.

The Revolutionary Army was truly a citizen-army made up of gun-owning civilians called upon to defend their nation.

The Second Amendment guaranteed that if we were invaded, another civilian-army could be cobbled together to defend the nation.

People do have the right to defend their homes, but assault weapons are not the most effective for that. A shotgun and a pistol is what you want to deal with a home invader, so we don’t need assault weapons.

They would be more effective if you’re being invaded by a SWAT team, but for little else.

This nation needs commonsense gun laws that can work in conjunction with the Second Amendment.

We also need to figure out a way to minimize hatred and insensitivity to inflicting harm.


Keith Hoggard is a Staff Writer at Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7206.