Flags fly at half-staff. Children are scared to go to school. Mothers even panic when taking their children to Walmart. Meanwhile, Republican defenders of the Second Amendment are poised to lose the next election.

This is the new reality after the twin tragedies of Dayton and El Paso.

Democratic presidential candidate Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke, the Irishman turned Hispanic, could not wait to rush back to his hometown and pontificate atop the warm bodies still lying in the El Paso super-mart parking lot. Sure, a crazy man pulled the trigger, suggested O’Rourke, but Donald Trump committed the murder.

Accurate or not, many mothers agreed. So, we, as Republicans, must pay attention.

We can retain our right to keep and bear arms so long as we understand what Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson understood in 1949. It was then that he warned us not to “convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.” Blind opposition to any new gun law does just that.

Now, we should not impose restrictions on gun purchases that merely make people feel good. If legislation is one answer to mass shooting, then that legislation must actually curb gun violence. Universal background checks won’t help. Many mass shooters pass the test and buy their firearms legally.

Nor will banning assault weapons help. They are banned in California and New York where mass shootings happen regularly. Laws must emanate from data, not emotion. And new law must be effective.

What we know about mass shooters is that they are generally either young gangsters who shoot up a neighborhood or young crazies who shoot up a festival, a school or a Walmart. The common denominator is often youth and that is the group upon which Congress must concentrate.

For instance, the El Paso alleged shooter was 21. The apparent shooter in Dayton was 24. Even the Gilroy Garlic Festival gunman was only 19. Of course, not all mass shooters are young. The baseball field sniper who attempted to kill Republican members of Congress was 66. But, we cannot sacrifice the practical while wishing for the perfect. Therefore, a law directed toward curbing gun possession by young people should be enacted.

Prior to the age of about 25, the brains of human beings are not fully developed. Rental car companies and the military understand that fact. Young people are reckless, fearless and often believe themselves to be invincible. That is why they willingly act as cannon fodder and rush into the guns of an enemy entrenched on a beach. It is also why they have a propensity to take such risks with their rented Toyotas that Hertz and others charge them extra. In Dayton and El Paso it is why young men donned body armor and felt empowered to vindictively spray public places with projectiles of death.

Some suggest that we can prevent mass shootings by banning the sale of weapons to the mentally ill or to those who commit either violent felonies or domestic violence. But, the juvenile records of young people are often masked. Before age 25, young men may not amass a record serious enough to prevent them from passing a background check. Such laws don’t work.

The law must be changed. The right of civilians to purchase or possess a firearm should be restricted to those over the age of 25.Those under 25 could use firearms, but only in the presence of someone over the age of 30. Here, it is important to note that many mass shooters are young loners. Hence, the requirement for a 30-year-old chaperone would give the public a small amount of extra protection.

Of course, this new law would not apply to police officers or trained security personnel. But, for most everyone else, the right to own a firearm would be reserved only for those whose brains are fully mature.

In the inner city, the law would permit police to disarm most youthful gang members. In the suburbs, it would discourage criminals like both the 19-year-old Florida high school assassin and the 23-year-old who killed 32 at Virginia Tech. Of course the NRA will hate this idea. But, especially Republicans must concede that citizens will not re-elect a president or seat legislators who refuse to keep their children safe.

(18) comments

Mark Hayes

Prohibition laws should have proven that to " ban " only creates a cost increase of the product being banned. Those in the business of selling illegal weapons are more than likely salivating over the possibility of a government ban on certain armament being sold, such a ban will not only increase the cost to the buyers, but will create even more, the desire to own such weapons, a win-win for the criminal element that are already making millions from illegal weapon purchases. Face it, U.S. citizens do not take well to being told by the government, they are not responsible enough to think for themselves. Case in point, alcohol sales and legalization of marijuana, each being at one time against the law, today thriving businesses.

Sally Larson

I'm not going to pretend I have any answers to the problem but we all know something needs to be done, you'd be lying if you didn't. I'll leave that up to those who can make a difference. How many more children do we allow to be killed? It's on all of us now, we can't hide from it anymore.

Keith Miller

Ms Larson...you may be right, but only if the criminals and gang members obey the laws. May I ask what you would do to get the criminal and gang members to obey the laws ??

Jim Tomashoff

requiring all guns to have biometric sensors such that the gun could only be fired by the legal owner would help cut down their use by criminals. the f.b.i. has estimated that several hundred thousand guns are stolen year. and for what it is worth, also according to the f.b.i. most victims of murder by guns know their killers. most often they are other criminals, neighbors, associates, or family members. i doubt if you care much about gangbangers killing each other. but fear not, biometric guns are not a panacea, husbands can continue to kill their wives and children with them.

Keith Miller

Mr Thomashoff…"I doubt if care much about gangbangers killing each other"...if you are referring to me Mr Thomashoff...you are correct...however I don't know many "5 year old gangbangers" that were killed as reported by the Chicago Tribune Aug 6th, 2019...maybe you do. You stated..."the f.b.i. has estimated that several hundred of thousand guns are (stolen year)"...and would you agree that those guns are not equipped with "biometric sensors" that you point out ?? So do you have a magical plan or solution that "criminals and gangbangers...as you call them" will happily turn in the those "guns" or killing weapons to a buy back program ?? And you end your thoughts with..."but fear not, biometric guns are not a panacea, husbands can continue to kill their wives and children with them"...I don't recall this particular discussion talking about "husbands killing wives and children...disgusting...but I would expect that from you.

Jim Tomashoff

biometric guns cannot be shot by shot by anyone other than the legal user. if widely purchased over time there would be little purpose to stealing them and the street cost of non-biometric guns would increase substantially. i don't know how to get guns out of hands of criminals or the mentally disturbed. we read about fathers killing their family far too often. so, would you support the introduction of biometric to the marketplace? the nra is fine with biometric gun safes by the way, they are advertised in nra pubs.


Keith Miller

Ms Larson and Mr Thomashoff have presented solutions that the government should "consider" or "possibly follow to pass more gun control laws". Let's use Chicago to test their ideas....A quick search with the question of "which American city has the toughest gun laws"...Chicago came up immediately. According to the Chicago Tribune...1636 shooting so far this year thru August 7th (figures not out yet for Aug 8th thru 12th. Just last weekend Aug 2nd thru 4th...52 shootings, 7 dead. And Chicago has some of the toughest, if not the toughest, gun laws in the nation and have "buy back" programs already in use. But still the shootings are a daily occurrence...approximately 8 per day, to date, with 300 plus deaths...or approximately 1.5 deaths per day on average, to date. And Chicago has closed "loop holes" such as flea markets and gun shows for the purchase of firearms. With all these laws in place, not much, if anything has changed to prevent gun violence. Its just that the violence is such common place in Chicago that national media no longer reports the day to day shootings and deaths, unless it was like last weekend, Aug 2,3 &4. And sadly maybe they reported it because of the shootings in Texas and Ohio. The point is the crimes were not committed by "law abiding gun owners". And Chicago just has not figured a way for "law abiding" criminals and gang members to sell their guns back to Chicago, and if they won't sell their guns at a "buy back" program in Chicago...One can assume the "law abiding" criminals and gang members could care less about their "personal property taxes being raised substantially", because one must assume they don't pay taxes anyway. So the violence will continue under the "toughest" gun laws Chicago can produce. And in reality these same gun laws across the nation probably wouldn't change the violence very much, or a least until we can get the "law abiding's" criminals and gang members to cooperate.

Sally Larson

I think the numbers would change if the whole country had the same laws. Someone in Chicago can just go to another state to buy a gun or even go online.

Sally Larson

The NRA reminds me of the record industry. Things were changing fast with online streaming but the record companies wouldn't budge on their business model. If they had been more willing to change then they would have stayed on top of the field. I don't know why the NRA doesn't realize they could be changing the narrative while still being on top. They should be closing the loopholes themselves, they should be standing up for background checks, they should stand up to these mass killings, they should be a responsible organization. But, no, they look like weak entitled self-serving rich guys who think they are invincible.

Frank Staples

So people from Chi-town can go across the state line and buy a firearm...and that's why there's so much of a problem there? Then, Sally, why isn't it a problem in those other states? Could it be that they're run by Republicans and don't have a cesspool like chi-town in their state? Are you aware that there's some twenty thousand gun control laws throughout the land and yet every liberal seems to think that "just one more" will magically stop thugs from obtaining firearms and killing people? Are you aware that thugs with knives kill more people than thugs with these nasty semi-full automatic clip magazine assault things? Are you aware that the NRA teaches more firearms SAFETY than any other entity in the United States? Are you aware that your so called loopholes actually contribute nothing to thugs getting guns and committing crimes? Apparently not.

Kent Misegades

“Flags fly at half-staff. Children are scared to go to school. Mothers even panic when taking their children to Walmart. Meanwhile, Republican defenders of the Second Amendment are poised to lose the next election.“ Total nonsense and fear-mongering. The rate of gun ownership has dropped steadily for decades in the US, while the rate of out-of-wedlock births, kids growing up without fathers, violence on TV and video games have risen. These are the causes of violence caused by confused young men with no purpose in life and no role models at home. No amount of restrictions on gun ownership will change this - look at Europe where some largest shootings have occurred and where laws are very strict on the ownership of guns. Guns don’t kill people - people kill people. Get government out of our lives, make fathers responsible for supporting their families, as things were before the welfare state replaced dads.

ken leary

If you get "government out of our lives", who would enforce this responsibility you want to place on fathers. Do women have any say in your world?

Jim Tomashoff

well noted. no, women would have no say. kent has clearly indicated that women exist simply to bear children.

Dan Roman

Kent's screed reminds me of Proverbs 18:2, "A fool takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion".

Jim Tomashoff

ban the sale of all automatic weapons. ban the sale or construction of gun magazines that can hold more than six bullets, initiate a buyback program of all existing semiautomatic guns and large capacity magazines at fair market value. apply substantial personal property taxes on all gun owner's guns that do not participate in the buyback program after two years. your 2nd amendment rights are not unfettered rights. hundreds of types of "arms" may not be owned by americans. i'm just adding more classes of arms that cannot be, and providing carrots and sticks to current owners of these arms to divest themselves of them.


Sally Larson

Also, close the loopholes. Each gun should be treated like owning a car with documents and paperwork to follow. No more unregistered buying at gun shows and even if the gun is bought online it still must come with documentation papers.

Frank Staples

Yep, I was right...ole J.T. on here with another firearms illiterate comment! Jim, can you tell me right off hand where you can obtain an automatic weapon? Anywhere at all? Please? Ok, suppose you're safe at home and two thugs break into your home...do you REALLY think that a gun with only six rounds in your shaking hands is going to hold them off until maybe twenty minutes or so until the deputy get's there from HighFalls?? You haven't given this much thought, have you? How many law abiding citizens will turn criminal, in your eyes, by not turning in their firearms? How come these firearms that you're so scared of have only recently turned into the weapons of choice for these mass shooters ( which almost all occur in GUN FREE ZONES by the way )...like I say, they've been around for about two hundred years so what's the difference now? I'm not going to put up with liberal lawmakers defining what I can and cannot own when they don't even know anything about these hundred round automatic clip semi-magazine assault machine guns. It would be interesting if there was a liberal out there who had the slightest idea of what he was talking about when it comes to firearms!

Frank Staples

Kent, I don't know where you're getting your ideas about ownership of firearms...women and minorities are buying firearms in record numbers...there are millions of conceal and carry permits being issued each year...there's somewhere between 350 and 600 million firearms out there owned by about one out of every three citizens in this great country. And to top it all off, I'm not aware of a single verifiable poll taken in recent years. I've been called twice and both times said I didn't own firearms...it's nobody's business what I own. And asking around a couple of the gunshops in Moore County I find that a lot of gun owners answer polltakers the same way. It's always amazing how the left looks at firearms...with some twenty thousand gun control laws on the books any time there's a crime committed the left wants to add just one more law that will solve the entire issue! Keep your powder dry, Kent, cause ole J.T. will be on here next ranting about how you don't need any of those nasty guns that go out and kill people without a human touching them.

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