Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gunned down

Posted on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Sen. Max Baucus responded to a constituent’s concern about gun violence as follows: “I oppose the assault weapons ban, and I will oppose any effort that would negatively affect our Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.”

When a society suffers a seemingly unending series of gun related mass murders—62 since August 1982—and when those mass murders include innocent men, women and children—Texas District Attorney Mike McLelland, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and 20 Sandy Hook Elementary School students—it would seem inconceivable that anyone would stand in the way of taking steps to control this senseless killing.

It is interesting to note that a Wikipedia list of countries by firearm-related deaths ranks the U.S. at 57 out of 75 countries and dependencies. Yes, there are still 18 countries that have a higher firearm death rate than us, but those are countries like Colombia, Argentina, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland. Even Mexico ranks lower than us at 53. Canada ranks 43 and Great Britain, where gun control is taken seriously, ranks 5. Japan is No. 1 with with only 0.07 deaths per 100,000 compared to our 10.2 deaths per year. There is a good chance that national efforts at gun control have something to do with these statistics.

Baucus claims that he opposes an assault weapons ban based upon the Second Amendment. Keep in mind that this amendment was adopted in 1791—222 years ago. At that time a renegade government that intended to steal a “free state” from its citizens might well reconsider in the face of a citizenry armed with muskets. Today, a one-armed drone could probably deter such a citizen uprising. For better or worse, today, we must depend more on our electoral process to put morally responsible and socially aware individuals in positions of power.

idual would realize that times change. The keeping of slaves once stimulated the national economy, the woman’s vote was an unnecessary complication and prohibition of alcohol was to improve societal morals. The Second Amendment no longer protects us from government tyranny and it is being selfishly misrepresented. Perhaps it is time for a change.

Paul Pacini

Helena

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