Here’s how to stop Black gun crime – and white gun crime, too | Michael Coard
5. All persons currently in possession of a firearm and who do not comply with the aforementioned conditions must immediately turn in their firearms to assigned authorities that will pay the owner five times the market value of the firearm. The funding will come directly from the bloated $2.01 trillion Department of Defense military budget. Any persons who do not immediately turn in their unauthorized firearms will, when caught, be fined ten times the market value of the firearm.
Lawmakers, advocates, survivors rally against ‘toxin’ of gun violence
Harsh, you say? Extreme, you say? Severe, you say? And you’d be right. But that’s the point. People who possess guns should be required to jump through all types of hoops because that’s the only way America will stop being the gun murder capital of the world as documented in an April 20 detailed report by The Commonwealth Fund, which was founded in 1918 with the mission of “promoting a high-performing, equitable health care system.” Check this out:
“The U.S. has the highest overall rate of death from firearms, nearly five times that of France, the nation with the second-highest rate.
The U.S. is the only high-income country where the number of civilian-owned guns exceeds the total number of people.
The U.S. has 67 million more firearms than it does people, a difference greater than the entire population of the U.K.
The U.S. has the highest death rate … [from] self-harm by firearm, more than three times higher than rates on France and Switzerland.”
By the way, Democratic North Carolina Rep. Pricey Harrison in 2018, citing an earlier study by the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey, pointed out that “The U.S. has approximately 5% of the world’s population and 42% of civilian gun ownership.”
And there’s more. As reported by PBS on April 21: “The U.S. is setting a record pace for mass killings in 2023.” Mass killings are those that the FBI defines as having at least four victims.
Also, continues PBS, the “bloodshed represents just a fraction of the fatal violence that occurs in the U.S. annually” and “mass killings are happening with staggering frequency this year: An average of once every 6.53 days, according to an analysis of The AP/USA Today data.”
As documented at gunviolencearchive.org, about 20,200 persons in America were homicide victims in 2022 and 38,550 were injured. And ABC News reports that as of May 2 this year, at least 13,959 persons have died from gun violence in the U.S.
During the pandemic between 2020 and 2022, according to an analysis by The Trace, a nonpartisan news organization that tracks gun violence, Americans bought nearly 60 million guns. Wow again!
Last year, the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court issued one of the worst gun crazy Second Amendment rulings in American history.
In the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case, the court callously declared that Americans have a legal right to carry firearms in public without showing any justifiable need to do so regardless of the mass shootings occurring weekly throughout the country.
Fortunately, though, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been issuing sane and levelheaded rulings in regard to the state constitution’s Article I, Section 21 as recently as 2003 in Lehman v. Pennsylvania, and as long ago as 1875 in Wright v. Commonwealth.
Here’s the Second Amendment language of the federal constitution: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
And here’s similar language in Article I, Section 21 of the state Constitution: “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
In the Lehman case, the court ruled that the denial of a person’s application to purchase a rifle due to a conviction for theft decades earlier was not a violation of the state constitution because, “While the right to bear arms enjoys constitutional protection …, it is not beyond regulation.”
And in the Wright case, the court ruled that a law prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons was constitutional, thereby declaring that the defendant had “no protection under … [Section 21 except] the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state.”
Now back to the Second Amendment. It doesn’t mean what many bloodthirsty Americans think it means. But it’s not their fault.
It’s the fault of the Republican-controlled U.S. Supreme Court that in 2008 issued the worst gun-crazy Second Amendment ruling in American history (resulting from, in my opinion, unethical lobbying pressure from the bloodthirsty NRA) in the District of Columbia v. Heller case by erroneously concluding that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to bear arms.
However, as pointed out in an intellectual motherjones.com essay, most scholars – including Michael Waldman, an attorney and professor as well as the author of “The Second Amendment: A Biography”– adamantly disagree with the Heller ruling by making it clear, based on historical records, “that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership [only] for purposes of military duty and collective security. It was drafted, after all, in the first years of post-colonial America, an era of scrappy citizen militias where the idea of a standing army – like that of the just-expelled British – evoked deep mistrust.”
As Waldman stated, “When you actually go back and look at the debate that went into the drafting of the amendment …, there’s simply no evidence of it being about individual gun ownership for self-protection or for hunting. Emphatically, the focus was on the militias. To the [constitutional] framers, that phrase ‘a well-regulated militia” was really critical.”
Furthermore, as emphasized by the American Enlightenment Project – an anti-gun violence non-profit focused on ending America’s gun violence crisis – “The Second Amendment does not, and never has, guaranteed a constitutional right for individual Americans to own guns.”
Moreover, “[The] Heller [ruling] is fatally flawed, based on a profound misreading of the Second Amendment and history.”
And finally, as written in 1992 by former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, the meaning of the Second Amendment’s clause regarding “a right of the people to keep and bear arms … cannot be understood apart from the purpose, the setting, and the objectives of the draftsmen. At the time of the Bill of Rights, people were apprehensive about the new national government …” and formed militias as a result.
In other words, the Second Amendment was never about crazy John Rambos running around willy-nilly blasting Bambi’s mom and other living creatures with AK-47s.
It was only about militias – structured and organized military forces consisting of civilians to serve as or to supplement a regular army in an emergency.
By the way, if anyone thinks my gun ban/gun restriction proposal is too harsh, too extreme and too severe, well, let’s agree at least to universal background checks, mandatory waiting periods, red flag laws, banning purchases by certain categories of mentally ill persons, making private sales subject to background checks and outlawing high-capacity magazines as well as assault-style weapons.
After all, everybody wants to do everything possible to make sure no more babies are murdered in school.
On second thought, maybe that’s not what everybody wants to do.
This column first appeared in the Philadelphia Tribune, a publishing partner of the .
Originally published at www.penncapital-star.com,by Michael Coard