It took Hartford Courant editorial writers ten plump paragraphs to reach their predictable corporate conclusion: “… Somehow this country must protect the fundamental right to assemble in peace, whether to talk politics or play ball or sit in school. The way to do that is to limit the weapons that shatter the peace, not to silence the debate.”
There is little doubt that weapons may be used to shatter peace. That is the operative principle of all terrorists and anarchists. The weapons, as we have seen in recent days, may be various: suicide vests, trucks and knives – all assault weapons, an assault weapon being any instrument of death uses in an assault on human life, including, the editors of the Courant may be surprised to learn, an abortionist’s scalpel.
The attempted murderer who took up arms against Republican members of Congress at a Washington ballpark was obviously no respecter of the First Amendment, which includes the provision affirming a right of assembly. The right of assembly, prosecutors will tell you, is subject to some restrictions. Terrorists have no right to assemble to destroy, say, the Twin Towers in New York City. Republican and Democratic Congressmen do have a right to assemble to commit legislation or to play baseball with each other in a false show of patriotic unity.
The victims who assembled to play ball in Washington were a) unarmed, and b) enclosed within a fence that made them easy prey for the shooter, who was shot dead by armed capitol police officers on assignment to protect only one of the congressmen in the ballpark. Had the congressman not been there, the police would have been absent, and the other Republican congressmen in the ballpark and their aides doubtless would have been systematically slaughtered.
It was the presence of armed police on the scene, good guns in the hands of the good guys, that prevented a mass slaughter. No one – liberal, progressive or Trumpian – would argue that a) the police should not have been armed, b) there is no moral difference between the shooter and capitol police, or c) rights of assembly or rights of free speech should be curtailed because, in an age of terrorism, the exercise of such rights provides killing opportunities for criminals and potential criminals. Indeed, Courant editors argue that Second Amendment rights should be curtailed to ensure a robust expression of First Amendment rights; though, of course, exceptions should be made in the case of professional defenders of the peace. Thank God armed officers were present at the ballpark!
Very well then. The question arises: will gun control that falls short of the abolition of the Second Amendment and universal disarmament get the job done? Will even such an extreme measure get the job done?
And the answer, booming in everyone’s ears, is – no, it will not get the job done. “The job” is to leave non-violent gun owners unmolested while preventing criminal access to assault weapons, an assault weapon being any weapon used in an assault; think for a moment of the average kitchen or car garage as an assault weapon armory. The latest two terrorist assaults in London involved mass murder by vans, readily available for rent everywhere gun laws have been promulgated. London is a gun-restricted town. So is Chicago, Illinois, whose gun laws are more restrictive than Connecticut’s. A couple of months ago, Connecticut was deemed the murder capital of New England, and Connecticut’s gun laws in the post-Sandy Hook period are among the most restrictive in the nation. We have in our state gun control laws that do not prevent gun crimes committed by criminals or potential criminals. Hartford and other of Connecticut’s large cities are shooting galleries in which the shooters are armed with weapons easily obtained by criminals and gangbangers, all of whom have slipped the gun-control snares fashioned by easily conned politicians.
So then, the kinds of gun restrictions being peddled by Connecticut’s two U.S. Senators, Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal, are at best half-measures that will not and cannot prevent gun violence practiced by the average terrorist, anarchist or homegrown professional criminal. The protections offered by Connecticut's hoplophobic congressmen, are violence-prophylactics with holes in them.
Only the abolition of the Second Amendment, the confiscation of all guns in the United States, and an inescapable death penalty attached to all crimes committed with weapons might – MIGHT -- reduce gun crimes in the United States. Nothing short of such extreme measures may – MAY – get the job done.
However, a disarmed general population elsewhere in Europe, enjoying themselves in cafes and rock concerts, has not fared well against terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests or armed with knives and murderous vans. Disarmed Congressmen corralled behind a fence have not fared well against an enraged Bernie Sanders supporter who had expressed his violent distaste of a Republican President and Congress. Connecticut’s restrictive gun laws have not brought the peace of lawful assembly to poor victims in Hartford who have barricaded themselves in their houses against gang and gun violence. Only armed and violent gangbangers and criminals are free to roam streets unmolested in Hartford, the most dangerous city in Connecticut.
Such extreme measures as have been mentioned here are not on the tables of Blumenthal and Murphy – just safe, pointless, vote getting measures that touch only the lives of lawful gun owners.