Consider this tongue-in-cheek proposal to curb our alarming plague of gun deaths: Why not permit the private ownership of only the kinds of muskets the founders were familiar with when they wrote the Second Amendment? This would still allow full access to firearms for those who want guns for hunting and self defense and have the additional benefit of adhering to the strictest possible interpretation of the Constitution.

Seriously, the founding fathers could certainly not have envisioned ordinary citizens bearing semi-automatic Bushmasters with clips capable of firing 100 rounds of ammunition. And not only could they have never imagined such super efficient killing machines, they would likewise never have dreamed their new nation would someday earn the distinction of having the highest murder rate of any industrialized country in the world.

As it turns out, the U.S. also has the highest total number of guns of any nation, a jaw dropping 393 million, which represents roughly half the number of domestically purchased guns found in the entire world, all owned by just 5% of the world's population. This means there are millions more weapons than needed to arm every American from fledgling first graders to aging grandmothers.

This has clearly not made us safer, in that the United States has a gun murder rate of about 20 times the average of other G-8 countries. Put another way, Americans are 20 times as likely to be killed by a gun than in any of these other developed nations.

Meanwhile, while U.S. crime rates have gone down, crimes committed with guns have increased, resulting in nearly 40,000 deaths and some 80,000 gun-related injuries a year (including suicides and attempted suicides).

In spite of this, we are continuing to be told by some that the solution is simply to address the mental health problems of deranged individuals, to reduce the time kids spend playing violent video games and to reinstate mandatory prayer and Bible reading in public schools. But all of these factors are at play in most other countries as well, but without the corresponding level of violence.

Of course all relevant issues need to be addressed, but certainly not excluding having universal background checks and other means of responsibly licensing and regulating gun ownership. But easy access to too many firearms loaded with far too much ammunition is surely a major reason for the kind of carnage an individual can create here in a very short period of time.

As to having more civilians carry loaded weapons in order to stop bad guys with guns, in U.S. mass-murder cases has even one ever been stopped by an armed civilian? A sheriff's deputy at Columbine High School back in 1999 did fire at one of the two killers while 11 of their 13 victims were still alive. But he missed four times.

In short, there are no easy answers, but we need to collaborate in doing whatever we can to stem our epidemic of gun violence.

Harvey Yoder lives in Harrisonburg.

(22) comments

DeftCurmudgeon

1. In Chicago earlier this year, an Uber driver with a concealed-carry permit “shot and wounded a gunman [Everardo Custodio] who opened fire on a crowd of people.”



2. In a Philadelphia barber shop earlier this year, Warren Edwards “opened fire on customers and barbers” after an argument. Another man with a concealed-carry permit then shot the shooter; of course it’s impossible to tell whether the shooter would have kept killing if he hadn’t been stopped, but a police captain was quoted as saying that, “I guess he [the man who shot the shooter] saved a lot of people in there.”



3. In a hospital near Philadelphia, in 2014, Richard Plotts shot and killed the psychiatric caseworker with whom he was meeting, and shot and wounded his psychiatrist, Lee Silverman. Silverman shot back, and took down Plotts. While again it’s not certain whether Plotts would have killed other people, Delaware County D.A. Jack Whelan stated that, “If the doctor did not have a firearm, (and) the doctor did not utilize the firearm, he’d be dead today, and I believe that other people in that facility would also be dead”; Yeadon Police Chief Donald Molineux similar said that he “believe[d] the doctor saved lives.” Plotts was still carrying 39 unspent rounds when he was arrested. [UPDATE: I added this item since the original post.]



4. In Plymouth, Pa., in 2012, William Allabaugh killed one man and wounded another following an argument over Allabaugh being ejected from a bar. Allabaugh then approached a bar manager and Mark Ktytor and reportedly pointed his gun at them; Ktytor, who had a concealed-carry license, then shot Allabaugh. “The video footage and the evidence reveals that Mr. Allabaugh had turned around and was reapproaching the bar. Mr. [Ktytor] then acted, taking him down. We believe that it could have been much worse that night,” Luzerne County A.D.A. Jarrett Ferentino said.



5. Near Spartanburg, S.C., in 2012, Jesse Gates went to his church armed with a shotgun and kicked in a door. But Aaron Guyton, who had a concealed-carry license, drew his gun and pointed it at Gates, and other parishioners then disarmed Gates. Note that in this instance, unlike the others, it’s possible that the criminal wasn’t planning on killing anyone, but just brought the shotgun to church and kicked in the door to draw attention to himself or vent his frustration.



I have more, Harv, and it's a "magazine" not a "clip".



Educate yourself, you'll have more credibility.

bishopsboy

Spot on DC. Sadly, Custodio, Edwards, Plotts, and Allabaugh are all the types of people Mr. Yoder would go to bat for to get leniency and early release from prison had they lived. He would complain incessantly about their lack of air conditioning, low wages, and the requirement to pay keeping fees. I don't understand his thought processes. He protects the guilty and at the expense of people who need deadly weapons for defense against criminals.

DeftCurmudgeon

Indeed.

Mike Muterspaugh

sbsheridan-The reason we have people fearing people Ms. Sheridan is because your party is pushing hatred, racism and divisiveness all for political gain and power. Democrats continue to encourage the "aggrieved" parties that form the base of the party to "fear" and demonize anyone that does not agree with any idea or stance they take. The Dems practice constant agitation.

LVW

"... your party is pushing hatred, racism and divisiveness all for political gain and power." Wait, what? Which party are you talking about? That sounds like Trump's playbook.

bishopsboy

Dear LVW, I thought you were at least a thinking liberal (an oxymoron, I know). You know good and well Trump is not a racist, and I'm surprised you parrot the MSM and their lemming followers.

LVW

Bb: If you don't think Trump is using race, immigration, and hatred of the left to gin up his base, then you haven't been paying attention.

bishopsboy

Dear LVW, nonsense. Trump is using the left's wacky medicare for the world, green new return to the stone ages, and freebies for all to gin up his base, not racism. His base is fundamentally non-racist

sbsheridan

First off, we are no longer a newly-formed nation, and the citizen militia thing has been overtaken by a well-organized, well-trained, well-supplied Department of Defense. Secondly, one’s stance on an issue does not preclude a different stance on a different issue. Those of us who advocate for a woman’s right to make choices about her body retain the right to hold other opinions on other issues. You comments about abortion do not belong in this discussion.

prodigalson

M S, it may come as a shock to you that you do not have the right to decide which topics are, are or not, eligible for discussion on any given thread. Furthermore, you and Harvey Yoder are showing your hypocrisy and true colors by suggesting that the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens be infringed; a right that allows citizens to protect themselves from criminals and tyrants, and yet advocate for the murder of the unborn, claiming a constitutional "right" that does not exist. Furthermore, you and Harvey Yoder advocate for the release of thousands of dangerous criminals onto our streets, making our nation less safe, and highlighting even more, the need to protect the second amendment so that citizens can defend themselves. Your arguments are illogical and immoral.

R B Tate

Prodigal, have you forgotten? The 1st Amendment does not give you the right to talk about abortion in this discussion, it guarantees the right to have an abortion.

prodigalson

You’re right R B. So says Mother Superior.

Mike Muterspaugh

Exactly.

sbsheridan

overtaken by a well-organized, well-trained, well-supplied Department of Defense. Secondly, one’s stance on an issue does not preclude a different stance on a different issue. Those of us who advocate for a woman’s right to make choices about her body retain the right to hold other opinions on other issues. You comments about abortion do not belong in this discussion.

mattnamyj

We here in the USA have had it so good for so long we've forgotten what real freedom is and why so many that have come before us have given their lives to defend it. Unfortunately Mr. Yoder is willing to trade his freedom for a very small piece of what he calls security. There is no "security" without American citizens owning firearms. Pointing to history for examples would be too easy and a waste of time since we've all had these lessons taught to us so many times. Rather, look around the world at what others are suffering at the hand of their own governments and all because they can't defend themselves. There is no first amendment or any other without the second amendment. Our God given right to defend ourselves and our property is paramount and should never be traded for a momentary false sense of security. Let's us never, ever give away what so many have died for us to have. FREEDOM!

sbsheridan

Can you describe a specific circumstance in which a private citizen armed with a privately purchased automatic or semi-automatic firearm has ensured the security of another American within the boundaries of our country?

bishopsboy

Dear Susan, you make this too easy: https://newsone.com/2905120/detroit-mother-fires-gun-at-home-intruders/

prodigalson

Harvey, first off, the musket was the military weapon of its day. In fact, the founders envisioned a citizen militia to protect the newly formed nation from enemies without and within. Specifically, they had a healthy mistrust of large, centralized government, and wanted the citizenry to have the means to protect itself against a tyrannical government in the event that it became necessary. Secondly, I am saddened by the fact that you advocate for the legalization of abortion, which snuffs out the lives of countless, innocent babies every year, and yet openly work to take away the rights of law abiding citizens to exercise their second amendment right, which is clearly defined in the constitution. Your stance is completely hypocritical.

bishopsboy

Prince Prodigal, once again, you have hit the nail on the head. The 2nd Amendment is to protect citizens from a tyrannical government. No People can be free without the firepower to keep their government in check - that's what the 2nd Amendment is all about.

Mike Muterspaugh

"When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."





"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

sbsheridan

What happens when people fear the people?

prodigalson

I don't fear people M S. I have the second amendment, which affords me the opportunity to defend myself and my family.

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