by Marty D. Hayes, J.D.
Unless you live on the top of a mountain (or perhaps a similarly situated cave) with no TV, Internet, radio or other means of communication, then you know that there was another shooting at a school, this time in Parkland, Florida. 17 students and staff were shot and killed, and many more injured. In a rare turn of events, the shooter actually was captured alive.
Florida has the death penalty. It should be instructional to see what the shooter says to try to save his own life. Of course, as a result, the liberal media and politically-active left have been making wave after wave of claims and suggestions, all demanding a ban on high capacity semi-automatic weapons, especially rifles. Let’s talk about that.
Simply making a high capacity firearm illegal to possess (contraband) would be a disaster. First, the United States Supreme Court would very likely overturn such an act, because the court in Heller discussed the types of firearms that the American people are allowed to own:
“It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.”
So, doing what the left demands would not be feasible. In addition, there is that pesky Fourth Amendment to consider.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Once again, the constitution sets up a huge roadblock to prevent confiscation of once legally-held firearms, that might be deemed to be contraband if somehow the legality of a ban was upheld. With millions and millions of these types of weapons in the hands of the American people, it would be impossible for law enforcement to develop probable cause for seizing each and every weapon declared contraband. As a result, I cannot foresee a time when those of us who own high capacity semi-automatic weapons would ever have to worry about the knock on the door and the words “we have a warrant.”
So, with the above opinion in mind, if gun control advocates have their way, what might be a more likely scenario?
In my opinion, a more likely scenario is reinstitution of the 1994 “Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act” more colloquially known as the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban. It was instituted in 1994 and set to expire in 2004 if congress did not renew it. Proponents postulated that by passing this bill, crime rates would go down, and that its renewal would be a no-brainer. However, there was no decrease in crime and, as a result, the ban was allowed to expire.
We now have a generation that did not live through that fiasco, but I did, and frankly, it had very little effect on what I did, either personally or at my training school, The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. After the ban expired, I did, however, buy up enough magazines and firearms to fill my needs for the rest of my life. If you haven’t done that and have the cash, I respectfully suggest you consider that course of action. First, our gun industry, which is soft at the moment, could use the business.
Second, it is comforting to know that nothing the government does will affect me–with the exception of a confiscation scheme which at this time I believe would cause a bloodbath in this country and create a different set of problems.
There are other restrictions that I think might be passed. One possibility is raising the age limit to purchase all firearms to 21 years old. This suggestion has me wondering if that isn’t such a bad idea. A 19-year old of today certainly isn’t like the 19-year old of yesteryear. At 19, I was going to college, working a part-time job and married, supporting a wife and her son. Today’s 19-year olds are eating laundry detergent packets (I still haven’t figured out that one). Freddie Blish, owner of Robar Custom Firearms, has suggested raising the age limit with an exception for those enrolled in military service. Serve in the military and the age limit does not apply. Put that way, the age restriction is something I could live with. To further support this idea, under current law, you must be 21 to buy a handgun and that hasn’t been a catastrophy.
I think we can also expect some behind the scenes work by the Trump administration to strengthen the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), or perhaps legislation to try to include some aspect of mental health screening. That is a huge can of worms, and any changes of that kind cannot be made quickly. Still, we need to make sure all reporting by local, state and military courts for those convicted of a disqualifying offense is done.
I implore Network members to look at the long range effects of how President Trump handles this. He may have to give in to some of the above restrictions, if congress pushes them through. Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water! We need Trump in office for the next six years, because the United States Supreme Court will be changing. It will either change for the better, or change for the worse. We have several justices currently serving that will likely not be on the Court in six years. Kennedy is 81, Ginsberg is 84 and Breyer is 79. We need a president like Trump in office to appoint conservative justices that will interpret the Constitution as it was written, not as current Tide pod-eating society wants it. If that means we give a little, then I am okay with that.
Now, onto the problem of school shootings.
What most readers do not realize is that I actually served a short stint as a School Resource Officer. This came about because included in the legislation resulting in the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban, was funding for additional law enforcement, including school resource officers. I took a SRO position and wrote the policies and procedures for security and response to mass calamities for a Western Washington school district. I only mention this to help you understand that perhaps I have a little inside perspective on the issue.
At this time in our history, we have turned our schools in to killing zones, with the exception of schools that are wealthy enough to afford armed security or those enlightened enough to allow teachers and other school personnel to be armed.
After the Sandy Hook school shooting, NRA Executive Vice-President Wayne LaPierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun, is a good guy with a gun.” As I wrote in this journal at the time, he was right. Throughout history that has pretty much held true. I could bore you with examples, but you can find those on your own.
How do we get good guys and gals with guns into our schools?
First suggestion: I believe it is incumbent upon the parents of school-aged children to DEMAND adequate security for their kids. School boards are elected officials, who are ultimately responsible for the policies of the schools. They also hold the purse and control the purse strings. Having said that, I don’t know of many schools that are rolling in dough, so if parents want increased security, they had better be willing to pay for it. This suggestion would apply for schools that want to hire armed and trained security.
Second suggestion: Volunteers could step up. This could include either school staff who volunteer to accept the role of protector of the children, or perhaps trained parents and grandparents who will accept that role on a volunteer basis. They would have to be trained and have to continue training, but I don’t see that as a hinderence, especially in light of the next suggestion.
Third suggestion: The firearms industry could take it upon itself to help provide security, weaponry and training for volunteer or paid staff at schools. I suggest calling it the American Coalition To Stop School Shootings (ACTSSS). How would this work? Each firearms-related business or organization would contribute 1% of their gross revenues to a tax exempt charitible foundation, the mission of which would be to provide funding to help school districts arm and train volunteers and even to hire paid security. If each large corporation and large gun rights organization would pledge only 1% of their gross reciepts, enough money would be raised to accomplish a great effort.
As the president of two successful firearms-related businesses, I would jump at the chance to do this if it would actually do some good and stop school shootings. I think it would. Imagine if every school in the nation was able to provide armed security at school and school functions? I postulate that the number of school shootings would dramatically decrease, and the severity of school shootings would also decrease. That result would only help the overall firearms industry, along with removing political ammunition from those who would like to disarm us.
To read more of this month's journal, please click here.