The list of horrific shootings in America has added another slaughter to its bloody number.
This latest mass murder is also the worst in American history, with the exact number of dead and wounded still rising as this is being written. Right now, the number killed stands at 59 and the number wounded at over 400.
We do need to ask how many more sons and daughters of America must be sacrificed at the feet of the idols that are the National Rifle Association and a radical, expansive reading of the Second Amendment?
We need to be clear that the majority opinion in Supreme Court course recognizing an individual right to keep and bear arms explicitly cited a number of weapons prohibitions that would be allowed.
Justice Scalia wrote for the majority in the landmark case, District of Columbia v. Heller. He stated in his opinion that allowable prohibitions on this right include: concealed weapon limitations; limits on the rights of felons and the mentally ill; laws forbidding the carrying of weapons in certain locations; laws imposing conditions on commercial sales; and, prohibitions on the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
One can safely assume that an automatic weapon such as the one used in the Las Vegas shooting, as well as in other recent slaughters, is a “dangerous and unusual weapon.”
Just by way of review, let’s remember that the applicable language in the Second Amendment reads, “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.”
This language does not clearly do anything other than apply to the keeping of well regulated militia. Nonetheless, the Heller court did some high-stepping around the language to find that the Second Amendment to our Constitution confers an individual right to possess a firearm for traditionally lawful purposes such as self-defense and hunting (presumably birds and animals other than people).
Thus, it is not the Second Amendment that allows people like the Las Vegas shooter to prey on scores of innocent people and consign scores of others to the class of “surviving family,” but the boot-licking Congress of the United States of America.
One hopes that both the Congress and the NRA will help bring the slaughters to an end.
Let us also remember that the recent history of the United States is that we are far more likely to be killed by a home-grown Anglo psychopath than we are by any Muslim terrorist, no matter where born.