VOICES: Military-style weapons need to be banned

David Madden is a retired trial attorney, a mentor at the University of Dayton Law School and a spokesperson for the ACLU. He was an Infantry platoon leader and LTC in the JAG Corps. His book The Constitution and American Racism was published by McFarland Press in 2020. (CONTRIBUTED)

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David Madden is a retired trial attorney, a mentor at the University of Dayton Law School and a spokesperson for the ACLU. He was an Infantry platoon leader and LTC in the JAG Corps. His book The Constitution and American Racism was published by McFarland Press in 2020. (CONTRIBUTED)

We are slaughtering innocents. Children whose only fault was to be caught in an American tragedy known as the Second Amendment.

There are too many guns in our society. No other modern, purportedly democratic nation owns as many guns. Republicans will bow and scrape to the God of guns and issue messages of condolences and talk about how the shooters are crazy people, but it is time to call out those who oppose gun safety. That is where the insanity lies. Military-style weapons need to be banned or we will continue to have mass shootings. Republicans went to Houston after Uvalde to attend a sick comedy known as the NRA, showing their contempt for the deaths at Uvalde. Showing their contempt for sanity.

Children die because of a moral and cultural sickness that has firmly imbedded itself in the heart of Americans. An AR-15 is a military-style weapon designed to kill and wound people in horrible ways. In 1974, the Diplomatic Conference on the Reaffirmation and Development of International Humanitarian Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts discussed banning the ammunition used by the M-16 because of the horrible damage it does to the human body. Close your eyes and take just one moment and think about the horror these children experienced just before their deaths. Think about that .223 round hitting their tiny bodies, the fragments shattering internal organs, causing massive bleeding, and the unthinkable pain that comes with those kinds of wounds.

They died this way because an 18-year-old could buy not one but two assault weapons. Because judges with an “original meaning” bias decided that an amendment that was written when it took over three minutes to load and fire a weapon should be interpreted to permit anyone — the politically vicious, the mentally ill, and even people on the terrorist watch list — to buy any kind of weapon despite its lethality. So much for the common welfare. Republicans are afraid of an organization that deals in death, an organization that has dubbed the AR-15 “America’s rifle.”

On August 4, 2019, Connor Betts was killed 32 seconds after opening fire on a crowd in the Oregon District in Dayton. But in those 32 seconds before his death, he killed nine people and wounded seventeen others. His weapon was an AM-15 with a 100-round drum magazine, “an orchestra of metal and firepower.” There have been 200 mass shootings this year. The death toll is outrageous. The most recent shootings all involved assault-style rifles. In Buffalo, all Black victims, a hate crime symbolic of lynching and the perpetual, self-inflicted curse of American racism. At Uvalde, 19 babies and two teachers. Four dead in Tulsa.

This cannot be fixed by hardening schools. Turning schools into bunkers will prove once and for all our democracy is dead, that the government has failed to protect students. It cannot be fixed by more police and training. Surprise trumps preparation. The Uvalde kids died while police were standing around. It can only be fixed by banning the AR and other military-style weapons. Surprise will always be on the side of the shooter. Police will never arrive in time to prevent deaths. Identifying the mentally ill will be complicated and result in litigation. Wayne LaPierre is the winner again, a man none of us elected. Only banning these weapons will save lives.

David Madden is a retired trial attorney, a mentor at the University of Dayton Law School and a spokesperson for the ACLU.

More mass shootings, more empty promises?

Uvalde Strong

The recent gun violence in Buffalo, Uvalde and Tulsa dredges up difficult memories for those in our communities still traumatized by the events of August 4, 2019. We’ve published a number of different perspectives on what should be done to prevent another such tragedy throughout the last week and we are continuing that coverage in Ideas & Voices.

We have received a large number of submissions on this topic and we understand how important it is to readers. Ideas & Voices is committed to giving space to your views. If you are interested in providing a 150-200 word letter to the editor or a 500-600 contributed column, please email your submission to edletter@coxohio.com.

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