Jun 13

Orlando and Assault Weapons

In 2008, in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “guarantees the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” The right enables individuals to defend themselves. But the Court also reaffirmed that the right is limited. The Second Amendment does NOT allow individuals to own and carry weapons “for any sort of confrontation,” including an unlawful one, or to own and carry concealed, dangerous or unusual weapons.

It would be absurd to even argue that anyone needs an AR-15 style assault weapon to defend his or herself in America. In 1994, federal law banned assault weapons but Congress failed to renew it and it expired 10 years later. Only six states – CA, CT, MA MD, NJ, NY – and the District of Columbia ban assault weapons. But there is nothing from stopping individual states from doing so, regardless of Congressional inaction.

So far, the citizens of those states suffering mass murders by assault weapons have determined that a certain amount of murders are acceptable to continue to allow individuals to possess assault weapons (which are unnecessary for defense under any circumstances). And other states run the risk that they are next in line. Failure to ban assault weapons makes it even easier to smuggle them into the few states where they are banned.

As many have said during the last few days, it is now time for us to define who we are as a nation.