Guns of war

Published 5:22 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Karl Schmidt in his recent letter “Spotting Gun Grabbers” demonstrates that he is the one and not Democratic presidential hopefuls who doesn’t understand the Constitution. While he is correct that hunting isn’t a guaranteed right, neither is owning an assault rifle. Apparently, he hasn’t read or doesn’t care about how the Second Amendment works as interpreted by the Supreme Court. The 2008 decision District of Columbia v. Heller while establishing the right to a gun for self-protection, also said that the right to carry arms isn’t unlimited. The Court has never ruled that Heller applies to the AR-15 or other arms of war. In 2017 the 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that “assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment.” The NRA knows this and has previously filed three different lawsuits trying to extend the protection concept to AR-15s. The Court has refused to review any of the cases.

Schmidt’s assertion that he needs his AR-15 to protect himself is what’s insane. I’d like to know what threat he fears so much that he needs an assault rifle for protection? The zombie apocalypse? In April 2011, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller II that banning assault weapons does not impinge on self-protection as there are other guns available and that assault weapons constitute a “grave risk” to bystanders and police.

Schmidt claims that gun laws don’t work. What gun laws is he thinking about? Evidently, he has never heard of Australia banning all assault and semi-automatic weapons in 1996. Since that time Australia hasn’t had any mass shootings. Gun laws do work where they’re applied comprehensively across a country.

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The House bill on gun control that recently passed doesn’t take away anyone’s guns. It only requires a background check before buying a gun and extends the period to conduct such an investigation. This is something a large majority of the American people support including 69 percent of NRA members.

According to FBI statistics the death toll from gun violence for 2017 was 39,773, the highest total in 50 years and considerably higher than the 25,000 Schmidt claims. The FBI also reports there were only 353 justifiable homicides by civilians or 0.88 percent of all gun deaths.

Schmidt makes the ridiculous argument that we shouldn’t ban assault weapons because you’re more likely to be killed by something other than an assault rifle. The reason is that things like cars, knives, blunt objects, drugs or anything else aren’t banned is because they are not designed to kill people. You must misuse them to cause harm. Assault weapons are very good at one thing; killing multiple human beings at a distance in a short amount of time. They are weapons of war designed solely for military use and should be restricted to the military.

JAMES PECA is a retired U.S. government analyst living in Farmville. He can be reached via email at