Thursday, April 4, 2013

Eugene Robinson: Is Maximum Mayhem The Price Of The Second Amendment?

Prior to the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, CT, Adam Lanza "left a .22 caliber rifle at home and 12-gauge shotgun in the car," notes columnist Eugene Robinson. Instead, Lanza armed himself with weaponry that would allow him to kill 20 children and six adults within minutes. Robinson states that if one life could have been saved through a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, it would have been worth it. Instead, our lack of reasonable gun control, due in large part to Congressional fealty to the NRA, made it that much easier for Lanza to pursue maximum mayhem:

The gunman in the Newtown, Conn., massacre fired 154 bullets from his Bushmaster military-style rifle in fewer than five minutes, killing 20 first-graders and six adults. He brought with him 10 large-capacity magazines, each holding up to 30 rounds, which allowed him to reload quickly. He also carried two semiautomatic handguns, one of which he used to take his own life.

Is this supposed to be the price of the Second Amendment? Is this the kind of America we want?’s hard for me to accept that the right to “keep and bear arms” extends to the kind of arsenal that Adam Lanza — and his mother, Nancy, whom he also killed — assembled and kept in their home.

Lanza was outfitted like a commando, with guns and ammo clips engineered to kill the maximum number of people in the minimum amount of time. There were other weapons in the family’s possession that would have seemed better suited for recreation or self-defense — the reasons why, according to the National Rifle Association, we need to arm ourselves to the teeth. But Lanza left a .22-caliber rifle at home and a 12-gauge shotgun in the car he drove to the school. He had maximum mayhem on his mind.

...if the federal ban on military-style assault weapons had not been allowed to expire, we might have seen less carnage in Newtown. Lanza probably wouldn’t have been able to get off so many shots in so little time. He wouldn’t have been able to fire so many rounds without pausing to reload.

Maybe just one life would have been saved. To me, that life is worth more than being in the good graces of the NRA; to members of Congress, perhaps not.


Michael The Molar Maven said...

I've heard the NRA argument that despite strong restrictions criminals will always find ways to get their hands on firearms - and any kind they like, for that matter. And, in that, I agree. However, that "fact" makes a rather specious argument to support arming the public further. It's true, criminals will get their weapons, but, with proper background checks and restrictions on ammunitions, there is a good chance that Nancy Lanza might not have been able to acquire her arsenal and 27 people - 20 children and 7 adults - might still be alive. And Adam Lanza might have gotten the professional help he needed. But, as Robinson says, Congress is more to blame than the NRA which is nothing more than a narrow interest group whose bark should be much larger than its bite.

Jeff Tone said...

We do, however, make it that much easier for criminals to get their hands on firearms by the amount and type of weaponry in circulation. We also have to include restricting the size of magazines. This NRA argument is based on the lie that all guns are going to be confiscated.