No one safe as long as evil-doers can easily get guns

On the heels of a heavy political debate over the wisdom of allowing Syrian refugees to have refuge in our country we had a deadly attack on a group of innocent persons having a holiday party. This time a man and a woman team, either married to each other or living together, did the slaughter. Both had Middle Eastern-sounding names. The male was born in the U.S. and was working for the local Health Department. Their weapons included American-made AR-15 automatic rifles and also handguns.

Whether this was an ISIL-inspired attack or just a couple of crazies shooting in a crowd is not yet clear. Most attacks by crazies are single-person attacks. It is also not clear whether either was on a terrorist watch list. By the time you read this more will be known.


If indeed Jihadist murderers sneak in with the refugees they will have no problem getting their hands on military style guns.

In any case, the rest of us are not safe so long as persons with evil intent can acquire guns with relative ease. The Republican candidates for president have thus far ducked on the issue of forbidding persons on the terrorist watch list from acquiring either firearms or the chemicals needed to create a bomb.

They don't want to close the so-called "gun show loophole." And Republican politicians certainly don't want to take fully automatic long guns like the AR-15 off the market. The Democratic opponents say that Republican leaders are more afraid of the NRA than the Jihadist terrorists, whether from overseas or home-grown.

Ironically enough, a majority of NRA members favor some reasonable restraints on firearm purchases, such as closing the gun show loophole. But the NRA leadership listens most attentively to the gun and ammunition manufacturers, not their membership. That's where the big contributions are available. And the NRA staff and leaders are past masters in raising the spectre of "the government is going to take away your guns." People I know in the retail trade tell me that the big sellers on Black Friday were guns and ammunition. We already have more guns than citizens of all ages. There is no serious effort to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally disturbed.

A gun in a household is about 20 times more likely to be used fatally in a domestic dispute or an accident involving children than it is to be used to ward off a home invasion. In our nation most murders are done using guns.

Despite the cries of alarm from the NRA office we have the highest rate of gun ownership per hundred citizens (112) in the world. I have in my lifetime owned hunting weapons from a Stevens .22/.410 over/under squirrel gun to an Ithaca double barrel 10 gauge. When hunting migratory game birds one is restricted to a capacity of three cartridges in the gun. But those who want to shoot up their fellow citizens have no such restrictions.

You may feel safer having a gun in your house. I would feel safer if only the police and the military had semi-automatic and fully automatic guns. I believe in the Second Amendment. I served in both the Army Reserves (the modern militia) and the regular Army. We were well-regulated (trained) in both cases, just like the Second Amendment says.

Unfortunately most people don't read the first clause of the second amendment.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. His column appears every second Tuesday. Email him at cct@wexfordpress.com.