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Trump, Texas and U.S. gun laws

November 10, 2017   ·   0 Comments

ACCORDING TO DONALD TRUMP, tougher gun laws would have made last Sunday’s massacre in tiny Sutherland Springs, Texas, that much worse.

His argument seems to be that if Texas didn’t allow its residents to carry guns, the killing spree by Devin Patrick Kelley would have continued, since he was interrupted by a member of the Baptist congregation who got a rifle from his truck and shot the killer , who then dropped his automatic rifle and fled in his car, eventually crashing it and committing suicide,

Unfortunately, the “guns save lives” thesis doesn’t hold water and there’s no better place to prove the fact than Japan, the place the U.S. president was visiting at the time of the massacre.

Has he bothered to inquire, Mr. Trump would have been advised that Japan’s adoption of some of the world’s toughest gun laws has virtually eliminated gun violence, to the point where the nation of 170 million residents has about 10 gun-related homicides a year. A CNN survey which showed that both Japan and South Korea, the next stop on Mr. Trump’s 12-day tour of Asia, have less than one gun-related death per million residents each year, compared with more than 100 in the U.S., two-thirds of which aren’t recorded as homicides but rather as suicides, accidental or from undetermined causes.

We haven’t seen the fact reported as yet, but all indications are that, like the ones used in the recent Las Vegas massacre that took 56 lives, the semi-automatic assault rifle used at Sutherland Springs had been converted to fully automatic operation. Perhaps the best evidence of that lay in the fact police discovered more than 450 rounds had been fired into the congregation.

It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is done to minimize the likelihood of similar massacres by a killer with a history of violence.

It turns out that the Texas assassin was convicted of domestic violence while serving in the U.S. Air Force. On Monday, the Air Force acknowledged that it had failed to follow policies for alerting the FBI about this conviction. It appears that if the information had been passed on, even Texas law would have prevented the killer from acquiring firearms legally, since his name would have been on the National Criminal Information Center database.

While serving at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Kelley was convicted of abusing his wife and her child. He spent a year at a Navy brig in San Diego and was then kicked out of the military in 2014 with a bad conduct discharge.

Court martial documents made public Monday evening state that Kelley kicked, choked and struck his wife in 2011 and 2012. He also struck her young child “on the head and body with a force likely to produce death or grievous bodily harm.”

In the circumstances, he was able to purchase four guns, one in each year, and passed federal background checks in 2016 and 2017. Kelley also passed a background check needed for a job as a security guard at a water park over the summer.

But as was the case after the Las Vegas shooting, the only winner in debates over gun controls in the U.S. has been the National Rifle Association, which will once again push to see more Americans buy guns for self-protection.

Perhaps the most amazing thing in all this is the absence of any logical rationale for anyone to own an assault rifle capable of being converted in a few minutes into a machine gun.

Equally amazing is the position taken by the Republican-dominated U.S. Supreme Court, which has managed to portray the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as prohibiting virtually any form of gun controls.

In reality, all the amendment did was affirm the right of U.S. citizens to own firearms, and at the time of its passage no one could have conceived of it permitting anyone to own anything more than an ordinary handgun, rifle or shotgun.

         

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