Honoring the Parkland Dead:  3 Steps to Ending Gun Violence in America

“I’m calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”

–President Donald J. Trump (December 7, 2015).

If it makes sense to “totally and completely shut down Muslim immigration until we can figure out what the hell is going on,” surely, in the wake of the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, it’s appropriate to temporarily suspend the 2nd Amendment, to stem further gun violence in American schools . . . or anywhere else.

You know, “until we can figure out what the hell is going on.”

Ala Gettysburg and Lincoln, that would be the best way to honor the Parkland dead.

But it would also mark a watershed in the fathomless political apathy that, at least to date, has been the country’s sole response to serial  domestic mass shootings now spanning over 20 years.

“What Would Lincoln Do?”

Does the President have the power to do that?

Put it this way:  if the President has the power to suspend habeas corpus, as President Lincoln did during the Civil War, I’m pretty sure that President Trump could temporarily suspend the 2nd Amendment in the face of today’s different yet equally compelling national emergency.

Even if the Supreme Court were to ultimately limit such an executive action, that would be a legal fight — and national discussion — worth having.

Of course, that would only be a start.

Long-term, ending gun violence in America, once and for all, requires these three steps:

One. Assuming suspending the 2nd Amendment leads to a precipitous drop if not cessation of gun violence, begin the process of formally repealing it.

Practically, that means either the states or Congress acting (support of two-thirds is required).

Two. Revoke the charter of the NRA.

In the U.S., both for-profit and non-profit organizations must be chartered and licensed, at both the state and federal level.

If rampant gun violence in America is primarily a political problem — and all signs point toward that being the case — the NRA is the leading malefactor.

Its political donations (literally, “blood money”) buy the fealty of Congress — and the shameful inaction we have all witnessed for a generation.

In 2018, the NRA doesn’t serve the public interest; rather, its lobbying and arguably very existence are inimical to the national interest.

Outlaw it.

Three. Establish a national “dangerous persons” registry.

The FBI tracks suspected ISIS operatives.

States and municipalities have databases that monitor sexual predators.

It’s long past time to track Americans (but especially young males) with a propensity for violence, demonstrated mental instability, and a history of legal scrapes (or worse).

Depending on individual circumstances, and subject to legal review (similar to obtaining a warrant), law enforcement would further have the legal authority to preventively detain and isolate especially threatening individuals.

Would that curtail some people’s civil liberties?

No doubt.

But, death by shooting — and dread of that — are the ultimate forfeiture of civil rights.

No Absolute Rights

No right — even a Constitutionally guaranteed one — is absolute.

Nor do rights exist in a vacuum.

Notwithstanding the First Amendment’s right to free speech, no one has the “right” to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater, or incite a mob to violence with a megaphone or on social media.

So, on what planet — make that, sane, responsible, and just society — should it be legal to sell a semi-automatic weapon?

To anyone — let alone a mentally disturbed 19 year-old?

Or sell devices (“bump stocks”) that increase the lethality of such weapons?

Or manufacture and sell ammunition for those weapons — bullets that can ultimately end up killing not deer or pheasants, but people?!?

Maybe the new mantra should be, “guns don’t kill people, bullets kill people.”

National Emergency, National Outlier

The unfortunate truth for Americans is, it’s actually quite easy for civilized societies to stop, or prevent, epidemic gun violence.

In fact, every other developed, Western country has already done it.

What’s needed now, after all these years, is for the U.S. to finally summon the collective political will to do it.

P.S: And if the federal government won’t act?

States and municipalities should . . . and just let the feds try to stop ’em.

Laboratories of democracy, indeed.

See also, “Repeal the 2nd Amendment.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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