Edi­to­rial: Let’s talk about the right to save lives.

The Community Connection - - FRONT PAGE -

“A well reg­u­lated mili­tia be­ing nec­es­sary to the se­cu­rity of a free State, the right of the Peo­ple to keep and bear arms shall not be in­fringed.”

There, we said it. Now let’s talk about it. Ac­tu­ally, let’s do more than that.

After all, we talk about it ev­ery time the na­tion is con­vulsed by the hor­ror of a mass shoot­ing.

Columbine, Aurora, New­town, San Bernardino.

This week it was Las Ve­gas. Armed with enough fire­power to fuel a small army - let alone a well reg­u­lated mili­tia - a mad­man used a ham­mer to break out a win­dow on the 32nd floor of the Man­dalay Ho­tel and rain down his fury on a crowd gath­ered for a coun­try mu­sic festival on the Strip be­low.

In a mat­ter of about 12 min­utes, Stephen Pad­dock was able to fire off thou­sands of rounds. He took his own life as po­lice closed in, with thou­sands more rounds still in the room with him.

When the night­mar­ish “pop-pop-pop” of his ri­fles - al­tered to al­low him to fire con­tin­u­ously rather than hav­ing to squeeze the trig­ger to fire off each round - fi­nally fell silent, 59 peo­ple were dead. More than 500 were wounded.

Think about what Pad­dock was able to do in just 12 min­utes.

Bet­ter yet, think about what he was able to do in the days, weeks and months be­fore his mon­strous as­sault, el­e­vat­ing the Las Ve­gas mas­sacre to the top of the list of the dead­li­est mass shoot­ings in U.S. his­tory.

Be­tween Oc­to­ber 2016 and last Thursday, the day he checked into the Man­dalay Bay ho­tel, Pad­dock, a 62-yearold re­tiree with a pen­chant for gam­bling and suc­cess in real es­tate, ac­quired 33 guns, most of them ri­fles.

He was able to get a dozen of them up to that room, and then keep them there un­de­tected. Un­til Sun­day night, when he broke out a win­dow and un­leashed Amer­ica’s lat­est gun tragedy.

Do you think that is what the found­ing fa­thers had in mind when they wrote those words?

The Sec­ond Amend­ment is not going away. It’s just not going to hap­pen. Nor should it.

The gov­ern­ment is not com­ing to take away your weapons. There will be no need to pry them from your dy­ing hands, as we were so dra­mat­i­cally re­minded by ac­tor and for­mer Pres­i­dent of the National Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion Charl­ton He­ston.

No one wants to stop Amer­i­can cit­i­zens from their pas­sion for hunt­ing, or tar­get shoot­ing, or even - es­pe­cially in these days - their self-de­fense.

But that does not mean that gun rights are ab­so­lute. That re­stric­tions can’t be put in place. That back­ground checks can’t be beefed up. That some weapons sim­ply should be banned for pri­vate cit­i­zens.

Who cares if it’s a Demo­cratic or Repub­li­can idea. Why can’t it be an Amer­ica idea?

A mea­sure was in­tro­duced this week to ban the kind of bump fire stock that was used in the Las Ve­gas mas­sacre.

The de­vice, which can be pur­chased legally for about $200, is used to al­ter a semi­au­to­matic weapon and al­low it to fire con­tin­u­ously with­out ad­di­tional pulls on the trig­ger.

At least a dozen of the 23 firearms re­cov­ered in Pad­dock’s room in Las Ve­gas were semi­au­to­matic ri­fles that had been al­tered with a bump stock so they could func­tion as an au­to­matic weapon.

In 2013, after the slaugh­ter of the in­no­cents - 20 chil­dren and six adults gunned down in Sandy Hook El­e­men­tary School in New­town, Conn. the na­tion waited for com­mon-sense gun leg­is­la­tion.

Two se­na­tors, one from each party, stepped up. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., of­fered leg­is­la­tion to close loop­holes on back­ground checks.

They put their po­lit­i­cal necks on the line. The mea­sure failed. So did a new push by Sen. Diane Fe­in­stein, D-Calif., to re­in­state a fed­eral as­sault weapons ban.

Now Fe­in­stein is back, this time push­ing a ban on the kind of deadly tech­nol­ogy used with such lethal ef­fi­ciency in Las Ve­gas.

We don’t con­sider it in­fring­ing on any­one’s rights to bear arms.

We do con­sider it a com­mon-sense mea­sure de­signed to save lives.

We have no in­ter­est in tak­ing away any­one’s guns. We want only to save lives. We think Fe­in­stein’s bill will do that.

We’ll start with that.

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