In a recent op-ed, former Nevada Attorney General George Chanos, in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, wrote:“Ultimately, the battle to ban assault weapons will end at the U.S. Supreme Court. Hopefully, the justices will agree that even our most fundamental rights, such as those found in the Second Amendment, have certain essential and inherent limitations — limitations which are necessitated by certain equally important rights, such as the rights of a 6-year-old to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rights that are undeniably infringed upon, at least to some extent, by allowing unfettered rights under the Second Amendment.”Now, I’m no lawyer, but I couldn’t disagree more.The rights of the children and adults who were killed by Adam Lanza weren’t infringed upon by the right to bear arms; the rights of those people were infringed upon by the illegal use of such weapons. Indeed, the rights of the victims to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness would have been infringed upon had they been killed by a knife or any other means. Which brings us to several other very touchy issues ...Lanza reportedly was taking prescription psychoactive drugs. So maybe it’s time to focus more on better controlling these potential “walking time bombs” instead of controlling guns?How about divorce? Lanza’s parents were divorced. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate the wisdom of granting automatic no-fault divorces, at least during child-rearing years? Or if you really want to hit a raw nerve, how about a discussion on the potential ramifications of single motherhood/ fatherless households. Or the negative side-effects on children who are being raised during the day by non-family child-care workers.No, we do not want to go there, do we? Because each and every one of us either falls into one of those categories or knows close friends or relatives who do. So gun control it is!One final thought: Did you read about the guy in New York, William Spengler, who set a house on fire during the holidays and ambushed the firefighters who showed up to battle the blaze, killing two of them? Well, come to find out Spengler had served 17 years in prison for killing his grandmother in 1980 — not with a gun, but by beating her to death with a hammer. (Time to ban “assault hammers”?) So here’s the thing: Had Mr. Spengler been executed for murdering his grandmother instead of being paroled 17 relatively short years later, he absolutely, positively would have been completely and totally deterred from killing those two firefighters!Perhaps it’s time to again embrace and quickly enforce “take a life, lose a life” as punishment and send a powerful message to future would-be killers? I say yes. Beats limiting a fundamental right, right?• Chuck Muth is president of CitizenOutreach.com and blogs at MuthsTruths.com.
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