Thinking Citizen Blog — “Massachusetts Should Stop Exporting Death” (Boston Globe)
Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is Justice, Freedom, Law, and Values Day
Today’s Topic: “Massachusetts Should Stop Exporting Death” (Boston Globe)
Sometimes headlines stop me in my tracks. This was the case recently with the above editorial. What exactly did it mean? It brought back memories of the book, “Merchants of Death” (1934), an expose of arms merchants who were blamed for US entry into World War I. The “it was all about the money” conspiracy theory was a contributor to the anti-war sentiment on both the left and the right in the 1930s that led to the appeasement of Hitler. Should gun manufacturers be held liable for the uses to which their products are put? What limits should be put on their production and sale? Today, a few excerpts from the Boston Globe editorial plus a few additional statistics. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
WE SHOULD NOT BE EXPORTING WHAT IS ILLEGAL WITHIN THE STATE
1. “Massachusetts has had a ban on military-assault-style weapons since 2004.”
2. “But that hasn’t been a legal bar preventing Massachusetts gunmakers — and particularly the Springfield-based gun-industry behemoth Smith & Wesson — from producing those weapons here for sales to civilians elsewhere.”
3. “Now gun-safety advocates have proposed banning the making of such weapons in Massachusetts (exempting military sales). The Boston Globe editorial board is persuaded that it would be an important statement of principle for policy makers to enact such a ban.”
THE PARTICULAR WEAPON AT ISSUE IS THE AR-15
1. “AR-15s produced by Smith & Wesson were used in the Parkland shootings, the Aurora shootings, and the San Bernardino shootings.”
2. Specific features “make it easier to conceal, transport, aim, stabilize, handle, and control the weapon.”
3. “Combined with the large-capacity magazine the rifles are designed to accommodate, those characteristics facilitate the “spray-firing” desired in an effective military weapon — and so lethal in mass shootings.”
NB: “An array of AR-15s were used in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, which slaughtered 60; an AR-15-like rifle was used in the Orlando nightclub shooting, which claimed 49 lives; and AR-15 was one of the weapons employed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newton, Conn., which killed 26; an AR-15 was the weapon of choice in the 2018 Parkland, Fla. high school shooting in which 17 were killed…..”
HOW MANY AR-15s ARE OUT THERE, STATES THAT BAN THEM, COLT
1. Colt, the Connecticut-based gun manufacturer has stopped selling AR-15s for civilian use because the market is saturated — not because of their role in mass shootings.
2. “The National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates that there are now about 16 million AR-15s or similar models in the hands of American civilians.”
3. States that have already imposed bans: California, New York, New Jersey.
NB: “The New York assault weapons ban, which includes and in-state manufacturing prohibition, has been upheld at the appellate level. The California legislation is currently facing such a challenge.”
FOOTNOTES — third link
1. “A majority of firearm-related homicides in the United States involve the use of handguns.”
2. “AR-15s or similar rifles were the primary weapons used in around half of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern American history.”
3. According to a 2013 analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, 14 out of 93 mass shootings involved high-capacity magazines or assault weapons.”
PolitiFact — AR-15 style weapons were used in 10 major shootings
A LINK TO THE LAST THREE YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED BY THEME:
PDF with headlines — Google Drive
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to justice, freedom, the law or basic values. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to justice, freedom, the law, or basic values. Or just some random justice-related fact that blew you away.
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart.