UPDATE: The Orlando shooting was terrorism carried out by an ISIS sympathizer, says law enforcement. Would the Orlando massacre have happened if the GOP Congress had not killed the bill to stop terrorists from buying guns last December?
The worst mass shooting in US history unfolded Saturday night in Orlando, the evening after a high-profile contestant of “The Voice” was killed in a separate murder/suicide. Responsible adults know when a situation has spun out of control and it’s time to act. How many people need to be killed by gun violence before people decide it’s time to act? We may not be able to stop all mass casualty events, but perhaps we can stop one.
Fifty people died, and 53 others were injured after being shot last night at an Orlando nightclub. Police entered the Pulse Club about three hours after the shooting unfolded, and killed the gunman, who had taken hostages.
Recent ‘Voice’ third place finisher Christina Grimmie was shot and killed the night before after performing at a concert in Orlando. She was shot and killed, allegedly by 27 year-old Kevin Loibl of St. Petersburg, Florida, who didn’t appear to know the singer personally.
A federal court has ruled that Americans have no guaranteed Second Amendment right to carry concealed guns in public. Gun owners must show “good cause” for carrying concealed weapons, and the general concept of “personal safety” is not sufficient. In contrast, the Seventh Circuit based in Chicago and covering Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, struck down a similar near-total ban on carrying concealed weapons. Because of the split among the federal courts, the rulings will eventually be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that states could enact reasonable regulations on gun ownership, such as “prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.” The Court sidestepped the issue of concealed weapons.
Courts look to historical precedent in forming their decisions. The judge in the Ninth Circuit case wrote, “The carrying of concealed weapons was consistently forbidden in England beginning in 1541; was consistently forbidden in the American colonies; and was consistently forbidden by the states.”
The split among circuits highlights the importance of the current vacancy on the Court. The Supreme Court will eventually decide the issue. With an equal 4-4 conservative-liberal split on guns on the Supreme Court, the next new justice will be in a position to cast the deciding vote. That new justice is likely to be nominated by the winner of the next presidential election. A current nominee is in limbo as the Senate has refused to act on President Obama’s nomination of DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Merrick Garland.
Donald Trump has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association. Hillary Clinton has been endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Whoever wins that election will decide the fate of concealed carry laws, and indeed, the future of the gun control movement.
A 2015 study found that one-in-three Americans own guns. As the election nears, those gun owners will have to decide: will they support a candidate who supports restrictions on the sale of guns, or will they not. Presumably those who do not have guns have already made their choice.
The headlines listed above are from this past week alone, with Grimmie and the 50 nightclub victims having been killed last night, alone. Its been 45 years since John Lennon was gunned down in Manhattan by a man he had never met, and Americans are less safe now. America’s gun owners will have to decide whether its time to stop this madness. Gun owners will tip the balance.
So, gun owners: Is it time to act?
Video: AP, WOFL and CNN via Youtube.com /watch?v=9jdBbg7CTv8 embedded per Standard YouTube License
Feature image screen capture from AP, WOFL and CNN via Youtube per Standard YouTube License