Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Periscope: National Rifle Association Is Voice of Unreason

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Periscope: National Rifle Association Is Voice of Unreason

Article excerpt

Guns. They're big news again after a mass shooting at an Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

"Somehow this has become routine," President Barack Obama said at a press conference last week. "The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We've become numb to this."

News outlets around the country published a lot of statistics after the shooting. On Oct. 3, The New York Times detailed how 14 gunmen in recent mass shootings acquired their weapons. The executive summary: In at least eight of those cases, histories of mental illness and criminal activity did not impair their ability to legally purchase guns.

A 2014 Washington Post excerpt from former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, was enthusiastically revived on social media. In the excerpt, Stevens argues that the Second Amendment was meant to ensure arms for military purposes so states could exercise local control. He also holds that for 200 years the accepted understanding has been that federal law could restrict private ownership of weapons not designed for personal use. That meant sawed-off shotguns in a 1939 Supreme Court decision and it meant assault weapons in the 1994 legislative ban supported by Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter that was signed by then- President Bill Clinton.

The National Rifle Association opposed the ban, which was drafted after five children were killed and 34 children wounded in a school shooting in Stockton, California. The ban expired Sept. 13, 2004. Efforts to pass similar legislation in the wake of the December 2013 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, failed.

As the Washington Post pointed out in 2013, Oklahoma City-based Ackerman McQueen has worked extensively on behalf of the NRA's call to arms for more than 30 years. …

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