On June 13, 2018, the Albuquerque Journal published a letter from Dr. R.J. Brewer of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Brewer is retired from the United States Marine Corps having served from 1969-1972. 1969 to 1972 was at the height of the Vietnam War, and I suspect, but I do not know for sure, if Dr. Brewer saw action in Viet Nam. In his letter to the editor, Dr. Brewer advocates for repeal of the Second Amendment.
Following is the full letter to the editor:
“I think there are good and honest men and women within the Democratic and Republican caucuses of the House and Senate who could come together to address the shameful profiteering by gun manufacturers in America at the cost of the lives of her children and innocent people of all ages. I will not see the repeal of the second amendment in my lifetime. This is the tragedy. But it is important to at least try and tell the truth.”
“Our founding fathers, with their single -shot, flint lock muskets and pistols, never envisioned an AR-15 rifle. I am sure they would have been astonished by its power, accuracy and firing rate; in effect, by its deadliness and danger to the public. I cannot logically understand why we should have a sacred right to own and use this murderous weapon of war but not have a constitutional right to “bear” and use a shoulder fired grenade launcher capable of destroying a car, or a shoulder-fired, light antitank rocket launcher capable of destroying a small house.”
“I understand that there are Americans who are ardent and even fanatical with the regard to their right to own and use weapons of war. I suspect the majority of these people never volunteered to serve in the military in time of war, or actively evaded that service when it was when it was legally required of them. But to those other less committed gun owners who say they use these weapons for “recreation”, please give them up. Weapons of war should not be considered “sporting goods” and they’re not “recreational.”
“Repeal the Second Amendment”
Dr. R.J. Brewer
U.S.M.C. (Ret.) 1969-1972
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Dr. Brewer makes a point all too often overlooked by the NRA and the defenders of the Second Amendment, and that is the historical context of when the Second Amendment was enacted and the advancement of our technology to make and wage war.
Simply put, times change, scientific advancements are made and fiction becomes a reality.
When the Second Amendment was enacted, the mode of transportation was horseback, flint locks were used to defend and wage war, no one could fly and all of mankind could only look to the stars in wonder and life expectancy was around 50 years old if you survived childbirth and if you were lucky and did not die of disease.
Today, our mode of transportation are cars and jet airplanes, our country defends itself with nuclear warheads and cruise missiles, the United States has gone to the moon and back more than once, and countries are exploring space and medical advances are allowing people to live into their nineties and organ transplants are common place.
Sooner rather than later, gunpowder will be replaced by technology and no doubt Second Amendment advocates will want to hold a weapon of mass destruction in their hands like seen in Star Trek or Star Wars.
It is not at all hard to imagine in 100 years an NRA member and Second Amendment rights advocate going into a gun store and asking to buy the updated, hand held remote control for his lazer drone Death Star 100 saying he needs it for the weekend hunt and proclaiming “My Death Star 100 can take out an entire herd of elk, butcher it, cook it and make jerky out of it with just one shot!”
SECOND AMENDMENT IS JUST THAT AND CAN BE REPEALED OR AMENDED BY THE STATES
Second amendment advocates ignore the fact that it just that, an Amendment to our US Constitution that was enacted and can be repealed or substituted by the will of the people.
Our founding fathers knew that for a democracy such as ours to survive, it needed a process to allow government to be able to reflect changing times, grant human rights and allow the US Constitution to conform with changing norms and make corrections.
Otherwise, we would still have slavery, women would not be able to vote and we would not be able to drink alcohol.
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declares that “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”, it formally abolishing slavery in the United States, it was passed by the Congress on January 31, 1865, and ratified by the states on December 6, 1865.
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote and it guarantees all American women the right to vote.
The Twenty-first Amendment (Amendment XXI) to the United States Constitution repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide prohibition on the production and sale of alcohol on January 16, 1919 and the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified by the states on December 5, 1933.
The “right to bear arms” is not a right embodied or guaranteed in the original constitution.
UNITED STATES HISTORY OF MASS SHOOTINGS
Since 1995, the United States has had 95 mass shootings, including seven of the 11 deadliest.
Three of the 11 biggest mass shootings in American history have now taken place in the United States in the last six months.
There is no doubt we have a deadly mass shooting epidemic on our hands.
The mass shooting with guns in the last 10 years include: Orlando, Florida (49 killed, 50 injured), Blacksburg, Va. (32 killed), San Ysidro, Cal (21 killed), San Bernardino, (14 killed), Edmond Oklahoma (14 killed), Fort Hood (13 killed), Binghamton, NY (13 killed) Washington, DC (12 killed), Aurora, Colorado (12 killed), Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Conn (21 children and 6 adult staff members killed) and the largest mass shooting in this country’s history that occurred in Las Vegas, Nevada with at least 59 dead and at least 515 wounded and the Parkland/Stoneridge High School shooting that resulted in 17 children’s deaths.
After so many mass killings, it is difficult to refute that something needs to be done about semi-automatic and automatic guns such as the AR-15, or the type used in all the mass shootings and that are the weapons of choice for mass murderers.
The difference with the Parkland shooting and all the other mass shootings is that it finally ignited a national discussion on gun control with the March for Our Life’s movement, and it was the children of our county that said enough is enough. The National Rifle Association (NRA) no doubt realizes that a sleeping giant has now been awaken and that two generations of voters are now “pissed”. The millions of people who marched in Washington, DC and in cities all over the country are clear proof just how upset voters are with the availability of guns.
The clear message to congress by the March for Our Lives movement is that the time has come to tell the NRA and the politicians they have in their pockets to pound sand.
OTHER PROPOSALS TO CONSIDER LOCALLY AND NATIONALLY
There are many legislative proposals, albeit too controversial for many running for office and who hold office to stomach, that need to be considered on a state level and on the federal level that could be proposed or enacted by our federal and state officials and those running for office.
In New Mexico, our legislature should consider:
1. Repeal the New Mexico Constitutional provision that allows the “open carry” of firearms. This would require a public vote and no doubt generate heated discussion given New Mexico’s high percentage of gun ownership for hunting, sport or hobby.
2. Prohibit in New Mexico the sale of “ghost guns” parts. Ghost guns are guns that are manufactured and sold in parts without any serial numbers to be assembled by the purchaser and that can be sold to anyone.
3. Requiring in New Mexico the mandatory purchase of “liability insurance” with each gun sold as is required for all operable vehicles bought and driven in New Mexico.
4. Enact a gun violence restraining order and extreme risk protection process to temporarily prohibit an individual deemed by a judge to pose a danger to self or others, from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition and allow law local law enforcement to remove any firearms or ammunition already in the individual’s possession.
5. Restrict and penalize firearm possession by or transfer to a person subject to a domestic violence protection order or a person, including dating partners, convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor.
6. Mandate the school systems and higher education institutions “harden” their facilities with more security doors, security windows, and security measures and alarm systems and security cameras tied directly to law enforcement 911 emergency operations centers.
On a federal level, congress needs to consider:
1. Implementation of background checks on the sale of all guns.
2. Close the “Charleston loophole” or “delayed denial” where federally licensed dealers can sell guns if three business days pass without FBI clearance.
3. Call for the update and enhancement of the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check system (NCIS).
4. Institute mandatory extended waiting periods for all gun purchases.
5. Implement mandatory handgun licensing, permitting, training, and registration requirements.
6. Ban “bump-fire stocks” as was used in the Las Vegas mass shooting and other dangerous accessories.
7. Ban future manufacture and sale of all assault weapons and regulate existing assault weapons under the National Firearms Act of 1934, and initiate a federal gun buyback program.
8. Impose limits on high capacity magazines.
9. Prohibit firearm sale or transfer to and receipt or possession by an individual who has: (1) been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor hate crime, or (2) received from any court an enhanced hate crime misdemeanor sentence.
10. Institute mandatory child access prevention safe storage requirements and prohibit the sales of handguns with “hair triggers”.
11. Provide more resources and treatment for people with mental illness.
12. Enhance accountability of federally licensed firearms dealers.
13. Implement micro stamped code on each bullet that links it to a specific gun.
14. Produce ‘x-mart guns’ with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or biometric recognition (fingerprint) capability.
15. Limit gun purchases to one gun per month to reduce trafficking and straw purchases.
16. Prohibit open carry of firearms.
17. Digitize Alcohol, Tobacco and Fire (ATF) gun records.
18. Require licensing for ammunition dealer.
Voters need to ask those running for congress how much they have received from the National Rifle Association over the years and what they are doing and where they stand on gun control.
Now that we are in an election year, New Mexico voters need to demand the positions from our candidates for United States Senator, Governor, and for the New Mexico legislature where they stand on gun control.
Until there is real change on the national level, we can continue to expect more mass shootings, more burials, more outrage, more sympathy expressed until it dies down for a few months and we have another mass shooting and the cycle starts all over again. I for one would like to see Dr. Brewer marvel at the repeal of the Second Amendment in his lifetime.
For further commentary on mass shootings see: