A recent article in the Miami Herald has me wondering about the level of sanity that remains in our nation’s business leaders. In “CEOs hope common-sense control on assault rifles happen soon,” I found the same myriad of feel-good, do-wrong think most commonly associated with the ignorant anti-gunners who populate basement-run organizations operating off fears and rhetoric rather than facts and science.
Without further ado, I will address both the ignorance and logically fallacious suppositions mention herein:
Although I do believe in our Second Amendment right, I feel all assault weapons should be permanently banned. I believe that the government should implement stricter policies related to the waiting periods for all firearm sales, including gun show requirements and private sales. In addition, I believe that anyone purchasing a gun must have an extensive Level I and II background screening prior to the sale.
Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center
First, Ms. Bass professes her belief in the Second Amendment, which emphatically requires an unwaivering moratorium on any and all infringements on our right to keep and bear arms. That’s what “shall not be infringed” means. She immediately proceeds to call for stricter policies, which are infringements, as well as serious and burdensome hurdles, which are also infringements.
Our Constitution does not say, “the right of the people who have completed Level II background screening prior to the sale to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed beyond the initial waiting period required even when passing heirlooms from parents to progeny.”
It says “the right of the people to keep (own/possess) and bear (carry) arms (armaments) shall not be infringed.”
Our Founding Fathers weren’t stupid, Peggy. If they wanted to add all sorts of restrictions, they would have done so, the same as they did when adding the many restrictions against the federal government found in our Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Second Amendment does the same, restricting the government against precisely the kind of infringements you propose, and for good reason: It’s necessary to the security of a free State.
The Parkland tragedy must be a call to action that echoes in every home, office and classroom. The horrific loss of life — the failure to meet our most basic obligation of protecting our children — should rapidly bring policy-makers together to ensure common sense gun control measures along with expanded access to effective behavioral health supports. Schools, mental health providers and law enforcement need to come together and create a social safety net to ensure that individuals who need help have access to quality services and create a seamless system of notification if violent behavior is even suspected.
Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing
Ms. BE commits an oxymoron by attempting to equate “the failure to meet our most basic obligation of protecting our children” with her implied failure of “common sense gun control measures.” As the Parkland, Florida shooter already had a number of other firearms, including rifles, a rejection of his background check when he purchased his AR-15 would have made little difference, especially since his hunting rifle operates precisely the same as his AR-15, regardless of how much “nastier” his AR-15 looks.
I do agree with Ms. BE with respect to correctly identifying situations where individuals are a danger to themselves and others. However, it’s a very slippery slope between correctly identifying one who is dangerous and identifying five — if not thirty — additional people who are not dangerous and depriving them of their constitutional rights. Depriving people of their Constitutional rights “if violent behavior is even suspected” gets very expensive in very short order, in more ways than one.
In my opinion, our country needs more protection in our schools to prevent tragic events like this one. We have lost many innocent lives, and this needs to stop. Our society needs to leverage these painful tragedies to propel our government to pass stronger legislation regarding who’s allowed to purchase these dangerous weapons. The change has to start now, and it has to be driven by all of us.
Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes
Apparently, Mr. Costa is unfamiliar with both our nation’s Constitution — the “supreme Law of the Land” — as well as it’s order of precedence in our nation’s system of laws. So, here’s a quick refresher:
The Constitution is indeed the “supreme Law of the Land.” Amendments are integral parts of our Constitution, so says our Constitution. If either an executive order of piece of legislation, including one such as Mr. Costa is proposing, violates our Constitution, including any Amendment, the legislation is null and void right then and there, so says the U.S. Supreme Court. It might take a court case to convince the local, county, state, or federal government, though. If a court in our nation’s judicial branch rules in favor of the plaintiff, then the local, county, state, or federal government absolutely most stop their un-Constitutional advances and abide by our “supreme Law of the Land,” regardless of whether they want to or not.
That’s the law.
Thus, Mr. Costa’s suggestion to “pass stronger legislation regarding who’s allowed to purchase these dangerous weapons” is in violation of our Constitution. Everyone is allowed to purchase firearms: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
As for his “dangerous weapons” assertion, Mr. Costa needs to review the Real Time Current Death Toll from January 1 to present, where he will see that abortion tops the list by a factor of nearly two, and that murders by gun chime in at just 1% of abortions. Meanwhile, 22 other causes of death fill the gaps between the two. As Mr. Costa works in the medical field, he is certainly aware that medical errors occur 21.9 times more often than do murders by gun. Of course firearms are dangerous. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be categorized as “arms” (armaments) and would ineffective against bad guys, game, and tyrannical governments, which is WHY our Founding Fathers saw fit to ban any infringement against our right to keep and bear arms.
It has reinforced my position that our society is being put at increasing peril to gun violence because the silent majority has not put more pressure on government leaders to act in the best interests of public safety.
Jerome Hutchinson Jr., managing partner, JHJ Marketing Group
First, our society is not “being put at increasing peril to gun violence.” The simple fact of the matter is that “Although the violent crime rate in the U.S. has generally decreased over the past 15 years, the gun homicide rate has hardly changed.” – Everytown for Gun Safety
Second, Mr. Hutchinson makes the erroneous assumption that the “silent majority” is on his side. In fact, while 86% of Americas do support background checks, the same percentage — 86% — also support our Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. The silent majority stands 7 to 1 against Mr. Hutchinson’s anti-gun stance. Put simply, we agree it’s in the best interests of public safety to NOT infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms.
I have walked into a few gun shops over the years and questioned the wisdom of allowing these military grade assault weapons to be owned by any civilian, least of all an 18-year-old we don’t trust to drink alcohol responsibly. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas mass shooting tragedy has only reinforced my belief that a ban on assault weapons should be re-established and that adding an enhanced background check for gun purchases is a no-brainer. It should not be this easy to obtain guns of any kind.
Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.
Mr. Mobayed makes several glaring errors. First, as previously mentioned, “assault weapons” aren’t actually a thing. Second, claiming any firearm sold to civilians at large to be “military grade” is incredibly ignorant. Third, he may have a point on 18-year-olds, but if we go that route, no 18-year-old should be allowed in the military, either, where they have access to far more powerful armaments. Fourth, you can’t ban something that doesn’t actually exist. Fifth, an “enhanced background check for gun purchases” is what we currently have with the FBI background check system. Perhaps we need an “enhanced enhanced” or even an “enhanced enhanced enhanced” system. Sixth, it should be this easy to obtain guns, as THAT IS THE LAW, and it exists precisely because 96.3% of U.S. citizens OBEY THE LAW when it comes to lawful purchasing, handling, storage, and use of firearms. We don’t infringe on the defensive, hunting, and anti-tyrannical rights of 27 law-abiding U.S. citizens just to shut down 1 bad guy. That’s not the way America works, and if Mr. Mobayed doesn’t like it, there are a number of countries in this world that agree with Mr. Mobayed.
The one thing this shooting made me sure of is that something needs to change. Yes, we need to limit access to military-style weapons, but addressing the gaps in our mental health system is just as important. Our kids deserve to feel free to focus on their schooling without having these kinds of fears on their minds.
Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division
We already “limit access to military-style weapons.” Those weapons are called “assault rifles.” AR-15s are similarly-“styled” firearms are not assault rifles. As for “assault weapons,” that’s a term a journalist invented in the 1980s after he was slapped down for attempting to call an AR-15 an “assault rifle.”
If you want kids to “feel free to focus on their schooling without have these kinds of fears on their minds,” then secure the schools. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was not secure.
First off, I am completely for the Second Amendment, but what I do not understand is why an 18-year-old cannot buy alcohol or a pistol, but they are legally able to purchase and utilize an AR-15 rifle. (Still not sure why any citizen really needs an AR-15). There is something completely wrong with this picture and I am so glad to see President Trump support raising the age limit to 21 and looking for stricter background checks. I was recently in Las Vegas and drove by the area where the mass shooting occurred across the Mandalay Bay Hotel. It was surreal to see everything still in its place, from the stage to the portable bathrooms. The same day I was flying home, I heard about the mass shooting in Parkland and it really hit home. We need action now!
Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.
I can’t really fault Mr. Rudman for his sentiments, and he’s right about needing action now. The most effective action is to secure the schools. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was NOT secure. Four cowardly sheriff’s deputies who failed to serve and protect didn’t help matters any, either.
*** Work in progress. Will finish the rest later. ***
What happened in Parkland is tragic and it’s happening too often in the United States. The fact that assault rifles are weapons of war but are the primary weapon of choice for active shooters needs to be addressed in a meaningful way. I believe we can find the balance between the two sides of the gun debate, and I am hopeful that it will be the students from Stoneman who will get us there.
Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena
Our hearts go out to the families and the community of Parkland. As a bank, we explored disallowing gun purchases using our Visa debit and credit cards, however, Visa does not flag purchases of guns separately and some retailers that sell guns — like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods — also sell other merchandise such that we would not want to block entire retailers. So we are very pleased that some retailers are implementing common sense gun purchase policies.
Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank
My thinking has not changed. It has become more validated by these frequent and extreme events. No one can justify the need for a private person to have, let alone use, an AR-15 in a civilized society. Guns of mass killing do not belong in our society at all, especially not in urban environments. I hold in high esteem the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for speaking up and leading the charge for safer schools and gun reform in our state of Florida, as well as across our nation. They are the voice of a new generation of community activists who have keenly used social media as their own call for action.
Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects