Lawmakers have to take action to stop the horrors of assault-style weapons

Second Amendment

After another tragic slaughter, this time in Maine, reportedly by an assault-style weapon, we have to endure more tongue-flapping from Republicans about keeping the integrity of the Second Amendment and the need for more mental health resources. While one’s emotional and mental well-being is important and necessary, the importance of legislation focused on assault-style weapons to either prevent or heavily decrease the ownership of such weapons is becoming increasingly paramount and evident.

Many legislators who grandly orate about the importance of safeguarding ownership of all assault-style weapons to preserve Second Amendment rights according to the Constitution are readily and happily endorsing the former president who, by all accounts, worked surreptitiously and mightily to alter the Constitution. Hopefully, these legislators will find a way to take such a stance to alter the Second Amendment through the necessary legislative paths so that Americans will not have to constantly endure the ugliness and horror of continued gun violence from such weapons.

— Barbara Metrik, Wheaton

The U.S. Constitution asserts that the power to govern is derived from the people. We are a republic in which voters elect lawmakers who represent the people. Some Framers refused to sign the Constitution without a promise to amend it immediately with a list of rights that would be free from interference by the federal government.

The first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, puts fences around the federal government to protect people from a tyrannical government. These rights are designed to protect the masses from overreach.

The Constitution directs those we elect to be representatives of the people, not of a political party, an ideology or special interests. The Framers could not foresee that politicians desperate to keep their party in power would stop legislation they didn’t like, even if the American people wanted it.

The common denominator in mass shootings is assault-style weapons. Not all who engage in mass shootings are suffering from mental illness.

A banning of these weapons is not government overreach but is the will of the American people to provide for their safety and welfare. It is time for those we elect to end this assault on the American people while setting aside common-sense Second Amendment rights for sporting, hunting and protection.

— Jerry Hanson, Elkhorn, Wisconsin

On Wednesday night, another unthinkable mass shooting occurred in Lewiston, Maine. Unthinkable! That word is no longer appropriate.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, the shooting in Maine was the 565th mass shooting in the United States this year. When do we all say we cannot accept that weapons of war are used to kill innocent people? When do we all say that people with mental health issues and histories should not be able to buy assault-style weapons? When do we all say to our government, our politicians and lawmakers: Do something to stop this!

— Frances Moore, Evanston

Assault-style rifles in the news again? How do they make America safer? What is their purpose?

If politicians can ignore their danger, what is the possibility of returning to the 1994 federal ban? The end of that ban in 2004 resulted in mass shooting growing from fewer than 20 incidents to 610 in the year 2020.

— Raymond Hubbard, Sandwich, Illinois

A mass shooting is defined as a shooting in which four or more people are killed by gunfire in a single or a continuing incident. The shooting in Maine is just the latest.

As of Friday this year, there have been 567 mass shootings in the U.S., according to the Gun Violence Archive. Like in Maine, many of these mass shootings involved assault-style weapons. Ordinary citizens have no need for assault-style weapons, the sole purpose of which is to fire repeatedly. It is past time to resurrect the assault weapons ban that was in effect for 10 years but allowed to lapse under President George W. Bush’s administration.

Politicians need the strength and courage to defy the National Rifle Association and enact a national assault weapons ban. No more crocodile tears, hand-wringing or prayers.

— Ava Holly Berland, Chicago

According to U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, the new speaker of the House, during his acceptance speech on Wednesday, “The American people are losing faith in our institutions.” Really? I wonder why. All one has to do is look at the new speaker himself for the answer.

Johnson was sworn in as a U.S. representative to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the very instrument that establishes our American democracy in which the people choose their elected officials. The American people voted in the 2020 presidential election, and a majority chose Joe Biden. And yet, Johnson did all that was within his power to disregard the will of the people and overthrow a free and fair election so that his savior, Donald Trump, would remain in power.

Surprisingly, this same Johnson is an attorney who holds himself as a constitutional expert. And yet, Johnson has continued to push his conspiracy theories of election interference and widespread fraud when there isn’t evidence to support such claims and when every court in which such cases were filed rejected them.

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Even after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on our nation’s Capitol, Johnson voted against certifying the election results. Johnson can quote Scripture all he wants and lecture us on the building of character, but the fact remains that our new speaker is a traitor to our nation.

Just imagine if criminal charges had also been brought against Johnson for conspiracy to defraud the American people and prevent the peaceful transfer of power — maybe then, with a plea deal for immunity in hand, Johnson would come clean and respect our institutions.

Until that time, Johnson will likely continue to do everything in his power to see that Trump is sworn in as our next president in January 2025, regardless of whether it’s on the Capitol steps or in jail.

— Jeffrey Meyer, Chicago

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