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On Saturday afternoon, August 3rd, I turned on my computer, and what is the first headline I see? “Mass Shooting in El Paso, Texas.” Again? Yes, again. According to CBS News, as of July 31st, there have now been 248 mass shootings in the United States of America in 2019 resulting in 246 dead and 979 wounded. So far.

Repeal 2nd Amendment

And these figures don’t include the incident on August 2nd in Promfret, Maryland, that killed three and injured one. Nor do these figures include the incident in El Paso, Texas, that killed 20 and wounded 26.

But it gets better…or rather, worse. Less than 24 hours after the Texas shootings, another mass shooting occurred in Dayton, Ohio, this time with nine more dead and 27 wounded.

I really thought—or at least hoped—that the slaughter of six teachers along with twenty 6- and 7-year olds in Newtown, Connecticut, would finally have left most Americans horrified, disgusted, and sickened enough to force their cowardly state and federal elected representatives to put a stop to this slaughter.

I really thought—or at least hoped—that the slaughter of six teachers along with twenty 6- and 7-year olds in Newtown, Connecticut, would finally have left most Americans horrified, disgusted, and sickened enough to force their cowardly state and federal elected representatives to put a stop to this slaughter.

Fat chance, it turns out. Since then, we’ve had hundreds of additional mass shootings resulting in over 2,000 dead and almost 10,000 wounded, including 50 dead at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, 59 dead at a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, and 17 dead at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Here is the kind of weapon the men who wrote the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1787 had in mind:

  • Land Pattern Musket (aka “Brown Bess”)
  • Length: 4 feet, 8 inches
  • Weight: 10 & ½ pounds
  • Action: muzzle-loaded flintlock
  • Rate of fire: 3 rounds per minute in very skilled hands
  • Muzzle velocity: 785 feet per second
  • Effective range: 50 yards

Here is a typical weapon available in 232 years later:

  • AR-15 (dubbed “America’s Rifle” by the NRA)
  • Length: 3 feet, 3 inches
  • Weight: 7 & ½ pounds
  • Action: semi-automatic with 10, 20, or 30-round magazine—or a 100-round drum
  • Rate of fire: 60 rounds a minute (in the hands of a rank amateur)
  • 120 rounds a minute (in the hands of an adrenalin-charged killer)
  • Muzzle velocity: 3,300 feet per second
  • Effective range: 600 meters
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There is absolutely no way on God’s Green Earth that James Madison, George Washington, John Adams, John Jay, John Dickinson, Roger Sherman, Alexander Hamilton, or any of the other men who created our present Constitution would have said it is okay for any Tom, Dick or Harry to “keep and bear arms” like what are available today.

People who claim to be “strict constructionists” on the Constitution, arguing that the document should be interpreted exactly as the framers originally intended, don’t seem to grasp that AR-15s, AK-47s, and 40-round magazines were not what the original framers had in mind. The original intent of the 2nd Amendment did not include mass murder on a mass scale on an almost daily basis.

Indeed, the men who wrote the Constitution recognized that situations and circumstances change, and that is why they provided a mechanism to amend the Constitution when deemed necessary, which has happened 27 times so far. The Constitution was not chiseled in stone by the hand of God.

And that includes the 2nd Amendment, which is no more sacrosanct than any other part of the Constitution. It is only the National Rifle Association and its supporters and minions who would have us believe that the 2nd Amendment alone is immutable, unchangeable, and eternal. Yet our elected officials at both the state and federal levels dance like marionettes to the strings pulled by millions and tens of millions of NRA dollars in the form of direct contributions to candidates at both state and federal levels, lobbying at both state and federal levels, public relations campaigns, and financial support for gun advocacy groups.

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of living in a shooting gallery. Indeed, the American tolerance of guns and gun violence has become the laughing stock of the world (and this even before #45 took office and gave the world even more cause for laughter).

The National Rifle Association is right about one thing: I do indeed wish to take their guns away. Repeal the 2nd Amendment.

Well, no, that’s not exactly accurate. To be more specific, I believe every American citizen should have the right to keep and bear a flintlock muzzle-loading smoothbore musket. That’s what our Founding Fathers intended, and I believe intently in the original intent of the men who wrote our Constitution.

I’d like to see how many people would have died if Stephen Paddock, Omar Mateen, Adam Lanza, or Nikolas Cruz had been armed with a Brown Bess musket. Come on, folks, put some heat on your elected representatives.

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W.D. Ehrhart

W.D. Ehrhart, a former Marine Corps sergeant, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, Navy Combat Action Ribbon, a Division Commander’s Commendation, and an Honorable Discharge.