I have heard a lot of silly arguments, but nothing tops the assertion by a Tehachapi resident in The Bakersfield Californian that the Second Amendment is limited to muzzle loading muskets. Those muskets were actually the “assault rifles” of that day, and I think the intent of the Second Amendment, then and now, is to provide individuals with a means and a God-given right to protect themselves, their families and their community if need be with arms consistent with what the bad guys have (he’s got a musket, I need a musket; he has an AR-15, I need an AR-15).

Let’s be honest about what causes these incidents. All guns, whether they are muskets or AR-15s, are inert objects that cannot function autonomously. That is a fact. Also, semi-automatic guns have changed little over the past 80 years; they have the same functioning mechanisms, firing rates, magazine capacity, calibers, etc. So if guns are inert objects and haven’t changed, how could guns be the cause of modern mass shootings? The answer is they aren’t because guns don’t cause shootings just like flies don’t cause garbage. But guns are a convenient and appealing scapegoat for those who want to eliminate Second Amendment rights rather than actually solve the problem.

So what are the real causes of this modern phenomenon of public mass shooting? Being inert, all firearms need a human operator. That’s the problem. Years ago when I was on Army high school and college Air Force rifle teams, we routinely mingled with other students in the hallways while carrying rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and nobody ever got shot. But people have changed a lot since then due to constant exposure to violence in television, video games and movies; a general coarsening of society; breakdown of the nuclear family unit; devaluing human life; and removing God and discipline from public places and public education. So if people really want to address this problem without affecting the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, the focus should be on these societal problems and not guns. Only then will real progress happen.

Wilbur W. Wells, Tehachapi