A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

– Second Amendment


Sandy Hook.

The Pulse Nightclub.


Las Vegas.

The Borderline Bar and Grill.

These are a sad fraternity of locations haunted by the legacy of senseless gun violence. After each one, we were sure that the government would act. We told ourselves that “this time it would be different.” Yet the headlines were allowed to fade away, those left behind were abandoned with nothing but thoughts and prayers and absolutely nothing has changed.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival.

El Paso.

Dayton (or was it Toledo?).

The death march continues. Newsrooms rush to the scenes, immerse us in the pornography of grief and then they move on to the next news story that will inflate their ratings. I would bet that the reporters do not even unpack their bags as the next occurrence of mass casualties is sure to happen in a time frame that is more likely to be sooner than later. Absolutely nothing changes.

Violent video games.

Bad parenting.

Mental illness

Gun-free zones.

Incompetent law enforcement.

The NRA and their allies use a wide variety of scapegoats to avoid the reality that in each case of gun violence a shooter used a gun to slaughter his fellow man. Then, instead of supporting common-sense gun control, those who put guns above the rights of human beings will propose solutions that violate rights found in amendments other than the second one. They will suggest that due process rights should be ignored in order to lock away the mentally ill, most of whom will never commit a violent crime. They will insist that students should give up their Fourth Amendment rights and be searched without cause for the privilege of attending school. Even if the same video games, music and movies have no effect on the citizens of other countries, we should ignore the First Amendment and ban them here.

It took one Timothy McVeigh with a truck bomb to lead to the regulation of the sale of fertilizer. The tragedy of 9/11 was met with air marshals and full body scans. A single incident of someone trying to blow up a plane with a bomb hidden in his shoes and airline passengers are still willingly taking off their footwear before boarding airplanes. When car companies refused to address needless deaths,, the government forced them to install seat belts and other safety equipment, yet we refuse to address the problem of gun carnage in any meaningful way.

A large part of the blame for the state of inaction falls to the activist judges who have converted the Second Amendment from a tool of collective self-defense into a selfish free for all. By inflating the meaning of a comma, they have negated the mention of “a well-regulated Militia” as if it were a random phrase with no connection to the rest of the text. And, with those rulings, the rights of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” became subservient to the right to “keep and bear Arms.”

If we are going to abide by rulings based on grammatical hair-splitting, then let’s take this to the next logical conclusion – the Constitution protects “arms” but says nothing about the bullets that feed these weapons. Therefore, in the absence of the ability to enact common-sense gun control, we should simply ban the sale and possession of ammunition.

Alternatively, we can all admit that “well-regulated” allows common-sense laws and finally do something to prevent the next mass shooting.

You know a gun never killed nobody

You can ask anyone

People get shot by people

People with guns

– Brian May, 1982


Author’s note: “Common Sense Gun Control” means different things to different people. In my opinion, any meaningful law would include the following:

1) Universal background checks, with that information properly stored and accessible by court order.

2) The ability of law enforcement to track purchases and look for dangerous trends.

3) A limit on the amount and type of firearms that can be stored outside of registered gun banks.


Carl Petersen is a parent, advocate for students with special education needs, elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD’s District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, he was endorsed by the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a “strong supporter of public schools.” His past blogs can be found at www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.