The Second Amendment

AuthorRebecca Ann Taylor
ProfessionWriter and attorney
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.1
Within this chapter I will focus on potential solutions to gun violence
through litigation, other governmental avenues, and nonlegal remedies.
Just as with other problems discussed in this book, we may be waiting in
vain if we are expecting Congress to provide solutions to these problems.
Even in the face of studies revealing that “84% of gun-owners and 74% of
NRA members (vs. 90% of non-gun owners) supported requiring a uni-
versal background-check system for all gun sales,”2 the Senate defeated a
bipartisan legislative compromise to expand background checks for gun
buyers, a ban on assault weapons, and a ban on high-capacity gun maga-
zines on April 17, 2013.3
But despite the assault of titillating daily headlines to distract us, we can-
not forget the children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown,
Connecticut, or other victims of gun violence. Even though the world moves
on and many of these victims are forgotten, the pain for them and their
1. U.S. C. amend. II.
2. See Colleen L. Barry et al., After Newtown—Public Opinion on Gun Policy and Mental
Illness, 368 N E. J. M. 1077(2013), available at http:// www3 .med .unipmn .it /papers
/2013 /NEJM /2013-03-21 _nejm /nejmp1300512 .pdf.
3. Jonathan Weisman, Senate Blocks Drive for Gun Control, N.Y. T, Apr. 17, 2013,
available at http:// www .nytimes .com /2013 /04 /18 /us /politics /senate-obama-gun-control .html
Chapter 1
e Second Amendment
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loved ones does not end.
For example, then-pregnant Ashley Moser suf-
fered catastrophic injuries in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, mass shooting; as
a result, she was paralyzed and lost her baby as well.
Another victim of gun
violence who was shot by carjackers in 1998 was left permanently disabled.
He told a hospital psychologist immediately after the shooting that his big-
gest fear was “that this is going to destroy my marriage. Fifteen years later,
he requires a catheter to urinate and suffers chronic dangerous blood infec-
tions.6 The facts don’t change just because the news cameras leave and the
victims’ names fade from the media. Whatever we were galvanized to do in
the heat of our grief and emotion on the day of the shooting, we still need
to do, if we haven’t done so already. We as American citizens and lawyers
alike must push forward in demanding solutions to gun violence and crime.
On December 14, 2012, a mass shooting occurred the likes of which,
prior to that day, would have been unimaginable to me. Twenty six- and
seven-year-old rst grade students were brutally murdered at Sandy Hook
Elementary School, as well as six of their teachers and educators. It was
eleven days before Christmas. Ornaments the children had made in class
were still drying on the windowsills.7
How did they die? A crazed gunman took an AR-15 assault rie belong-
ing to his mother, shot her to death, then drove to the elementary school
and began a horric shooting rampage. All of the children killed by gunman
Adam Lanza were shot multiple times, some as many as eleven.
Their small
bodies were so ravaged by the gunshot wounds that the authorities had the
children’s parents identify them only by pictures of the victims’ faces. The
Connecticut chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver II, said that if the
victims did suffer, it was not for very long.
A number of the victims died while trying to protect others, such as the
4. See Joe Nocera, Op-Ed., After the Shooting, N.Y. T, June 12, 2013, available at
http:// www .nytimes .com /2013 /06 /13 /opinion /nocera-after-the-shooting .html.
5. Id.
6. Id.
7. Ray Rivera, Reliving Horror and Faint Hope at Massacre Site, N.Y. T, Jan. 28,
2013, available at http:// www .nytimes .com /2013 /01 /29 /nyregion /horrors-of-newtown-shoot
ing-scene-are-slow-to-fade .html ?pagewanted=all & _r=0.
8. James Barron, Children Were All Shot Multiple Times with a Semiautomatic, Ofcials
Say, N.Y. T, Dec. 15, 2012, available at http:// www .nytimes .com /2012 /12 /16 /nyregion
/gunman-kills-20-children-at-school-in-connecticut-28-dead-in-all .html ?pagewanted=all.
C 6
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school principal, Dawn Hochsprung, and psychologist Mary Sherlach, who
were trying to tackle the gunman. Teacher Victoria Soto hid ve of her stu-
dents in a closet outside her classroom while others hid under desks.
Ms. Soto returned to her classroom to lock it, the gunman stormed into
the room. Several students were able to escape as Lanza’s rie jammed, and
student Jesse Lewis told them to run. Jesse died while directly confronting
Lanza. Ms. Soto told Lanza that her children were in the auditorium, but
as some of them came out of their hiding places in an attempt to escape,
Ms. Soto placed her body between Lanza and her students. And in this nal
seless act, she died. Teacher Anne Marie Murphy also died while shielding
student Dylan Hockley with her body; Lanza killed both of them.
On the day before the shootings, my son was given a combined birthday
and goodbye party by his kindergarten class, as we prepared to move from
Washington State back to Florida. In the midst of my horror, fear, and grief
at the shootings, I was also consumed with hope that our country would do
everything within its power to prevent another such unfathomably horric
mass murder from occurring again. How could we possibly do otherwise?
And as our government began to mobilize itself toward this goal, bolstered
by President Barack Obama, many legislators, and the public (including
both gun and non-gun owners), I felt condent that new laws would soon
be passed that would send a clear message that we will not tolerate such
gun violence and mass murder, and that we will do anything necessary to
protect our children.
Then, inevitably, the National Rie Association (NRA) began to mobilize
on its own strategy. It remained silent immediately following the murders,
biding its time while it concocted its public relations campaign that would
create the illusion of solutions to gun violence. In reality, the NRA never
departed from the same position that it always has maintained—a zero-
tolerance policy to any semblance of gun control—and its actions would
make that clear soon enough.
In fact, in the wake of the Newtown shooting, the NRA lobbied for even
more guns and has galvanized millions of Americans in ghting back against
9. Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, W, available at http:// en .wikipedia
.org /wiki /Sandy _Hook _Elementary _School _shooting.
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