Louis Klarevas is alive only because it was a shotgun pointed in his face that day and not an AR-15.
The gunman got off only one errant shot when Klarevas and his two frantic friends knocked the shotgun to the side and disarmed the maniac.
Klarevas later learned that the nut wasn’t your textbook gun nut, not one with an arsenal fit for a Third World army like so many mass assailants. The weapon was a vintage family heirloom.
Writes Klarevas, “Had the shooter been carrying a concealed, light-weight, high-capacity semi automatic weapon, the outcome would have been dramatically different.”
For one, Klarevas likely wouldn’t be alive to appeal for sane gun laws in his 2013 book “Rampage Nation.”
As for countless dead and maimed Americans, their families, their communities, reasonable people must appeal for them.
Tragically, public policies are in grips of a love triangle: the Republican Party, gun hobbyists, gun lobbyists.
Despite clear and pronounced majority support in this country for reasoned gun laws proven to save lives, we remain sitting ducks in a shooting gallery.
Most of what comes from the gun lobby is ridiculous and whiny pleadings based on buyer convenience.
The most ridiculous argument is that stricter gun laws serve no purpose. Wrong.
The first four years of the 10-year Assault Weapons Ban, in effect from 1994 to 2004 when it lapsed at the hands of a Republican-controlled Congress, the United States had not even one gun massacre (six or more killed by one gunman). That law saved lives.
Another ridiculous argument is hobbyists’ attempt to parse away any distinction from military-style weapons and hunting arms. As Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, we know an assault weapon when we see it. And we can ban it.
What is an assault weapon? It’s whatever we, the governing powers of a democratic republic, say it is. The Second Amendment allows it, say the courts.
As for that amendment’s broad-brush application, former Chief Justice Warren Burger, a Republican appointee, said, “The Gun Lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word ‘fraud,’ on the American people by special interest groups that I have even seen in my lifetime.”
That amendment was about a well-regulated militia, not convenience for a deranged individual who decides to mow down grocery shoppers.
To treat only a portion of that amendment the whole of “Second Amendment rights” is akin to those who saw the 2020 election count on Election Night, ignored the count of subsequent mornings, and said Donald Trump won.
Freedom to bear arms? How about a Stinger missile? How about an Abrams tank? How about dynamite?
Again, it is we who decide what weapons shouldn’t be on dealers’ shelves.
In the wake of the Aurora theater shooting, in 2013 Colorado banned the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines that carried more than 15 rounds.
The gun lobby staged a slobbery tantrum. A manufacturer of the killer wares moved to Wyoming. Good riddance.
Trying to understand the dynamics of a school shooting in writing his 1994 book, “Lethal Passage,” Erik Larson asked far and wide for a civilian justification for high-capacity magazines. He found only one lucid one from a hobbyist: “simply to save time on reloading while you’re at the range.” Hey, gun ranges charge by the hour, you know.
Let Ted Cruz preen about the sanctity of gun rights. We know what this is all about: commerce — the filthiest lucre on the planet.
And the gun industry isn’t the only beneficiary of all this. In the 2018 election cycle, Cruz received $311,151 from gun-rights interests.
As one reader wrote me after the Boulder massacre:
“Those who fight to maintain this nightmare are cowards. They worship false idols, which their guns have become. They should be fearful of the day when they discover what weapons of death they have become.”
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.