CHICAGO—At first blush, 2014 might have looked like a bad year for gun laws. Certainly Georgia’s guns-everywhere-all-the-time law sailed through, prompting two “carriers” to draw their weapons at a convenience store days after it was passed, each thinking the other was a bad guy.
Certainly Illinois rolled out “concealed carry” with 88 early applicants having records for domestic violence, 77 for gun crimes, 52 for battery/assault, 27 for aggravated battery/assault and 29 with orders of protection filed against them. Nice.
But even as stand-your-grounders and castle doctrine enthusiasts “defended” themselves, the courts sent them to jail.
In September, Theodore Wafer, a suburban Detroit man who shot and killed an unarmed woman on his porch instead of calling police was sentenced to at least 17 years in prison. In October, Michael Dunn was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for murdering Jordan Davis in Jacksonville because he felt “threatened.”
And this month, Montana resident Markus Kaarma was convicted of the deliberate homicide of Diren Dede, an unarmed 17-year-old high school student from Germany who was trespassing in his garage. Kaarma’s lawyers said his actions were justifiable under Montana’s “stand your ground” law, because he feared for his family’s safety. The jury disagreed …as did Germany.
The recent sentences stand as a wake-up call to gun lovers and advocates. Go ahead and “stand your ground” and exercise your “castle doctrine,” the courts are saying, but you better like prison food.
In 2014, the gun lobby continued to defend the “gun rights” of felons, people under orders of protection and people with mental illness and even convinced a Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio that banning gun ownership of those committed to a mental institution is “unconstitutional.”
But California’s new gun order of protection law, created after the Santa Barbara mass murders, in which family members can ask a judge to remove firearms from dangerous relatives, may lead the nation. Certainly the members of the Stay, Spirit and Stone families, just some of the families destroyed in 2014 despite clear warnings of violence, would have welcomed a gun restraining order.
There was another piece of great gun regulation news: despite the NRA’s opposition, Dr. Vivek Murthy was confirmed this month as the nineteenth U.S. Surgeon General. Dr. Murthy, who practices emergency medicine and knows gun trauma, got on the NRA’s bad side by suggesting that the 7,000 young people under age 20 who are admitted to U.S. hospitals every year with gun injuries is a public health issue. Imagine.
Opposition to Dr. Murthy is part of the NRA’s larger war against medicine, in which it tries to enact “gag” laws to keep doctors from asking if there is a gun in the house. Domestic shootings and home gun accidents are none of the doctors’ business, says the NRA, until they are needed to stitch the victims up.
Join the action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.