The Death Penalty. I envy the certainty and the untroubled serenity of those who know exactly how they feel about capital punishment. While I would prefer to stand consistently in opposition to the death penalty, I find that the best argument in favor of it is the (mostly male) population committing capital crimes. Among the worst of that population there are none undeserving of execution. As for that subhuman known as Nikolas Cruz, I would pay for the high privilege of being his executioner. Every beat of his heart is an offense to mankind. A pox on any prosecutor who takes a guilty plea that excludes capital punishment for Nikolas Cruz.

Firearms and “Dangerous” Persons in Indiana. There are times when the ignorance of the Indiana General Assembly seems boundless. At other times the General Assembly gets something right. The General Assembly gets a CLB “A-” for the legislation at IC 35-47-14 concerning the seizure and retention of firearms from “dangerous” individuals, including those who have committed no crime. Under the statute an individual is “dangerous” if: he presents “an imminent risk of personal injury” to himself or others; has a mental illness and has gone off his medication; or is the subject of “documented evidence” that he has a “propensity for violent or emotionally unstable conduct.” When a person is “dangerous,” he may be deprived of possession of a firearm, with or without a judicial warrant, pending a post-seizure hearing. If Florida passed similar legislation, it would have a pre-massacre legal remedy for disarming the next Nikolas Cruz.

The Indiana legislation for the seizure and retention of the firearms of “dangerous” individuals requires the participation of law enforcement, for instance, in obtaining a judicial warrant for a seizure. A mere citizen (like you or me) may be an informant but not an affiant. In the case of Parkland, both local law enforcement and the FBI failed to act on evidence of the dangerous propensities of Nikolas Cruz. Accordingly, good legislation might not have changed the result.

Negotiating Gun Control. Most of us can remember the “Crime Bill” ban on the sale of certain “assault” weapons and high-capacity ammo magazines from 1994 to 2004. What I cannot remember is any definitive study demonstrating that the ban actually saved innocent lives. Any consideration of a new ban should include an impartial assessment of the success or failure of the 1994 ban.

One reason that ardent Second Amendment advocates can’t negotiate with ardent gun control advocates is the rational perception that the latter group aims to achieve (eventually) a general ban of the private ownership of firearms.

That Rakish AR-15. The silhouette of the AR-15 (named for original manufacturer Armalite and not an acronym for “assault rifle”) makes it instantly recognizable. The form of it is pleasing to the eye or stimulating to the imagination of many men (and boys) and some women. If you want your rifle to look cool and to exude a dangerous vibe, you must consider the AR-15.

Then again for half the cost (or less) of an AR-15, you can purchase a number of rifles sporting a civilian (as opposed to military) heritage that shoot the same ammunition and accommodate the same high capacity magazines that you would expect to see on an AR-15. The AR-15 is not the cause. Banning the AR-15 is not the solution.

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