A lot has happened since I wrote my last column. While I usually try to focus on one topic in each editorial, I had already planned to discuss at least two events affecting the gun rights community.
But, as I got to work early on Apr. 4, the phone rang with the sad news of the passing of Sheila Link the previous week, just a few months shy of her 95th birthday.
Although it has been several years since Sheila wrote regularly for Women & Guns, long time readers will remember her as our first “contributing Aeditor.” Her regular Gear and Gadgets column focused generally on small accessories for firearms enthusiasts, and she prided herself on using everything that came across her desk, but only published comments on products she thought would be useful to others. She also wrote about hunting—a passion of hers, and, as it began to grown in popularity, Cowboy Action Shooting. At least once a year, at the SHOT Show, Sheila and I would sit down and discuss the coming year’s columns, as well as the state of the firearms industry—she was as plugged in as anyone—and of course, Women & Guns itself.
One year, for an anniversary column, I recounted how I had sworn there would never be a recipe in W&G, and then proceeded to break my own rule, providing “My Mother’s Nice Lemon Dessert” directions, a homage to my own sweet mom, who always supported me. A week or so after the column was published, I got a box of Meyer lemons from Sheila’s California backyard, with a note congratulating me on our milestone.
We will have a complete obituary in the next issue, with reminiscences by some of Sheila’s friends and colleagues.
In our news pages, as well as Genie Jennings’ “Making a Difference” column this month, some of the recent events discussed are the Parkland, FL, high school shooting and retired Supreme Court Justice Jean Paul Stevens’ New York Times op-ed exhorting the Parkland students who have become anti-gun activists to spearhead a drive to repeal the Second Amendment.
In his tenure on the court, Stevens was no friend of gunowners, relying generally on his reading of the 1939 Miller case as precedent.
So it’s no great surprise that he is anti-gun, but it is surprising that he apparently has no idea how the repeal of (or addition of) an amendment to the Constitution works. It would have to pass both houses of Congress and then 2/3rds of the states, all within certain time periods—a nearly impossible task in this day and age. The last time a Constitutional amendment was proposed—the Equal Rights Amendment–it died a slow death over many years.
You could certainly get some House and Senate members to vote in favor of it, but the required numbers would be insurmountable.
Similarly, while there are probably a handful of state legislatures which would approve such a move, the magic number of 38 would be impossible.
Forty states have state constitutional provisions protecting the right to bear arms, and, presumably, they would have to repeal them as well.
However, perhaps Justice Stevens’ call to action will give some of the young people pause—if only to consider how long and difficult any political fight is.
For those of us who have been active in the gun rights struggle for years, the idea that one event, or one march, or one really sincere request is all it takes to achieve a goal, is fantastical.
That is not to say that this new activism by young people should be ignored.
Rather, it should be engaged—hopefully led by young people who hold opposite views. But also by people who have been in the trenches for a long time, maintaining that the right to bear arms is a fundamental right.
We can, as Genie suggests, most always find some common ground with our opponents, even if it leaves both sides frustrated.
Finally, lost in the most recent debate has been the subject of trained school personnel, some armed, to protect students going about their lives in the “gun-free zones” of modern schools.
While the topic was revived in the initial aftermath of the Parkland shooting, it has sadly, taken a back burner, as the media focuses on the student protestors.
A lot of people have been quietly and effectively doing the hard work of providing this type of training to schools around the country for several years.
“Arming teachers” is a sloppy way of expressing it and the general media has not helped, with very little coverage of programs like FASTER, which in addition to firearms and active shooter training, provides instruction on trauma care and other related topics—it is a complete package, carefully thought out, and not just a program which hands out guns to teachers and expects them to be able to protect their students in a dire emergency.
Much like the debate surrounding arming pilots on commercial airliners in the wake of 9-11, it should be embraced by most everyone as another line of defense.