The Supreme Court’s Deadly Support for Mass Murder

Gun Rights

The supermajority of rightwing Trumpian justices on the U.S. Supreme Court just abolished the government ban preventing mass murderers from equipping military assault rifles with bump stocks to fire more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition within minutes.

That obscene decision was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, the oldest and most publicly corrupt Republican appointee. His decision totally disregards the resulting human slaughter to express his admiration for how effective bump stocks are in speeding up the “distinct ‘function[s]’ of the trigger.”

“All that a bump stock does,” Thomas writes, “is accelerate the rate of fire by causing these distinct ‘function[s]’ of the trigger to occur in rapid succession.” That is an extremely disturbing sentence for any human being to write and for all six Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices to unanimously support.

That’s not “all a bump stock does” by any means and every American should know it by now. Their children and grandchildren certainly do. Children today regularly practice “active shooter drills” in their schools hiding in locked closets and classrooms from all those terrific improvements in modern gun technology. 

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GOP Sabotage

What children don’t understand is why adults aren’t doing anything to save their lives yet. A majority of Americans want to, but Republican extremists in Congress and on the Supreme Court who love guns more than children sabotage every attempt. 

The court’s deadly bump stock decision expands upon the same supermajority’s 2022 Bruen decision also written by Thomas striking down the requirement that New Yorkers be licensed to carry concealed guns in public. That decision declared gun regulations could no longer be justified by public safety, but only if they were rooted in previous legal history or tradition.

It was a brazen attempt to roll back gun regulations hundreds of years to colonial America when there were few laws governing possession or use of firearms. It’s the same twisted logic the justices used trying to roll back equality in America as if we had never advanced beyond our founding fathers’ imperfect democracy limiting full citizenship to wealthy White male property owners.

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It also requires totally ignoring the most famous period in history when Americans rose up in outrage and succeeded in removing guns capable of firing 600 rounds of bullets in a minute from the streets of our cities and small towns. 

Criminals with Machine Guns

That gun was the Thompson submachine gun or the Tommy Gun as it was called. It led directly to the National Firearms Act of 1934, the first serious federal gun safety legislation ever passed by Congress under President Franklin Roosevelt to protect American lives. 

“A machine gun, of course, ought never be in the hands of any private individual,” Roosevelt’s Atty. Gen. Homer Cummings testified to Congress. “There is not the slightest excuse for it, not the least in the world, and we must . . . take these machine guns out of the hands of the criminal class.”

That congressional hearing also included testimony about the botched shootout between the FBI and the gang led by John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson at Little Bohemia Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wis. The gang escaped after killing a federal agent and a customer and wounding four others. 

Karl Frederick, then president of the National Rifle Association, supported ending civilian access to machine guns as well as restricting handguns. “I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns,” Frederick said. “I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses.” 

Golly, it’s too bad our current Republican Supreme Court justices couldn’t detect any historic resemblance at all between outlawing machine guns used by notorious 1930s gangsters to shoot other people in public places and outlawing the bump stocks used in the deadliest U.S. mass murder in history. A Las Vegas shooter in 2017 firing assault weapons equipped with bump stocks killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others within minutes at an outdoor country music concert.

Deadly Consequences      

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent for herself and Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson had no difficulty supporting the government’s ban on bump stocks. Failing to do so, they said, “will have deadly consequences.

As Atty. Gen. Cummings said in 1934, “There is not the slightest excuse for it, not the least in the world” for any civilian in America ever to have access to a gun that can murder 1,000 other human beings within minutes.

Because the gun industry can produce such weapons of mass destruction is no reason for Republican politicians or courts to allow them to be unleashed upon innocent men, women and children in America with such sickening regularity. 

So, first things first. Our first responsibility is reelecting President Biden to continue appointing decent Supreme Court justices. Trump is eager to promote his corrupt appointee Judge Aileen Cannon, presiding over his Florida trial for stealing nuclear secrets. She’s openly auditioning to be the next Justice Thomas or Alito.  

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