After his death, a second amendment supporter, leaves a message on gun violence

The following posthumous editorial appeared in The Charlotte Observer on August 6, 2019. It speaks for itself.

“Larry Swenberg died of ALS this spring, a few months before gunmen killed 29 people in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. Swenberg, a retired doctor of veterinary medicine in Durham, was a gun owner and avid hunter, but he was horrified at mass shootings inflicted by assault-style weapons. His wife, Gwen, sent us this op-ed from her husband last week, before Dayton and El Paso. One of his last wishes, she said, was to leave a message for his fellow Second Amendment supporters — and all of us.:

I am a 73 year-old retired doctor of veterinary medicine and a political independent who is neither a politician nor a Washington insider, but a citizen pleading to stop the carnage of assault weapons. I am a former hunter, recreational shooter, current gun owner, supporter of the Second Amendment, but never an NRA contributor.
In my plea for sanity, I prioritize assault weapons because of their availability and their ability to produce mass carnage. In the wake of a mass shooting in New Zealand committed with an assault weapon, it took five days for the country to ban the weapon. Our country’s ban expired in 2004, and the gun lobby and the NRA has spent millions to buy its continued extinction.

If your goal is to kill the greatest number in the shortest time, this is the weapon of choice. Many cry foul here, saying it is the shooter, not the weapon that is the problem. If you honestly prioritize human life over personal desire, then you must acknowledge the risk of assault weapons in the wrong hands as responsible for oft repeated slaughter of the innocent.

The NRA’s seven-million-dollar senator, Richard Burr of North Carolina, blithely maintains a ban would infringe on Second Amendment personal freedom. Are speed limits a similar infringement? This attitude reflects a disconnect which is mind numbing. This character flaw is common among politicians and America’s gun-owning public. People who fail to see blood on their hands for their inaction do so because guilt for their acts of omission is simply not a quality of their character.

The High Court has affirmed the congressional right to regulate firearms. Therefore the belief that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to own an assault rifle is wrong. If politicians past and present had any integrity and not just self-interest, poor judgment or a lack of conscience, we would not have the cumulative carnage of assault weapons we presently have. Had Congress recognized its sin of omission and sought penance through action, we would not have the empty solace of our collective thoughts and prayers.

Think about this when you sit in a church pew, go to work, or enjoy hobbies: we all have the blood of omission on our hands, despite those who live in denial. So long as assault weapons are available publicly, the pathologically demented will use them to massacre the most numbers in the shortest time.

An author whose name I don’t recall wrote a person’s god is that to which ultimate allegiance is given – money, fame, power, etc. if you prioritize the petty position of a firearms over public safety, then your god is a gun no matter how many hours you sit in a church or bow to Mecca. You then are a first order hypocrite and must simply own this fact. It is a tragedy some people feel a felony must be committed to protect the public’s safety.

An assault weapons ban will not solve America’s gun violence but it would stop mass carnage in minimal time. Demand nothing less of Congress and the White House.”



26 thoughts on “After his death, a second amendment supporter, leaves a message on gun violence

  1. Note to Readers: Here is a copy of a letter to the editor about the above and Trump hate speech.

    “Many thanks for printing the posthumous editorial from gun owner Larry Swenberg on assault weapons. It should be required reading by every American. The mass shootings are horrific, and deserve to get the headlines. But, we have grown numb to the smaller mass shootings and what happens every day. We average 100+ gun deaths every day in America. Most of them are suicides. Americans have noted in large percentages that certain actions would be acceptable. We are well past the time for action. We also need to acknowledge hard truths – hate speech serves as an instigation to the most strident amongst us. We cannot have a leader who paints with fear to demonize groups of people and then pretends like he had no role. He did not put the gun in the killer’s hands or mail the pipe bombs last year, but his lack of accountability and leadership are a disservice to Americans.”

  2. Thanks for sharing Mr. Swenberg’s posthumous editorial, Keith. I particularly liked his analogy to highway speed limits … very apt! His words are the very same ones that you, me, and others have been saying, but I think they are all the more striking because of the fact that he is a gun-owner and proponent of the 2nd Amendment.

    • Jill, I liked that analogy as well. The source makes the difference. I expect we will get some small action to say they did something. But, we won’t come close to addressing the issue holistically. The president is ignoring the main problems. Keith

      • My personal sense is that El Dumbpo is not ignoring his role in gun violence, he is refusing to acknowledge it, which is a whole ‘nother, and a very dangerous, hail of bullets! Words may not puncture skin, but they certainly can be proved to be a call to active hatred. Teach a person to hate, and soon someone will be hating with a gun in their hand.
        That is unavoidable!

      • Rawgod, i like your next to last sentence. It builds on Oscar Hammerstein’s song in “South Pacific,” which goes “you have to be carefully taught, by the time you are seven or eight, you have to be carefully taught, to hate who your parents hate.” Thanks for your comment, Keith

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    Most of us who call for stricter gun laws are not gun owners, so when a gun owner, supporter of the 2nd Amendment speaks out and calls for stricter gun legislation, it speaks loudly. Please take a moment to read this editorial by the late Larry Swenberg, a gun owner who, prior to his death, called for a ban on assault weapons. Thank you, Keith, for sharing this with us.

  4. Note to Readers: Per a Politico article today: “Most Republicans would support legislation banning assault-style weapons, a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll found Wednesday — a finding that contradicts President Donald Trump’s claim earlier the same day that there’s ‘no political appetite’ for such restrictions.

    The poll found that nearly 70 percent of all voters would back such a ban. Support for an assault-weapons ban was higher, at 86 percent, among Democrats, who have been pushing for new restrictions on the firearms in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend.

    Republicans typically are more reticent to support new gun restrictions, and Trump campaigned in 2016 on his strong support for the Second Amendment. But the poll found that 55 percent of GOP voters were comfortable with banning assault weapons, and 54 percent said they would support stricter gun laws more generally. Ninety percent said they would back universal background checks for gun sales.”

    • Suzanne, thanks for sharing your story. Most gun owners, by far, in America do not belong to the NRA. Their voice should be heeded. We have seen time and again, it only takes one extremist to alter the future lives of dozens, even hundreds. It is not just the deceased, it is the wounded, the traumatized and their families and friends. Thanks for the reblog. Keith

  5. I like this and agree with it, Keith. Civilians should not have access to military-type assault rifles like an AK 47 for example. As long as this president is in office, I feel like nothing will change. These mass shootings will continue. Who knows how many more there will be?! It’s always justified with the second amendment. They say it’s because the person who gets a hold of them are mentally ill. Well yeah, that’s a no brainer but they don’t do anything to regulate assault rifles, either. I don’t like guns personally but at the same time I contemplate getting a small one. I probably won’t though. They make it too easy to get one. They just have to do a background check and you’re all set. I recently read a story in the New York Times about gun laws around the world.

    • Lisa, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Being from El Paso, your words have gravitas given the lengths the racist killer went to attack your community. Thanks for sharing the article. I look forward to reading it. Keith

  6. Note to Readers: We would have had another mass shooting at a Missouri Walmart yesterday had an off-duty firefighter not noticed a man in armor, with a rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition.

    If that is not enough, a young man was arrested in Las Vegas after posting threats towarf a stnagogue and a LGBT bar. The authorities found guns and bomb making materials. And, a young man was arrested in Florida for threatening a local Walmart once he got his rifle back in three days. It is not surprising that countries are warning their citizens about travel to the US. So, when Fox News Tucker Carlson says white supremacy is a hoax, please note that each of the above and the El Paso were white.

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