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What can nation do about mass killings?

WASHINGTON – The worlds of loyal, law-abiding gun owners and the college-bred elites who control the Democratic Party, university faculties and the mass media might as well be on different planets.

One weapons keeper, let’s call him Jim, says he legally owns at least two semi-automatic military assault rifles, like the AR-15s used by two radicalized Muslims to murder 14 people attending a Christmas party in San Bernardino, Calif., last week.

In all, “Jim” owns at least 25 firearms of all kinds. What are they for? “The semi-automatics are designed to kill people,” he answers. What on earth do you do with them? “I use the weapons in target practice,” he says, easily. “I love going to target practice.”

There are dozens of firing ranges for these guns in Northern Virginia. One’s owned by the National Rifle Association, others by clubs. There’s an outdoor range for military long guns out in the country.

There are more than 310 million legally owned weapons in the United States, probably more. An estimated 55 million have been legally sold to men and women since President Obama was elected in 2008. This is double the increase in weapon sales since George W. Bush’s first term. No one really knows because there is no national registry on possession.

The FBI reported 2.24 million gun sales, nationally, in November alone – 176,000 just on Black Friday.

There are about four or five huge gun shows a year in Northern Virginia. Depending on your record, one can obtain an AR-15, priced anywhere from $580 to $2,500. A 60-round magazine is bought separately. All that’s needed in Virginia and in most states is your driver’s license and a clean criminal and mental health record. It can be done usually in 10 to 30 minutes.

In New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., a purchaser needs a special permit from law enforcement. There’s a waiting period of three days or more.

Most gun owners will tell you they own firearms for sporting purposes, for myriad heritage reasons, for personal protection and for “that day” when some government tries to take them away.

In the wake of the San Bernardino murders, Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton called separately for stricter gun controls, as though gun ownership caused the slaughter at the county government center.

But until the U.S. Supreme Court rules otherwise, gun ownership is guaranteed by the Constitution. So their calls amount to little more than stimulation. Their rules would be as enforceable as Prohibition was.

On the right, Republican presidential candidates, like The Donald, are calling for heinous restrictions on people calling themselves Muslim. As mentioned before, Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate, wants them to register.

There may be as many as 2.1 million Muslims in the country. Not only would registration be impractical, it would be clearly illegal under our Constitution, just like prohibition of gun ownership.

So what to do now that this latest atrocity – despite the president’s assurance that ISIS is contained – has been linked to Islamic extremist terrorism?

This administration, more likely the next, is going to have to spend a great deal of money beefing up the FBI for personal and communications surveillance, on lawful electronic snooping, on monitoring local centers of extremism and on international coordination. Congress is going to have to pass some laws on detention of suspects.

It isn’t going to be pretty, or politically palatable for anybody. But all independent sources verify that this country – anywhere in the country – is now just moments away from senseless mass killing.

Open borders and other forms of immigration kumbaya are going to have to be parked somewhere for a while.