The gun debate brings out the most illogical arguments one can imagine. It never ceases to amaze me how, otherwise, highly intelligent people make such unfounded comments and suggestions to solve our “gun violence” problem.
“Assault weapons kill people!” Huh? I’m sure some video hacker could create a video of an assault weapon spontaneously firing and killing somebody, but in the real world an assault weapon can’t kill anybody unless it is attached to a human (directly or indirectly). The assault weapon is an inanimate object and is simply a chosen tool (one of many) of some crazy people, which raises the question: why do they choose it? Probably because a similar looking weapon is used in video games and the media makes such a big deal about it. The reason our police and military use similar weapons is because it allows them to kill with minimal collateral loss; that is, they can more easily hit who they are aiming at with little danger to bystanders. A mass murderer generally doesn’t care who he kills, so a more appropriate weapon for close-quarter combat would be a short-barreled shotgun, which can be made in less than five minutes with any shotgun and a hacksaw.
“You don’t need an assault weapon.” You don’t need cars that can travel more than 85 miles per hour, diamonds, alcohol, etcetera. If need were a requirement, only food and water would be allowed. There are lots of reasons to own assault weapons. One is for its artistic beauty. Just as some may find a Kandinsky or a Corvette beautiful and purchase it to own that beauty (and possible monetary gain), some may purchase a Steyr Aug A3 M1 for the same reason. An interesting statistical analysis would be the number of people who have been killed by an AR-15 compared with how many have been killed by a Corvette. They are both about the same age (and probably about the same number of them made). I personally knew somebody killed in a Corvette but nobody killed by an AR-15.
“The only purpose of an assault weapon is to kill people.” How illogical can we get? There is not a known statistic for how many of these weapons are in circulation, but I’ll estimate on the low side and say one million. If their only purpose was to kill people, and we did that at a rate of one person per gun per day, we would be out of people in a year. The overwhelming majority of them are owned for LEGAL recreational purposes. For example, many are used for target practice. If a person enjoys flying model planes, I won’t judge – nor will I judge if a person wants to shoot firearms in a safe manner.
Solution: ban assault weapons. How did that work for alcohol? How is that working for drugs? Banning something only makes it that much more appealing to a lot of people. Even if we did write a law to ban all assault weapons, what would be the penalty for possession? Five years? It is already a death sentence in many states to commit mass murder, so why would having another law with a lesser penalty deter people from using an assault weapon? The counter argument is that availability would be diminished; ask a high school student which is easier to acquire: pot or alcohol? When I taught in the high school, the answer was pot, and I’m guessing that is still true.
The largest mass murder committed in this country in the last 50 years was committed with airplanes. The second largest attack was with a truck and fertilizer. Why don’t we ban those? Deaths by all firearms is about 38,000 per year, with the majority being suicide, which is the same as the number of deaths by automobiles. Illegal drug deaths account for about 44,000 people, and the number is growing, and they are already illegal. Death by use of: cigarettes is estimated at 480,000 per year and alcohol is estimated at 88,000 per year. Why don’t we ban those? They aren’t even protected by the Constitution.
As the Australian Prime Minister so eloquently acknowledged, no other country has a Second Amendment. Despite the Left’s repeated false claims that the Second Amendment is an “institutional” right – as opposed to an “individual” right – the Supreme Court has held (directly and indirectly) that it is an individual right. With that said, the Court has also held that the government has a right to regulate it, much the same way First Amendment rights are regulated (e.g., can’t yell “fire” in a movie theater).
Of all of the proposed legislation to limit access, there is one change in the law that may (minuscule probability) curb the use of assault weapons, but probably would not lower the number of mass shootings in this country. Fully automatic weapons (i.e., real assault weapons, or “machine guns”) have been successfully regulated for more than 80 years. The reason this law was successful, is that there weren’t that many machine guns at the time the law was implemented and the cost at the time to own one was prohibitive for all but the rich, so it worked. With the number of available assault weapons in circulation today and the relatively low cost of them, I don’t believe that regulating them would work.
The Constitution is in the way of banning all firearms. There is little evidence that specifically targeting a specific style of firearm will greatly reduce the number of mass shootings committed in the U.S.; people will simply use a different weapon. Which brings us back to our mythical monster: we will continue to blame anything but the actual perpetrator for unthinkable atrocities. Thus, do we wish to increasingly take freedoms away for a false sense of security, or do we wish to live in a country that is afforded the greatest freedoms humanity has ever known, while accepting very small risks?
Before you send the hate mail, I have a disclaimer: my family has been affected by gun violence several times, including a mass shooting. Thus, I have a right to my informed opinion.