I've been a freelance writer focusing on movies, hiking, stamps, volleyball, and politics.
It's time to take action—and I'm speaking directly to Congress right now. It's become painfully obvious that the AR-15 has become the weapon of choice for those aiming to commit a mass shooting, and it's time to get that gun, and others with a high magazine capacity, off the market.
I'm sure that there will be plenty of gun aficionados that will state their case in rebuttal of my arguments, and they certainly have plenty of ammo for their arguments. Not one of those arguments consists of viable solutions to stopping the gun violence that is gripping America right now.
What Is an AR-15?
The AR-15 refers to a semi-automatic rifle that has been around since 1963. The AR does not stand for assault rifle, but instead refers to the company ArmaLite which sold the design rights to Colt in 1959. Colt then began production, with the first rifles hitting the markets in 1963.
The AR-15 has a standard magazine of 30 rounds, but aftermarket options of 40, 60, 90, and 100 round magazines are also available. This feature of high capacity is likely one reason for the weapon's popularity among mass shooters.
Use as a Tool of Destruction
- A recent and hard-hitting example of the AR-15 being used to slaughter people was in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day 2018. Seventeen people lost their lives when a former student walked into the building and opened fire.
- The gun was used in the Las Vegas concert shooting, killing 58 and injuring more than 800 people on October 1, 2017.
- It was used at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in killing 26 on November 5, 2017.
- On June 12, 2016, it was used at an Orlando nightclub that killed 49 and injured 50 more.
- San Bernadino, California, saw 14 dead and 21 injured with its use on December 2, 2015.
- The Newtown, Connecticut, shooter used it to kill 27 on December 14, 2012.
- In Aurora, Colorado, a shooter used it in a theater to kill 12 and injure 58 more on June 12, 2012.
Let's do the math over just these six years for this style of weapon. That's 203 casualties and 980 others that have been shot using the AR-15 weapon. And the weapon does not discriminate in terms of age, gender, sexual orientation, or race. It kills everyone.
Why Ban It?
Why do we need to ban it, you ask. The simple answer is that aside from law enforcement and the military, why would the general population need to own a weapon with such a high magazine capacity? High capacity weaponry exists for a few main purposes, that it's fun to shoot that many rounds at one time and, practically, to kill multiple targets.
No hunter should need a semi-automatic weapon with such a high magazine capacity. If they did, there could easily be a process to have one issued through a special permit and returned in a specific amount of time, with intensive background checks in place.
What about needing it for home protection? One blast from a shotgun or handgun will likely be enough to thwart any home intruder, either through fear or shock. Plus, the entire neighborhood will be awake after the first few shots anyway.
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Gun laws will only hurt law-abiding citizens because criminals will still get the guns. How many of the seven mass shooters listed above had a criminal record? At this point, the people doing the most damage were not criminals, but first-time offenders that just snapped. It's not the criminals we need to worry about going into a church, workplace, or school and taking lives. It's the everyday citizen that has access to weaponry that can cause mass casualties.
The Constitution Protects My Right to Own It
Yes, you have a right to own a gun. No one is saying that you don't have that right. What this article is saying is that certain guns should be unavailable to citizens. Laws have already banned fully automatic weapons. You don't see Billy Joe Jim Bob out in the woods hunting with an M-60. It's time to add the AR-15 to that list, and all high capacity magazines along with it. The amount of lives affected by the combination of these two things now demands it.
As for the Constitution, that was written in a time where the musket was the primary weapon of the times. Our gun laws must evolve with gun technology, and right now, we're behind the times.
The challenges stem from the amount of money the National Rifle Association (NRA) spends to protect their business interests. They have heavily supported candidates in Congress and expect a return on that investment. Until we can either vote in elected officials that do not accept contributions from them or remove the amount of influence lobbyists can exert over our elected officials, not much is going to change.
The graphic below gives you some idea of the level of influence that the NRA has on our elected leaders. These are just the top ones, not even the full list.
It's Time to Act
It's beyond time. There were 24 school shootings in 2018 alone. The accessibility of guns has become a major issue in the United States and it's time to change that, within reason. Everyone deserves the right to own a gun, that's in our Constitution. But we have to be more sensible on the type, the screening and licensing, and the penalties for their misuse.
What do you think? Feel free to take the poll and comment below in the comment section.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2018 JOC