I am an avid gun enthusiast; I own several firearms as well as one that would fall into the “assault weapon” category. I have been shooting since I Was in the fifth grade. My father made sure that I knew how to safely handle a firearm before he ever put one in my hand. I remember it like it was yesterday, an Indoor gun range in southern California, his FireStar compact .45 handgun, and him standing behind me, “Take a breath, nice and easy, and gently squeeze the trigger.”
I also still have the first firearm that he ever bought me, a Marlin model 60 semi-automatic .22-caliber rifle.
The term “assault weapon” doesn’t actually refer to anything. That’s a political term cooked up by politicians to scare the population into voting they way they want you to. I believe the term is “majoritaranism,” that is the politicians use something to whip the people into a frenzy and you will vote the way they want you to, under the guise of “public safety” without completely thinking of the consequences. The correct-termed “assault rifles” have been illegal for the average civilian since 1934.
So what’s the difference?
Now an assault rifle is a military/law enforcement rifle, they have a select fire, that is the ability to switch between single shot, three round burst and sometimes fully automatic fire. These have been banned for a while, nothing new there. There are a few here and there in civilian hands, but you have to have a special license from the ATF to own one, and even then some states still ban them.
So what does that mean for the “assault weapons?” Well that term purely refers to how a weapon looks. A Ruger Mini-14 looks like any conventional hunting rifle, and under the assault weapons ban would still be perfectly legal. The “assault weapon” is the AR-15 which looks like the M4/M16 military/LEO rifle, but functions almost nothing like it. The AR-15 is semi auto, that’s one bullet per pull of the trigger. They fire the same type of round.
The “assault weapons” ban is a cosmetic weapons ban, and nothing more.
This is all besides the point that according to FBI statics, “assault weapons” are only used in roughly 2 percent of gun crimes.
More people are killed in car accidents in the U.S. then by gun violence. In 2011 there were a total of 12,664 murders using all kinds of weapons, including guns and hammers. Compared to 32,367 deaths from motor vehicle accidents in the same year, that is all inclusive from simple accidents as well as other driving infractions. And according to the NHTSA that was a record low. So where is the outcry to ban Chevrolet, Ford and Chrysler?
I am not calling for a ban on cars and trucks. What I am calling for is for people on both sides of the aisle to calm down, stop with the political talking points and the rhetoric and state all of the facts, not just the ones that you want to.
The inherent problem with all of the gun control legislation proposed is that it only serves to control the law abiding citizen. You could institute a complete ban on all firearms and the only people that would turn them in are the people who follow the law, the criminals will still have them. Chicago, New York and California have some of the strictest gun control laws on the books and they also have some of the highest violent crime rates as well.
I will leave you with a question. When there is a murder committed, and the criminal is caught and arrested, do we convict the criminal or the weapon? Is the real problem the firearm or the person holding it?