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    Posted January 9, 2013 by
    North Central, Florida
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Gun control debate: Background checks

    I own an AR-15


    I own an AR-15. A Bushmaster, as a matter of fact. I also own twelve 30 round magazines. And I can emphatically state that my AR-15 will NEVER be used in a crime or fall into the hands of a criminal because I am a responsible gun owner and have taken the steps necesary to render it inaccessable to anyone but me.


    There seems to be a proliferation of individuals making the gratutious statement "I dont see why anyone needs a 'military style assault rifle'." Without digressing into the semantics or rhetoric of what an assault rifle actually is I will merely state my reasons for owning this particular rifle, not in any particular order.

    To start, I am an avid shooter and compete in Three-Gun competitions.  This is a form of shooting match which requires the participant utilize three separate guns, among them a semi automatic rifle of at least .223 caliber capable of firing accurately at a multitude of targets in a rigorous obstacle type course. These are very tightly regulated competitions regularly participated in by military personnel, law enforcement officers and individuals who operate at a very high level of proficiency and who take firearm safety and responsibility VERY seriously.  Is it a sport for everyone? Of course not, but it is one that many responsible gun owners enjoy, as I do. 

    Secondly, because of my personal experience I choose to include this particular rifle as a part of my home defense system. I lived in the hardest hit area of Miami during Hurricane Andrew and have seen first hand in its aftermath marauding bands of armed looters who took full advantage of the non-existence of law enforcement personnel to respond and who attempted to steal or destroy everything in their path.  The citizens in virtually the whole of South Dade County were, for days if not weeks, literally on their own.  It was horrible.  In the unfortunate event of another natural disaster I choose to have the ability to effectively deter or repel any mob of persons bent on harming my family. Did I think such a thing could ever happen before Hurricane Andrew? Absolutely not. Do I think otherwise now? You bet. And if it unfortunately does, careful deliberation of the weapon most suited to save my loved ones leads me to the conclusion that the rifle that I own is it. I am comfortable with my decision.

    I respect the opinions of those who disagree with me, as reasonable men often do.  But never would I foist my opinion on others and attempt to force them to be legally compelled to obey what is merely my opinion.  I saw on the news this evening a politician railing that "no one hunts with an assault rifle! No one needs ten bullets to kill a deer!"  I dont hunt. This isnt about hunting.  Its about my right to make an informed decision about what is best for my family.  Would some be comfortable facing an armed mob with a handgun? Maybe. But not me.

    Every piece of gun legislation I see discussed seems to be aimed criminalizing the present lawful conduct of citizens such as myself because of the illegal activities of a few mad men.  This will do nothing. My solution is to aim legislation at the actions of criminals.  It is federal crime to rob a bank. Possessing a firearm during the commission of the offense of bank robbery adds a separate crime, the punishment for which is ADDITIONAL consecutively imposed prison time to that imposed on the criminal for the robbery. Title 18 USC 924(c). I propose a similar crime be created for those who commit a violent crime with, for example, an semiautomatic rifle with a magazine capable of holding in excess of ten rounds.  Lets add an additional ten years to the sentence imposed for the underlying offense.

    It is not a crime to possess body armor.  I actually have body armor and valid reasons for doing so.  But the wearing of body armor during the commission of a criminal offense results in an enhanced sentence, additional prison time.  That is common sense.  Every parent has a few of his kids old Halloween masks laying around somewhere.  Perfectly legal.  Wearing one of those masks during the commission of a crime adds additional sentencing exposure to the criminal.  Common sense.

    Lets use common sense and hammer the criminals, not instantly create thousands of felons out of those who the day before were perfectly law abiding citizens.

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