- Posted January 19, 2013 by
San Antonio, Texas
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
The 1994 Assault Weapons Ban would not have stopped the Sandy Hook tragedy.
I was intrigued by CCN's question: "Do you own a gun that fell under the now-expired federal weapons ban? Tell us why." The answer to the question is yes and I intend to answer the question as to why. But first and more importantly I'd like to make clear that had the 1994 ban never expired, it would not have prevented the Sandy Hook murders. The picture I've chosen for my story was found on the internet. It is a post ban AR-15. The flash suppressor and bayonet lug have been removed and the stock is fixed instead of collapsible. Lastly it has a 20 round magazine. None of those changes would affect its ability to cause harm in the hands of a madman. The one feature that could arguably have had some effect would be the magazine capacity and that would only delay the next shot by two or three seconds at most.
I own an AR-15 for practical reasons. It's similar to the rifle I was trained on and used in the Armed Services so I know how to use it. The similarity also means that parts and ammunition are, or at least were, easy to find. I would venture to say that the majority of AR-15 owners are prior service and had similar considerations.
The ammunition it uses is legal for deer in my state. In fact let me say, despite the protestations of gun control advocates, the ammunition was not "designed to kill people." The round (.223) was designed by Remington to shoot varmints and is far less powerful than the ammunition used by our grandfathers in World War II. While some would have you believe the AR-15 is a fully automatic machine gun, it only fires one bullet at a time and it is used widely for hunting deer and more so to handle nuisance animals like wild hogs and coyote.
I won’t even attempt to address the 2nd Amendment related to this issue, and I could say a lot. So in a self-defense context, why does anyone need an AR-15? Beginning in the early 90’s many law enforcement agencies began training and equipping their officers with rifles (almost always the AR-15) in response to an increased use of semi-automatic rifles by criminal street gangs. There was a legitimate need in law enforcement and for many law abiding citizens, who very prudently recognize that the police and government may not always be there to save them, a need or perceived need also arose. It is very similar to the rise in popularity among civilians of semi-automatic handguns in the late 70’s and 80’s when the police began to transition to those guns from the revolver, again in response to being outgunned by criminals. From a purely practical standpoint, why shouldn’t law abiding citizens be at least as well armed as the police who serve them? The police are bringing semi-automatic handguns and rifles to protect the citizen, so why can’t the citizen have those to protect himself? The events surrounding Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy should leave no doubt that the police may not always be there in a time of need.
If it were a matter of training, then the President could have called for legislation that requires a certain level of training or at least an examination to show basic proficiency. Instead this proposed ban reeks of a first step to slowly ban other types of guns. There are those who would say I’m being an alarmist, but let’s look at the facts. The Virginia-Tech murderer did not have an AR-15 or any other type of “assault rifle,” he had two semi-automatic handguns. He killed 32 people. The Amish School murderer had a handgun, shotgun, and hunting rifle. He killed 5 and wounded 5 before running out of time. The Tucson murderer had a handgun, he killed 6. Clearly, using the President’s logic all these guns would have to be eventually banned as well. There is no common thread about the weapons used in many of these killings. The one common thread is that these killers were all deeply disturbed people. Regardless, of gun restrictions around the world, whether in China or Norway, it’s evident that evil people will find a way to do evil.