Opinion

Opinion: Assault Rifle Ban

*These opinions do not reflect those of Center Grove High School, the CGHS Administration, or CG Publications.*

Mara Bastin | Staff Writer

Graham Kanwit | Contributor

49 mass shootings, 98 deaths, 168 injuries, 2 months, and only in the United States.

Out of every country in the world, why are we one of the only countries that continuously struggles with gun violence?

It is unacceptable to allow these horrific shootings to continue plaguing our country. There is only one solution to the outbreak of mass murder—we must implement a ban on assault weapons.

This will inevitably be a difficult decision for a country whose culture is so heavily influenced by guns, but we must realize that we should not be putting lethal and militaristic killing machines in the hands of people who are not even old enough to buy a drink.

An assault rifle specifically designed to kill a high number of people belongs in the hands of a soldier, not in the hands of someone who has passed a day-long background check to assess their ability to wield a gun.

Australia, which banned semi-automatic, self-loading rifles and shotguns in 1996, has not had a mass shooting since.

Similarly, in the United Kingdom, stricter gun control laws were put into place the same year after a gunman murdered 16 children with a semi-automatic weapon, and the country has only suffered one mass shooting since then.

The success of other countries in decreasing these mass murders by banning assault weapons is a signal that such a policy could work in the United States.

In 1994, former president Bill Clinton imposed a ban on semiautomatic weapons. After the bill’s enactment, mass shootings fell from 155 to 89 between 1984 to 1994. After the lifting of the ban in 2004, the number of gun-related massacres rose to 302 by 2014.

It is inevitable that some people will be able to gain access to an assault weapon, despite a potential ban. However, a ban would put regulations in place that the majority of citizens would likely follow.

While there are people who disobey these laws, they are a small fraction of a population which would mostly abide by them. Conversely, if no such laws were in place, citizens would not be required to follow these standards and would have no motivation to obey them.

In spite of superfluous amounts of evidence supporting an assault weapons ban, the most fundamental reason most people disagree with it lies in the second amendment of the Constitution.

Many believe a ban would infringe on their constitutional rights

The first clause of the amendment, forgotten by many Americans and outright ignored by others (the National Rifle Association, for example, does not include it anywhere in their organization’s website or merchandise), is crucial to understanding the original meaning intended by the Founding Fathers.

While “militia” originally referred to the entire American populace in 1789, this was a time when every able-bodied citizen was needed to protect and defend from outside invaders. During the Revolutionary War, American volunteers were the military which defended against the British soldiers. The definition has since changed, as not every American is needed to provide security for the state.

The popular belief that a ban would disrupt their Constitutional rights, the meaning of words in the document do not necessarily mean what they do today. Guns in the 1800s were far less powerful than they are today, and our founding fathers would surely disagree with the way many twist their words to further their personal agendas.

Assault weapons are created solely to kill humans. Isn’t this enough evidence for a ban? Stricter gun control has been proven to work in so many cases, so why doesn’t the United States follow through?

Our representatives are not listening. Too many politicians responsible for keeping our country safe are bribed in the wrong direction by funds from the NRA and continue to hold on to outdated ideas in our politics and culture.

As students, teachers, parents, and citizens, it is adamant that we use our voices and hold our representatives accountable for taking action.

Categories: Opinion, Our Students

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