I am not going to lie to you. I don’t know that much about guns. I have shot a few, but I have never been licensed or owned one of my own. I am not one of those “gun toting” conservatives that, according to Sarah Palin, make this country so great, but I do not side with those who would like to see the private ownership of firearms disappear. I have said before that the private ownership of assault rifles, like the one used the the elementary school massacre, seems a bit shaky to me, but I do not see enough reason to remove them from people who have acquired them legally.
Here is the problem that I keep seeing. All over social networking sites, people are talking about the assault rifles as if they were monsters that exist to do nothing other than kill and turn their innocent owners into rampaging lunatics, is if they contain some sort of dormant virus waiting to prey on their gun owning host. Perhaps that is an enormous exaggeration, but people are reacting emotionally to this horrific incident, instead of taking the time to cool down, and not react in hate. I imagine it would be impossible to scroll through your Facebook (or whichever social networking you choose to use) without seeing something about banning assault rifles.
When we start to think about this rationally, what really separates an assault rifle from a handgun? Assault rifles look much meaner, but the two weapons actually serve close to the same purpose, and the word “close” may not make this fall the way you might think. Rifles, a class of gun, take multiple forms. They can be used in hunting, or be more like the AR-15 the shooter used. Handguns, while they can have multiple different names, all serve one purpose. What purpose does the handgun serve? It is very simple.
Handguns are designed for the specific purpose of killing humans. Some may say that they are used in hunting, but that is a misnomer. Some hunters will carry a handgun as a means of last defense in a dangerous situation. Self defense, not hunting. Hunters do not walk into the woods with a handguns to take down deer. That would be silly. Some would say, and mostly be right, that assault rifles hold more ammunition at one time. The oversight however, is the ease and speed of reloading handguns. This paired with the small size of handgun clips allows for crazy people to fire off just as much ammunition with handguns. Also, there is difference in the caliber of the ammunition, but this is a plus and minus as well. Bigger bullets are more lethal, but more difficult to carry large numbers of them. Smaller bullets in turn are less lethal, but easier to carry outrageous numbers of rounds. Accuracy is the last thing that might be brought up. Realistically, and this may seem gruesome, accuracy does not matter in room the size of a classroom, or even a movie theater.
Now, to be clear, this is more of a rant about some of the things I am seeing on social networking than anything else. But it seems to me that people have quickly forgotten that assault rifles do not perpetuate these types of actions. Not long ago, at a college known as Virginia Tech, a shooter, armed with only two handguns, killed 33 people and injured 17.
This isn’t going to dissuade anyone, and may only make people who want to ban assault rifles want to ban handguns too, but the most recent attacks on the private ownership of assault rifles is nothing but an emotional response to the recent massacre, and have not been thought out in a rational arena. While they may seem like great ideas, politically they make little sense. I believe this is the case with the Assault Rifle Ban that many people would like to see put back into effect, but the major oversight is that thanks to our Constitution, and its protection against “ex post facto” law, existing assault rifles cannot be banned. It merely prevents the sale of new firearms through dealers who would likely background check anyways. The problem that follows is that the existing weapons can still be sold at gun shows by people who may, or may not, background check. As a matter of fact, they may not even ask for a photo I.D.
I personally believe that the problem with gun violence in our society is not to be solved with legislation restricting gun rights (I have already mentioned that laws only affect those who follow the law, which is not a category murderers fall into.). It seems more reasonable that we as a society need to push for a more responsible means for the sales of firearms, so that they may not fall into the hands of the people we are talking about in the first place. We need to ensure background checks for the purchase of all firearms, with hefty penalties for distributors who fail to meet this requirement. We ought to develop our understanding and recognition of personality disorders which are often the active ingredient in horrible evens such as the massacre that just took place.
Perhaps assault weapons, and other high powered firearms, could be lumped into one class or category, with which one would have to clear more thorough clearances, as my (nameless) friend, who I do not always agree with but have come to respect quite a bit, over at “Reason and Politics” has suggested. Check it out at: