It has been almost a week since the Shady Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Ironically, even as funerals are being held for the victims, assault weapons like the AR-15 Bushmaster used in the shooting are selling like hot cakes. Yep, amid the talk of a federal assault weapons ban and a tightening up of regulations, it would appear that said gun and weapons like it, have become the season’s new Tickle Me Elmo. As the debate continues over the necessity of owning such a weapon, one thing isd clear: There is still an obvious demand for them in the wake of this last week’s horrible tragedy that saw the death of twenty children and six adults in one swoop, even as the country still mourns. That said, I think it’s safe to say that Americans are not afraid of those shiny Red Rider BB Guns once feared for shooting out the eyes of children.
Anyone seeking to limit the sale of assault weapons must reckon with the fact that millions of Americans own guns that might be classified as one, and for many it is no more exotic than, say, a motorcycle or sports car, from which they derive a similar satisfaction.
“It’s very stress-relieving,” said Chad Knox, a paramedic who shoots targets and hunts small pests with a semiautomatic rifle on his 40 acres in Marietta, Ohio. “Some people crochet, some people shop, some people shoot guns.” .
Mr. Knox owns an AR-15 style rifle, a 55-year-old design based on a military weapon that has become notorious because it was used by gunmen in a series of mass shootings in recent years, including the attack in Newtown, Conn., last week.
Outlawed for a decade by the federal government, certain models of the AR-15 could again be forbidden if President Obama can persuade Congress to restore the federal assault weapons ban that expired in 2004, as he has indicated.
But to many owners of military-style semiautomatic rifles, who reject the term “assault weapon,” the AR-15 and its brethren do not evoke fearsome images of attacks on people. They use their guns for target practice and hunting small game like rabbits, squirrels and coyotes.
They also say that as a self-defense weapon, the AR-15, which is based on the military’s M-16 and M-4, has its limits: It cannot be carried in public, and in the home it is potentially less accurate than a shotgun. (read more)
The horror at Sandy Hook Elementary is beyond comprehension. Our hearts are broken and our nightmares renewed at such senseless loss of precious life. We are sickened that this could happen. How can this tragedy and the other massacres that have taken place be prevented? How can we protect ourselves and the most innocent among us from the deranged and the murderous evil minds that prey upon the defenseless? Is gun control the answer?
In 1994, The Gun-Free Schools Act was passed and implemented in 1995. Since the Gun-Free School Zone Act there has been a 370% increase in the rate of school shooting deaths. Yet, the United States homicide rate has decreased by 14% since GFSZA was enacted. Why is the murder rate decreasing where conceal carry laws are in place, but those murdered on educational property has quadrupled where guns are banned? Areas where victims are disarmed attract violent predators. The data from the Gun-Free Schools Act bears this out.
Why is it that these mass murders occur in Gun Free Zones? Recent memory includes Columbine, Virginia Tech, the Aurora Theater, and now Sandy Hook. They are rural, unprotected, and Gun Free Zones. Ever wonder why the schools in the worst neighborhoods in our inner cities do not fall victim to mass murderers? They would be met with metal detectors and armed guards. They wouldn’t get very far. The evil minded and the deranged pick easy targets – the disarmed – to do the most damage. They do not obey Gun Free Zone signs. They do not obey gun control laws. They acquire guns illegally. There are current laws that prohibit the mentally unfit from owning a gun, yet those with the intent of causing mayhem, find a way. More gun control is not the answer. And, in case you have forgotten, you have a right to protect yourself, your property, and those in your care.
So, why are we, as a society, not having an honest conversation and a debate about the effectiveness of gun control? Why do we blame all gun owners for the act of one deranged person? Guns are how we avoid talking about the dark side of human nature that will never be eradicated. The best we as individuals can do is to protect ourselves and those we hold dear. (read more)
So as we await the NRA’s official press conference in anticipation of them supporting the tightening of regulations. May I suggest that we don’t hold our collective breaths. At the end of the day, it is quite clear that nobody in America is serious about gun control — and the more we talk about it, the more guns are swiftly flying off of store shelves. So what should we do? I say let them have their guns; yes, forget about an assault weapon ban. Yep, allow them to fulfil their sense of security so as to sleep better at night. I know, sounds crazy, right? Well, not so much if government mandates that gun owners insure their instruments of death or face a tax should they fail to, much like is deemed Constitutional by the Supreme Court with the Affordable Care Act under the commerce clause. Let them keep their guns, but make it more costly. After all, freedom ain’t free, right?