Abolishing the Sale of Assault Rifles

With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic getting closer, a different crisis is coming back to the forefront. In the United States, we have a gun violence and mass shooting problem. Something that the deadliest mass shootings in US history have in common is that the shooter used an assault rifle. In shootings like Newtown in 2012, Orlando in 2016, and Parkland in 2018, the assailant used an AR-15 as the main weapon.  

The AR-15 is a military gun, and is called many things, but the National Rifle Association defines it as “the semi-automatic, civilian version of the military’s M-16 — the most popular rifle in America.” These guns have detachable magazines to be able to hold more rounds, and can be put into semi and fully automatic mode, which means the gun will fire bullets repeatedly until the trigger is no longer being pulled. These guns were created to be weapons of war, and are used to kill a multitude of people in a short amount of time.  

There are many different kinds of assault riflesthe AK-47, the M-16 rifle used in combat, and the Ruger AR-556, a pistol sized assault rifle which was used in the Boulder, Colorado shooting on March 23, 2021. No matter what they’re called, these weapons are bought by people with intent to kill many people quickly. 

In the United States, we have the Second Amendment, which gives American citizens the right to own and bear weapons and form a militia. However, with the all too familiar school and mass shootings of innocent people, we as Americans have no need to possess an assault rifle when there are plenty of other options to choose from.

In 1994, according to ABC “then-President Bill Clinton signed the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, commonly called the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was a part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

This ban put an end to manufacturing of a few assault rifles, but didn’t include many others, nor did it prohibit the sale of assault rifles already in possession by people. This bill died in 2004 when it wasn’t renewed, and a new and improved ban on assault weapons has become a partisan and controversial issue.  

Banning assault rifles from being bought and sold will prevent these guns from getting into the wrong hands, potentially causing tragedy. Since the lift of the assault rifle ban in 2004, there has been an increase in frequency and fatalities from these shootings, shown on the Mother Jones spreadsheet 

If people who are looking to cause terror and harm are able to go out and purchase an assault rifle from a store or gun show with ease, there’s no way to predict where the next shooting will take place.

There is no logical reason to own an assault weapon of any kind, unless the person is looking to shoot many people in a short amount of time. Of course, there are other factors into what causes a shooting as well, but with regular citizens having access to military arsenal, we will not see an end to these all too familiar massacres anytime soon.  

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