I do not have a real issue with the United States’ gun culture. I remember when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. I was 12 at the time and I thought it was the scariest thing. Back then, I was ignorant about guns. But now, I am more knowledgeable, and I decided to learn what I could about the weapons behind our mass shootings.
In 2018, the Parkland shooting occurred. The common factors of this shooting and Sandy Hook were the AR-15 rifle and the shooter’s mental illness. The Sandy Hook shooter stole the gun he used, while the Parkland shooter bought it legally. In the aftermath of the shooting, Florida passed a red flag law, which allows law enforcement to take guns away from an “at-risk” person. Personally, I think it’s the job of the state to prove an individual is a risk rather than the individual’s job to prove they are not a risk. Furthermore, some of these mass shootings could have been prevented with the existing laws that are on the books. The Charleston church shooter was a prohibited person, but passed a background check due to a clerical error by the FBI. The Sutherland Springs shooter was allowed to obtain a gun due to the Air Force not reporting the shooter’s conviction to the FBI, and the FBI ignored the tips they got about the Parkland shooting. Yet when I hear modern gun control advocates talk about these shootings, all I hear about is the gun.
In a vacuum, the logic flows. No guns, no mass shootings. That might be the case for countries like Japan, Australia, and other European nations. However, due to the US’s unique gun culture, that might be a naive way of thinking. I never liked it when people on the left made arguments like “we’re the only developed country that doesn’t have…” or “only in America…”. I thought those “ but Denmark has my prefered policy” complaints were arguments of a spoiled child in my opinion. That is not to say some policies like universal healthcare and paid family leave are bad ideas, it’s just dumb to me that this country would have to do that because other countries did or are doing it. It is the same thing for the gun debate. The US has allowed civilians to have guns since its founding, even after rebellions and a literal civil war, the Second Amendment was never repealed. The reason behind that is something I cannot explain. I just write it off as the uniqueness of the country that is the United States. That uniqueness saved the world during the first and second world wars. That’s not to say that the USA’s history is clean. It is not, bjt that is not because civilians were not allowed to own guns. So while I understand the logic, in practice it would seem there is a factor we are missing in the US when it comes to mass shootings.
That is not to say we cannot have gun laws, I do not believe all gun laws are unconstitutional. But I think there are some that are and the ones being pushed by the left are. Every time, the media starts reporting on a mass shooting. I habitually read about the perpetrator of the shooter to figure out how they got their hands on the gun used. I also habitually read over the federal gun legislation to see if there is a law that should have prevented the shooting. There’s raising the age to buy a rifle to 21, which I can understand considering the age of the Buffalo and Uvalde shooters. I can get behind that, but the issue I think people on the right have is that the end game is to make it almost impossible for the average citizen to get guns. I mean the “you can’t buy a beer but can buy an ‘assault weapon’” quote is said all the time.
I have no issue with the background check system for purchasing guns. I think “universal background checks” will become the new “gun-free zones” in the sense that they are not really enforceable. I think we should fix the NICS database. While reading a fact-check of comments made by the Texas governor about background checks, I found this bill sponsored by the not-Ted Cruz Texas Senator, John Cornyn titled the “Fix NICS Act of 2017”. The Senate version of the bill seems lacking, but the House version seems a lot more substantive. Considering the number of mass shootings in which the shooter passed a background check, I imagine this would be part of the “common sense” gun reforms that would be advocated for. However, all the reforms seem to be related to making it harder for a civilian to get a gun. Improving the NICS database should be an easy bipartisan solution. But the reason it is not is that modern gun control advocates do not want people to have guns.
I consider my knowledge of guns basic. Heck, you can make an argument that I have a fear of guns. I’ve never been to a shooting range or held a gun of any kind (outside of virtual reality). All my knowledge comes from doing basic research about guns. For example, I used to think machine gun and assault rifle were synonymous terms. Machine guns refer to completely automatic firearms. The firearm keeps firing until the trigger is released or there is no more ammo. Assault rifles are slightly more complicated. What makes an assault rifle special is its “selective-fire” capability. Meaning it has the ability to switch between semi-automatic (one pull, one shot) to automatic. The manufacture and sale of these types of firearms have been illegal since 1986. While the assault rifle is not a machine gun, the legal definition of a machinegun is any gun with automatic capabilities. I believe these are the so-called “weapons of war” as they are mostly used by infantry. But I do not think most Americans know or care that automatic weapons are banned. It could be the projection of my apathy about weapons on other Americans. But the fact of the matter is that none of these recent mass shootings were done with machine guns or assault rifles. Most active shooting incidents are done with handguns. According to the FBI, most homicides are done with handguns. And that’s with old man Schumer’s Brady Handgun Bill. But no matter what happens, and regardless of the facts listed above, the gun debate always comes back to one thing: the AR-15.
Now it is true. The original AR-15 was an assault rifle. It had fully automatic firing capabilities. However, the AR in the name comes from the original manufacturer of the firearm, Armalite. It was marketed to the military, but, according to NPR, it did sell well. That’s why in 1959, Armalite sold the patent for the firearm’s design to Colt’s Manufacturing Company. Colt then took the design of the weapon and made a semi-automatic version of the rifle that they marketed to civilians. In 1963, Colt’s Manufacturing was commissioned by the US government to make an assault rifle for the military. That firearm is the M16, which is not available to the common citizen. Colt’s purchased patent expired in the 1970s, which led to the proliferation of rifles based on the AR-15’s design by gun manufacturers such as Smith & Wesson and Daniel Defense, the latter of which was used in the Uvalde school shooting.
However, often the reason certain guns are banned is because of the way they look, rather than their functionality. Evidence can be found in the most recent draft of the Assault Weapons Ban. My conclusion from reading the bill is that the controversy surrounding the AR-15 comes from its appearance. My reasoning comes from the fact that certain rifles are banned for having attachments to them that just make them easier to aim or handle.
The ban on the grenade launcher is understandable, but everything else seems counterproductive to me. None of these attachments turn a semi-automatic rifle into an automatic rifle. They just make it easier to handle. I think a bump stock ban is somewhat reasonable, but they have already been banned bu Trump.
The pistol regulations are similarly stupid. What sticks out is the unloaded weight ban. I do not see the purpose of it and it seems like a stupid regulation. Furthermore, there is a ban on stabilizing braces which, again, would make it easier to shoot. The shotgun regulations I am not really interested. However, the main evidence of my claim can be found on the exceptions page.
As you can see, the Ruger Mini-14 is on here. So is the Ruger Mini 30. Their functionality is similar to that of the AR-15 which this bill bans. Furthermore, the Ruger 10/22 is also exempted despite being used in a mass shooting previously.
The reasoning for banning the semi-automatic AR-15 and WASR-10, but not the Rugars makes no sense. It is true that the AR-15 seems to be favored in the mass shootings that the media covers, but the same or similar amount of damage could have been done with the exempted rifles, yet they are not banned. My conclusion is either the drafters of these bills are ignorant about guns or there is something else I am missing. But if it is the former, then my conclusion that the Assault Weapons Ban is based on an emotional fear of guns is reasonable.
No one wants mass shootings to happen. While I can sympathize with the emotions of victims’ families. It does not justify turning so many Americans into criminals for owning an inanimate object. Referring to semi-automatic rifles as “assault weapons” and “assault rifles” is not constructive because when it comes to crafting legislation, definitions are important. If the gun control advocate continues to use incorrect and/or vague to describe guns then it will be harder to find solutions. We need to focus on enforcing the laws already on the books. The argument that “no one needs a…” is irrelevant. My policy on guns is mostly “I don’t care what gun you own, just don’t point it at me”. I think most people could come to agree with me on this. I do not understand people’s obsession with someone else needing to train before they can own a rifle. These rifles are not hard to use. If they were harder to use, mass shootings would not happen. But since Americans cannot seem to agree on basic definitions of words, it seems like it is going to be harder for the states to co-exist. Especially when both sides demonize the other which is further amplified by elected officials, celebrities, and corporations. I think the gun debate is uselessly continuous and that we can find common solutions.