Preview Why America Needs to Renew the Assault Rifle Ban

After a tragic school shooting in Connecticut the nation took a brief time-out to recalculate its opinions on the current ease of gun ownership. The pro-gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association, doubled down on its support of widespread gun ownership by creating an initiative to put armed security in every U.S. school. Many members of the public disagreed. The NRA, with support of conservatives in Congress, has stood by its original message and affirmed its disagreement with any legislative attempts to restrict Americans’ access to guns. Of particular note is the 1990s-era assault rifle ban, which many people want renewed, reports Reuters.

Wayne LaPierre and company claim that renewing the assault rifle ban won’t help, especially since mass shooters used assault rifles to commit their heinous crimes while the ban was in effect. Well, so what? Obviously, many people will still have open access to such firearms. Countless assault rifles are already in gun cabinets, or less secure locations, in every state. No rational proponent of renewing the assault rifle ban thinks that crimes will no longer be committed by such weapons. The goal is to prevent more of those weapons from entering the market, where some will inevitably trickle into the wrong hands.

An assault rifle ban will therefore help a little, because at least one killer will have to go with a less-powerful weapon in lieu of his or her preferred AR-15 or AK-47. The fewer assault rifles on the market, the fewer assault rifles ready for an unhinged individual to legally purchase or conveniently steal from a neighbor, friend, relative, or stranger. If an assault rifle ban saves even one life it will be worth it.

Additionally, and perhaps the bigger issue, what does an assault rifle ban hurt? Which Americans are harmed by not being able to purchase a semiautomatic rifle with an extended clip? Are there not other firearms available to them? Cannot they secure their homes with something less deadly? I’ve not heard of a crime or home invasion that required a 30-round clip to halt. A common revolver or pistol would have done the job. People who say they need assault rifles for personal protection are incorrect and probably know they are engaging in bold-faced lies.

Hunters don’t need Uzis or AK-47s to kill game. Homeowners don’t need AR-15s to repel burglars in the night. In a nation with vast arrays of supermarkets and near-universal 911 service, the need for personal firearms is far more limited than it was when the founding fathers wrote the U.S. Constitution. A six-shot revolver or 9mm with a 10-round clip as much home protection as anyone needs. A rifle shouldn’t need more than five bullets at a time to hunt game. If you can’t get that deer down in five shots you probably need to find a new pastime.

If you’re desperate to have access to heavy firepower, join the National Guard or one of the reserve branches of the military. Uncle Sam would love you for it. You would learn how to handle an M4 carbine and help America in the process. Or, if you want to be of more local assistance, see if your local police and sheriff’s departments have need of reserve police officers or reserve deputies. Many local law enforcement organizations allow officers to train with assault-type weapons. If you really need your gun fix there are options available to you that allow you to get paid to learn how to shoot assault rifles. Amazing!

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