Banning assault weapons is not the answer. The banning of assault weapons not only violates our rights as Americans but says we cannot be trusted to make decisions on our own, while also leaving many of us defenseless. You’re either for the ban or opposed of it, rarely do you find someone who finds common ground between the two. Having seen all the mass shootings in the news lately this topic has struck me emotionally, forcing me to formulate an opinion on this debate. An overwhelming majority of people say a ban would be the solution, but what most pro ban supporters fail to realize is that a ban on assault weapons will do very little in affecting the crime rate in the United States. As an avid hunter and someone who appreciates as well as participates in and appreciates marksmanship sports such as skeet shooting and competition shooting this issue affects me in more ways than just the average American.
A case study conducted by the FBI regarding homicide rates stated that in, “2011, of the 12,664 murders in the U.S., 6,220, or just under half, were committed using a handgun, while only 323, or around 2.5 percent, of murders were used with rifles” (Wrigley par.3). And out of the, “143 weapons used in 62 mass shootings that occurred since 1982, 20 were assault weapons”(Wrigley par.5). This study demonstrates my point that assault weapons don’t account for as much crimes as we may be lead on to believe. I’ve hardly ever heard of gun crime on the streets involving assault rifles, they are more often than not handgun related. I believe if anyone is truly concerned with the gun related crime rate they should center their focus much more heavily on handguns and leave the assault weapons as an afterthought for the time being.
Where I believe we truly fail as a nation in regards to this issue is how regularly available these weapons really are to those who are mentally deficient. For someone who is purchasing a weapon to be turned down by way of mental deficiency they must be, “adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution” (qtd in Fox par.7). That only excludes those who have an obvious and in most cases severe mental problem, when there are plenty of people who are not admitted into mental institutions who should not be allowed to own a firearm. No one is going to argue that a mentally ill person should be able to own a gun, yet somehow in these horrific mass shootings often times the shooter obtained their guns legally. I believe that since there is such room for improvement in this area of the law, focusing on proper screening is where the biggest impact can be made.
Another reason I believe we should not place a ban assault weapons other than the fact they don’t equate for a significant amount of crime, is the severe economic impact it would have on us as a nation. “Restricting the manufacturing and the sale of a class of weapons is going to be devastating for the economy” (Cox Par.8). In 2011 estimated sales of firearms were in excess of 30 billion, demonstrating that the firearm industry plays a major role in our economy. I believe gun retailers and manufactures would report significant losses thus resulting in major downsizing within the companies leaving thousands jobless.
I hate the argument presented by so many pro ban supporters that if people wish to keep these assault weapons legalized then they must be ok with innocent lives being lost in these mass shootings. As if by standing up for gun legislation somehow means they’re automatically in favor of these mass shootings and are ok with these tragedies. Make no mistake on where I stand, however. I do not condone the misuse of assault weapons in anyway, but rather believe the individuals’ judgment is the major issue here, not a weapon that holds no power without a person’s control. I strongly stand by the notion that you are free to do whatever you please as long as it’s within your legal rights. And seeing how under the United States Constitution the second amendment clearly states that we have the right to bear arms, which includes assault weapons. So we as Americans are doing nothing wrong by owning assault weapons and using them for leisure activities in which we cause no harm to anyone. It goes back to the age old phrase that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Cox, Matthew. “Assault Weapons Ban Will Kill Jobs.” Military.com. Copyright 2013 Military.com, 18 Jan.2013. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.
Fox, Lauren. “Mental Health Legislation, Not Gun Control, Focus of Congress after Navy Yard Shooting. “US News. U.S.News & World Report, 17 Sept. 2013.Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
Wrigley, Will. “John Boozman: Assault Weapons Ban Pointless Because Criminals ‘Don’t Use Them'” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 10 Apr. 2013. Web. 04 Dec. 2013.