We can offer up thoughts and prayers for victims, we can light candles, but these acts are nothing but vacuous and meaningless lip service until we ban military style assault rifles. If we don’t, we’ll be saying prayers and lighting candles for yet another set of innocent victims six months or four months or two weeks from now. We can have moments of silence but we cannot and should not remain silent on this issue. We need to ban assault style weapons. We need to make them illegal for civilians to buy and sell and possess. And we need to do it now.
I’ve heard all of the arguments to the contrary, I’ve listened and tried to see it from the standpoint of second amendment rights and the rights of responsible gun owners. But today, I’m calling bullshit.
Because, really, most of the arguments dug up time and again range from utter crapola to totally insane.
The oldest and biggest argument is that it is your second amendment right as an American to bear arms. It’s hard wired into the constitution. And nothing, nothing is going to pull that sweet little pistol with the mother of pearl handle out of your hands. That little pistol is as American as apple pie, she is how the west was won and she is yours to put under your pillow if you so desire. Thing is, no one is taking her from your grasp. This is not an all or nothing issue. This is a matter of degree. The first amendment guarantees free speech, but you are not allowed to incite a riot, you cannot sell child pornography. The first amendment also guarantees freedom of religion. But you can’t extend that freedom to include human sacrifice. I don’t need to explain these first amendment limits; they are simple common sense. Why can’t we use the same sort of common sense when it comes to the second amendment?
Then there’s “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” By this logic, we can assume that if some of the club goers in Orlando had been armed the body toll would have been reduced. Imagine it, a noisy nightclub, loud music, bright lights. Someone opens fire and, at first, people have no idea what’s going on. It’s chaotic and crazy. Adding more bullets to the already bloody scene, bullets that are discharged at split second speed and can easily stray helps how, exactly? How does it help to start shooting wildly at a shooter in a dark theater? And guns in classrooms, particularly near curious little ones, is a recipe for disaster.
Another argument I’ve seen recently is that terrorists will find a way. The Tsarnaev brothers used a pressure cooker filled with nails, Timothy Mcveigh used a truck load of fertilizer, the 9/11 terrorists used a fuel filled jetliner. It’s true, crazy people hell bent on the destruction of others will find all kinds of creative ways to carry out that destruction. But what you’re suggesting here is that because some terrorists don’t use guns we can’t do anything at all about those that do. Would you like to explain how we must simply throw up our hands and accept whatever happens to Sandy Phillips, whose twenty-four-year-old daughter, Jessica, was shot six times in a dark theater? Or to Nicole and Ian Hockley, whose six-year-old son, Dylan, was killed in spray of bullets while sitting in his first grade classroom?
Perhaps my favorite argument comes from the NRA. These semi-automatic weapons are used for home protection and for hunting, they opine. Only, AR-15s are bulky and they tend to over penetrate. So, if you’re using it to kill the baddie who’s stealing the silver, you best be careful the spray of bullets doesn’t penetrate the wall and kill the neighbor’s newborn instead. As to hunting, if you’ve got to use a semi-automatic to bag a deer or shoot a pheasant, you’re not much of hunter. Might not be the right sport for you. As to just shooting off a load of bullets on a badass mofo of a gun for shits and giggles; sorry pal. You can’t have your fun for the same reason I can’t build a massive bonfire in my backyard or race down the highway at 150 mph. Find yourself another hobby.
There is one argument that does hold water, though. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” The AR-15 is just a tool. It does not have a soul or a conscience. It was Omar Mateen who decided to take his vile spirited hate to the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early last Sunday morning. It was Omar Mateen who chose to murder forty-nine innocent people. Omar Mateen chose to use an AR-15, a precisely engineered tool specifically designed to kill large numbers of people with quickness and efficiency. The perfect tool for executing his plan.