The following is a comment from TTAG reader Josef Kozlov:
Just yesterday I was reading an article here on TTAG from several months ago, “The Truth About Assault Rifles and Assault Weapons Bans.” Most of the comments were from within a few days that the article was posted, but there was one recent comment from just a couple of days ago. It was posted by an anti-gunner, with little understanding of firearms, and this commenter was basically saying that “assault weapons” serve no other purpose than killing innocent children. Here is what I wrote back, explaining my views on “assault weapons” and gun rights . . .
Your argument is one that focuses on shock value and emotion, trying to put these graphic images in our heads. It is not surprising though, considering the gun control argument is based on emotion and misinformation.
In terms of self-defense, AR-15s and other so-called “assault weapons” were used many times by Korean business owners during the L.A. Riots in 1991. They provided the firepower needed to fend off the mobs of people attempting to loot their stores. These civilian “assault weapons” are useful in situations where mobs of people may come after my family or myself.
Social breakdown is possible anywhere. Just look at places ravaged by Hurricane Sandy or Katrina. The intensity of the devastation was unexpected. Businesses and homes looted in New York City, and because Bloomberg has banned the carrying of a gun in public, the people are all but defenseless.
For home defense, let me replace your hypothetical situation with my own. I would have my house and other security measures set up in a way that I was in complete control of the situation. In the event that a criminal would break into my house, I would use an AR-15 and frangible bullets (bullets designed to break apart upon impact) to reduce over-penetration.
I would also use the modular capacity of the AR design to add lasers and a flashlight to decrease the chance of a missed shot. I would have my children’s’ rooms placed in such a way that they would be out of my line of fire. Hell, I may even bulletproof my walls.
The .223 cartridge, while it is more powerful than a handgun, may take more than one shot to take down a determined, armed thug, and if I’ve got four or five armed thugs attempting to rob my house or rape my hypothetical daughter, I want to have the most ammunition possible and the best hand to neutralize the threat and protect the most important aspects of my life. An AR-15 would provide the defense I need. Yes, need.
You say AR-15s are not useful for self-defense? Then why do you see all the police carrying them on news footage at Sandy Hook? In Sandy Hook, and all of the cases like it, the police are carrying these “assault weapons,” even though they are defensive situations. I support proper, highly encouraged training with firearms for all law-abiding citizens.
Normal citizens and the police all face the same threats, albeit police are more inclined to put themselves right in that line of fire through the conditions of law enforcement. Nevertheless, police carry “assault weapons,” because coming against an unknown threat requires the best defense possible. I would like to have the best defense against unknown threats as well. My family’s lives and my own life are worth that much.
While burglaries and home invasions are somewhat rare in the big picture, so are school shootings. But I am more likely to be faced with a semi-rare burglary or home invasion personally, than an extremely rare school shooting or workplace/theater/whatever-else shooting.
And if I were to enter one of those situations, I should have the right to defend myself no matter where I am, no more of than “gun free (killing) zone” crap, that only disarms law-abiding citizens and creates a target for criminals. I am willing to take the responsibility of accidents that affect my family, because I can control that. I cannot, however, control a criminal’s actions.
Although, I’ve explained my position on the utility of so-called “assault weapons” in the hands of the average person, I really do not need to, because the burden of proof is on you. In America, we have, let’s call it a default setting of liberty. Freedoms are limited only if there is evidence that limiting that freedom would effectively provide a better quality of life for Americans without infringing on our Constitutional Rights.
If our government Overwhelmingly believes that the Constitution does not fit the current standards of our nation, they can amend it. Therefore, it is your responsibility to provide evidence that a ban on “assault weapons” weapons would improve mine, as well as most other Americans lives without infringing upon our rights.
So let’s stop and think, would an “assault weapons” ban have stopped this attack? No, considering there is already an “assault weapons” ban in place in Connecticut, and it did not stop this attack. The AR-15 used by the shooter was legal under the Connecticut law. But that’s just one state, so would a national ban have stopped this attack? Doubt it, considering we had one in place for 10 years, during which time the Columbine Massacre (the model after which most other mass shootings are based) and the North Hollywood Shootout occurred.
Maybe the ban should cover more guns? Now would this help? Let’s ban all AR-15s, AK clones, semi-automatic handguns, anything that resembles a military firearm and fits your killing of “humans per minute rule.” According to all proposed legislation, the “assault weapons” ban will not require citizens to turn in their guns, so despite the ban all these guns are still out there, but no more can be produced.
A psycho could still get a hold of one and kill innocent people. And considering many, if not most, handguns out there are semi-automatic and hold more than 10 rounds, this could possibly be a violation of 2nd Amendment rights, which the Supreme Court has agreed allows us, as law-abiding citizens, the individual exercise of self-defense through bearing arms, which make an outright ban on handguns unconstitutional.
Disregarding any possible violation of 2nd Amendment rights, let’s just take all guns listed in the ban away from the law-abiding citizens. Force them to turn in the guns or face felony charges. Here we run into an infringement on our 4th Amendment rights to protect us against “illegal search and seizure,” and possibly “ex-post facto” laws well. The government now has the right to take away private property, because it has deemed it a hazard. All this to prevent an extremely rare event in the broad scheme of things without evidence to back-up whether or not it will prevent it.
Criminals still have access to “assault weapons” through the black market or even stealing from military installations(which has been done) and citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights are eroded. Psychos can still use any other weapons they can think of, whether it be a car used to mow down a crowd of people, or a plane used to crash into a building, a homemade bomb used to blow up a building or crowd of people, a homemade flamethrower or Molotov cocktail to burn innocent people in a crowded theatre or elementary school classroom alive.
Not to mention the number of handguns with magazine capacities less than 10-rounds, revolvers, lever-action rifles, and pump-action shotguns still available to the public and potentially the psychos. These guns are still capable of killing large numbers of people given the right circumstances, such as a gun-free zone in an area where police presence is minimal.
“Assault weapon” bans are ineffective and unconstitutional. They only limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. Criminals and crazies are always around, and they will always kill.
So what is a good plan, how do we limit this violence? Start with increased security in public schools, and fostering the moral development of children as they are raised, both in school and at home, rather than a do-whatever-you-want type attitude. Increase the funding of mental health institutions.
Revive institutionalization that was removed during the 60’s. Make an effort to include mentally unstable and psychotic people in the background checks. Encourage children to develop social relationships rather than numb their brains with violent entertainment. Abolish all the “gun-free zones” that create shooting galleries for criminals.
This issue is complex and banning certain kinds firearms will not solve it, but only serve to increase the problem. A ban is only a quick fix that fails to address the underlying societal problems, and is destined to fail.