A Bushmaster AR-15 assault type weapon sent twenty children to their deaths in December of 2012 in Connecticut. An AR-15 assault rifle killed twelve innocent civilians at a movie theater in Colorado. An Intratec TEC-DC 9, Hi-Point 995 Carbin, and Savage 67H pump-action shotgun massacred eleven high school students and one high school teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado. Many Americans shake their heads as they ask themselves, “Why are such powerful weapons in the hands of civilians?” The Second Amendment in the Bill of Rights, established in 1791, gives citizens the right to bear and keep arms. Our founding fathers took a lot of the information and stipulations in the English Bill of Rights to use in the American Bill of Rights. In the English Bill of Rights, Protestants were allowed to bear arms to protect themselves from Catholics. In the American Bill of Rights, Americans have the right to bear arms for protection from a tyrannical government, which was a concern during that time period that does not uphold presently. However, throughout history, the United States government makes changes to the constitution as the country itself changes and becomes innovated.
For example, the 1965 voting act, which outlawed discriminatory voting, was a necessary act implemented to uphold the ideal of equality among all American citizens. As history progresses, circumstances change. As circumstances change, so must the rules and stipulations that govern them. The society that America has cultivated up to this point in 2013 would thoroughly disgust that in 1791. Since the hatred, violence, division, and threat in America have most definitely presented new circumstances in the country, should there be new rules and stipulations? Most Americans need clarification on the definition of these assault firearms. “Assault weapon” is most commonly defined as a semiautomatic firearm, generally a rifle but can be a pistol, possessing features similar to military firearms. Semi-Automatic fires on round each time the trigger is pulled, without manually operating a lever or loading ammunition. Additionally, they have a detachable clip that allows rapid reloading of ammunition. People who support banning assault rifles include those who want greater restrictions around guns and those who only support banning just these powerful weapons.
The debate over gun control on assault weapons generally divides Americans, as there are strong sentiments on both sides of whether or not to ban these frivolously powerful murder machines. The opposing sides of the debate on this issue also present economic and political effects. A poll conducted in 2011, 76% of Americans believed that there should in fact be restrictions on guns in America. People who are pro federal assault weapons ban (AWB) have their eyes opened to the reality that the ability to continuously pull the trigger to release bullets with an assault weapon allows for greater destruction in a shorter period of time. Also, weapons this powerful are unnecessary for self-defense and hunting. Often, law-abiding citizens become deranged, hit a mental breaking point, and/or under the influence of narcotics and if they have access to these semi-automatic weapons they are easily able to cause greater destruction than a manual gun/weapon would. Recently in America, there have been many shooting at schools and public places in which assault weapons were taken advantage of to slaughter a mass or masses of people. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York shows his support for the ban of AWB through stating, “We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life.
If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is.” Disheartened sentiments come from the fact that it is taking massacres, shooting sprees, and numerous murders for Americans to realize the importance of gun control. Like all sensational topics in the media, another side of the gun control issue rebuts those who support the AWB. Many citizens who do not want a ban to be implemented hide behind the 2nd Amendment as a justification to their argument. Allowing the right to bare arms, the 2nd Amendment was formed for one reason alone: to help prevent tyranny in government by keeping the populace armed. Scrapping to find more justifications to their arguments, non-supporters of the ban try to argue that the government could become tyrannical. However, in reality, there is not much of an issue of the government becoming tyrannical, and even if it did, he government has nuclear weapons and weapons way stronger than guns. Additionally, the populace of this side of the argument worries that if these weapons become banned, more restrictions on weapons will rapidly ensue.
The ban of federal assault weapons affects political and economic aspects. Powerful lobbies such as the NRA (National Rifle Association) are virtually against all types of further regulation of firearms. They feel the 2nd amendment protects citizens’ rights and feel that any further regulation will snow ball into more regulations in the future. The NRA is extremely powerful in politics, as they have a lot of members and provide significant funding to politicians who support them. The NRA funds a lot of money into politics and the government, and since the NRA is made up of so many members, there could be an effect on voting for politicians who side or do not side with the NRA. The ban also causes the debate over ratifying the second amendment or not.
The issue of AWB has recently dominated debates in courts and throughout the government. Regarding economic effects, reducing gun and ammo sales would reduce jobs and money within that industry. On the other hand, the money would be spent elsewhere, thus benefitting a different industry. Further more, the ban on assault weapons would reduce death and destruction in society, allowing resources such as the police department and medical services to be deployed elsewhere. Consisting of arguments on either side of the issue, the federal assault weapon ban is able to affect America in multiple fields. Massacre and shootings nation wide present this gun issue to us, but how many more violent acts will it take for everyone to agree that assault weapons should not be in the hands of civilians?
Abdullah, Halimah, Jessica Yellin, and Tom Cohen. “Obama Remains Committed to Assault Weapons Ban, White House Says.” CNN. Cable News Network, 19 Dec. 2012. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.
“Federal Assault Weapons Ban.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Jan. 2013. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.
Waldman, Paul. “Ten Arguments Gun Advocates Make, and Why They’re Wrong.” The American Prospect. N.p., 15 Dec. 2012. Web. 13 Jan. 2013.