The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 52
Published 5/22/13 | Log In
By BILL BERRY, Staff Reporter
Published: January 16, 2013
With the memories of recent mass shootings on our minds, gun control is now a big issue. Violence is continuing to prosper in the United States and radical gun control may not be the solution. In the mean time, many lawmakers have voiced convictions to create laws that place more restrictions on guns in hopes of creating safer streets. Even President Obama has stepped up and said he is in full support of meaningful gun control.
In 1994, lawmakers passed an assault weapons ban in hopes of preventing violence in our streets. The ban outlawed the manufacturing of assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
According to Brad Plumer of the Washington Post, assault weapons were categorized in an ambiguous way. Congress set out certain qualifications for assault weapons. And if a gun didn’t meet the qualifications, then it wouldn’t be considered an assault weapon. Here is an example: the manufacturing for civilian use of all center-fire, semi-automatic rifles with a pistol grip, adjustable stock and bayonet mount were banned. The manufacturing of high capacity magazines was also banned. But if a weapons manufacturer made a gun that fit all of those qualifications without a pistol grip, then the gun would be perfectly legal. Essentially, it was totally possible to buy a gun with firepower identical to one banned. The gun just couldn’t have the same physical appearance or ability to attach components.
Furthermore, the law banned the manufacturing of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, not the distribution, resale or use of guns and high-capacity magazines manufactured before the ban.
So anyone who wanted an assault weapon could still buy one. The law did little to impact violence and, at the end of its 10-year limit, was not reinstated.
This cannot happen again. But when politicians talk about dangerous weapons and the lethality of assault rifles and the need to ban them, more harm is done than good.
To set the record straight, assault rifles, or ARs, are no more lethal than many semiautomatic rifles on the market. In fact, in many states it would be illegal to hunt with some assault rifles because the .223 caliber bullet used in many assault rifles does not have the power to take down big game.
Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.
Someone could theoretically enter a school with a 9mm handgun and have the same killing capacity as someone with an assault rifle. But then again, people statistically use assault weapons in mass shootings. But still, people kill people ... The conversation could go in circles forever and get nowhere, just like it has been.
True, meaningful gun control is far more radical than the government is making it seem. In order to affect the violence in our country, the government would have to outlaw all semi-automatic weapons, regardless of whether they were made before the ban. And in this country, no such law will ever be passed. We simply love our guns too much to let that happen.
Before the government will be able to change our streets for the better, the public needs to become educated on guns. They must look at them realistically. And they cannot trust the media to inform them on the issues, or else nothing will change, and our country will continually enact laws that act as placebos.
Gun control is not a bad thing. But without radical change or public knowledge, it will not accomplish anything. We will perpetually remain in the cycle of violence, mourning our losses and wondering why the cycle is not changing.