The Hatters' Herald

Editorial: It’s time for the AR-15, other assault rifles, to go

This+is+an+AR-15+semi-automatic+rifle%2C+similar+to+the+weapon+used+in+Wednesday%27s+fatal+school+shooting+in+Parkland%2C+Fla.
This is an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, similar to the weapon used in Wednesday's fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

This is an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, similar to the weapon used in Wednesday's fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

commons.wikimedia.org

commons.wikimedia.org

This is an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, similar to the weapon used in Wednesday's fatal school shooting in Parkland, Fla.


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In the agonizing days following a mass shooting, people often share their opinions online about gun control. Tweets from students who suffered through the Parkland, Fla., shooting flooded our Twitter timeline. These tweets urged President Trump to take action on gun-control, but once again he made no statement on that topic. Instead, he tweeted how the shooter was certainly mentally disturbed, and that we need to take action against mental illness. This is ironic, coming from Trump, considering he’s been attempting to repeal the universal healthcare that would provide people with mental illness therapy and medicine that they so desperately need, but that’s beside the point.

Unfortunately, as Americans, we are initially met with a great sense of remorse when hearing about these atrocities, but it follows with a saddening feel of familiarity.

Assault rifles, more specifically AR-15s, were used in the Parkland, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino, and Orlando shootings, which are five of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in American history. AR-15s are classified as military grade assault-style weapons. They are the civilian version of the military’s AR-16, except that it fires semi-automatic. Still, this weapon is made specifically for killing — it fires military grade NATO rounds, it accepts large-capacity magazines,  and is accurate up to 600 meters.

There is absolutely no need for any civilian, regardless of their background, to have access to a military grade weapon. Self-defense is a general justification that people have for wanting to own a gun. According to The CT Mirror, people with firearms are more than twice as likely to commit a violent crime, including homicide, than those without access.

Another common argument is that the Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms. However, these laws were put in place in the anticipation of a British invasion or a domestic monarchy, which are no longer concerns. This amendment is outdated, and in actuality we have been given the protection of the National Guard thereby making the argument mute for civilians owning such weapons. Owning a registered handgun, after a thorough federal background check, will more than suffice for “self-defense.”

Just a day after the shooting took place, a video from inside one of the classrooms went viral on Twitter. In the video, a spectator can hear 19 shots being fired within just 14 seconds. Another video showed a police officer lifting an injured girl off the ground while she was covered in another classmate’s blood. This is similar to when reporters televised footage from the Vietnam war and created a sense of unity for the public because it finally put a sense of reality to the statistic that is so often overlooked. These videos show the horrendous damage that can be done by using a military grade rifle, instead of just talking about it.

In America, this 19-year old who had previously been expelled from school for violence, reported to the FBI for making videos on YouTube and making comments about becoming a “professional school shooter,” was still allowed to buy an assault rifle with no waiting period and no background check. Something must change, and we must stop being bystanders to these vicious acts.

A controversial tweet from far-right public figure Tomi Lahren went viral, which read “Can the Left let the families grieve for even 24 hours before they push their anti-gun and anti-gun owner agenda? This isn’t about a gun it’s about another lunatic.” To which a student from Parkland responded: “I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people that had their lives abruptly ended because of them.” It is not about the left or the right, it’s about preventing mass-murder and providing an environment where Americans can feel safe in their schools.

It is Congress’ responsibility to protect the children and people of our nation. Barack Obama tweeted, “Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change.”

The last time that Congress actually discussed restricting gun laws was right after Sandy Hook, which was more than five years ago. Everyone then was sure Congress would outlaw the AR-15 after that carnage. Connecticut did, but Congress refused to enact such a ban. Since then, there have been 1,606 mass shootings, 239 of which were school shootings where more 438 people were harmed and 138 were murdered.

The fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting passed last December, with Congressional Republicans speaking out about how they would not consider passing new gun control laws and instead advocating for laws that would weaken gun restrictions and make it easier to carry guns across state lines. “Donald Trump won the White House campaigning on a promise to support the National Rifle Association, the influential gun rights group, and oppose any limits to Americans’ right to own guns” explained Lois Beckett, gun safety advocate.

Lawmakers should be required to read about the lives of the people killed. They should be forced to look at the pictures of  the bodies of the 49 people in Orlando, the 59 in Las Vegas, the 25 in Texas, the 14 in San Bernardino, the 26 in Sandy Hook, the nine in Charleston, and the 17 in Parkland, Fla. Maybe then the lawmakers will have found the courage to act in the best interest of America.

—  Written by Taylor Hay; edited by Editorial Board.

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3 Comments

3 Responses to “Editorial: It’s time for the AR-15, other assault rifles, to go”

  1. Jon on February 18th, 2018 12:12 am

    The AR-15 is not an assault rifle, and you should get your facts straight before trying to write poor articles.

  2. Reily on February 18th, 2018 8:18 am

    No, No, No. Even if you could “Ban” these guns, how are you going to collect over 15 million firearms from people, most of whom aren’t on any kind of registry, and the others who would rather bury them in their backyard than surrender them?. This is the second amendment, you aren’t giving it nearly enough credit. Your right to free speech, the ability to write this article on a free and open internet of ideas, is protected by the second amendment. Fifteen million scary black rifles is what keeps our nation free from foreign invaders and allows us to maintain our independence.
    I would like to ask, if banning any guns was off the table, what would your second best solution be? On what topic would you invest the same energy that you took to write this article about AR-15’s and put it into another article? I’ve been asking this question a lot and opening up some very good conversations.

  3. Danny L Griffin on April 10th, 2018 10:23 pm

    “Another common argument is that the Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms.”

    No, no, no. No one makes that argument except the Left. They believe that if the Second Amendment is eliminated then that right is now taken away. One would think that simple phrases such as “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms” (Samuel Adams, Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, 1788) and “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” (U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, 1789) would be self-evident. After all, our very own Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

    Such things are self-evident, such things are unalienable because they are endowed to us naturally and not granted to us by our government. In today’s language we might call this “common sense.” This is what makes the United Stated of America unique among all nations on earth. The government does not grant us these rights, we possessed them prior to and independent of the government, and they cannot be taken away. The Constitution, more specifically the Bill of Rights, prohibits the federal government from infringing on those rights that preexist our government.

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms is only one such preexisting natural right acknowledged by our Constitution. Another is freedom of speech, including freedom of the press. Even if you took the Second Amendment away, we would still have the right to possess firearms including AR-15s.

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Editorial: It’s time for the AR-15, other assault rifles, to go