Let’s take a look at some of the scariest breaking news of mass shootings in the U.S. in the last decade –
June 12, 2016. Orlando, Florida. A gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub.
October 1, 2017. Las Vegas, Nevada. A man on the 32nd floor of a hotel opened fire on a country music festival happening outside, killing 60 people and injuring 867 others, with 411 of them suffering from gunshot wounds.
February 14, 2018. Parkland, Florida. A former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoolentered the school, killed 17 people, and wounded 17 others.
August 3, 2019. El Paso, Texas. A gunman killed 23 people and injured 23 others at a Walmart. The attack was a hate crime targeting Hispanicimmigration.
Do you remember what was common in all of these shootings?
A man carrying a semi-automatic or automatic rifle.
According to this report, just in the last 11 years between 2009 and 2020, 1,346 Americans were killed and 948 more were wounded in 237 mass shootings, an average of 21 mass shootings each year. Among the casualties were 309 children and teens killed and 194 more wounded, as well as 19 law enforcement officers killed and 23 wounded.
The numbers are only increasing.
Also, the number of people owning semi-automatic rifles and assault weapons is at an all-time high.
Should you be worried? Scared? Anxious?
The answer is a big thumping Yes!
How Deadly are Assault Weapons in general?
Source: The National Interest
What is an assault weapon? Assault weapons are semi-automatic firearms—meaning that they fire a round every time the trigger is pulled – increasing their destructive power by a huge magazine over pistols or handguns. Nine people died and 27 were injured in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio in an attack that lasted a mere 32 seconds. The killer used an AR-15 style assault rifle.
Along with assault guns, let’s look at the use of high-capacity magazines. A high-capacity magazine is a device that feeds ammunition into a firearm that holds more than 10 rounds of ammunition. A gun fitted with a high-capacity magazine can fire a higher number of bullets before needing to be reloaded. All the public shootings of recent times have reported the use of these magazines. With almost no time to take cover or seek help, the victims are left as vulnerable as Jews in a concentration camp lined up for daily removals. The chances of missing a target are close to zero in crowded areas like schools, malls, or pubs, where a large concentration of shootings occur.
If assault weapons are so deadly, why are they so easily accessible?
The amendments to the constitution in 1791 stated: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
1990s Federal Ban on Assault Weapons
Source: The Kirkwood Call
Several bills in the subsequent decades sought to impose restrictions based on age, criminal record, and mental health, and a ban was imposed temporarily from 1994-2004. However, a large section of the American population defended their rights to own a gun citing security concerns. Data proving that countries with stricter gun laws have far fewer gun-related deaths have failed to make a mark in the American psyche.
Research on crime rates during the period when assault weapons were banned shows 17 to 72 percent declines in the number of assault weapons recovered from crime scenes, a 25 percent decrease in mass shootings, and a 40 percent decrease in mass shooting deaths. Since the expiration of the federal ban in 2004, gun manufacturers flooded the market with these weapons to boost sales, and an almost immediate impact was felt with a sudden upward trajectory of gun homicides. These figures alone should be enough to show any rational being how a ban on assault weapons can have an impact on the rampant shootings affecting thousands of American families every year.
The Debate about Assault Weapons Ownership
A research by the Gallup news organization found that Americans have always favored a ban on automatic weapons. In 1989, 72% were in favor, while in 2019, 61%. Despite the claim that it makes them feel secure in their homes and outside, most people realize the enormously destructive capacities of assault weapons. People who are not in favor of a complete ban say that there should be stricter laws regarding who can buy these weapons. There is already a law in place which dictates just that; however, as the cases of gun homicides show, this law has little effect in reality. Therefore, the solution lies in controlling which guns common citizens should be allowed to own.
When the Constitution spoke about the right to bear arms, they had surely not envisioned AK-47 style military equipment being fired in schools in 1791. They wanted people to have some sort of weapon to enjoy their weekend hunting games or prevent a burglary attempt at home or on the streets. These needs are still intact (though hunting is another contentious issue) and there isn’t much debate on whether handguns and pistols should be banned. However, these situations do not require the presence of highly efficient killing machines.
Only an absolutely foolish and ill-informed person would speak about banning certain groups of people from entering the country to reduce the number of shootings. As incident after incident has shown, the perpetrators of these crimes are mostly, WHITE AMERICAN MEN. Yes, self-radicalized men who very often have a history of mental health issues. They have not entered the country through immigration but were born and brought up in a free gun ownership culture. So, can we identify and prevent the sale of weapons to such people? No.
Background checks are a part of gun sales even now but it isn’t difficult to evade such checks. They can figure out whether someone has a past criminal record or not but it is nearly impossible to understand their deep-rooted prejudices or sociopathic mindset.
What’s the solution then? Ban the sales of assault weapons to people who have no need for them. Apart from people in the police or military or some other security-related organization, no random person needs to own a high-end weapon that can kill hundreds of humans in seconds. It is not only the ethical thing to do, it is also the only logical thing to do. If we want to prevent another breaking news about innocent civilians murdered by a deranged psychopath, we need to ensure that they do not have the means to commit these crimes.