The Assault Weapon Question

The Assault Weapon Question

Nashville : TN : USA | Feb 15, 2013 at 2:59 PM PST
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NRA Says Safety of School Children Paramount

First and foremost, I am pro-gun and support gun ownership. As a Southern black woman living in America, I take my God given right to protect my own safety and that of my family quite seriously. So yay Second Amendment, I say.

What I also understand to be true is the amount of weapons already in existence in the United States is so vast, banning assault weapons would keep future killers from obtaining high capacity weapons, but what about the ones already with us?

The gun violence problem in America is no doubt rooted in a gun access problem.

“The AR-15 is the musket of today.” ---David Keene

Just this week authorities surrounded a San Bernardino, Calif., cabin where a perceived armed and dangerous Christopher Dorner was believed to be hiding. News cameras rolled as heavily armed local and federal law enforcement swarmed the mountain home seeking to apprehend Dorner. Wanted for a string of crimes including four murders and car theft, Dorner claimed via Facebook his rampage was to avenge his firing by Los Angeles Police Department in 2009.

Christopher Dorner may not be a hero, but his example proves once again, it is minorities most likely to need the Second Amendment protections from an overbearing government. But be warned, if we exercise them we will be over taken by the government the Constitution is intended to protect us from.

Law enforcement chasing a fugitive vigilante flooded news and social media hours before the president gave his first State of the Union address of his final term in office. Another dramatic scene unfolded, starring a crazed man who through gun violence has altered the lives of another community. It was no wonder the emotional height of President Obama’s remarks came as he urged Congress to give every gun violence victim and their families a swift step toward justice by simply taking a vote on an assault weapons ban.

On Jan. 24, 2013, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. If passed, this legislation would stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices.

If not an outright ban on assault weapons, what other solutions are sensible? Up to this point the gun debate has focused solely on Second Amendment rights, the rights of gun owners. But what about the rights of victims and their families? What about the right to life of the living?

“No idea is good if it doesn’t work.” ---Wayne LaPierre

NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, speaking to attendees of the 37th Annual Convention and Sport Show of the National Wild Turkey Federation in Nashville, responded candidly to Obama’s State of the Union Address.

Like Tavis Smiley and Cornel West who’ve condemened the president for not using the word “poverty," LaPierre took Obama to task for his failure to specifically mention school children and school safety once during his State of the Union address.

According to LaPierre and the NRA, the answers to reducing gun violence in America require three key components. The immediate protection of all of our school children, fixing our broken mental health system and certain prosecution of every criminal with a gun.

To the untrained ear, LaPierre’s solutions seem to have some areas of overlap with the intentions of Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban. Yet LaPierre and the NRA believe the only Americans worth protecting are school children inside a school house. People in a place of worship, move theaters or shopping malls be damned, as you’re not worth including in gun reform.

When Obama called for that vote on an assault weapons ban from Congress, he noted the parents of slain teen Hadiya Pendleton, parents of students killed in Newtown, Conn., and parents all over the country who’ve lost a child to gun violence.

This leads me to ask what is our end game from assault ban legislation? Reduce deaths by gun violence in the US? Eliminate mass shootings? And more importantly, why do these goals seem too lofty and even laughable to assault weapon advocates? LaPierre went on, explaining at great length all of the reasons a universal or national registry of gun owners would not be universal, noting this system would be open to abuse and fraud in the hands of the federal government.

LaPierre is correct that a universal system presents, risks, but do we do absolutely nothing while innocent citizens die? Americans have a right to bear arms, yes, but does that arm have to be a semi-automatic weapon?

The Department of Justice found high-capacity magazines are used in 14-26 percent of all gun crimes and in 31-41 percent of fatal police shootings. Are we comfortable acknowledging that even those sworn to protect and serve the public, in the words of Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty, now find themselves “outgunned”?

Consider our government run registries of car owners. This process seems to work fine, with car owners re-registering their vehicles on an annual basis and applying for appropriate titles and paperwork when ownership is transferred. Gun owners stand to benefit as well, if a criminal steals your gun, a national registry helps law enforcement trace its whereabouts.

And let’s be serious, what is more dangerous, a loaded gun or a moving vehicle?

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Gun Reform During Obama State of the Union Address
Parents of slain 8th grader Hadiya Pendleton attend State of the Union Address with Mrs. Obama
Lauren Brown Jarvis is based in Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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