Ban Assault Weapons Now #NeverAgain

Bryce Jones

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High school students today have witnessed seven out of the ten deadliest shootings in the history of the United States. Their formative years have been filled with carnage and it has created a generation that has become desensitized to such horrors. Yet, this is the same generation of young Americans who are standing up for their right to be safe in their schools and communities by forcing the conversation of common sense gun control. The gun used in the majority of these mass shootings is the AR-15, an assault rifle that has become the weapon of choice for most domestic terrorists because of its ability to kill. The United States must reform its gun laws to ensure that assault weapons, such as the AR-15 or anything similar, cannot be legally purchased by civilians.

In 1994 congress passed a law known as the Assault Weapons Ban, which prohibited the manufacture, transfer and possession of assault weapons. In 2004, after the ban had been in place for ten years, congress allowed it to expire without renewal, putting assault weapons on our streets once again. The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the rest of the gun lobby argued that the ban was not able to prevent the tragic Columbine shooting in 1999 and was therefore ineffective in preventing gun violence, however the numbers of mass shootings dropped significantly during the decade the ban was in effect and have more than tripled in the decade since the ban expired.

The gun lobby has responded to each tragedy by citing the second amendment as their defense against any gun regulations, however the increased regulations that Democratic lawmakers have proposed have not been in violation of the right to bear arms. The second amendment states “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.” No reasonable person considers a deranged 19 year old with a weapon of war to be “well regulated,” and the increased regulations are undoubtedly “necessary to the security of a free state.” So supporting common sense gun control is the most ‘pro-second amendment’ position that one could take.

Part of the reason for the lack of action after so many senseless tragedies is that there is no real sufficient data about gun violence. After massacres, such as the one in Parkland, Fl., Republican lawmakers will often cite the fact that there is no research that suggests increased gun regulations would prevent mass shootings or gun violence. But the only reason that lawmakers don’t have the data they need is because the NRA lobbied for a bill to ban government research on gun violence in 1996. They did so, because almost all of the data that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) had found was conclusive that the more guns America has, the more gun violence they will have. The NRA’s war on science has left lawmakers in the dark for over 20 years, not knowing which responses to gun violence are truly effective in keeping citizens safe.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School has left Americans pleading for their representatives and senators to ban assault weapons, but that is not the only measure that must be taken to keep communities safe. Other common sense gun regulations that have been proposed, and supported by the masses, include requiring universal background checks, so that criminals and mentally unstable people cannot get their hands on a weapon, banning high capacity magazines, so that one’s rifle would not be able to hold more than 10 bullets at anytime and banning bump stocks so that semi-automatic rifles cannot be transformed into automatic rifles and raising the age limit to buy rifles from 18 to 21. However, all of these proposals have been voted down, at the national level, by lawmakers that are in the pocket of the gun lobby. The response to the Parkland shooting by those same politicians is to arm teachers, blame gun violence on mental health (which they also will not adequately fund), increase the number of active shooter drills and send their thoughts and prayers. Needless to say, this is not going to solve America’s gun epidemic.

The survivors from MSD High School gave momentum to the nation’s gun reform movement by staging protests in front of the White House and Florida Capitol building, organizing marches and meetings with legislators to discuss necessary changes. It seems that the only solution for concerned Americans is to keep the heat on the gun lobby, continue making their voices heard and, most importantly, vote out any elected official that has taken money from the NRA.

Although the gun lobby’s money and influence is deeply rooted within the American political system, students, teachers, parents and everyone else who is tired of seeing people murdered are standing up and making their message heard: that we must ban assault weapons, and better regulate guns so that senseless tragedies like those in Newtown, Las Vegas, Parkland and so many others will happen #NeverAgain.

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About the Writer
Bryce Jones, Senior Editor

Bryce Jones is the Senior Editor for the Plano West Blueprints. Jones is also involved in National Honor Society (NHS). In his free time he enjoys watching...

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Ban Assault Weapons Now #NeverAgain