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A Case in Favor of Protecting Second Amendment Rights

Avery Klatsky, Staff Writer

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The AR-15, also known as the Armalite rifle, is quickly making headline news across the nation. In light of recent shootings across the US, there have been several pushes across the country to pass legislation to make the Armalite Rifle illegal in the United States. However, this idea is illogical and puts the nation into dicey territory. There should be regulations and screenings on guns in the country, but declaring the AR-15 illegal would not solve the problem of gun violence in the United States.

Nationwide gun control restrictions on “automatic rifles” would be ineffective. Criminals will not stop at a failed background check to get firearms illegally, regardless of the strictness of laws. Background checks should exist, but they alone are not an effective way to stop the gun culture. Approximately 15 million AR-15 style rifles are in the US populous, yet the amount of crime where ARs are used is surprisingly low. AR-15s, however, have not always been legal for the public. In 1994, President Bill Clinton passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, prohibiting the manufacturing of “assault weapons” and rifles of high capacities. Despite this ban, the crime rates did not decrease, and the ban eventually expired.

The AR-15 is also the world’s most popular hunting and competitive shooting rifle. Contrary to popular belief, the AR-15 stands for “Armalite Rifle,” not “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.” Most Americans, however, believe that the AR-15 is a fully automatic weapon that is “designed for war on the battlefield.” However, the Armalite rifle is semi-automatic, which means that one bullet fires when the trigger is pulled down. All pistols are semi-automatic, as well. Fully-automatic weapons, on the other hand, can fire repeatedly as long as the trigger is held, and are already illegal for the US population to own. Stripping the right to own the nation’s most popular rifle from 15 million Americans is impossible.

A very common argument used by gun control advocates is that the Second Amendment was “just for muskets.” This is complete nonsense, as automatic weapons have existed long before the creation of the Constitution. Ironically, many of the anti-gun activists that want to limit most Americans’ Second Amendment rights by claiming that it “wasn’t written for advanced technology” are doing so by exercising their First Amendment rights, which was written long before their iPhones. By this logic, should we ban phones, and instead use quills and parchment to communicate in free speech? Of course not, because the Founding Fathers were intelligent enough to recognize the possibility of technological advancement. This is why the Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms, not just muskets. Several automatic weapons that existed before 1776 include, the Girandoni Rifle (22 high-capacity rounds can fire in 30 seconds), the Puckle Gun (a Gatling gun created 60 years before 1776), the Belton Flintlock (20 rounds in 5 seconds) and Pepperbox revolvers (20+ rounds per shot, created hundreds of years before 1776).

Pretending that AR-15s are only used by criminals is not true either. Stephen Willeford stopped the Texas Church shooter by neutralizing him with an AR-15. Despite the media’s narrative that the National Rifle Association (NRA) endorses mass slaughters like in Texas or Parkland, Florida, Willeford was an NRA member who was willing to protect his community with a gun. The laws did not fail in Parkland, Florida, nor did the “gun lobby;” the government did. The police were called to the shooter’s house 39 times and did nothing. He was reported to the FBI about making threats suggesting he would become a school shooter, and the FBI did nothing. Four sheriff deputies were standing outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting, and they did nothing. If local law enforcement had done even the slightest bit of investigation, he would never have been able to acquire a firearm and kill innocent Americans. If we can’t trust the government to stop these shootings, why should the American populous give up their best source of self-defense?

Anti-gun advocates always claim that the intentions of guns like AR-15s are “mass destruction,” but that is not what is really occurring in the United States. Rifles as a whole are not leading murder weapons in crime statistics. According to the FBI, rifles of all kinds, including AR-15s, only accounted for 3 percent of firearm homicides in 2016. A Mother Jones review of mass shootings from 1982 to 2012 found that 66 percent of the weapons used were handguns, and only 14 percent would qualify as an “assault weapon” under the definition used in a 2013 bill sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California). “Assault weapons” are rarely used in crimes. Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA Law School, found that gun crime in the U.S. is “overwhelmingly handgun crime.” People care about the Second Amendment because it gives them the right to protect themselves and their families. It also allows them to defend themselves from government tyranny, which always starts with the removal of firearms from the populous.

Banning certain guns is ineffective, and giving too much power to the government to tell us how to live our lives is unconstitutional and tyrannical. Instead of outlawing a gun that criminals will buy illegally regardless, why don’t we put armed security in public schools? We have security for banks, elected officials and government buildings. Why not schools? Declaring the AR-15 illegal would solve nothing. Instead, let’s work together to help solve these issues as a country, and as Americans.

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A Case in Favor of Protecting Second Amendment Rights