A Gun Owner’s Case Against Assault Weapons

We banned the kind of extreme firearm used in Aurora, Colo., once. It’s time to do so again

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Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

A makeshift memorial is shown behind the Century 16 movie theater where a gunman attacked moviegoers during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., on July 20, 2012

Here we are again, at a tragic impasse, this time in Aurora, Colo. There is grief and outrage — and no significant movement toward passing commonsense, moderate legislation that might disarm those who would take the lives of innocents at a rate made higher by the kinds of weapons that were once difficult to obtain in this country.

I write something like this all too often, for I write in the wake of massacres that seize national attention for a  moment and then fade. There was the series of school shootings in the late 1990s, including one at a day-care center in Los Angeles; there was Columbine; there was Tucson; and now there is Aurora. And there were so many in between, attacks that do not loom large in the broader memory but should.

(MORE: Colorado Shooter Carried Four Guns, All Obtained Legally)

I own guns — shotguns and rifles — and I hunt quail. I don’t want to give up my guns. But I know this: there isn’t the remotest chance under the sun that I will have to. And I know this too: the kind of assault rifle used in the Aurora massacre — an AR-15, which is essentially a civilian version of the military’s M-16 — has no sporting purpose save playacting, in which the shooter is in some kind of combat situation. You don’t need an AR-15 to hunt, and you certainly don’t need the high-capacity magazine that was reportedly used even if your interest is target shooting on a range.

A 1994 law banned these kinds of guns and magazines. It was a ferocious legislative fight in that first Clinton term, and I know more than a few Southern Democrats — the red state/blue state designations had not yet entered the vernacular — who say the assault-weapons bill was what defeated them in the Gingrich-led Republican landslide that November. Since then, the gun lobby has proved so powerful that it effectively shut down debate after the expiration of the assault-weapons ban in 2004.

(MORE: Must Be an Election Year: Bullets Are Flying Off Shelves)

In recent years, few political figures — notable exceptions include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy — have made serious efforts to pass commonsense gun legislation.

I’m not talking about a ban on guns — not even handguns. But we once agreed that weapons like the one used in Aurora (and the magazine that armed it), as well as the type of high-capacity magazines that were used in the Glock attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson should be banned. To borrow the language of the right, did that mean outlaws could not obtain such things if they tried? No, of course not: when certain kinds of guns are outlawed, outlaws will find ways to get them. But why not make it more difficult? Isn’t that the least we can do?

(PHOTOS: Batman Movie Theater Shooting in Aurora, Colo.)

To state the obvious, no law can ever make human life perfect or totally safe. There will always be criminals, there will always be accidents, there will always be injustice and horror and tragedy. That’s the nature of things in a fallen world.

Yet we can’t just give up. The 20th century theologian Reinhold Niebuhr captured our obligations well when he remarked that the “sad duty of politics is to establish justice in a sinful world.” We accept limits on our rights for the sake of the larger social compact all the time. (Speed limits, anyone?) Guns should be no exception.

Giving up, though, is the prevailing ethos of the hard-line gun lobby. It’s sadly ironic that a bloc devoted to the principle of “no surrender” can discount the possibilities of hope and good sense so easily. No, it’s more than ironic. It is genuinely tragic.

MORE: The American Dream: A Perfect Idea for Dark Times

355 comments
Valskie
Valskie

What most people don't understand is that the legal definition of "assault weapon" is any thing with a removable feeder (magazine).


There are many guns and other types of tools with removable feeders, that does not mean they are used solely for the purpose of assulting people.

RyanSawyer
RyanSawyer

This guy is what I like to refer to as an "Elmer Fudd".   He hunts, he owns guns and he doesn't think you need an eeeevil black rifle for hunting or sporting.   Well, Elmer..first of all who are you to decide what I need to have for any reason?  You can use semi automatic eeeevil rifles to hunt and many do.   But, they're no more or less dangerous than any other semi-automatic rifle due to cosmetic features.   Most owners of them have standard capacity magazines (30 round) because the larger mags are unreliable.  In fact, one jammed the Aurora "shooter" (can we call them murderers please?) gun.   These rifles are mainly bought and trained with by people looking for a very effective self defense rifle.   Many ex and current LEO and military buy them because it is a platform they are used to shooting.   If you have your home broken into with a guy armed with an AK-47 (well, dammit.   I guess he must have ignored the ban....shame on him) you're going to want something as mean to point right back at him.   Yes, your semi-auto deer rifle might be of use since it's only the one guy.  Now you have 4-5 attackers....they all ignored the gun laws (those jerks) and have "high cap" mags and unregistered handguns (seriously...someone needs to explain the rules to these guys).  They start firing, but you've got cover.   You fire back and you have a good angle...but not all of your shots are going to hit...  and then oops!  out of ammo!   Hey criminals, time out I have to reload.    Ok, there we go, back to it!  Now you have to reacquire your targets who may have now moved to other spots....taking you out of the fight or a period of time and giving them the upper hand.   You return fire again and.....awww crap!  Gotta reload again guys!    Now, say you have 2-3 standard capacity mags (30 rounds) you can continue to return fire, keep a target pinned longer or stop a few of them from continuing to shoot back.   Now you may be out of bullets for your rifle and the bad guys are still putting up a fight....you go for your sidearm with its 10 round "low cap" mag......  same crap now... you have to call time out again!?!?  man.....   

seanb211
seanb211

1)Assault Rifles are fully automatic.  AR-15s are not. 

2)IPSC, IDPA, NRA service rifle and other other 3 gun competitions are dominated by AR-15s, and in some states you are allowed to hunt with them.  I would argue that an AR-15 has FAR more sporting purpose than the authors quail shotgun and his hunting rifle.

3)What does "sporting purpose" have to do with this anyway?  The 2nd amendment does not have a clause "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed...as long as it's a sporting gun". 

4)The article in this weeks magazine showed a graph illustrating the  number of mass shootings over the years.  During the Clinton "assault" weapons ban there were just as many as there are/were before and after.  So what did that accomplish? 

5)The idea "there isn’t the remotest chance under the sun that I will have to (give up your hunting rifles/shotguns" is absolutely laughable.  Why don't you go talk to some English folks who used to hunt.  They will tell you how they didn't care when the government came for pistols and semi-autos because they KNEW the government wouldn't ever take their hunting guns.  Now look at them.

Nobody N Particular
Nobody N Particular

As tragic as the incident in Colorado was; you cannot assume that if he didn't have a gun, an assault rifle, or a high capacity magazine that the death toll would be less.  He did have the skills to manufacture 30 homemade grenades, and he could have just lobed those into the theater and result in even more deaths.  Murders are a lot like shoppers, if they can't find their favorite (weapon in this case) they will find a substitute for their primary choice because they still want to kill.  Also, I agree with the comments that someone else trying to use a firearm in self-defense in the situation of the attack that Holmes carried out would have to be crazy; never mind that the suspect had on body armor and would have required a marksman to make the kill shot, the chaos alone would have prevented a clear shot without endangering others on the scene.  I'm a CCW holder, and I know better than to open fire in a room full of people running around in a panic.  My heart goes out to those who have suffered so greatly due to this tragedy; I can only hope that our justice system can deliver the justice they so desperately need.

Michael Jones
Michael Jones

QUOTE:  "You don’t need an AR-15 to hunt"

So what?  Gun ownership  isn't contingent on a hunting issue.  One doesn't need a copy of Time magazine or a computer to hunt.  So based on the new standard of  "Do you need it in order to hunt?",  should one be allowed to have a copy of  Time magazine or the computer on which this is being read?  Do you NEED them?...

Oh, and if you are going to compete in the National High Power matches at Camp Perry, you darn well better have an AR-15 type rifle if you hope to place in the top 100...

Zavier McFall-Maycock
Zavier McFall-Maycock

Living in Nevada, I don't want to give up my guns, but there is no reason, a civilian needs an AR-15, yeah they're cool, but if I need to shoot one there are specialty ranges for that, no one needs to buy one.  The problem is the internet too, ban such and such gun, that gun's parts will be sold on the internet where people with welding expertise can weld em, at least here in NV I personally know people with machine guns and such they shouldn't have due to this.  It's a gray area, do I think guns are the problem in the Holmes case, not really, he had advanced knowledge of explosives, if not guns he would of blown people up, you can make explosives with common things, especially with the chemical knowledge he had. It starts you down this slippery slope till you ban drano because it might make a bomb.  I think we need to step up our mental healthcare to be honest, the U.S. has been lacking in that for two long, early screening of people might help, if his case of depression is true it wouldn't of helped, there will always be an outlier, but its not just guns we need to step it up on multiple things before we put the blame on one thing.

Love Sharing
Love Sharing

These weapons are needed because the Second Amendment is also about protecting ourselves from an oppressive, tyrannical government, which is what our government is looking more like every year.

Love Sharing
Love Sharing

All you people who want to let people kill you rather than fire back go ahead but don't expect me to take two to the chest without returning fire. Only cowards think they can't do what is necessary and lie down instead. If an accident happens and I shoot an innocent then I have to live with that, but at least I won't have to watch children die because I was too afraid to take action.

ChrisM106
ChrisM106

I see - the problem isn't  your guns, the problem is mine.  Let me bring you up on current events, the shooter also had a shotgun.  How about you voluntarily surrender your firearms before demanding mine be confiscated?

EhCanadianEh
EhCanadianEh

Dear Mr Fudd, 

I realize that when you were a child you grew up with and become accustomed to firearms that looked a certain way. Cars and clothing also looked a certain way back then too.  Modern folk, today's youth, tend to seek out modern clothing, modern cars, and yes modern guns.   

There is nothing evil or more lethal about black guns instead of brown, guns made of plastic instead of wood, or today's semi automatics versus that your own father used back in the early 1900s.  

As with military WEAPONS of the past, including most all of those used in both world wars, most any gun that was designed to kill people is fantastic for killing deer.  Today's civilian versions of military firearms are just as good for hunting as your old WW1  308, 303, or 3006.

If you stand behind an "assault weapons ban" you can rest assured your shotguns and hunting rifles will eventually be on the list. The shooter used a shotgun, and JFK was shot with a "sniper" hunting rifle.

Mike Flint
Mike Flint

Don't we yet understand that morals can't be legislated? Don't we yet understand that placing a ban on something doesn't keep it from getting into the hands of criminals? An hour after something is banned it becomes available on the black market and all the criminals flock to get one. The honest, law-abiding citizens abide by the law and are hence delivered defenceless against the ones who don't abide by the law. 

Why don't we spend some money teaching parents to raise their kids to have morals?

The author is right about one thing. An AR-15 is pretty much useless as a hunting weapon. After all, it's only 23 caliber...

deerhide
deerhide

 mr meacham your a fool the second amendment has nothing to do about hunting or target shooting firearms,  it abut personal defense of home, state and country and if necessary to over throw a repressive government. 

Baird Tarr
Baird Tarr

The author really isn't qualified to speak on this matter.  His ignorance on the AR platform boggles the mind.    Mr. Meachum.  I know people that hunt big game with this platform.  I know people that participate in shooting events with this platform.  I can also use it to defend lives with it just as easily.   You come off as an elitest know-it-all who has taken it upon himself to tell me what I need when it comes to the Bill Of Rights. 

Baird Tarr
Baird Tarr

The author isn't really qualified to speak on this subject.  Many, many, people use AR type weapons every day for everything from, target shooting, to hunting and even self defense.

Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd

On a more practical note, there must be several hundred thousand high capacity magizines floating around. How are you going to get them back?

How will you solve the approaching phenomenon of everyone being able to manufacture pretty much whatever they want, including guns and magazines. That's already here, but the price needs to fall a bit.

Do you intend to stifle an entire technology?

gunguy45
gunguy45

Author needs some education. The 1994 did not "ban" anything. 30 round magazines  were still available as long as made prior to the ban. Rifles needed to have cosmetic changes made but they were still sold. I bought my 1st during this "ban".

notfishing
notfishing

At the Columbine Massacre it was the shotgun which murdered the most innocents.

At Aurora the shotgun did a fearful amount of damage.

We should ban shotguns because they do the most damage.  

yahoo-635MBQ5YRGCMYDBUKPXN47RRPU
yahoo-635MBQ5YRGCMYDBUKPXN47RRPU

To those ignorant left uneducated gan grabbers on here there have already been 4 mass shootings stopped by armed citizens. Look them up. Armed CCW  woman stops shooter in church, armed man in Appalacian school shooting. Look the brest up you will remember them longer. There is living proof. None were ever stopped by cops.

Andrew Phillips
Andrew Phillips

Oh really? Nobody would have been able to shoot him in a smoke-filled theater? Ever heard of muzzle-flash? One shot would have pointed him out in the room, I would have crawled my way towards him, and shot the perp with my five seven.

antofoz
antofoz

can someone honestly say that NOT  having large capacity mags or being able to purchase large amounts of ammo is going to adversely affect their lives to such a huge degree??

you can have your guns, but geez, you don't need semi autos with 100 round mags FFS..

Jerry Ward
Jerry Ward

Ask the Afghans of the 80's, the Libyan's of last year, and Syrians currently if citizens need access to assault weapons. The 2nd Amendment has  nothing to do with sporting uses and everything to do with keeping the govt in line. Unarmed citizens are called subjects and armed subjects get to be citizens. 

As to the comments that armed citizens never stop mayhem, I suggest you do more research, it is a fairly common occurrence around here that home invasion are stopped by armed citizens, also there have been several cases of armed citizens stopping attackers in public around here.  The media who hate guns usually shove those articles deep into the paper or several clicks into their website. 

There is also the deterrent factor. Much like nuclear weapons stopped the cold war from becoming a hot war with out ever being fired, the threat of an armed populace gives pause to evil doers.

Richard Thicke
Richard Thicke

Mr. Meacham, you yourself just acknowleged in your own article that even banning hi-capacity magazines and so-called "assault weapons" would NOT guarantee that criminals still wouldn't be able to get them. So, why bother then? I am SICK AND TIRED of these "knee-jerk" reactions to such tragedies, that really DO NOTHING to stop crime. We've been down this road before, and the previous ban DID NOT WORK. You, as a gun-owner OUGHT TO KNOW that the SECOND AMENDMENT IS NOT, I REPEAT, NOT ABOUT HUNTING! Do you own any "deer-hunting" rifles? Anything like a bolt-action Remington 700 or Winchester 70? Guess what? With a nice scope, you now have a "high-powered SNIPER RIFLE!"

I own both AR-15's and AK variants. I enjoy target shooting with them, and if necessary I can go HUNTING with them, too. Can they be used to kill someone? Sure, just like your Remington 870 skeet shotgun can, or your "deer rifle" These very kinds of weapons (so-called "assault weapons") are indeed what people SHOULD OWN if they are serious about having "liberty teeth" to resist tyranny (which is, after all, what the Second Amendment is really ALL ABOUT).....I could also use my BARE HANDS to kill. I could use a knife, a baseball bat, or run over 25 people in my truck. I could also go get a couple of gallons of gas and make a bomb (Molotov cocktail) and burn down a crowded nightclub, killing dozens (oh, and this has actually happened). Do you want to BAN any of these other items? No? Well, why not? I don't trust self-proclaimed "gun owners" such as yourself, who are willing to turn your back(s) on people who own (and enjoy) certain types of guns that you don't "approve of".....So, why don't you just go ahead and turn in ALL of your guns, and your "man-card" too, while you're at it.

USMC76
USMC76

BANN ALL YOUR HEART DESIRES >.DOES NOT >>MEAN ALL WILL LISTEN TO THE LAW !

Way-cool Junior
Way-cool Junior

To even begin to have the greater conversation and debate that needs to take place it first must be admitted that there is no practical purpose for civilians to have these types of firearms and that admission is a long way off. 

The argument that they are a contingency plan against a government invasion on personal freedoms is ridiculous...  in the (highly)  unlikely event of such an action do you really think that an AR-15 will stand up to tanks or drone bombings? 

If those who own them would at the very least -- admittedly some do admit it but a majority don't -- acknowledge that these weapons are no more than"toys" or "ego boasters" then an honest conversation could begin.   

To quote a comedian I saw some years ago, "If you need a 30-round clip to bring down a deer then it might be time to reexamine your hunting technique!"

stevecarington2012
stevecarington2012

Another member of the ignorant left spouting off on something he know

nothing about. You've never heard of 3 gun, ipsc, IDPA, or carbine

matches. Well in those you use magazines of whatever capacity fits

within the rules. Saturday night I shot a tactical course and used a 75

round in my AK. FYI the 94 "ban" banned nothing. it banned certian

features like flash suppressors and folding stocks. I owned 2 ar-15s and

1 AK during that "ban" and they were made and sold during "the ban"@twitter-589339962:disqus what Robert explained

I am alarmed that you able to profit $5177 in one month on the internet. have

you read this website http://easygreennow.blogspot.c...

CarnageZ28
CarnageZ28

First off, you are severly immature and not capable of understanding the world we live in.

Second, I would be willing to bet that Assault Weapons have SAVED many more lives than they have taken in the civilian world.  It is one of the most popular home-defense weapons and it does serve a purpose.

Third you mention that assualt rifles have no "Sporting Role."  Wrong again, they are THE MOST POPULAR firearm to compete with in target shooting matches such as National Match, 3-Gun, etc.  

Fourth, in MANY states, semi-automatic rifles/carbines ARE legal for hunting and AR-15's serve as an excellent varmint round (That's correct, for HUNTING purposes, it is a SMALL CALIBER and lacks sufficient energy to stop human-sized targets.  It is typically used for animals sized such as Coyotes, Ground Hogs, Prairie Dog, etc.)  And as for not needing a semi-automatic for hunting - I would rather see someone quickly take a second shot and expire an animal than to shoot once, waste time reloading the weapon, and have a mortally wounded animal get away.

Fifth, less than 3% of all gun-crime is committed with a rifle/carbine.  So of that 3%, what percentage is actually assault weapons?  Less than 1% of all firearm related crime is committed with assault rifles.  So by your notion, sport bikes proportionally kill significantly more users than do firearms. When shall we ban or govern sport motorcycles, corvettes, etc.

Sixth, when you give someone an inch, they will return and take a mile.  Ban Assault Rifles, and then your sport rifles will be next on the list for being "High-Powered" ... and so on and so on.

BOTTOM LINE: Gun Control = Oppression of Freedom, Life, and Liberty.

To all those proposing gun control, ask yourself this: How is it more honorable for a woman to be assaulted, raped, and murdered in cold blood, than it is for her to produce a firearm and shoot her armed assailant saving her own life and those of future potential victims.

If you're too immature to accept the world we live in, and the need for self-defense, then you certainly are too immature to Blog about it on the internet to those who know no better.

Sheepleherder
Sheepleherder

The Constitution doesn't say anything about "sporting" uses for weapons. It implies DEFENSE, of self and state. The reason these things keep happening is not that people have access to weapons, it happens because the people have been deprived of the means to defend themselves against madmen who would kill them. By the way don't be so confidant that "there isn’t the remotest chance under the sun" you will lose your weapon. There are more than enough examples where that is exactly what occured.

swift2010
swift2010

The idea in the USA is that like in Shane the film 

a good man takes up the Gun to right wrongs

however what happens when the man who picks up the gun has the wrong ideas like that chap Brevik in scan felt he had to kill all those people for the good of society 

when you have a country so saturated by guns /whenever someone feels hard done by

or has a grevance if he has a gun by his side he is more likely to use it  

Timo Liu
Timo Liu

Mr. Meacham is a historian, then I would assume he understands how and why Americans fought for independence back in 1775. 

He should also know what is going on in Syria(also in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and other places) and how and why these revolutionary struggles are carried out.

Guns and weapons in general are protected by our constitution to stop tyranny. 

 

From what I see in the news everyday, tyranny isn't some fairy tale or legend from a time long ago, but it is a very real and modern political problem people face everyday.  Some would say America may soon see it outside our windows and crashing through our doors.  

DougieFresh1
DougieFresh1

If this guy had been a Muslim I bet the reaction would be much different then what we are eharing from certain political corners. 

STBro
STBro

The criminal shooter's first choice for attacking a movie theater audience: shotgun.  Fortunately, he was a novice and failed to plan ahead or train in using shotgun.  Bird hunter and NJ deer hunters you're out of luck if these get banned.  A bright technical graduate student can build one using lab materials, including all ammo required.  

Shooter's second choice: he then went to the "assault gun."  Fortunately, his Internet surfing and movie-watching left him clueless when the high-end weapon jammed.  One reason why law enforcement and military don't use this particular configuration. 

 He then went for his Glock.  

The circumstances would have been far more dire had the attack been planned by trained terrorists or  other individual with weapons training.

Facts?  California has an "assault gun" ban.  The 2009 report shows that the use of banned "assault guns" for CA shootings has increased by a factor of four since 1998.  CA Gang shootings use "full auto" weapons 17% of the time, banned since 1968.  Lesson learned?  Laws prevent the average citizen from having weapons but do little to keep violent felons/gangs from same.   Nothing like banning a weapon to give it street cred and increase criminal demand.

The alleged perp is a resourceful, evil genius who fabricated his own bomb lair.  How do I know he is resourceful?  He does not have a job, yet he has been able to obtain thousands of dollars of guns, ammo, grenades, tactical gear, and bomb materials.

Where did he get all the money to support the attack logistics?  so far, the only source reported in the press is his Federal grant.  Who was supervising that?  A simple requirement to have all his purchase requests co-signed by his grant supervisor would have limited the damage.

As for the AR-15:  I don't use one.  I wasn't trained on it.  My wife was.  It's her weapon of choice for varmint control on our property.  It's much less damaging and has less surface danger zone than my rifle of choice: M-1.  I have noted that she has reduced crop damage from  ground hogs to a tolerable level.  The ammunition and semiautomatic fire allow the operator to adjust fire without having to change trigger, grip or stance.  That's a big advantage for hunters who use precision fire against small, mobile targets.

4CMNcents
4CMNcents

.Mr. Meacham has hit the bullseye. There should be NO debate on this issue, in my opinion... As other posters have pointed out, there is no reason why any law abiding citizen need these types of automatic weapons or  mega mags. So for the saftey of ALL citizens (yes even the outlaws) we should follow Mr. Meacham's point and ban these specific horrific weapons. NO brainer to me.

JZimm09
JZimm09

This is what is comes down to.  That the gun fanatics see themselves fending off a tyrannical government.  The ATF is coming to get them for jaywalking.  The gov't is taxing them too much.  They refuse to pay.  In a standoff they go down in a hail of bullets.  Local enforcement wants to stop them from beating their wives.  Standoff time.  It's in defensive of this infantile paranoia that lives get lost because of over-sized clips and automatic weapons.

The 2nd amendment needs to be changed.  If you read it literally you, you should be able to own all arms.  Grenades, bazookas, whatever can be thought of as 'arms'.  And since congress cannot make any law abridging the right to bear arms, you should be able to take you arms anywhere.  On trains amp; planes.  Why not?  The constitution says no law should abridge the right to bear arms.  That means no limitations.

This general provision in the constitution gives the paranoid, conspiracy theorists all the room they need to insist on no limitations.

The NRA is an exercise in how organized paranoia has been able to intimidate a bunch of spineless, cowardly politicians.

Michael Meador
Michael Meador

If American citizens don't have a need for a semi-automatic version of the main rifle used by our military, then neither do law enforcement, Government or the military.  You want a ban?  No exemptions at all.  If you can't do that, you're not for real. 

Not to mention that under DC v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, gun bans are a thing of the past.  They do not pass Constitutional muster and they have never had a positive impact on safety or crime.  Just look at DC, Chicago, and other areas with very restrictive laws. 

Somehow, even though the evidence is right in front of people, they don't seem to understand it.  That leads me to believe that safety and crime control are not the end goal.

Amirite?

Blake Wolfskill
Blake Wolfskill

This is a problem that even many gun owners don't seem to get. The 2nd amendment was NOT created so you can continue to hunt quail. It was created AS A LAST RESORT TO DEFEND AGAINST TYRANNY. Period. It was intentionally meant for military style weapons or, whatever types of weapons a tyrannical government would use. Do some research on the writings of Tom Jefferson, John Adams, etc... before saying something like that. If the government banned guns, then started slaughtering millions of people, what would you rather have, your 5 round bolt action hunting rifle or an ar-15 with a standard 30 round magazine? For the record, I don't think that's gonna happen, but history does show that more people have been killed by the hands of their own government than have ever been slain by some psycho in a movie theater.

Swamp Fox
Swamp Fox

As a gun owner, I too see the validity of your arguments against "assault rifles" and extreme ammunition magazines, however, the AR platformed weapon that Holmes used was a Samp;W MP-15[?] style rifle.  It may have looked like a military assault weapon but in definition it wasn't.  Assault weapons are made to be fully automatic, like 'machine' guns.  Also, the 100 round drum magazine, used with this gun, was not designed to be used with it.  However, if I am correctly presuming, you want the AR, AK, Bullpup, Galil, Steyl, HK, and other rifle platform mechanisms that shoot fully auto in "assault" like weapons outlawed?  There is no argument from me about extremely high capacity magazines be somewhat curtailed from civilian usage.

What you seem to leave out in your assault gun argument is that historically most rifle weaponry and rifle designs have deep roots in the military arena of usage.  Just look at the American rifles used since the Revolutionary War.  Improvements in rifle design and engineering progressed of, unfortunately, wars and such.  This includes ammunition improvements as well.  Flintlock muskets gave way to bolt actions which gave way to lever actions, and improved auto bolt actions.  The world's military establishments kept rifle technology advancing at a fast pace.

As time rapidly progressed, machine and sub-machine pistol/rifle weaponry came into being.  Rifle bolt actions gave way to the Browning, Garand, Mauser, Maxim, and other actions, semi-auto amp; automatic, fired weaponry.  The true "assault" weapon, as such, was credited, designed, and used by the Germans.  It was a style of gun that could be used as fully or semi automatic.  Assault rifle design progressedeven further with the Kalashnikov and Stoner platforms leading the assault rifle technology.  It only stood to reason and history that these weapons could and would be engineered for civilian use;-- mainly,  target, hunting, and personal use--; in modified redesigned semi-auto use.  [Semi-auto=Weapon fires on each individual pull of the trigger.] 

If you look at the Stoner or Kalashnikov rifle design platforms they are progressively being incorporated in rifle weaponry for the civilian markets for gun uses.  Yes, these new rifles look the military 'assault' versions but that will change with time. 

I have avoided getting into the politics and gun control discussion here.  What happened in Colorado is tragic and heart wrenching.  It makes me angry that it has to spark ignominious gun control debates and inane political wrangling.  The Colorado shootings only tragically prove that there are some holes in the present laws and regulations that are already in place. 

Holmes, the CO shooter, did everything to a point legally when it came to legally purchasing guns and ammunition.  This is borne out by the revealed facts, so far.  However, the internet ordering and delivering/pick-up of inordinate quantities of ammunition or supplies needs to be questioned. 

What can not underst00d is how Holmes feel through the cracks of the mental health system when family indicated he needed psychological help?   Cases like his are happening as we speak but not to the extremes Holmes went to.   This  area is where society should be looking at first before we spark a rampant ill-will gun control debate.  Why must the criminals and the deranged ruin what has been part of American life?

At this point,it should be said what happened in Colorado was tragic and heart-breaking to all of us.  Our hearts and prayers are for the victims' families and all concerned.  It is time for grief, closure, and the healing process to begin.

Yes, it did happen and it appears nothing at the time could have prevented it.  Where we go from here to make sure incidents, like this, are prevented in the future will demonstrate how we as an American family and nation progress in dealing with adversity to our rights.

guairdean
guairdean

Does the author want to ban all guns that can be reclassified as "assault weapons", or only those that don't have the aesthetic appeal that he prefers? There's no functional difference between a hunting rifle and the rifle used in Aurora.

Douglas4517
Douglas4517

You don't "need" anything more than a bow and arrow to hunt. The author's logic is weak and almost nonsensical. What he is saying is that he wants all weapons he doesn't feel he needs banned.  He says, "I own guns — shotguns and rifles — and I hunt quail. I don’t want to give up my guns."

I must presume based on his "need" statement that he has only single shot shotguns and rifles. Because why would he "need" a semi-auto shotgun (or even a pump type? Or even a double-barreled shotgun"?) to hunt quail? And he shouldn't "need" a rifle to hunt quail, the shotgun is the best designed firearm for that purpose.

But think of what the Aurora shooter could have done with  a shotgun. Especially a semi-automatic. Or instead of a homemade tear gas grenade, what if he had made up several explosive devices and deployed them?

derek22
derek22

Remember, criminals will always be able to get their hands on weapons that are illegal or made illegal. The law abiding citizens will not. it does not matter what the government outlaws.  The more law abiding citizens that have guns the less crime.  If you think that this statement is wrong then you are a complete idiot and please leave our country to go somewhere else.

jh1990
jh1990

Hydd you are the only armchair quarterback I see here. Please tell me about all your experience with active shooters. I love when random people with no experience start talking about tactics in a gunfight. The 2nd amendment has nothing to do with hunting or "sporting purposes". It is our last defense against tyranny. 

I bet no one here has heard of these http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2...

http://thenewamerican.com/usne... 

Stopped by people with concealed carry permits. No one ever hears about them. 

No guns involved-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... Deadliest mass murder in a school in American history. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... 87 dead. Lets ban gasoline. 

Automobiles kill 30,000 people a year. Why don't we ban those? 

It is time to stop blaming the tool and look at society. There are prices to pay for being free.   

Alec Sevins
Alec Sevins

The "upshot" of this (pun intended) is that the world is full of evil, selfish, crummy people who either do bad deeds or look the other way while others do. I see a lot of parallels to AGW-denial with this general apathy about so many things.

J.D. Hill
J.D. Hill

Huh.  An essay, by one who *Hunts!* no less, calling for the banning of a type of firearm that looks particularly  dangerous.   Who'da thunk it!

You argument against those who are against "just making it a littel more difficult to get" certain types of firearms is one based in an emotional appeal.  When the law is concerned, emotional appeals are not to be considered, for they fly in the face of the reasoning power of the thinking individual. 

A different tac...

The police are a civilian organization meant to abide by the same rules as the rest of the civilian population, whom they are meant to *serve.*  So if you call for these bans on the civilian populace, you should also, logically speaking, be willing to support the disarmam---I'm sorry, less risky armament, of the police, the SWAT teams...  I mean, there's no need for Them to have a 100 or 150 round magazine either.  And all those police-issued surplus M-16's, M4's and MP5's and the like...  They should be removed and melted down as scrap.  For if the civilian population can't have [correction, has no need to have] fully automatic weapons, then the people who serve and protect those very same people obviously have no need for them either.

I mean, come on....  What if this guy "Joker" had stolen the select fire lower receiver of a military surplus, police force issued patrol rifle?  [Which has happened in the past, with both semi-automatic only and select fire police rifles, as well as other select fire police weaponry, ie: the 10 or 15 select fire MP5's stolen from a CA SWAT tema training armory?]  Cus then this guy could've rolled in rocking and rolling!

But I bet you won't want the police to have "only" 10 rounds, now would you...

derek22
derek22

An AR 15 type rifle is for self defense.  Defense for the home, defense from a tyrannical Government.  Thats the reason why an assault rife is needed.  Just because some idiot uses one to kill innocent people does not mean that they should strip them out of the hands of the american people.  Under the consitution we have the right to defend ourselves.   Even if it is a semi automatic rifle.  If you want to stop crime then have everyone conceal carry and quit putting signs on businesses that say you cant.  There would be very little crime from that point on.   please pray that our politicans and the american people stand up so that our children will be able to live in the best country in the world and live here free.   And this is not a politcal issue, its a right and wrong issue.  If you disarm the people, there is nothing to stand in the way of the government.  If you dont like the constitution then go to a different country and live there. 

Derek

Oklahoma

JZimm09
JZimm09

Eliminate automatic weapons and over-sized clips.  It's not a matter of personal freedom.  It's a matter of saving lives.  How in the world can anybody make the case that their personal freedom is more important than saving lives?  There's no reason why a semi-automatic with a regular clip shouldn't be sufficient to satisfy most paranoia.  

jmp8545
jmp8545

If Mr. (omitted) does not understand the difference between a bolt action hunting rifle and a semi-automatic rifle, he has no business in the discussion. "Organized civilian law enforcement," is opposed to the semi-automatic weapons because we send them out to stop criminals armed with them. However, it will do no good to ban assault rifles because the NRA will l do its best to block enforcement at every level. The outcry over the massacre in Aurora will die away because we don’t care enough to do anything about it. We did not care enough when children were massacred in schools and we don’t care enough about Aurora.