OPINION – Do you get it yet?
Do you understand that it’s time that we finally do something about the laws that allow anybody with a fistful of money to purchase these things that we call assault weapons?
Look at the words: assault weapons.
Study the words: assault weapons.
Understand the words: assault weapons.
According to police reports, an assault weapon was used in what has turned out to be the worst mass shooting in the nation’s history when a gunman in an act of what is being termed as “domestic terrorism” walked into a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning and killed at least 50 people and wounded another 50-plus.
They are called assault weapons for a reason.
Look up the definition. Never mind, here, I did it for you. An assault weapon is a “weapon designed for use in warfare, especially when used in noncombat situations such as terrorism.”
Go ahead, argue that some people use them for varmint control in rural areas. Argue that some people collect them.
Give me your interpretation of the Second Amendment, go ahead.
You will never convince me that the 100-plus lives forever ended or changed are less important than your right to play cowboy.
Look, as I have often said, I understand the right to own weapons.
But, I also understand that some of those weapons have no purpose other than to kill people.
The AR-15 that was used in this tragedy is a very common, very popular weapon.
It is a civilian version of the military’s M-16.
It was also the weapon of choice used in deadly attacks in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook and elsewhere.
Now, sadly, in Orlando.
So, again, we mourn the dead, shake our heads at the tragedy that has become humanity, then, in a week or so, move on as if nothing has happened, as if those lives don’t matter.
Until the next time.
Then, we will go through our faux mourning once again, talk about how tragic it all is, how fragile life is, how terrible this all is but do nothing to change it.
There will be some who argue that if somebody in that Orlando nightclub had a gun, perhaps some lives would have been spared.
There was a guy with a gun at the club, a policeman who encountered the shooter and got into a shootout with him before he entered. He couldn’t stop him. It took the cops hours to finally take this guy down.
There will be a lot made of the shooter’s Middle East heritage, how it was an act of domestic terrorism.
Look, any assault is an act of domestic terrorism, whether the shooter is from Afghanistan or Albuquerque.
The only thing certain about today’s tragedy is that it will benefit the weapon manufacturers as the gun people rush to the stores and load up on even more guns and ammo because “Obama’s gonna take away muh guns!”
No he isn’t.
Obama doesn’t want your guns. He has had more than seven years to do so if he wished. But, Obama, like most reasonable people, believes there should be stricter controls on exactly who owns weapons, how they are purchased and why.
Reasonable people understand these things.
Responsible gun owners understand these things.
Responsible gun owners also understand that carrying a weapon does not guarantee that events such as this will never occur.
This is a tragedy on so many levels.
It is a horrific reminder that we desperately need gun reform in the United States.
It is a horrific reminder that domestic terrorism is now a fact of life in the United States.
It is a horrific reminder that whether this was a jihadist act or some whacko with a gun, this was also a hate crime, targeting an already heavily discriminated-against segment of our society – the gay community.
It is a horrific reminder that guns and violence do nothing but promote more guns and violence and that if you armed the entire citizenry, even the possibility of encountering somebody with a gun would not prevent such carnage.
It did not stop the shooters at Virginia Tech, Virginia (32 dead), Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut (27 dead), Killeen, Texas (23 dead), San Ysidro, California (21 dead), Austin, Texas (18 dead), San Bernardino, California (14 dead), Edmond, Oklahoma (14 dead), Ft. Hood, Texas (13 dead), Binghampton, New York (13 dead), Columbine High School, Colorado (13 dead), Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (13 dead), Camden, New Jersey (13 dead), Washington Navy Yard (12 dead), Aurora, Colorado (12 dead), Atlanta, Georgia (12 dead), southern Alabama (10 dead), Roseburg, Oregon (9 dead), Charleston, South Carolina (9 dead), Red Lake, Minnesota (9 dead), Waddell, Arizona (9 dead), Jacksonville, Florida (8 dead), Seal Beach, California (8 dead), Manchester, Connecticut (8 dead), Appomattox, Virginia (8 dead), Carthage, North Carolina (8 dead), Omaha, Nebraska (8 dead), San Francisco, California (8 dead) or Louisville, Kentucky (8 dead).
No place is safe. These shootings have occurred in movie theaters, on military bases, on our streets, in our schools, in places where we gather and normally expect a certain degree of safety.
This has got to stop.
Is it sensible or feasible to try to collect all of the weapons currently on the street?
Of course not.
Is that something that would be practical and within the guarantees of the Second Amendment?
Of course not.
But, the Second Amendment was not created to allow weapons with no other intent than to kill human beings to be put into the hands of lunatics who do just that.
The Second Amendment does not usurp our right to an expectation of living in safety and comfort.
The Second Amendment does not mean we should be free to walk the streets like Old West gunslingers.
Look, you may have a right to own a weapon, but your right to own a weapon is not greater than my right to be protected from you and your weapon.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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