Simple Solution, Rough Process: Gun Control in America

Did you know that the last significant gun law passed was the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994? This ban aimed to take semi-automatic firearms out of the hands of civilians for ten years. After the ban expired in September of 2004, many movements have been made to renew the ban but no bill has ever made it to the floor for a vote. Since 1994 there have been numerous mass shootings such as the Columbine incident in 1999, the Virginia Tech shooting of 2007 and most recently the Newtown shooting this past year. Several such incidents have taken place but these specific ones seem to ring in citizens’ minds the most. The idea behind the ban was to take what some call “unnecessary” guns off of the streets. For the following ten years, no new assault weapons were sold to citizens; but what about the ones that citizens already legally owned? Nothing happened to those, they have stayed in the possession of the citizens.

My question is why did the ban span a tenure of only ten years? If the goal was to eliminate citizens’ ability to buy assault weapons, what would prevent them from buying one after the ban expired? People often refer to these weapons as “unnecessary” because they are unnecessary. In what circumstances would one need to fire off multiple rounds at a time? In response to the self-defense argument, why wouldn’t a simple handgun do the trick? There are safe guns; there is a difference between having a gun for self-protection and having one to kill people. The issue is not that the second amendment, which protects “the right of people to keep and bear arms”, is archaic. The true argument is that it needs to be adjusted.

The argument that all citizens must be allowed access to all weapons, because it’s “constitutional” is redundant. Many alterations have been made to federal laws because of changes in culture. It is about time gun control is one of those adjustments. House Representatives seem to be afraid to make a move in fear of disappointing their constituents. However, this ban is about protecting American lives. Whenever an American is killed overseas it is seen as a true tragedy, but when an American kills another American, it is handled in a different light. Although the motives might be different in the two situations, what’s similar is that lives are being lost . In the latter situation, tragedies are preventable only if the government takes responsibility and commits to gun control.

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