EDITORIAL: Second Amendment, Ban on AR 15’s Can Coexist
(APN) ATLANTA — From Columbine, Colorado – to Orlando, Florida, the frequency of massacres in the United States is increasing and the death toll is rising.
People are beginning to wake up and question the ridiculous and extreme gun policies that allow the purchase of assault weapons that are made for war.
You know the country has a gun problem when a U.S. citizen, Omar Mateen, can be investigated by the FBI and yet he still can buy assault weapons.
Mateen used a Sig Sauer AR 15 style assault rifle and a Glock handgun when he walked into Pulse–a gay nightclub where people were dancing and having a good time–and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.
The AR 15 is the same type of military style assault weapon used in other mass murders because it can shoot multiple rounds. It belongs in the hands of the military, not citizens.
The Second Amendment provides for the right to keep and bear arms. The fact that this is the Second Amendment–a freedom only second to speech, religion, assembly–shows how very important this right was to the Framers, who, after all, used guns to win Independence from an oppressive colonial regime.
The Supreme Court of the U.S. has upheld the Second Amendment time and time again, strongly protecting citizens’ rights to have a gun in their home.
However, these AR 15s are weapons of mass destruction that can pump out rounds of bullets so fast, that Mateen was able to kill and injure a hundred people in just minutes, with devastating mass carnage in only seconds.
So, even though the Second Amendment is just as important today as it was 200 years ago, we’re not talking about the same types of weapons. AR 15’s did not exist then.
If we’re gonna let people have AR 15s, why don’t we just let people buy nuclear weapons to have around the house?
The reasons given for these recurring public massacres are many – from feeling of mistreatment, bullying, prejudice, intolerance, hatred, revenge, homophobia, xenophobia, racism – the list is long.
Many people in the U.S. have been hoodwinked by the National Rifle Association and pro gun lobbying groups into believing that gun reform around access to AR 15’s and similar weapons would violate their Second Amendment rights.
But that’s simply not true, says the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
We need to find a middle ground. We must protect the Second Amendment, while allowing for common sense gun policies will bring an end to these massacres.
In the South, you have extremist pro-gun lobby groups screaming hysterically, “They [especially Obama!] are trying to take our guns away,” at the slightest hint of reform.
It is reasonable to worry about a slippery slope where one reform leads to another–and we are concerned about that too–however, it is highly unlikely with the Second Amendment in place and the NRA as powerful as ever.
Nobody is trying to take away your hunting rifle or grandma’s pistol – only military assault weapons that you don’t need to kill “Bambi” or protect your home or yourself.
There may be a darker and more sinister reason for the lax gun laws in the South. Georgia is the number one state for illegal gun trafficking to other states and that is a big money maker for the gun runners.
Over six thousand people have been killed in the U.S. so far in 2016, according to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive.
The U.S. has more weapons and firearms than any country in the world and more gun violence than any other place in the world.
The division and violence only gets worse with Presidential candidate Donald Trump demonizing all Muslims when only .01 percent of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world engage in violence.
Don’t fall into Trump’s racist pitt of Islamophobia, xenophobia, or any other type of phobia that blames an entire group for the actions of a few.
Christians also have their religious extremists, remember Charleston and the Birmingham church bombings in the 60’s. All religions have their extremist elements that hate anyone or anything that is different from their narrow belief system.
Enough of politicians like Trump inciting violence and radical pro-gun politicians in Congress. Enough of state governments refusing to pass even the most minimal, conservative gun reforms to protect citizens.
Last year State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) and other Democrats tried to pass an assault weapons ban, HB 731, but it didn’t get out of the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.
Because the “good old boys” down at the State Capitol only respond to Georgia Carry, not Georgia citizens, instead the Legislature passed the “Guns Everywhere Bills, HB 60 and HB 875, even though citizens turned out in droves to oppose it.
When the Legislature reconvenes in 2017, we must make Rep. Oliver’s bill a priority.
Our lives are at stake.