To Ban or Not to Ban Assault Weapons?
That is the Ultimate Question…
1966, twenty-five year old Charles Joseph Whitman climbed to the top of the clock tower in Austin and killed sixteen and injured thirty innocent students at the University of Texas. 1991, George Hennard, thirty-five, drove up to the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas and opened fire on forty innocent patrons. Twenty-three of Hennard’s shots were fatal. 1999, citizens in the small Colorado County of Douglas were mortified after witnessing the massacre of thirteen students at Columbine High School at the hands of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech was forever ...view middle of the document...
This leads to the first argument to be discussed, the argument against the ban of assault weapons within the United States. Opponents of this band rely heavily on the idea that many of the massacres that were discussed earlier in this text did not involve assault weapons; instead they were carried out through the use of handguns rather than rifles or shotguns (The Editors). In fact, it is evident that even Congress is struggling with the definition of assault weapon; in the past an assault weapon was described as having at least two or more of the following list: Pistol grip, forward Grip, removable or bendable stock, grenade launcher, barrel shroud, or threaded barrel, along with others (Hartmann). Hartmann of the New York News and Features stated, “Though the new legislation lays out the features of an assault weapon, figuring out if a particular weapon is banned is even more complicated. The bill prohibits 150 specific guns, and excludes 2,250 firearms used for hunting or other sport.” Staunch anti-gun control advocates argue that is hard to ignore that James Holmes, the infamous Batman Shooter who took four guns into the movie theatres the night he opened fire would still have had access to at least two of the guns that he used (Nwanevu). However, though the argument of banning assault weapons builds primarily around the idea that not only are assault rifles often times not used in mass killings and that the classification of assault weapons would prove to be very hard under the new Congressional bill, but their argument is also based upon the idea the assault weapon band of 1994 was found to be inconclusive (Lee).
Numerous studies were conducted regarding the effectiveness of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. A particular study by Roth and Koper of the Department of Justice revealed that there were little if any difference in number of murder due to the fact that the banned weapons and magazines were rarely if ever involved in gun related murders (Lee). Anti-gun control advocates argue that if the ban of 1994 did little to influence the safety of the American citizens, how would a ban in 2013 prove to be different. This brings me to my final point used by those that are against the proposed 2013 ban of assault weapons.
The final argument evoked by anti-gun restrictions is that the legislature would be much more successful in reducing crime by better enforcing the laws that are in place as of today rather than implementing new ones. More specifically, many argue that gun background checks should be more stringent, and that people who fail gun background checks are accordingly prosecuted by their respective states. In a recent Congressional hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham stated that the most recent DOJ statistics revealed that of the nearly eighty-thousand people that failed background checks, only forty-four of them were persecuted (McKelway). Proponents of this idea argue that enforcement would be a more effective avenue in comparison to...