By Ian Graham
The Precedent (Gilbert, Arizona)
In the days following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school shooting, debates over the sale of assault rifles have erupted. These debates, with arguments coming from all levels on the conservative-republican spectrum, are forcing lawmakers to revisit the conversation surrounding gun control and its constitutionality.
Many conservatives will cite the Second Amendment in their argument for less gun control. However, the Second Amendment, a constitutional provision established in the Bill of Rights, was ratified in 1791 during a time when the guns available could only fire one round at a time with a lengthy reloading process (equating to 3 to 4 per minute). It would be another 173 years before the first assault rifle was introduced in America, and in 2018, semiautomatic weapons now have the capacity to theoretically fire 120-180 rounds per minute.
It is hard to justify this sort of weaponry in the modern era using the words of our founding fathers, which were written under many different circumstances. The Constitution was intended to be flexible and amendable with due process, so those swearing by these words are blind to the fact that modern assault rifles were not actually founding-father endorsed.
With this in mind, it is important to assert that the request is not for a gun ban, but instead for more control over the accessibility and availability of firearms.
Semi-automatic weapons like the ones used in Parkland and Las Vegas have no reason to be in the hands of citizens, mentally stable or not. Some may cite their necessity in the practice of hunting, yet fail to consider the many people who were able to successfully feed or entertain themselves with less profound guns in the past centuries. Perhaps these guns were created for more trivial purposes, but, like an intentionally-introduced invasive species gone rogue, the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons has instigated too much bloodshed and massacre in America to overlook.
In these crucial coming months, policymakers across the country must consider the lives that would be spared by barring the sale of assault rifles over the hurt feelings or pride of gun owners.
Of course, there are many Americans that peacefully own these weapons. However, the level of practicality in owning a rapid-fire arm does not measure up to the value of a human life.
Of course, there are several factors that lead to a mass shooting apart from the gun itself, such as mental health. However, the natural fragility of the human mind is complex and unlikely to be resolved soon. As we continue to search for ways to help the mentally ill in the long-term, we can try to prevent mass shootings starting now by banning the assault rifles that make them drastically more plausible.
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