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Semi-automatic Weapon Debate 

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    David Hogg tweeted out about gun control and said, “Imagine saying the only way to stop shark attacks is with more sharks.” Conservative Ben Shapiro then hit David Hogg with a blow tweeting back, “A good way to stop a shark attack is with a gun.” The controversy over gun control in the United States has fueled up in recent years. Mostly because of the mass shootings that have occurred in Orlando, San Bernardino, Las Vegas, etc. Democrats have argued for stricter background checks on sales of guns and even proposed to ban semi-automatic weapons. This seems to be their solution to stop the mass shooting epidemic. While Republicans have fired back and claimed that taking away Americans’ guns is a violation of our Second Amendment and that background checks wouldn’t prevent criminals from possessing firearms.

    If no proposal or solution is made between both parties, nothing will change. The friction of the parties and people will only cause more chaos and eventually engulf into flames. I’m here to tell you that gun control, such as a ban on the Colt AR-15 (semi-automatic weapon) or strict federal background check laws, would not work for America today or tomorrow. Ultimately, the ban of semi-automatic rifles would be a violation of the Constitution. The United States has already had an assault weapons ban, but studies show that the ban had no effect on reducing gun violence. And finally, if the ban wasn’t ruled into law, and the US Government were to have strict background checks, the background checks wouldn’t prevent guns from getting into the hands of criminals.

    Ultimately, the ban of semi-automatic weapons would be unconstitutional. We as people of the United States have a “Fundamental Right” to own semi-automatic weapons. As James Madison, one of the writers of the Constitution wrote in the Second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” According to the Constitution, we as Americans have a Fundamental Right to keep and bear arms. You may ask, “How fundamental is our right to bear arms?” In 2011, Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote to the dissenting opinion of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, “A ban on a class of arms is not an ‘incidental regulation.’ It is equivalent to a ban on a category of speech.” The Second Amendment also asserts that our right “to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” What does infringed mean exactly?

    According to Webster’s dictionary, it is defined as “to break, to destroy or hinder. To act so as to limit or undermine something. To encroach on.” The writers of our Constitution knew very well and had experienced second hand the effects of Government encroachment on their rights in Europe. The reason the Pilgrims had come to America was so that they could do away with government regulation and have more freedom. Yes, there are weapons that should not be in the hands of any individual. Such as machine guns, RPGS, nuclear weapons, etc. And yes the writers of our constitution probably didn’t vision the modern technology of today, but any logical and reasonable person would know our founding fathers probably wouldn’t want RPGS and Nuclear weapons in the hands of any individual. Rifles are an exception.

    An AR-15 is a rifle. Like in 1785, rifles existed. A ban of them would be a violation and a rebellion against both our Constitution and the ones who wrote it. An encroachment on our rights, to destroy a Fundamental Right we the people have, and we agree to this would be giving up our own liberty for a little security. Benjamin Franklin once wisely stated, “People willing to trade their freedom for security will receive neither.” The United States has already had an assault weapons ban, which should have really been called a “semi-automatic weapons ban” This is because Automatic firearms (assault weapons) have been severely restricted from civilian ownership since 1934. Going back to the ban, studies show that the ban had no evidence of reducing gun violence.

    In 1994, an assault weapons ban (semi-automatic weapons ban) was written by Former President Bill Clinton. This ban started in 1994 and expired in 2004. Many have questioned the ban and wondered, Did it really work? Wayne LaPierre (chief executive officer of the NRA) claimed to a Senate committee, “the ban had no impact on lowering crime.” The claim flooded with controversy. Studies showed that “the effects of the ban were still unfolding” and that “it was too early to make definitive assessments of the gun’s impact on gun violence.” (With semi-automatic weapons) The final report summarized the ban as mixed. It said that the ban was “too premature” to make any claim that the ban had reduced crime with semi-automatic weapons. But LaPierre, while testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee, argued that it had “independent studies, including one from the Clinton Justice Department, proving that it had no impact on lowering crime.” Which is true, the Clinton Justice Department had assessed it in that way. Another study reported to the United States Department of Justice, written by Professor Christopher S. Koper at the University of Pennsylvania, and by Jeffrey A.

    Roth in 1997 said its analysis “failed to produce evidence of a post-ban reduction in the average number of gunshot wounds per case or in the proportion of cases involving multiple wounds.” Koper and Roth had then concluded that “the ban had not made a discernible impact on gun crime during the years it was in effect.” Even if semi-automatic rifles were not banned and the United States Government were to require strict background checks throughout the country on all sales of these rifles and/or all guns, the background checks wouldn’t prevent criminals from obtaining these weapons. The Federal Government released a report called “Firearm Use By Offenders.” According to this report, roughly 40 percent of all guns used in crimes are purchased in the black market. These are either stolen guns, guns that have been recycled, or ones that were built illegally. Such as a kit gun. In 2016, Former President Obama had argued at a CNN meeting that background checks would have “a direct impact” He also mentioned that “requiring more background checks is not as much as the checks but the records they leave behind.” Focusing on this argument he concluded that the records could help us figure out those who had purchased these weapons and sold them for a quick buck.

    But a recent study of 99 inmates in Cook County, Illinois showed that these inmates obtained their guns from either their family or friends who had purchased them most likely passed a background check. Another survey in the early 1980s asked 1900 incarcerated felons in 10 different states where they had received their most recent firearm. A little over 70 percent of the felons claimed they had acquired these firearms by either stealing or from another person that had stolen it previously. Criminals don’t usually purchase firearms at gun shows, the data clearly shows criminals obtain firearms by either being given them from family or friends or stealing them. After a mass shooting, many gun control advocates point to Australia and ask our people why our country (The US) can’t be like them.

    Why can’t we do away with guns like Australia has? Former President Barack Obama even praised Australia’s ban and said they are an example for the United States, that we should do something similar or the same. However, this idea is inadequate because you have to look at the data of Australia’s murder rate with guns, see if the ban worked, and then do a study on whether the same ban would work for the United States. For the record, homicides did drop when Australia made the ban in 1996. And they have continued to drop steadily. However, according to the data conducted by Australia’s Institute of Criminology, both overall and firearm homicides were already dropping by the late 80s and early 90s. As of 2014, Guardian performed a study where they found Australia’s Homicide rate with guns had dropped to around 1 out of 100,000 people after the ban. While in 1989, before the 1996 ban, the rate was 1.9 out of 100,000 people.

    They found that the fewer guns Australian citizens had, the fewer deaths they had. The same study was performed by the Guardian in the United States. They found that gun violence had run more rapid 30 years ago compared to today. The also found that the homicide rate tended to plummet at the same time the number guns circulated in the US rose dramatically. The US has less violence with more guns, and Australia had more violence with more guns. Meaning that the ban on semi-automatic weapons, other guns, such as handguns, shotguns, etc, and the restrictions Australia has placed would not work for the US. Then what can we do to lower gun violence with semi-automatic weapons? What can we do besides ban them? A study in 2013 by the Alliance for Excellent Education shows that the nation would “save $18.5 billion in annual crime costs if the high school male graduation rate increased by only 5 percentage points.” Bob Wise, the President of Alliance for Excellent Education, said that we need to have our focus on getting students interested in learning.

    To help them graduate highschool and set them up for success. The president also said that “dropping out of school does not automatically result in a life of crime, but high school dropouts are far more likely than high school graduates to be arrested or incarcerated.” A study performed by Matthew Lynch, editor of The Advocate and the Tech Advocate, said that over 80 percent of those in jail or prison are high school dropouts. Another study by Berkeley University says that one more year of education would decrease the likelihood of conviction by 6.7% and incarceration by 15.5%. The average age of a high school dropout is around 16 to 17 years old. If that 16-year-old were to graduate high school, they would have a 31% bigger chance of not going to jail and becoming a criminal. The ban of semi-automatic rifles (such as Colt AR-15) or strict federal background check laws on the sales of these weapons/all weapons would not work for America.

    The data provided has clearly shown that such things are not the answer to putting a halt to the mass shooting epidemic with the AR-15 or any other semi-automatic rifles. The arguing of both parties clearly hasn’t done anything to control this fiery problem. If we as a country were to have both parties, Democrat and Republican, work together to improve our education system, to increase the high school graduation rate, to get students engaged and to want to learn, not only would it set students up for future success, but it would lower the chances of a student becoming a criminal and possibly becoming the next mass shooter.

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