There are many places we go to every day, such as the movies, schools, or nightclubs. These are places we should feel safe in, without fearing for our lives. However, that has happened to people who were in the wrong place, at the wrong time. From the shootings of the Aurora Movie Theater to the Sandy Hook Elementary School to the recent mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub, all of these events have had countless deaths and in all of these cases, the shooters used assault rifles.
In the past 10 years, assault rifles have been used in 14 public mass shootings in the United States.1 Because of the more recent and frequent mass shootings, a ban on assault rifles in the Unites States should be proposed in Congress. This can be supported by how the evolution of arms has made the Second Amendment of the Constitution outdated, the accessibility of purchasing a semi-automatic weapon, and the increase of violence in America.
The Second amendment, ratified in 1791, states, “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”.
When this Amendment was written, our country was in the aftermath of a Revolutionary War, which made sense then to allow citizens to possess weapons if the government needed to create citizen militias. Now, in the present day, we have a strong local and state police and military. Another reasoning the second amendment is outdated is that the founding father’s who wrote the amendment couldn’t possibly foresee how rapidly firearms have evolved.
The most common gun used in the 1700’s was the flintlock musket, which loaded a single shot at a time and had a short range and low accuracy. The most commonly used assault rifle today is the AR-15, which has a large magazine, making it able to fire many bullets in one round and has long range.
Because of the 2nd Amendments right to arms, it’s fairly easy to obtain a weapon. For example, to purchase an assault rifle in Delaware, you only have to be 18 years old. The buyer must also submit to a criminal background check. However, most states don’t require background checks or showing ID for firearms purchased at gun shows or from a private seller.1 And in Delaware, the state does not require a license for sale of ammunition or a record of ammo purchased. In 1994, President Clinton signed an “assault weapons ban”, but the ban expired in 2004 and wasn’t renewed?. If a ban was currently in place, mass shooters would still most likely produce casualties. But, the firing rate of a handgun is less than an AR-15, and doesn’t have the magazine capacity compared to an assault rifle. This makes it more difficult to produce as many casualties.
Along with the fact that rifles and other firearms are easily accessible, another reason on why assault rifles should be banned is because of how violence in our society has become more prominent. In recent FBI 2015 statistics, it’s shown that overall violent crime rose by 3.9 percent, and murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased 10.8 percent. Along with real life violence, violence in media has also become something that is normal in today’s society. A 2002 report by the US Secret Service showed that in the 37 incidents of targeted school shootings and attacks from 1974 to 2000, over half of the attackers demonstrated some interest in violence through movies, video games, books, and other media.
While the recent mass shootings still might not have been prevented if the perpetrators couldn’t obtain an assault rifle, with a ban or reform on assault weapon purchases, it could be possible that it would be harder to kill so many people in a short amount of time. With a ban or reform on assault weapon purchases, we could start a change in the amount of violence that occurs in the United States. And with a ban or reform on assault weapon purchases, it might make it safer for American citizens to go out and dance at a nightclub, go to college, or watch a movie without the fear of their lives being senselessly taken away.