|Does Anyone Really Need a Hello Kitty Assault Rifle?|
So, some 230-odd years ago, the framers of the U.S. Constitution added an amendment that allowed U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. All well and good, when those arms were single-shot muskets and hand-loaded pistols that required powder and lead pellets. They had no idea that one day we would have rapid-fire guns capable of shooting dozens, if not hundreds, of rounds of ammunition in the blink of an eye.
The NRA and the gun lobbyists both extol and hide behind the Second Amendment as an excuse for gun manufacturers to grow rich on the blood of innocent people. Guns, rifles and assault weapons kill thousands of Americans each year. Children in inner-city neighborhoods are more than three times as likely to be shot in cross-fire incidents. African American youths are shooting one another in record numbers. Philadelphia and Chicago are currently experiencing their highest gun-related murders in their history. It makes me sick to think about it.
James Holmes legally bought four assault weapons and 15 pounds of ammunition, which he used to injure and/or kill 71 innocent people who were out for what they thought was an evening's entertainment. There are those who say "Well, if he didn't have the guns, he would have made bombs and killed even more people." Maybe. But he did have guns. And easy access to them. And even easier access to ammunition. All purchased legally. What the hell?
Now, I'm not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to own firearms. There are plenty of hunters and target shooters who don't go around killing people. And most hunters and target shooters don't use rapid-fire automatic weapons. But maybe - just maybe - if was a little more difficult to obtain such weapons, there might be fewer murders, attacks and cross-fire shootings. And while I won't go into the whole Freudian concept of guns as penis-extensions, I do have to surmise that the ease with which Americans can purchase guns certainly adds to the number of gun-related murders. Honestly, who needs an AK-47 to take down a deer? Where's the 'sport' in that? Of course, there are those who think they need to own a gun in order to protect themselves from criminals. Possibly. But statistically, those folks are more likely to have their own weapons used against them in an assault.
Here's the thing: If we make it harder for criminals and lunatics to own guns, we just might be able to decrease the number of gun-related murders. Write to your representatives. Tell them to ban assault weapons for non-military personnel. Tell them to make it more difficult to own a gun and ask them to provide tougher penalties for those who use guns while committing a crime. This madness has to be stopped.