Regulations on assault rifles are necessary to keep the people of the United States safe and ensure their welfare. From the outset of the United States, guns have been a heated topic to argue. They have the power to take away life in an instant, especially with assault weapons, yet are distributed around the world to not just military personnel but citizens too. They are extremely dangerous and as such, should be regulated. This is because previous bans and regulations have shown success, that development in technology calls for new action, and because the second amendment protecting assault weapons was not made for our time.
Previous bans and regulations set to regulate assault weapons have shown significant results such as reduced violence, deaths, and shootings directly linking to them. In an opinion on the New York Times by Joe Biden, he said assault weapons are a threat to national security, and the 1994 assault weapons ban “made our nation demonstrably more secure,”(Biden, 2). This is a major statement because Joe Biden worked with Dianne Feinstein to make the ban. In Louis Klarevas’s book, Rampage Nation, he details his research showing that during the ban, mass shootings dropped to 12 incidents, then the ten years after the ban (2004-2014), this shot up to 34 incidents, (Klarevas, 7). This exemplifies the need to regulate assault weapons because it shows how the U.S. people are in more danger without regulations. To give an idea of why these guns were banned in the first place, according to The Economist semi-automatic weapons can fire from 45 to 60 bullets per minute, whereas automatic weapons can fire 400-800 bullets per minute (The Economist, 11). This shows the need and causes to have banned assault weapons in the past because weapons like this have no logical use in society today. This is because no one will ever need to fire 400 to 800 bullets per minute to defend themselves. All in all, previous bans and regulations have shown results.
New technological developments such as bump stocks and semi-automatic/automatic weapons have been created over time, which are all more dangerous than previous creations, and call to impose more regulations on these parts. In an article published by Scientific American it states, “If a shooter uses a semiautomatic rifle instead of another type of gun, it appears to roughly double the chances of victims being wounded and killed,”(Maron, 8). This shows the danger of these guns and the need to impose more regulations on these weapons by showing the statistics proving newer guns are more dangerous than older guns. In a youtube video made by ABC News Australia, Former Army Ranger Frankie McRae shows how a bump stock works by attaching it to a semi-automatic weapon and firing it at full speed. The results are astounding, as you see a semi-automatic weapon turned into an automatic weapon firing much faster and more bullets per second, leaving the potential for more lost lives (ABC News, 1). This supports the claim that, because of new technology, new regulations should be imposed because it shows how dangerous this new technology is when combined with these weapons. In an article written by Martin Kaste, an author for the National Public Radio, it states, “Bump stocks are mostly a novelty, used by people who want to experience firing a gun at machine-gun speeds. But in 2017, a gunman used bump stocks to fire into a crowd in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds. The incident caused the administration to reexamine the legality of the devices, and in December it announced the ban,” (Kaste, 6). This shows how dangerous these simple devices are and how the only thing Americans would be giving up by regulating assault rifles would be an experience many don’t have anyway, and as such, we should make regulations for them.
Some may argue the amendments are set in stone and should never be changed, and guns of all types should never be regulated or banned. In an article published by National Review, it references the drop in gun-related deaths and shootings following the 1994 assault weapons ban saying, “Trying to detect a pattern in data like this, and then attributing the pattern to a single law change that covered the entire country for a ten-year period, is madness,” (VerBruggen, 12). This article tries to sell the idea that it was a coincidence this ban matched the drop in gun-related deaths and shootings. This could be true, however, the fact that before and after the ban, gun-related deaths and shootings were higher than during the ban, this statement seems unreasonable. In an article written by David French, a conservative author for the National Review, he argues that assault weapons bans go too far, saying, “… I understand that AR-15s or similar weapons have been used in a number of recent attacks, but when we slow down… and look at actual gun crime, the logic for banning the kind of weapon that millions of Americans use for entirely lawful purposes (including self-defense) starts to disappear,”(French, 5). This is a good point, however, he disregards the shootings assault weapons are involved in as a side effect of not having a ban, as well as disregards assault weapons suicides, saying “an assault-weapons ban is irrelevant to suicide deaths,”(French, 5) and then creates an argument that is circumstantial and regards from which perspective the issue is viewed by.
The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution was established in 1791 and today is a brick wall for assault weapon bans, but is outdated and doesn’t provide adequate protection to U.S. citizens with modern threats. The second amendment of the U.S. Constitution 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,”(Amendment 2, 10). This was the amendment that protected, at the time of its passing, SINGLE SHOT MUSKETS. Since this time, however, guns have developed into assault weapons capable of injuring many more people a lot faster than muskets, and since guns have developed, so should the second amendment. In an article regarding the second amendment, Chad Brooks emphasized the need to change the second amendment by analyzing the time period it was passed in; a time directly after England’s tyrannical government was overthrown, (Brooks, 3). This shows the need to change the second amendment because it shows it was originally created to withstand an oppressive government, not to defend a recreational activity and the so-called ‘self-defense’ they are used for. In an article published by The Weekly Sift, a political cartoon depicts the founding fathers coming to the logical conclusion that if technology advances past muskets the second amendment should be changed, followed by an explanation, “We argue so vociferously about the meaning of the Second Amendment because it doesn’t really mean anything any more. We should replace it with a new amendment protecting freedoms that matter to us today,” (Muder, 9). This shows why the second amendment should be changed to allow assault weapons regulations and bans because it shows how the second amendment was made to fit the time, and we should follow this. These weapons are more of a danger than they are a protection.
In closing, the truth is that assault weapons are a danger to the people of the U.S.A and our future generations as technology advances. As such these dangerous weapons should be regulated because regulations have been proven to work in the past, that technology is developing fast, and that the only thing protecting the ownership of these guns is outdated. All in all, assault weapons should be regulated.
- ABC News, Australia. “How Does a Bump Stock Work? .” YouTube, ABC News, 5 Oct. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCx1rgxXVKA.
- Biden, Joe. “Joe Biden: Banning Assault Weapons Works.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/08/11/opinion/joe-biden-ban-assault-weapons.html.
- Brooks, Chad. “The Second Amendment & the Right to Bear Arms.” LiveScience, LiveScience, 28 June 2017, https://www.livescience.com/26485-second-amendment.html
- Donohue, John, and Theodora Boulouta. “That Assault Weapon Ban? It Really Did Work.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 4 Sept. 2019, www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/opinion/assault-weapon-ban.html.
- French, David. “Three Simple Reasons Why an Assault-Weapons Ban Is Bad Policy.” National Review, National Review, 28 Mar. 2018, www.nationalreview.com/corner/assault-weapons-ban-bad-policy-arguments-against/.
- Kaste, Martin. “Bump Stocks Will Soon Be Illegal, But That’s Not Stopping Sales.” NPR, NPR, 4 Feb. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/02/04/691287471/bump-stocks-will-soon-be-illegal-but-thats-not-slowing-sales.
- Klarevas, Louis. Rampage Nation: Securing America from Mass Shootings. Prometheus Books, 2016.
- Maron, Dina Fine. “Data Confirm Semiautomatic Rifles Linked to More Deaths, Injuries.” Scientific American, Scientific American, 11 Sept. 2018, www.scientificamerican.com/article/data-confirm-semiautomatic-rifles-linked-to-more-deaths-injuries/.
- Muder, Doug. “How Should We Rewrite the Second Amendment?” The Weekly Sift, 26 Aug. 2019, weeklysift.com/2019/08/19/how-should-we-rewrite-the-second-amendment/.
- ‘The Constitution of the United States,’ Amendment 2.
- The Economist. “The ‘Bump Stocks’ Used in the Las Vegas Shooting May Soon Be Banned.” The Economist, The Economist Newspaper, 6 Oct. 2017, www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/10/06/the-bump-stocks-used-in-the-las-vegas-shooting-may-soon-be-banned.
- VerBruggen, Robert. “Joe Biden Is Wrong. There Is No Compelling Evidence That Assault-Weapon Bans Work.” National Review, National Review, 12 Aug. 2019, www.nationalreview.com/corner/joe-biden-is-wrong-there-is-no-compelling-evidence-that-assault-weapon-bans-work/.