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Op-Ed: National Assault Weapons Ban Renewal Long Overdue

Colorado shootings more evidence for the need to ban assault weapons nationwide. Weigh in on the debate.

In many states, there is no limit on the number of guns, nor on the amount of ammunition, one can buy.

In New Jersey, however, you cannot purchase more than one gun each month and assault weapons are banned.

The state ranked second behind California on the national scorecard of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. According to the campaign, the six states with the toughest gun laws also had the lowest gun death rates in the nation last year.

Now that makes sense, doesn’t it?

Including Friday’s mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater that claimed the lives of a dozen people and wounded 70, including a 23-year-old Sussex County woman, 20 people have been killed and 95 wounded in 22 days.

A timeline by the Los Angeles Times of the deadliest mass shootings (at least five deaths) in the country shows that since the repeal of the assault weapons ban, 122 people have been killed in such shootings. The list includes the shootings at Fort Hood and in Binghamton, N.Y. The two 2009 shootings resulted in the deaths of 13, as well as the 2007 rampage at Virginia Tech, where a student slaughtered 32.

While it is unclear what drove James Holmes to allegedly open fire in a crowded movie theater early Friday morning at the opening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., it is abundantly clear that he was able to do so much damage because he used a semi-automatic assault rifle, among other weapons. News reports indicate Holmes allegedly bought four guns and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the last two months.

He bought all that firepower legally.

Variants of one of the weapons Holmes allegedly used in the attack, an AR-15 rifle, was included in a federal ban on assault weapons enacted by former President Bill Clinton in 1994. However, the ban expired in 2004 and was not re-enacted.

Why does the average citizen need a semi-automatic weapon?

These reportedly can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute. Why does anyone, except a police or military officer, need to shoot so many bullets so quickly?

Hunters argue they should be able to own guns in order to shoot at wild game.

Citizens argue they should be able to own a gun in order to shoot wild robbers who might break into their homes.

The National Rifle Association argues everyone should be able to own a gun because the Constitution says so.

The Constitution also says people have the right to assemble peacefully, but there are rules for protests and police were able to disperse Occupy Wall Street protesters in cities like New York for alleged unsanitary and hazardous conditions.

The Constitution also says Americans have free speech, but that doesn’t give one the right to slander another, or, as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. wrote, to falsely shout fire in a crowded theater and create a panic.

Yet, thanks to the demands of the NRA, the Constitution gave James Holmes the right to buy as many guns and as much ammo as he wanted. So armed, Holmes caused true panic when he brought his weapons into a crowded theater and opened fire, stealing the life from 12 people, the youngest a beautiful 6-year-old little girl.

Longer ago, and not so far away from Aurora, two students murdered a dozen others plus a teacher and wounded 24 others at Columbine High School.

These shooters always seem to exhibit either serious mental illness or psychopathy or rage or all of these. That won’t stop. But perhaps if such deadly weapons were not so readily available, there would be fewer victims.

William Mays July 31, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Inb4 Republicans say someone with gun could have stopped him.
scottbaioisdead July 31, 2012 at 04:34 AM
"While it is unclear what drove James Holmes to allegedly open fire in a crowded movie theater early Friday morning at the opening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., it is abundantly clear that he was able to do so much damage because he used a semi-automatic assault rifle, among other weapons." really that's the reason? i assume your knowledge of firearms is equal to your knowledge of proper grammar( ex Variants of one of the weapons Holmes allegedly used in the attack, an AR-15 rifle, was included). i should also mention the ar-15 itself was banned by name in that bill. on to the point, the ar-15 is a two handed weapon, each squeeze of the trigger fires one round, in a standard weapon two hands are used, one to squeeze the trigger and one to chamber the next round, the speed is equal because there is no free hand. the real reason may have been because a drum magazine was used, instead of the standard 10 round cartridge, but even this changes the amount of time used to reload by about 6 to 10 seconds. you're from new jersey, you don't know firearms.
John Galt August 23, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Since the second amendment to the US constitution was for arming the State Militia, let us re-start the state militia. Not the National Guard, but State run!

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