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Gun Rights vs. Gun Control

Kevin Booza, Staff Writer

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The debate about guns is a sensitive subject for many. Sides that support guns and sides that oppose them feel strongly about their opinion. Many who are opposed mainly focus on the bad that very few people commit using guns rather than those who use them responsibly.

Assault weapon is the political term for civilian, semi-automatic firearms only, whereas assault rifle is the term for military rifles that are capable of fully automatic. Assault weapons and rifles are firearms that use an intermediate round, which is larger than a pistol caliber, but smaller than a battle rifle caliber. The first of these weapons was introduced in Nazi Germany; this weapon was named the Sturmgewehr (Storm Rifle) or StG44. After World War 2 ended and the Cold War began, countries around the world adopted the assault rifle concept and began producing their own variants. These weapons were gradually introduced into civilian markets and the United States Government allowed private ownership under the second amendment. After these weapons were widespread in civilian hands, controversy was created.  In recent years, assault weapons have come into the spotlight due to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The gunman had used an assault weapon to carry out the tragedy. This created debate among much of the population.

The main arguments against these weapons is that no civilian needs military grade weapons or high capacity magazines (ammunition storage). Some anti-assault weapon groups, as well as some member of the senate, have pushed for a ban in these weapons.

In 1994 President Clinton introduced the Federal Assault Weapons Ban to reduce crimes committed using the weapons. This ban included the prohibition of the manufacturing of certain assault weapons for civilian use. This ban passed and remained in effect for 20 years. In 2004 the ban expired and was not put back into place despite many attempts. Banning these weapons would take them away from the law-abiding citizens who use them for hunting or target shooting. Millions of civilians who own the weapons have legally purchased them and are responsible gun owners. It is the small percentage that use the guns in ways that are illegal and irresponsible that give the responsible owners a bad name. The media focuses on the negative aspects of the small number of people who use the weapons illegally. Now, many members of congress lobby for a law limiting large capacity magazines. High capacity magazines for most assault weapons contain 30 rounds of ammunition depending on the caliber. These magazines allow the shooter to fire multiple rounds and not have to reload as often. Some states, notably California, have laws limiting magazines to ten rounds or less. Ten rounds is more than enough for the average gun owner, even if that person is hunting. If the gun owner were hunting, 30 rounds would not be needed, far less shots will do the job just as well. Most responsible gun owners do not feel the need for 30 shots, but it is nice to have for target or sport shooting.

The debate on guns and gun accessories will not end anytime soon. With the introduction of new guns in the market and different congress members, there may not be a resolution for some. Many focus on the negative aspects rather than the positive and will not be persuaded. The bad in the criminals will always outweigh the good in responsible gun owners.

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The School Newspaper of Mansfield Summit High School.
Gun Rights vs. Gun Control