Assault Rifles are unnecessary and need to be banned


Eli Shimanski

Assault weapons make up 20 percent of all mass shootings, while 42 percent of all mass shootings are done with high capacity magazines. The harm that assault rifles can cause is extreme and needs to be stopped, and there is no other reason that assault rifles are necessary.

Spencer Kimball, Staff Writer

Two months ago, the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history occurred at a concert in Las Vegas. Using assault weapons, a single man killed 59 people and wounded 611. One month later, another shooter killed 26 people in Sutherland Springs, Texas. These are both examples of a “mass shooting,” which was classified by Congress in 2013 as “3 or more killings in a single incident.” While assault weapons are not the only means for committing a mass shooting, they make it much easier to do so.

“Automatic weapons don’t serve any purpose except for killing lots of people in a short amount of time,” said junior Ben Phi. Assault weapons are extremely deadly in the hands of private citizens and should be flat out banned.

Every time I hear of another mass shooting I go through the same process: I start with sadness for all the lives lost, then later in the day I completely forget about it. This process is common amongst Americans and it shows the numbness to gun violence.  There are so many mass shootings that they’ve become the new norm for most people and this isn’t ok.

So far in 2017 there have been approximately 405 mass shootings in the United States, averaging one mass shooting a day. In 2015 there were 371 mass shootings, and in 2016 there were 477. That’s over 100 more mass shootings in a year. “[Assault rifles] are just more ways for somebody to be violent and I don’t feel like [they’re] necessary in this country,” said freshman Isra Hirsi.

There is no real reason why people need assault rifles. Some people believe they need them for hunting but you can’t actually hunt with assault rifles. If you use an assault rifle to kill a deer, you will ruin all the meat that you are trying to get from the deer. It would work better if people just used single shot hunting weapons.

People also like to collect guns for gun shows. A gun show is an event where dealers can display modern style guns and buyers who are charged admission can buy those weapons. As senior Sage Crannell said, “I have been to a gun show… they’re terrifying.” Though collectors may love displaying their guns, this shouldn’t be more important than preventing the harm that these dangerous weapons can cause.

Strict gun laws have effectively prevented gun violence in other countries. In the 1990s following a mass shooting, Australia banned semi automatic guns and shotguns– anything that can kill people quickly. Since then, Australia hasn’t had any more mass shootings. Ideally, the U.S. would follow this example. But the possibility of our country going in that direction is unlikely, as explained by Photography teacher Corbin Doty: “I don’t think people in the United States are really ready for something like that, at least the majority of the population.”

Short of an all-out ban, which would be politically difficult to accomplish, background checks for gun buyers need to be improved significantly. A background check determines whether or not someone can buy a gun, and is run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It looks for past criminal history, US citizenship, addiction records, and more.

Currently, it can take an average of around 3 days to complete the check. In rare cases, like if you had a juvenile record, the FBI has 90 days to give a response back on if you can get the gun. In contrast, there are more extensive home checks and background checks to do seemingly normal things like adopting a puppy.

Because background checks are so loose, almost anyone can buy a gun. In Minnesota, people can legally buy guns when they’re 18. “In two months [when I turn 18], I can buy a gun,” said senior Sage Crannell. “I have the money right now and it is terrifying. That’s just a terrifying concept.”

Even with background checks for store-bought guns being minimal, the background checks at gun shows are non-existent. It’s like going to a friend and selling him a gun; it’s a loophole for gun buyers and sellers.

As senior Sage Crannell said, “if there were proper background checks that were set up at the show, [it would be better]. I feel that it is almost too fast of a process.”

It’s clear that whether they are banned or not, assault rifles should not be as accessible as they are now. Assault rifles cause more deaths through mass shootings, and America would be a much safer place if private citizens were not allowed to own them. Even if assault rifles aren’t banned, background checks should be more extensive in order to prevent people from using them.