AR-15 and the 2nd Amendment: It’s a Sham
By Senator Lena C. Taylor
With the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, NY and Texas, many are questioning the constitutionality of civilians having unfettered access to AR-15 assault weapons. This rifle has been the armament of choice in a number of large-scale shootouts recently. While the price ranges from $400 to $2,000, one shooter, as young as 18, was able to secure the gun easily and legally.
State after state, with the help of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun lobbyists, we have almost enshrined the classification of AR-15s in the long gun/rifle category. As a result, 18-year-olds whose age prevents them from buying a handgun can freely purchase one of the deadliest guns on the market. In a twisted irony of the rationale for this availability, lobbyists talk out of both sides of their necks.
They prey on white people’s fears of urban gang violence and public safety, but then argue that low-income or otherwise disadvantaged youth need assault weapons to keep them from being abused. In the meantime, gun advocates are shouting at the rafters that they have a constitutional right to bear arms. To be clear, the second amendment was added to the constitution almost 3 years after it was ratified. The same way the language was added, it can be changed, just like it was 88 years ago.
In 1934, the National Gun Act and the Gun Control Act of 1938 restricted the ability of private individuals to possess guns they considered “gangster guns”. Machine guns, aka “submachine guns”, silencers, and sawed-off shotguns were regulated and heavily taxed. Even the Supreme Court has upheld the gun control provisions as legal.
Additionally, after a series of high-profile shootings in the 1960s, including the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, there was support for banning mail-order sales and the carrying of loaded weapons in public spaces. We can thank the Black Panther Party, for the latter. The fear of black people openly carrying guns in public was so great that no one had a problem limiting who could own a gun. The legislation was called the Gun Control Act of 1968. It was in this act that we got minimum age requirements for firearms and prohibitions for mental health issues. I guess you get where I’m coming from now.
The argument about constitutionally guaranteed rights to carry any type of weapon is a sham. We have examples from at least 3 periods of American history, when we had reasonable gun laws and controls. In case you were wondering, the third time came during the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. Better known as the Crime Bill of 1994, the law banned nineteen categories of semi-automatic assault weapons. These provisions had been in place for at least ten years.
Knowing that the concept of “precedent” is being trampled on these days by lawmakers and possibly the Supreme Court of the United States, you can’t argue with the facts. There is no guarantee that individuals have the right to own any type of weapon they want. We have changed gun laws for the greater good and safety of our citizens over the years. I would appreciate it so much better if people just told the truth. A segment of our population decided they could live with the shocking loss of life associated with mass shootings.
They looked at photos of the 19 children and the two teachers and said they weren’t prepared to do anything to stop him. They have decided that grocery stores, churches, concert halls, nightclubs and schools are soft targets that we are honestly unwilling to protect. They have decided that human life, regardless of age or status, is the price to pay for doing the business of the gun lobby.