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Op-Ed - Firing Three Rounds

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Posted: Friday, March 2, 2018 11:09 am

In light of another mass shooting tragedy, and this time closer to home than ever, I find myself asking the same question again.

Why??? Six months ago, I wrote about this very issue, following the Las Vegas shooting, and attempted to appeal to politicians for change.

Yet here we sit once again, saddened and grieving the 17 Parkland, Florida lives cut short, their families in mourning, the school and the community wounded, and our nation at another loss.

In that article, I wrote:

"...if you are a gun-owner who likes to "hunt" with automatic/semi-automatic weapons, this article isn't for you; please walk away."

This article however is for you; I even thought of the title so as to grab your attention. Now that I have it, let's have a chat... Accordingly, before I pull the trigger on this, please understand this is the first gun I've ever fired. I thought three rounds of ammo should suffice for today's discussion, but more rounds may need to be fired in the coming weeks or months.

Prove me wrong.

First Round -- Why should an 18-year-old be able to purchase an AR 15 or any other assault rifle, but be unable to buy a handgun until 21?

According to an article in the New York Times last week, following the Parkland mass-shooting:

"Florida has a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases. But anyone without a felony record, domestic abuse conviction, or a handful of other exceptions — such as a commitment to a mental institution — can walk into a gun store, wait a few minutes to clear a background check, and walk out with an AR-15 -style rifle, magazines and ammunition.

Under federal law, you also must be 21 to buy a handgun from a firearms dealer. But 18-year-olds can buy semiautomatic rifles."

So if Americans can't purchase alcohol until 21, out of fear they can hurt themselves or others, shouldn't it be the same with all guns?

The article further explained why this is currently the case:

"Congress explicitly banned AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles that fit its definition of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004."

Since that law expired 14 years ago, in most states it has been just as easy to buy an AR-15-style gun as it is in Florida. (Buyers can also purchase the weapon in person or online from private sellers who are not required to perform a background check — an exemption known as the "gun show loophole.") "

Ok, so that round was my practice shot, as I should probably aim that one accordingly at


Second Round-- Why should someone's right to live, be less important than your right to own an assault rifle?

I've tried to figure this out on my own and via varying research. While most gun owners throw out the Second Amendment like Captain America's shield, it still doesn't answer the question of why this type of gun should be owned privately, instead of for the military purpose it was created for.

For example, just because the military makes tanks and jets, doesn't mean civilians can or should have access to them. Yet, how many have we lost in mass shootings to semi-automatic/automatic rifles and the ease of access to them? Had they been banned/restricted, would the casualties have been less?

And yes, I understand gun violence will exist in some form of another here in the U.S., but that's like saying: 'we'll always have car accidents, so we don't need airbags or children's car seats, when seat belts we're always enough."

Speaking of children, this leads me to my final shot.

Third Round -- Why not treat the life of a teenager, as important as the life of a baby?

As I stated earlier, car seats are now required in most cars, but we all know this wasn't always the case. When I was a child, they didn't even exist; we rode in the back or front of the car, regardless of the age, sometimes only held in someone's lap, and putting on a seatbelt wasn't required. Now, imagine if we had applied the same "logic" to cars then, that we do now to guns, and didn't improve on car safety as much as we have. How many children would be dead or handicapped, had we not realized the need to improve? The answer is simple: we'd have a lot less adults and teenagers today.

Also, one can't call themselves pro-life, if the life of a teenager or adult isn't just as important. Why not protest gun shows and/or gun stores, where the assault rifles used in many of the nations mass shooting can be purchased, the same way Planned Parenthood or abortion clinics get protested?

If we treated these guns like the safety crisis they are, and less like the obligation of every American citizen, we could continue towards the path of effective gun control.

The "AR" in AR 15 stands for assault rifle, not American Right, and is an assault on our children, community, and country.

I hope today's target practice hasn't missed the mark, and I've fired accurately at the heart of the matter.

Unless, there is or never was a heart left to be fired at from the start.

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