Unnecessary assault weapons hurt America, Mexico

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President Bill Clinton signed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban into law in 1994, prohibiting the sale of military-style guns, including AK-47s and AR-15s. When the ban expired in 2004, a proposed 10-year extension was voted down.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives statistics show that 7,770 guns sold in the U.S. in 2008 were traced to Mexico, according to a March 17, 2009, article on foxnews.com entitled “Gun Advocates Ready for Battle on Federal Assault Weapons Ban.” Almost 95 percent of Mexican drug cartels got their firearms from the U.S. that same year. Can you imagine how many lives we could have saved if, in 2004, the extension had been approved?

Let’s not talk about Mexico. You don’t care about Mexico; you care about America, right? What about the Sept. 28 shooting at Texas A&M, where a student opened fire in the library and afterward committed suicide? Do you care about that? Well, he was using an AK-47, an assault gun that can shoot 600 rounds per minute.

You can’t prevent someone from doing this just by posting “weapons prohibited” signs in the entrances of public buildings. Instead, you can help pass a law that prohibits someone from getting weapons like an AK-47.

Some Americans love the Second Amendment: the right of the people to keep and bear arms. But why do you really want an assault rifle for protection? It sounds fine to have a 9-mm pistol to protect your house or your family, but do you need an AK-47? If police officers don’t carry one, why would you need to? If you want an AK-47 for hunting, I recommend you take a hunting course.

A Sept. 12, 2004, article in USA Today described one man’s excitement about being able to buy guns after the ban expired: “It’s like they were keeping the food away from you and you got hungry. It’s human nature,” said Bernie Esguerra, owner of Bernie’s Sports Center in Lilburn, Ga. Is an AK-47 really as important as food?

According to the same article, the ban reduced gang violence and the use of assault guns in crimes. A September 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey showed that 68 percent of Americans supported the ban, many of whom were gun-owners themselves. Democrat John Kerry told assault weapon enthusiasts, “We got a place for you to go do it. It’s called the United States armed forces.”

If Americans don’t want to help Mexico, maybe you would want to prevent violence like the Texas A&M shooting, or prevent such a shooting at, say,  K-State’s Hale Library.

I have never used an AK-47 or any other assault weapon. Hopefully, neither would you. I believe the Federal Assault Weapons Ban should be passed again and certainly for longer than 10 years.

Roberto Santana Villarreal Meraz is a junior in political science. Please send your comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.

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