“Man Who Just Purchased 3,000 Rounds of Ammunition Online Perfectly Sane, Thinks Man Processing Order.” That was a recent headline from the newspaper The Onion, which is a satirical newspaper. The story is supposed to be absurd, but it leads to the good question of why isn’t this absurd to more people? Absurdity is the average citizen having the ability to purchase assault weapons, high capacity magazines and an endless supply of ammunition. Bill Clinton signed the original bill that banned assault weapons back in 1994, and since that bill expired in 2004, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been afraid to touch the subject. Republicans don’t want to offend their base and Democrats don’t want to come across as being weak or too far to the left. But the horrific shooting that took place in Aurora, Colo., has shown that this conversation is long overdue.
I haven’t written a great deal about gun regulation, because in the past, I honestly didn’t really believe in much gun regulation. Although I am not a hunter, I am a gun owner and enjoy shooting. I grew up on farm in Pulaski. Although I didn’t know a lot of people that one might consider “gun enthusiasts,” most people I knew had a gun or two, usually heirlooms forgotten in an attic. I even knew a couple of people who owned assault rifles, one of them being a drug dealer, and as far as I can tell they weren’t used for anything other than show-and-tell.
They serve no purpose. They aren’t used for hunting and the idea that you are using an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine for personal protections seems a bit like overkill. As far as I know, most people aren’t getting attacked by the Hell’s Angels or some other nefarious group. James Holmes purchased 6,000 rounds of ammunition online, and the AR-15 assault rifle he was carrying had a drum magazine attached that could hold 100 rounds. He also had a .40-caliber pistol that had an extended magazine that held 40 rounds. What exactly is the intended purpose of these weapons of mass destruction? Is this what the second amendment is about, protecting James Holmes’s right to purchase and carry an assault rifle that holds an endless amount of bullets?
You can argue till you’re blue in the face about what the second amendment guarantees, and it clearly states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But there is obviously a reasonable expectation of what the average citizen should not be able to own. We can’t just go purchase a rocket launcher and a sack of grenades. Assault rifles shouldn’t be any different. If you want to be a stickler for the law of the time period in which the second amendment was written, then you should only be allowed to purchase weapons that existed in the 1700s. You can stockpile all the muskets you want.
Our government has spent years fighting terrorists abroad. Maybe it’s time we at least put a speed bump in the path of the lunatics at home.