| 03.20.2018

Disarming the people


After the tragedy of the Sandy Hook Elementary murders, Americans are feverishly debating the place of the Second Amendment in our society.

Already, Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced legislation to ban “semiautomatic assault” weapons. According to Representative Carolyn McCarthy’s and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s bill “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013,” the ban would include: “A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine … a semiautomatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds … a semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine … (and) a semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.”

Additionally, the ban would include all AK and AR types, all Thompson rifles, all pistols of the AK-47 type and certain Military Armament Corporation and shotgun types.

However, according to section three, paragraph 4-A of the legislation, this semiautomatic weapons ban would not apply to “the importation for, manufacture for, sale to, transfer to or possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States or a State…for purposes of law enforcement (whether on or off duty).”

Essentially, our federal, state and local governments would not be subject to these assault weapons bans, yet they would ban the people from them. Does this really sound like a good idea?

Imagine if our Founding Fathers did not have the best weapons technology of their age available to them. The Revolutionary War was difficult enough with the best available. Just imagine our forefathers trying to ward off the most powerful army of the time with only pitchforks, knives and clubs.

Revolvers, “hunting” rifles and similar weapons, which the legislation would not ban, are the pitchforks and clubs of our age, compared to assault weapons.

Americans have the right to possess these assault weapons for self-protection, whether against common thieves, murderers or the federal government.

The federal government cannot tell us how to defend ourselves. Instead, government needs to open avenues for individuals to protect themselves more efficiently. Failure to do so leads to tragedies such as Sandy Hook and Aurora.

Consider our own state, compared to Chicago, the population of which is double that of Idaho, which has the strictest gun control laws in the nation right next to Washington D.C. Yet, in 2012 they had over 500 gun-related homicides, according to Chicago police.

On the other hand, the numbers, according to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, show that Idaho, with its less restrictive gun laws, has seen an average of 19 gun-related homicides a year, especially from 2005-2010.

Chicago has made it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to protect themselves; Idaho has made it easier. Which has the desirable result?

Gun bans of any type are not the solution to our problems. Instead, morality and human value need to be re-introduced in American society.

Andrew Jenson can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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