12 August 2012

An Open Letter to My NRA Supporter Friends about Assault Weapons

Dear NRA friend, 

Please remind me again exactly why it should be legal to manufacture and sale assault weapons in the US? 


I'm not trying to pick a fight. But for the life of me, I just can't figure this one out. I'd like to understand your rationale.

In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I don't like guns. I don't own one and likely never will. I have no interest in shooting anyone or anything. I don't even know how. I do, however, respect the 2nd Amendment and your right to own a gun to protect your family from me if I choose to break into your house or to go hunting turkeys in Tennessee or moose in Montana if that floats your boat. 

But do you really need an AR-15 assault rifle that can hold 100 rounds (the kind James Holmes legally bought and used to open fire in a crowded Colorado theater recently) or an AK-47 (the kind that’s being legally bought at gun shows along the border and smuggled to Mexico to arm drug warlords)?

Weapons that were intended for the military to kill as many people as quickly as possible? Weapons of mass destruction?

Yes, you have the right to bear arms. But civilizations evolve. The need for arms is very different in the suburbs in 2012 than it was on the frontier in the 1700's. I bet our founding fathers are rolling around in their graves at how you guys interpret the 2nd Amendment to justify your obsession with weapons.

Should Kroger have an Atomic Bomb aisle or your corner Handy Pantry sell hand grenades? Of course not. Reasonable restrictions on the sale of weapons isn't a radical, socialist position.  Or a threat to your rights as an American citizen.  Banning assault weapons seems like a reasonable restriction to me. 

Do I think it is a panacea? No. I agree with you that the bad guys will always come up with tools with which to carry out their bad deeds. But I do think we should at least make it a little harder for them. I think an inadequate and woefully underfunded mental health system in the US is equally to blame for the kind of violent acts we've been seeing lately (but that's a topic for another day). 

To be honest, it doesn't really make me feel so safe to think that good guys like you have an arsenal in your attic.  I think there are a lot of vigilante wannabes out there itching to dust off the oozie, which is kinda scary to me. Everybody has the potential to snap one day, ya know. 

But let’s be honest. The gun lobby in DC is untouchable. You’ll win this one.

Still, I want to understand your perspective. Tell me something good that comes from this type of ammo being in the marketplace? What's the benefit? I'm honestly having a hard time coming up with one. 

Fire away.


Stephen Raburn (baffled pacifist)