I am a 44 year old male. I own or have owned many "assault weapons", "military style" weapons, and high capacity handguns. There are a few inaccuracies in your commentary.
1-The Clinton era gun ban did not reduce gun crime. The violent crime rate was decreasing at least two years PRIOR to the implementation of the Clinton gun ban. To date, it continues to drop while the rate of gun owners in the United State increases. Why was this FACT conveniently omitted from the commentary?
2-You said that you don't know anyone that has defended themselves with an "assault weapon". You do now! I have defended myself on several occasions with several weapons including a CAR-15. The CAR-15 is the civilian version of the compact M-4 currently in use by the US military. Usually just the sight of the weapon will inflict such a physiological impact that the aggressor will back down immediately. I have personally heard an intruder-while making a hasty retreat from my property after seeing me with my CAR-15-exclaim "Holy shit!" By the way, I enjoy taking this weapon out to legal shooting areas such as a gun range, for "plinking", target shooting, and friendly competition. I also hunt with this weapon (using the state mandated number of rounds in the clip) as the bullet trajectory is relatively flat out to about 200 yards, is relatively quiet compared to larger rifle calibers, and is ideal for small to medium sized game.
3-Unfortunately, I have been forced to return fire and kill an individual who shot at me with a FULLY AUTOMATIC AK-47 assault rifle. He shot a full 30 round magazine me and missed. Again, using my CAR-15, I fired three rounds and he received three hits to the chest. It was ruled a justifiable homicide and the District Attorney did not pursue charges. My neutralizing the person with the AK-47 saved approximately 12 lives as they were in the direct line of fire, either on the side of me or behind me. Law enforcement was present and witnessed the shooting. None of them reacted to the aggressor's actions when he opened fire. I protected myself and the lives of both civilians and law enforcement officers.
The terms "assault weapon" and "assault rifle" are being used improperly by the media. When the term is properly used, one is referencing a fully automatic weapon, usually a long gun such as the military M-4 or M-16. My CAR-15 is no more an "assault weapon" or "assault rifle" than my 1962 Sears & Roebuck .22 caliber rifle which will hold 18 rounds of ammunition in the feed tube. My recently sold Saiga semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun with a 12 round magazine is not an "assault weapon" or "assault rifle". The same holds true for my Ruger 10/22…a .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle equipped with a 100 round drum magazine.
The fact is that before the Clinton gun ban was enacted, language was in the bill to include all weapons that had certain accessories making the gun LOOK like a military style weapon. Flash suppressors, pistol grips, extended magazines, etc. can all be bought as accessories to make a Ruger 10/22 and many more sporting guns look like a full fledged M-16 or other military style weapon. Just because a weapon LOOKS like something, does that necessarily MAKE it something? If this were true, some BB guns, paintball guns, and water guns would have to be outlawed as well. Why? Because they "LOOK" like military weapons. Language in the bill also banned weapons capable of accepting high ammunition capacities of more than three rounds. It also attempted to outlaw high capacity magazines. This would have wiped out most, if not all hunting rifles (bolt action rifles usually have a box magazine that can hold 5 rounds), shotguns (most pump and semi-automatic shotguns can hold from 5 to 8 rounds of ammunition if the ammunition tube plug is removed), and semi-automatic handguns & revolvers (most revolvers will hold between 5 and 8 rounds in the cylinder depending on the caliber). I bring this up because we can all agree that if you give a politician an inch, they will take a mile.
The most important thing that needs to be addressed is the mental healthcare Americans are able to receive. Fully 2/3 of all Americans diagnosed with a mental disorder are NOT treated with therapy and/or medication. They go without treatment for reasons to numerous to list here. As a gun owner, I would support a mental "gun buy card" requirement. If CDL drivers (18 wheelers, bus drivers, and dump truck drivers) must have a DOT physical card saying they are physically fit to drive, and a CHL holder must provide evidence that they have been properly trained before being able to legally carry a concealed weapon, someone buying a gun should be able to show they are mentally fit to own a gun.
The horrific incident at Sandy Hook did not involve a gun owner. It involved a young man that had some kind of mental issue. A young man that killed his mother and then stole the weapons he used. Banning guns outright or banning any particular types of gun is not the answer. A combination of pre-planning, regular drills & exercises, improved campus hardware (cameras, electronically controlled doors, bullet resistant windows, and safe rooms to name a few), metal detectors placed in school vestibules, and a strong police officer or armed security presence at the schools are all steps in the right direction. The majority of violent crime in American schools is NOT from an intruder but from within. Sandy Hook is the exception. Improving impotent bullying laws, providing mental health care to those that need it and increasing campus security may decrease school violence. Banning guns will do no such thing. Blame the shooter…not the gun.
Gun Barrel City