To the Editor:
It is time to clear the air on the issue of firearm restrictions. Especially for people who are unfamiliar with firearms, the media is riddled with information that is confusing and incorrect.
Weapons available to the public are not assault weapons. The AR-15 is in fact the civilian version of the M-16 Rifle. It was designed without burst fire capabilities and military grade attachments for the purpose of public ownership.
The definition of an assault rifle is a rapid-fre, magazine-fed automatic rifle designed for infantry use.
This is not the case with the semi-automatic AR-15.
The AR-15 was specifically designed for the public due to its vast inferiority to military rifles.
It is important to note that the majority of gun violence that occurs in the United States happens with semi-automatic pistols.
Despite popular belief, the most common murder weapon is an automatic pistol chambered in 22LR. Due to the media hype of a few select incidents, magazine fed semi-auto rifles have received improper attention.
The shooting in Newtown Connecticut was tragic and shocked America but the fact of the matter is that extensive firearm restrictions would not have prevented it.
Adam Lanza was already in violation of several Connecticut firearm restrictions when he perpetrated the violence.
He was under the Connecticut age requirement to own a handgun, violated their concealed carry restrictions, and was mentally unfit to own a firearm in general.
This is the reason that he illegally obtained the guns that he used from his mother who was negligent in their storage and safety.
There is a reason that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 expired in 2004, because it was simply ineffective. Gun violence actually rose rather than decreased. Cities such as Los Angeles, Detriot, Chicago, Camden, and Newark saw some of the highest gun-related crimes per capita in the United States despite having some of the strictest firearm restrictions. Simply put, a person willing to commit Capital Murder does not mind violating gun restrictions.
Most people willing to commit murder already are disqualified from owning a firearm legally anyway and would fail the current NICS background check system already in place. As shown in Los Angeles, where gun buy-backs have turned up hundreds of illegal machine guns and even two rocket propelled grenade launchers, strict gun restrictions neither stop criminals from obtaining firearms nor do they curb the black market.
As with anything, the illegality of a product, as shown with the Marijuana Prohibition, actually increases its marketability and production on the black market.
The United States Supreme Court held in D.C. v. Heller that the 2nd Amendment protects the right of individuals to own and possess firearms for legal purposes including personal and home protection.
The key to solving the issue of gun violence is focusing more of the ATF’s resources on blocking the illegal trafficking of firearms, as well as allowing the release of disqualifying mental health records when running a background check to obtain a firearm.
As history has shown us, restricting the availability of guns to law abiding citizens simply does not solve the issue of gun violence.
As I stated previously, no restriction will prevent someone from obtaining a firearm if they are already willing to commit Capital Murder.
Sean List, Potsdam