Assault Weapon Ban

With the recent tragedies across the nation involving firearms, there has been much talk of trying to stop similar acts of violence in the future by restricting the firearms that ordinary citizens are legally allowed to possess.

The main force behind this recent surge in gun control is Senator Dianne Feinstein from California.  Feinstein was also the primary advocate of the assault weapon ban that was passed into law in 1994, which was allowed to expire with little resistance in 2004.  President Barrack Obama has already signed executive orders that are meant to help reduce gun violence in the nation.  Many of the orders focus on better awareness and treatment of mentally ill people and universal background checks for the purchase of weapons.

With the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut still fresh in the minds of Americans, there are many people calling for the complete ban of any type of weapon that is not used specifically for hunting.  “Other than collecting guns, I don’t see how it [a proposed weapons ban] infringes on the Second Amendment,” said Derrick Myers, a senior at Georgia State University.  “This assault weapons ban won’t do anything to stop gun violence. People are going to find a way to get guns no matter what laws are in place.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, many Americans believe that the Second Amendment dictates that the people have the right to bear arms and that this right should not be hindered or infringed upon by the government, no matter the circumstance. “Banning assault weapons won’t do any good. It will become like illegal drugs, only making it easier for [guns] to fall into the wrong hands,” said a recent University of West Georgia graduate, who has asked to remain anonymous.  “However, I think banning them does infringe on our Second Amendment right.  If someone wants to own one for protection or for general pleasure, they should be allowed to, granted they are someone who can handle it mentally.”

Feinstein introduced the revised, stricter assault weapon bill to the Senate on Jan. 24. This new bill specifically names 157 firearms as well as high capacity ammunition magazines that Feinstein deems unnecessary for citizen use.

The Senate, which currently has Democratic majority, at first seemed likely to support the bill.  In recent discussions, however, six democratic Senators have either outright said they do not support the ban or they are still undecided on the manner. That fact coupled with no Republican support seems to lean toward the bill failing in the Senate. As far as the House of Representatives, which is currently under Republican majority, the bill has been all but declared dead on arrival.

These factors along with the growing number of law enforcement officials stating that they will not support nor enforce any type of weapon ban seems to show that Feinstein’s bill will face an up hill battle to be approved.



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