The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to bear arms, and while Gov. Ron DeSantis and other politicians have been quick to limit the Constitutional rights to freedom of speech, press and peaceably assemble, they have refused to place restrictions on guns. The Florida Legislature has made it illegal for local governments to pass gun safety laws.
Meanwhile, semi-automatics are being used in homicidal rampages at an alarming rate in our country.
Last week, a U.S. Army reservist, Robert R. Card, sprayed the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley and Schemengees Bar & Grille with gunfire in Lewiston, Maine, killing 18 people and wounding 13. Surveillance photos from the bowling alley showed the killer carrying an AR-style rifle. The attack was the worst mass killing in Maine’s history.
The shooting was the country’s 36th mass killing this year, according to a database maintained by The Associated Press and USA Today in partnership with Northeastern University. Semi-automatic rifles are a nationwide favorite when it comes to buying guns.
Since March, AR-15 style weapons have been used in mass shootings in Nashville, Tenn.; Louisville, Ky.; Allen, Texas; Farmington, N.M.; and Cleveland, Texas.
In March, Audrey Hale, 28, used seven legally purchased guns, including an AR-15, to kill three children and three adults at The Covenant School in Nashville. The attack at the private Christian school was the deadliest U.S. school shooting since the massacre in Uvalde, Texas, which left 21 people dead in May 2022.
In April, Connor Sturgeon, a banker who graduated from the University of Alabama, carried an AR-15 style rifle into a Louisville bank, killing five of his fellow employees and injuring eight others—including two police officers. In Cleveland, Texas, Martin Muniz charged into a neighbor’s home and killed five people, including a 9-year-old boy, and wounded an 8-year-old girl and an adult after his neighbors asked him to stop firing his AR-style rifle because a baby was trying to sleep.
The following month, Mauricio Garcia, a former security guard, killed eight and wounded seven others when he opened fire with an AR-15 style rifle at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. The victims ranged from ages 5 to 61.
The AR-15 attacks continued in May when Beau Wilson, a Farmington High School senior, went on a shooting spree in his neighborhood in a New Mexico city about the size of Pensacola. Wilson killed Shirley Voita, 79, Melody Ivie, 73, and Gwendolyn Schofield, 98, and injured two law enforcement officers.
In July, Joseph Wamah, Jr., opened fire randomly with an AR-15-style rifle, killing four people and wounding four others, including a 2-year-old, in a southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. Authorities said the man fatally shot another person in a row house the day before.
Whenever a mass murder occurs, gun sales increase, and pro-gun advocates go on the attack. Mental health and liberals are blamed, and right-wing politicians raise millions for their campaigns. No amount of murders will change their minds.
However, the polls show the public wants some restrictions. An August poll by the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 71% of Americans believe gun laws should be stricter, including about half of Republicans, the vast majority of Democrats and a majority of those in gun-owning households.
In September, President Joe Biden established the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to implement and expand on key executive and legislative action to reduce gun violence. However, it’s doubtful he will get much bipartisan support, but he should. The NRA immediately mocked the initiative, calling the office the “Federal Office to Disarm Law-Abiding Americans and Defeat the NRA.”
Semi-automatic rifles are weapons of mass destruction. They aren’t used by law-abiding citizens to fend out attackers. The guns are used to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible. We need to get them off the market.