Never Again Movement: Stricter Gun Control of Assault Rifles

Olivia Bratton, Copy Editor

The moral injustice and national disgrace regarding Americans’ legal ability to purchase killing machines leaves our country broken and crying out for a change. How many lives have to be taken in order for action to occur?  Destructive weapons like semi-automatics, designed specifically to kill humans in combat, should not be legally accessible to civilians.

Besides the devastation that follows, the deadly acts of violence that have taken place at Sandy Hook in 2012; San Bernardino, California in 2015; The Pulse Nightclub in 2016; Las Vegas in 2017; and now Parkland, Florida in 2017, have one thing in common: the semi-automatic assault weapon used to kill.

Semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 are rifles intended to kill humans in times of war.  

According to NBC News, Eugene Stoner worked with Armalite to invent the AR-15 in 1959. It was originally designed to be a military weapon that would give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47 during the Vietnam War.

Armalite eventually sold Stoner’s design to Colt, who in 1963, was selected by the U.S military to produce the rifle that would become the standard weapon for U.S. troops in the Vietnam War: the M16. Due to their success, Colt increased manufacturing of a semi-automatic version of the military weapon and released it to the public as the AR-15 in the early 1960s.

Since then, more and more semi-automatic weapons have hit the market.

In light of the current events, the late Eugene Stoner’s family released a statement regarding the destructive role their father’s invention has played in recent tragedies, “He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

With weapons of war like the AR-15 on American streets, doctors are seeing an increase of  victims in their emergency rooms.

Dr. Heather Sher, a radiologist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, shared her experiences treating the traumatic injuries from the Parkland shooting. In an article for The Atlantic, Sher described the wounds that were a result of a semi-automatic AR-15.

Dr. Sher explained that bullets fired from an AR-15 cause far more damage than those from a handgun. AR-15 bullets travel at a much higher velocity, tearing through the body three times faster and exerting three times the amount of energy compared to a typical bullet.  

Sher also said the semi-automatic AR-15 can hold 30 rounds or more. Then it is simple math. More bullets can be fired without reloading.

The radiologist said she felt it was her duty as a doctor to inform the public of the often devastating wounds caused by AR-15s.

“One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15,” Sher wrote.

Dr. Sher is not the only medical professional addressing these dangers. Chief of Trauma Dr. Ernest E. Moore of the Denver General Hospital also spoke out. In an article published by NBC,  Moore explained that these weapons have, and will continue to, cause catastrophic damage to the human body, and he believes we need to fight to end this argument now.

“As a trauma surgeon for 40 years (and avid hunter for much longer), I am dismayed that we remain paralyzed over preventive measures. There have already been 18 school shootings in 2018, when one would be too many: This cannot remain a political issue when it is clearly an issue of common sense,” Moore wrote.

Like many other Americans, these surgeons believe that it is unsafe and uncalled for that citizens can possess automatic weapons.

At what point does a hobby become more important to protect than our citizens’ freedom to feel safe?

Instead of students going to school in fear that their school could be next, we need to address the real problem behind these tragedies. Lawmakers must create legislation that removes the AR-15 and other semi-automatic weapons of war from civilians’ hands.

Let us not forget that the right to bear arms is amendable, but the right to live is unalienable.

It is time for America to finally reform and regulate our country’s use of semi-automatic weapons.

The power of change is in all voters’ hands; in the coming elections, cast your vote for the representatives who view gun control as a main priority.

If you are ready to be an advocate for a safer America, you can start by contacting your elected officials, signing petitions, or donating to Gun Control organizations and Parkland, FL.