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SO WHO NEEDS AN ASSAULT WEAPON?

Let’s go back in time to the shooting at the theater in Aurora, Colorado. There was an article in the Washington Post on July 29, 2012 that addressed this and the impact it might have on cinema companies. (See Post #12). Following that, Ted Nugent opined that, “if a moviegoer had been carrying a “good gun,” the tragedy might have played out differently.” Please view the “Ted Nugent Slams Response to Aurora Shooting, Suggests Armed Moviegoers Could Have Prevented It” article published by Mollie Reilly with the Huffington Post.

My thoughts at the time were as follows:

“First, what is a “good gun?” An AR-15 rifle which Ted Nugent describes as a “universally proven sporting & self defense firearm?” (It’s actually an assault weapon). So now we are going to let movie goers stroll into a theater with rifles?

Second, it is not a “good gun” that would be needed; it would be a “good shot.”

I was having lunch with a couple of friends and the subject of the tragedy in Aurora came up. One commented on how it would have been better if some of the movie goers had carried guns. I asked what good that would have done since the shooter was wearing full body armor. The reply was that he did not wear protective gear on his head. My counter was that these movie goers would have had to have been damn good shots.

I was reminded of a scene from a crime thriller called “Protector” by Laurel Dewey. A woman in the police station pulls a Glock from a passing patrol officer’s holster and points it toward the man suspected of hurting her eight year old daughter. The lead character, Detective Jane
Perry, tells her she wants to help her by giving her a few pointers.

….”Okay, there’s several ways you can do this.” …. “You can aim for his head,” …. “That’d be a sweet shot. However, we’re about fifteen feet away and even the best cop could miss. Your second option is to bring the gun down here.” Jane gently directed the woman’s aim to the suspect’s groin. “That’s a tempting shot. You hit the mark dead on and he never hurts anyone else like that again. But, tempting as it is, we’re still fifteen feet away and there’s a good chance you’ll miss. So there’s option three.” Jane directed the pistol at the suspect’s chest. “That’s what we call a ‘center punch’ and it always works. You fire a magnum plug right there and you solve your problem in less than a second.” Jane turned on the woman. “I’d go with option three if I were you.”

According to the accounts I’ve read, the theater was dark, the exit door opened and people saw a silhouette. Tear gas was thrown into the theater and shots were fired. There was total chaos.

Imagine if all or even some of these people had carried guns into the theater and tried to stop the shooter. I think that, during that melee, people would be shooting wildly and probably even more people would have been injured or killed.

In a perfect world….well, in a perfect world, this would never have happened. However, the next best scenario would have been that one of the movie goers would have been an individual trained in sharpshooting by the military or law enforcement. I am saying this because what would have been needed would have been someone who was calm, collected and able to focus on the job at hand, to take out the shooter. So, in my opinion, more people carrying guns would not have prevented this.”

My thoughts on this have not changed.

Now, according to what I have read, we have a 20 year old male who took semi-automatic weapons, registered to his mother, who he shot in the head multiple times, and went to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He broke into the school and proceeded to massacre twenty children and six adults. The children were six and seven years old and had been shot up to eleven times…. each. The authorities took pictures of the faces of the children for the parents to identify, not wanting the parents to see how their children had been slaughtered.

I am sorry to say that prior to this latest tragedy, I had basically thought that the bad guys are always going to be able to get guns so we may as well also have that opportunity. However, assault weapons never crossed my mind.

The Second Amendment talks about the right to bear arms. However, I believe that the framers of the Second Amendment could not have envisioned where this would lead us. Shouldn’t there be a limit with regard to the types of weapons we can have?

Why does the average citizen need an assault weapon? Why? No, really, why? Why does any American, aside from the military and law enforcement, need assault weapons, high capacity magazines or hollow point or high velocity ammunition capable of penetrating body armor?

It is my understanding that the shooter at Sandy Hook fired bullets that traveled at the speed of 3,200 feet per second. Please view the “Lawrence O’Donnell: NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre A ‘Desperate, Cornered Rat,’ ‘Lobbyist For Mass Murders'” article published by  the Huffington Post. Yes, that’s right, 3200 feet per second. Again, is it any wonder that the authorities only took pictures of those children’s faces because their little bodies were probably in shreds?

I spoke to someone about assault weapons, an individual who used to be in the military. He said that the reason that they are called “assault weapons” is because they are meant to kill…..humans. If they were used on, for instance, a deer, there would be very little left of the deer after the shooting was over.

On December 16, 2012, the Los Angeles Times ran the “Gun Rights Advocates Steer Clear of Sunday Talk Shows” article published by Meredith Blake. This article, which addressed the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, essentially stated that leaders who were pro-gun-rights advocates were not willing to speak on the political talk shows or even David Letterman’s show.

However, there was one person, Rep. Louie Gohmert R-Texas), who had a comment. According to the article, he said, on “Fox News Sunday” : “I wish to God (Principal Dawn Hochspring, who was killed in the attack) had an M4 in her office, locked up, so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out…and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.” Yeah, thanks for your opinion, Louie. Now all of the principals have to be trained to be sharp shooters?

According to Wayne LaPierre, president of the National Rifle Association, he doesn’t think a gun ban is warranted. Rather, he thinks that all of the schools should have armed guards. Now, a number of politicians are saying that they should teach school officials to shoot and allow them to carry weapons.

So, let’s take this in order:

(1) The armed guards are police or former police officers. Who is going to pay for this? We are on the edge of a fiscal cliff, so where is the money going to come from?

(2) The armed guards are volunteers or school officials. They are going to be trained with what? Guns? Rifles? Assault weapons? They are going to have to learn to shoot a moving target amid total chaos and have the mind set to be ready to shoot to kill. Oh, and if the shooter is wearing full body armor, this volunteer or school official will have to be quite the shot since it will have to be to the head.

While it is easy to sit in your arm chair and say you would have no problem killing someone, when actually faced with that situation, could you? Is there really one person in every school who can be trained to do this? Aren’t swat teams specially trained to do this and isn’t it an elite team? Yet people are blithely saying we train whomever to take the next shooter out.

However, I guess the people who are advocating this don’t read the papers. According to the “Columbine High School Had Armed Guard During Massacre In 1999″ article published by Amanda Terkel with Huffington Post, “having armed security on-site failed to prevent the deadliest mass shooting at an American high school. In 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 15 people and wounded 23 more at Columbine High School. The destruction occurred despite the fact that there was an armed security officer at the school and another one nearby — exactly what LaPierre argued on Friday was the answer to stopping “a bad guy with a gun.””

Regardless, say we put armed guards in all of the schools. Is that just elementary or also kindergarten, junior high and high school? Does it include colleges? Okay, so now the next shooters know where not to go, so they go to the parks and shoot people. We should put armed guards at the park? Okay, the shooters now go to the malls. Oh, we should put armed guards there? I think you see where this is going.

No, I think we have to go to the source. No one other than the military and law enforcement should be allowed to have assault weapons. You say you can get trained to shoot an assault weapon and then register it?

First, why do you need to learn to shoot an assault weapon?  Second, the shooter at Sandy Hook used his mother’s weapons so he had access regardless of registration. (Of course, why that mother, knowing that he had some extreme issues, taught him to shoot is beyond me. But that’s another story).

Again, I am realistic enough to know that a total ban on guns will never happen. However, a ban on assault weapons, high capacity magazines and hollow point and high velocity ammunition capable of penetrating body armor should occur. You want to convince me otherwise and tell me why you need an assault weapon? Give it a try.

Published By: Patricia I. James, Esq.

**No portion of this Post is intended to constitute legal or medical advice.  The views expressed are solely those of the author.