I’ve been a gun owner, hunter and sportsman for most of my life. I grew up hunting, have expert weapons ratings and own a few rare firearms, most stored in secure locations by companies that protect them.
After the latest attack on a high school by a mentally-disturbed 19-year-old who killed 17 and wounded many more at a Miami high school this week, I am re-considering private ownership of assault-style weapons and those designed for military purposes.
Nikolas Cruz used an AR-15, a semi-automatic version of the military M-16, to mow down students in the hallways of the school that expelled him for continued problems. He owned the weapon, which usually uses .223 or NATO .556 ammunition, and — Florida officials say — owned it legally in Florida.
Those who knew him say Cruz held a fascination for weapons, taped himself killing animals, including pets, and talked about the need to “take out” those who didn’t like. Cruz does not like a lot people, we’re finding out now.
The students who died and others who lived in fear at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. are the latest to die in classrooms in what has become annual terrors in America. They now at the ones stepping up and saying something needs to be done by the flood of weapons in our country.
“Blood is being spilled on the floors of Americans classrooms, and that is not acceptable,” said Parkland senior David Hogg to the Washington Post Thursday. “By working through partisanship and working through our differences…we can make an actual change. And who knows? Maybe we could save some children’s lives.”
“How are we allowed to buy guns at the age of 18 or 19? That’s something we shouldn’t be able to do,” Lyliah Skinner, who survived the shooting, told CNN.
The kids appear smarter than many adults. Maybe they are because they are the targets in too may of the multiple shootings in America nowadays.
The pro-gunners will argue that Americans fight and die with M16 in their hands and too many were 19, the same age at Cruz. In Vietnam, the average age of an American military “grunt” in the bush was 19.
Those who question the availability of a weapon like an AR-15, assume the “AR” means “Assault Rifle” but the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which calls itself “The Firearms Industry Trade Association,” says the AR came from ArmaLite, which the company that helped develop military weapons in the 1950, including the AR-5 for the U.S. Air Force as a lightweight survival rifle. It became the M-1 Survival Rifle (the military designation).
Eugene Stoner, a former Marine and Army ordnance tech, helped Armalite help a replacement for the AR-10 in 1956 and called it an AR-15. The company licensed the AR-15 to Colt Patent Firearms Manufacturing and, with changes and some reliability problems, became the M-16 for the American military.
Armalite ended up being sold to Elisco Tool Manufacturing Company in the Philippines and Armalite shipped inventory, tools and manufacturing equipment to that islands and ceased U.S. Operations. The Philippine operations were wiped out by the country’s political stability. In the meantime, Eagle Arms, a company that sold M16 and AR-15 parts, acquired expired Stoner’s early patents and started building full rifles in 1989.
Today, many firearms companies make AR-15 style rifles, including Colt, the original military supplier of the fully automatic version M16.
The AR-15 continues to be one of the most popular rifles for sale to the general public and is considered the “assault style” weapon of choice for many, who calls them varmint weapons, sporting rifles and target guns.
Ammo choices now include ranges beyond the .223 and 556 calibres, including 380, 9mm and others.
it is, however, the weapon of choice by those who want to play soldier, engage in para-military training with militias and carried by white supremacy groups in America.
Former Republican Congressman David Jolly represented Florida’s 13th congressional district told CNN Thursday: “Republicans will never do anything on gun control. We have a broken nation on the issue of guns.”
“The idea of gun policy in the Republican Party is to try to get a speaking slot at the NRA and prove that constituency that you’re further right,” he adds.
I belonged to the NRA once. I quit after they endorsed racist George Allen for the Senate simple because he was “right” about guns.
Jolly’s advice to American voters? “First, flip the House. Republicans are not going to do a single thing after this (latest) shooting incident.”
He also urges Democrats to work for “increment wins” including stronger and more universal background checks.
Let me be honest. I’m a conservative Second Amendment person who sponsored some pretty hardcore Second Amendment bills…I believe in Second Amendment issues, but I believe in background checks and reasonable restrictions—maybe even banning assault rifles.
As a lifetime gun owner who has owned assault style weapons over the years, including rare models, I agree with Jolly. It is time to turn out backs on the NRA and the those who want unlimited access to firearms, particularly the military styles of armament.
They have no place in our homes. I keep such weapons offsite, protected by a company that takes care of them. If I have a use for one, I check it out, use it legally and then clean and return it to protected quarters.
I will never buy another military or assault style weapon. I have handguns for protection and a concealed carry permit. I have rifles and shotguns, some for hunting, some for target shooting and other legal uses and I retain them.
If Congress adopts a law to not only stop sales of assault style or military grade weapons but require them to be surrendered to law enforcement or a government location to be melted down, I will do so without question or protest. I may donate some collectibles to museums for permanent loan for display.
I will not sell any weapons to another private owner. I will take them out of circulation.
This is my first step as a gun owner who increasingly understand the need to take drastic steps to reduce the number of weapons in private hands in this nation. Hopefully, it is a first step that others might follow…before it is too late.
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