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Military assault weapons don't belong on the streets

By David Shapiro


Some of the most sobering information to come out of the Connecticut massacre was the extent to which the psychopath who gunned down 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School was armed.

According to state police, the gunman's arsenal included a military-style assault rifle and two semiautomatic pistols, with numerous 30-round clips for all three weapons loaded with especially deadly bullets intended to shatterand cause the maximum damage when they rip into the body.

He fired hundreds of bullets during his 10-minute spree, inflicting multiple wounds on each of the 26 victims, and had enough ammunition left to take out virtually every living soul in the 450-student school if police hadn't arrived to interrupt him.

We're not talking about guns here, folks; we're talking about weapons of mass destruction, and it's time the political debate shifted to recognize the distinction.

There's simply no credible rationale anymore for letting these murderous weapons loose in the general population to fall into the hands of criminals, the mentally ill and anti-government misfits.

We may as well arm sociopaths with nerve gas canisters and satchels of hand grenades if we're going to let them easily obtain military-grade firearms that have as much killing capacity.

Police officers on the street don't carry these firearms, and the public would be outraged if they did.

Nobody is suggesting werepealthe Second Amendment right to bear arms.

It's about protecting our children and other law-abiding citizens by using our well-established body of law that has long allowed reasonable regulation ofthe ownership and use of guns.

The hodgepodge of local laws ranging from strict controls in some jurisdictions to a Wild West free-for-all in others isn't working; if the most dangerous weapons are legal and easily obtainable in one state, they'll find their way into other states.

It's time for the president and Congress to stand up to the gun lobby and enact a national law that bans general ownership of military-style assault weapons and sets sensible rules and licensing requirements for owning and carrying standard handguns and rifles.

What other choice do we have? Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert's idiotic suggestion that we arm principals with M-4s to protect their students?

If people want to own hunting rifles, pistols to protect the family, range guns or collections of Colt 45s, fine, as long as they're licensed at least as rigorously as for owning and operating an automobile.

But military assault weapons designed for a siege on Baghdad, no.

The National Rifle Association likes to argue that guns don't kill people, people kill people.

Maybe so, butlet's accept social responsibility and keep the most dangerous guns out of the hands of people who kill classrooms full of 6-year-old kids.


Reach David Shapiro at volcanicash@gmail.com or blog.volcanicash.net.

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Steve96785 wrote:
I agree that automatic weapons should be limited, but I object to calling them "weapons of mass destruction". These are not biological or chemical or nuclear weapons or even explosives that might kill hundreds at a time. By expanding the definition of the WMD term, through mis-usage in the press, then Bush II was correct in invading Iraq because of his WMDs. Go back to calling them assault rifles or machine pistols, and ban them from private ownership, but let's keep our terms straight.
on December 19,2012 | 06:13AM
allie wrote:
Steve is wrong. These assault weapons should have been banned long ago. The crazed Bush manipulated the increasingly ignorant Republican base and this is more blood on his hands.
on December 19,2012 | 09:00AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Factually and logically wrong.
on December 19,2012 | 01:10PM
edster48 wrote:
You blame Bush?!?!? Talk about ignorant.
on December 20,2012 | 06:47AM
Keith_Rollman wrote:
You should focus your angst on the mental health csre issues that allowed this psychopath to develop unnoticed. Do you really think he'd have killed fewer if he had to change magazines more?
on December 19,2012 | 06:14AM
MKN wrote:
@Keith_Rollman: I agree that mental health issues need to be addressed as well. With that said, if you limited it to 10 or 15 round clips, there would have only been so many clips that he could have carried while he was systematically killing everyone in sight. Also, why do we need to sell frangible or hollow point rounds to civilians? Those types of rounds are only useful in times of war since if someone is shot with them, their chances of survival are poor at best. I believe that people should have the right to bear arms, but there should be limits on what kinds of weapons and ammunition that they can use.
on December 19,2012 | 08:32AM
allie wrote:
mkm is spot-on
on December 19,2012 | 09:00AM
edster48 wrote:
As I ATTEMPTED to explain to Mr. Shapiro, hunting rounds are designed to expand on impact to create a larger wound cavity in order to kill game animals more quickly and humanely. This kid had neither frangible or hollow point ammunition.
on December 20,2012 | 06:52AM
edster48 wrote:
OK, so you people decide to censor me? For what? I was completely civil and and presented facts. Mr. Shapiro was completely wrong on the vast majority of said facts. I challenge you to show otherwise.
on December 19,2012 | 07:25AM
allie wrote:
Shapiro is spot-on. These destructive, unnecessary weapons should have been banned long ago.
on December 19,2012 | 09:01AM
koolau wrote:
I agee with edster48. Shaprio censored my comments also. It appears he's part ot the liberal press!
on December 20,2012 | 03:56AM
edster48 wrote:
So now you even censor any questions or challenges to your censoring of my comments? No rational discourse? No facts allowed? Thank God for the first amendment huh?
on December 19,2012 | 07:48AM
koolau wrote:
According to Sharpiro, the First Ammendment applies only if you don't challenge his messages. I'm very disappointed that he'll censor comments which voice another view, yet allows uneducated opinions such as those by allie! I gave Shapiro more credit than due, believing his was more open minded. He should write for MSNBC!
on December 20,2012 | 04:02AM
edster48 wrote:
Too true koolau, I WAS a an avid reader of his column. Silly me, thinking he was fair minded and had some common sense, I expected better from him. Typical lib mindset, when facts are presented to counter your argument, stick your fingers in your ears and scream "ya ya ya, I can't hear you". Considering canceling my subscription.
on December 20,2012 | 06:34AM
Anonymous wrote:
Thanks for a clear and reasonable column. It is amazing and profoundly depressing that many believe that more guns will make our world safer and less violent.
on December 19,2012 | 08:11AM
Pacej001 wrote:
More emotion-based thinking. IF the school had armed security none of this might have happened, but nooooo!, it was in a "gun free" zone, a place protected by liberal/progressive good will (and fairy dust). Banning assault weapons (Dave, they're single shot rifles, not military assault weapons) would have done nothing since the murderer had access to handguns of equal lethality at short range. And for those who want to extend Shapiro's thinking to its logical end, a total gun ban, think upon the fact that we have 12million human beings in this country illegally with no way of preventing it. Rigid gun control will just result in only criminals and psychopaths having them.
on December 19,2012 | 08:37AM
allie wrote:
pace is wrong. Not eevry school can afford security. Ban guns and get the crazies off the streets.
on December 19,2012 | 09:02AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Laughing, laughing, laughing. Did you know that drugs are illegal? illegal immigration illegal? Not wearing seat belts illegal? Smoking on the beach(?) illegal? Now let's do a logic test: If we can't even begin to prevent even the simplest, most benign illegal behavior, why should we ever expect to be able to enforce a ban on guns? Assuming the answer is that we can't, what would we accomplish other than preventing law abiding citizens from having the means of protecting themselves from violent criminals?
on December 19,2012 | 09:50AM
Anonymous wrote:
pcae your truth and logic are not welcomed here
on December 23,2012 | 06:35PM
Paco3185 wrote:
If you think the only way to address this issue is to ban law abiding citizens from owning guns you need to read this article:


Now more than ever the focus needs to be on people who feel the need to commit suicide while taking others with them. How do we identify them, help them, and bring them back into society.

The other issue we need to address is why so many people have such a severe distrust of our government. If you fear the breakdown of society, the inability of our public institutions to assist in the time of emergency, etc. then nothing is going to talk you out of loading up on what you need to survive the coming apocalypse . . . Laugh at these folks (and I do watch Doomsday Preppers when there are no other sitcoms on I like) but if a small part of you does not think they are right – you may be the one whose nuts!

on December 19,2012 | 08:58AM
ALLDUNN wrote:
Shapiro, wake up, cops in Hawaii carry those types of weapons daily. So much for you knowing what your talking about. You don't want the Second Amendment repealed? Doesn't sound like it, you just want it to be gutted like the First Amendment, you know the one about Free Speech. If some group or the government doesn't like what your saying, pass a law to target those people (hate speech etc.) and all will be fine. If they repeal the second amendment the first in next so you can forget about your job when people object to what you say the first time. The guy was a nut job, he could have used a hammer but it wouldn't be big news or suit the special interests.
on December 19,2012 | 09:36AM
andyparx wrote:
"Nobody is suggesting werepealthe Second Amendment right to bear arms." Oh yeah? I am,
on December 19,2012 | 09:55AM
edster48 wrote:
Only because you're ignorant.
on December 20,2012 | 06:38AM
false wrote:
Shapiro is right that Military assault weapons don't belong in the streets. That assault rifle was found in the trunk of Med Boys car.
on December 19,2012 | 10:44AM
allie wrote:
on December 19,2012 | 11:05AM
eastside808 wrote:
i dont think repealing our 2nd Amendment rights would make incidents like Newtown go away. I think arming our school administration is way over the top. But the move to arm oneself because we dont trust the police may be somewhat true. With so many people and so many things going on, it is impossible to have police defuse a situation when needed. Sometimes it takes a citizen with a registered firearm to use deadly force to preserve the peace and safety of the community. Why was the public allowed to even buy these assault type weapons in the first place? Rifles and shotguns for hunting and handguns for recreation and/or self defense is okay.
on December 19,2012 | 10:59AM
Publicbraddah wrote:
Exactly what is the rationale for the average Joe to have automatic weapons or weapons with magazines that hold large amounts of bullets? We'll never avoid murder by a handgun or rifle but with automatic weapons, the destruction is multiplied as evidenced by the Newton shooter. I also agree with Keith_Rollman that we should focus on the mentally ill. There isn't a single cause for incidences like Sandy Hook. Instead of dividing ourselves like we tend to do, we should be working together to solve our problems.
on December 19,2012 | 01:51PM
koolau wrote:
On the shirt tails of Rollman, everyone should listen to Mike Huckabee's interview regarding his observations of prayer being outlawed from schools, certain public facilities, etc. , parrallel to incidents like Newton, Columbine, etc. There are other interviews which suggest the same, but never hits the big media. Why? Because it doesn't generate as much attention as the focus on guns. That kind of news "sells"! The message by Larry the Cable Guy is for Shaprio and allie ".....the next time I flunk a written test, I'm gonna blame my pencil!" (That may go over the head of allie.)
on December 20,2012 | 04:13AM
edster48 wrote:
He didn't have an "automatic weapon", careful, your ignorance is showing.
on December 20,2012 | 06:40AM
Eradication wrote:
Gun control. That's all anybody (well, the normal people anyways) wants. Even the NRA supports some type of control. The people who say their rights under the constitution are being threatened somehow feel that it would be "o.k." to force educators to be armed while in school. What if a teacher does not want to be armed? Are they fired (excuse the pun)? What if the armed teacher or administrator accidently shoots the wrong person? What if the next massacre happens in a church? Are we going to arm the clergy next? Everybody walking around with concealed weapons waiting for an opportunity to "protect" themselves from the next mass killer. There's no simple answer to this problem and it will take the effort of everyone to come to the right conclusion. All we know is that innocent people are getting gunned down in cold blood and it has been happening for a very long time in this country. We as a country need to come to terms with this problem. I don't believe arming everyone with weapons is the answer. I think we need stricter control on who has access to weapons and more importantly ammunition which right now has no restrictions. The 2d Ammendment was written at a time when slavery was legal and women could not vote. While we have evolved on the latter issues we have yet to attain the same level of evolution involving weapons.
on December 19,2012 | 11:49PM
mrluke wrote:
You don't start rescinding or gutting amendments because of knee-jerk public opinion. The founding fathers deliberately devised a system whereby the Constitution could not be altered at whim by current sentiment. BTW, didn't amendments end slavery and give women the right to vote?
on December 20,2012 | 09:26AM
mrluke wrote:
Comment censored. No bad words or insulting remarks!!!??
on December 20,2012 | 09:29AM
Kaneohegrown wrote:
Dave, the problem with your arguement is that you fail to realize that there were laws already on the books that (by your view) should have prevented this horrible event. 1. Shooter did not own the weapons used, hence it was illegal for him to have possession of them. This law didn't stop him... 2. Illegal to bring a firearm into a "gun free" zone. This law didn't stop him... 3. It is against the law to murder people. This law didn't stop him... 4. Illegal to use a firearm in the comission of a crime. This law didn't stop him... Though the laws may "feel good" to many, the only people we end up hurting are the very ones whom follow th law. Now I'm not saying the laws that were broken aren't good "common sense" laws, but as you can see, a crazed person will not follow the law if they don't feel like it. Basic statistical analysis would easily debunk any call for additional gun control in a "common sense" world. -50,000 people die from firearm related deaths (this is to include suicide, 50%, law enforcement use, and gang related crime) each year. FBI crime statistics. -1,500,000 to 2,500,000 people prevent or defend themselves from violent crime each year. Gary Kleck / DOJ studies. Now for comparison sake, lets look at vehicular deaths. -250,000 people die in vehicle related deaths each year. DOT statistics Why throw in vehicular deaths? Because I've never seen anyone (media or politician) jump up immediately after a drunk driver killing somone, calling for a vehicle ban. Why is this relevant you ask? Because under the Constitution, driving a car is never once protected as a Civil Right. People realize through "common sense" that the vehicle did not cause those deaths, it was the driver. This is why gun owners are so against additional regulations/bans, people are so quick to blame the means of these senseless deaths, but never look at the under lying cause... These shooters are absolutely insane, and no laws we pass would prevent them from carrying out their demented plans...
on December 21,2012 | 10:01AM
Kaneohegrown wrote:
My apoligies, for clarification, the 1.5 to 2.5 million number refers to instances of defensive gun use (from simply brandishing a firearm to deter a crime, up to using a firearm to stop a threat). This is noted the the Gary Kleck and Department of Justice studies.
on December 21,2012 | 11:05AM
Kaneohegrown wrote:
To clarify, 1.5 to 2.5 million people use a firearm to prevent violent acts (robbery/assault/rape/sodomy/murder) each year. This is to include simply brandishing the firearm to actual use to stop the threat. 2 studies, one by Professor Gary Kleck and the other by the Department of Justice affirm these numbers.
on December 21,2012 | 12:07PM
koolau wrote:
For those who fail to believe, access NRA.com website and click on "The Armed Citizens" and read the various stories nationwide, of people defending themselves. Consider what would have happened to those innocent at home, should they not have had a weapon to protect themselves.
on December 23,2012 | 02:56AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
Dave, I agree with you, but it would certainly help to keep the issue from being confused if some of these people spouting their opinions would learn the difference between manual bolt action (the bolt must be pulled back to insert a round, pushed forward and down to lock it in place before firing), semi-automatic (the trigger must be pulled to fire each round) and automatic (the weapon will keep firing until the magazine is empty as long as the trigger is depressed). It is the latter, which does not belong on the streets.
on December 23,2012 | 06:42AM
ResponsibleCitizen wrote:
Guns don't do a thing without the finger that is on the trigger. Any argument to the contrary does not hold water. Anyone who would ban them for the Law Abiding will cause more death and sorrow for those that Abide Law. Criminals DONOT abide the law, therefore, ONLY CRIMINALS will be ARMED. That is a matter of FACT. Any persons that want to debate GUN issues need to get educated on the subject of GUNS. I am so sick and tired of the uninformed, uneducated, fools who watch too many movies and think they know it all about guns. GET EDUCATED, GET INFORMED, TAKE ON SOME RESPONSIBILITY. Then you can sit down at the table and discuss the 2nd amendment.
on December 27,2012 | 08:54AM
Anonymous wrote:
I guess that we need an M16 to hunt wild pig.
on March 30,2013 | 05:07PM
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