More dead people – by a weapon that’s been called “The most wanted gun in America.”
Thirteen are dead following a mass shooting at the Washington (D.C.) Navy Yard. Another twelve are wounded and hospital staff have been told to expect more victims.
More widows, more motherless children, more grief. And once again my sadness is accompanied by outrage that one individual shooter (or in this case perhaps two) can kill so many so quickly.
At least one of the weapons used this morning was the AR15, the same assault weapon used to kill 26 in the Newtown elementary school and 2 at a Portland Mall last December as well as the 12 killed in the Aurora, CO movie theatre last July.
Depending on modifications, an AR-15 can fire at least 30 rounds of bullets in a sustained fashion. The gun is cheap (pre-Newtown, it sold for less than $1K), readily manufactured (at one point “flying off the shelves”) and, until 2004, was banned. Since then the demand continues to climb. A quarter of the buyers are hunters. The rest of them? Well, they are people who say they want to guard their homes and protect their families.
The AR 15 began as a military weapon. Created for people in combat. When did we start believing we need such firepower to guard the family silver?
I’m not so naive to believe we will ever ban guns – I’m not even sure that’s advisable. But military assault style semi-automatics? Weapons that at one point, were banned, and banned without our constitutional rights coming unglued? Surely we can have a real conversation on them. People’s lives are depending on it.
Photo Credit: NPR