With some hesitation born of nostalgia, I turned in two AR style rifles to the Miami Police Department as part of their gun buy-back program today.
As a former U.S. Army Infantry officer, I was well trained in the use of, and felt very comfortable with, the M-16/M-4 platform. I have always considered myself a responsible gun owner. My 14 year old daughter and I built one of the ARs- from scratch- together.
But after the events of last month, I have decided enough is enough.
How can we, as parents, force our kids to live in a world where they have to be afraid of being killed at school?
My daughter recently told me that her plan is to only wear sneakers to school from now on, in case she needs to run. And I realize that, unlike some of my neighbors, I am lucky to still HAVE a 14 year old daughter.
Enough is enough.
There is no valid need for any civilian to own an AR. They make terrible self defense weapons because they can’t safely be stored in a condition that makes them available to use quickly, and the rounds penetrate walls too easily. They aren’t hunting rifles (it’s not even legal to shoot a deer with one). I know very well that my little AR is never going to be used to stand up to a government that has tanks and heavy machine guns. And God forbid someone steals them and uses them to kill more innocents.
Any honest gun owner will admit that the only lawful reason to own an AR is because they are fun to shoot (and they ARE fun to shoot).
But my desire- and the desire of all the other AR owners out there- to have fun toys no longer outweighs the value of the 17 lives that were taken down the street last month. Or the lives of countless other people whose lives have been taken by these toys- these weapons of war.
So, I am done.
The gun industry of today is just like the cigarette industry of a few years ago. Pushing a dangerous product that has no benefit to society. It took a long time for us to stand up to the cigarette industry and call out their lies and their political influence. But now it is a dying industry. We can do the same thing with the gun industry.
I will no longer be a pawn for their profits.
Now that I have eliminated the hypocrisy of these guns from my house, I feel comfortable calling on our government to ban them. We need the same legislation that has been so effective in Australia. Outlaw the manufacture and sale of semiautomatic centerfire firearms with removable magazines and require the legal owners of those firearms to turn them in for compensation with a year. Provide amnesty during that same year for illegal owners of those guns to turn them in. Then make it a 10-20-life offense to be caught with one.
It may not get all of these guns out of the public’s hands. But it will make it a hell of a lot harder for a deranged 19 year old to get his hands on one.
I want to be part of the solution.