Updated: February 22, 2013 6:28AM
Assault weapons are indeed part of the nation’s gun problem
On Sunday, The Courier-News published the first in a series, “The Gun Debate,” having gun owners weigh in on the debate.
As I unfolded the paper on the front page, I saw a gun owner aiming a 9 mm pistol at my face. I thought to myself, “Why isn’t the picture showing a Bushmaster assault weapon used in the Aurora theater and Sandy Hook 20-dead-children massacres aiming at me?” Because that is what President Obama was talkin g about banning at his press conference the other day, not handguns. I thought, “God, what were those beautiful little babies and their brave teachers who were trying in vain to protect them seeing while they were being gunned down during their last one or two seconds of life?” Yes, ONE OR TWO SECONDS was all it took for a sick young man with an assault weapon and a large-capacity magazine to fire off a hundred bullets, destroy 26 families and take happiness away from Newtown, Conn., for a long, long sad time.
Moving to Page 6, I see a photo of a trap shooter smiling while holding a smoking shotgun. The writer describes a little later in the story how shooting sports are “a very wholesome form of family recreation.” Now (I’m paraphrasing here), the president said at his press conference that he understood millions of Americans enjoy target shooting and hunting, and he respected their right to do so. Also paraphrasing, he did say — or maybe it was Vice President Biden — that no one needs an assault weapon with a mega-magazine to enjoy hunting, and that the measures he was signing by executive order had no intent of stopping law-abiding citizens from taking part in target shooting or hunting.” The president also recognized that as our Supreme Court has ruled, that “Americans have under our Second Amendment the right to own guns for protection.”
Hopefully, the president’s words ensure the father holding his baby daughter and shotgun on Page 7 of this story — and other legal gun owners — that authorities aren’t coming to take all their guns but that America needs some common-sense gun laws. Those include bringing back the expired 1994 assault weapons ban supported by President Reagan, President Obama, most Democrats, many Republicans, most gun owners, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Pope Benedict, millions of leaders and members of all other religious denominations, hundreds of mayors, thousands of police officers and police chiefs, and millions of ordinary Americans such as myself.
So in the coming parts of this “Gun Report,” please show us some photographs that reflect the true agony of American gun violence such as those of Sandy Hook parents with their hearts ripped holding their babies’ pictures at last week’s news conference while begging for us to do SOMETHING. Show us some Chicago mothers crying for us to do SOMETHING. Show us some gunned-down police officer’s families begging us to do SOMETHING
And finally, show us the NRA leaders promoting the ABSURD idea that the assault weapon murder of our babies while in their schools is the price America must pay our freedom to protect ourselves from our OWN government.
As a war vet, I certainly did not go to war — and my best friend Will did not make the supreme sacrifice — in that war so that some loon would have the right to buy an assault weapon, take it to a school and gun down the American children Will died to protect. Enough is enough!