Orlando, Gun Control, and the AR-15 Rifle

How could this happen? How is one lone wolf able to kill fifty people so quickly? AR-15 rifles are not hunting rifles. They’re military rifles. They put out thirty rounds in less than a minute. They’re easy to get, they’re easy to get, they’re easy to get. And easy to shoot. And easy to reload. The Orlando shooter used the same 1950s military rifle that the Newton shooter did; that the 2012 theatre shooter did; that the San Bernardino shooter did.
What about Islam? Yes, Islamic fundamentalism is a serious global problem. It’s a threat to rational, moderate people everywhere–including rational, moderate Muslims. It’s not just the kufar (outsiders, infidels) who are under threat from Islamic terrorism, but moderate Muslims who are considered by their fundamentalist and radicalized counterparts to be not Muslim at all. So there’s no doubt that Islamic fundamentalism needs to be resisted everywhere. But it’s also the lack of sensible gun control laws in the United States that makes mass shootings possible again and again. It keeps happening, in part, because there is not simply motive, but opportunity.
Motive and opportunity. The Republican-controlled Congress could begin to shut this down tomorrow with gun control legislation, and President Obama would obviously sign it, but instead they’re focused on only one side of the opportunity equation: new immigration from Muslim countries, and locking down the southern border (rationalized in part as keeping international terrorists from sneaking in). So on the opportunity side of the equation, there’s a spigot issue: Democrats want to stop the flow of armament trafficking and Republicans want to stop the flow of immigration. But what about the motive side? If a person gets radicalized by religion or politics, or wants to commit a mass hate crime, or is unhinged psychologically, there’s just not much that can be done. An individual’s motives are an individual’s motives. But, at minimum, you can make it difficult for a person with a motive to kill to get hands on military assault rifles.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
This entry was posted in donald trump, hillary clinton, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Orlando, Gun Control, and the AR-15 Rifle

  1. Vincent says:

    The 2nd Amendment is out-of-date and should be repealed. This is now a public health issue. What? Mr. Trump, you don’t like what I just said? Do you want to shoot me? Signed: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Aurora, Newtown, Sandy Hook, 9-year old girl Uzi shooter, US congresswoman Gabby Giffords, 2 year old boy shooting mother, gun shop owner killed rather than just giving the money, Chapel Hill, Charleston Church Killings, female TV reporter, Roseburg Oregon Jr College, Planned Parenthood, San Bernardino, Orlando 50.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I just heard Trump this morning, on a call-in with a reporter at NBC, say he opposes the banning of military assault rifles. He thinks that if the housewife at the grocery store has similar firepower–I guess he expects her to carry an AR-15 down the canned-goods aisle–then that’s the deterrent. Americans constantly on edge, loaded for bear. Imagine a gay night club serving liquor, everyone carrying an AR-15–you know, for protection against Islamic terrorists and homophobes. And all of your fellow citizens with an AR-15 on the seat next to them in traffic.

      May the gods save us from Trump.

      As for your suggestion about banning the 2nd Amendment, I would say no to that. Cars kill as well, but we don’t ban cars. What we do is regulate cars, and make them safer in design, etc. Likewise, you can limit legal gun ownership to hunting rifles, and non-military-style weapons, and have rigorous licensing requirements for gun-selling and ownership, etc. There’s a way to deal with these issues responsibly, balancing competing goods and interests.

  2. Kaypius says:

    These kind of lone wolf attacks by the radicalised is bound to rise with the gun culture of US. It’s time to take tough decisions, the National Rifle Association notwithstanding.

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