Dear Gun Control Advocate,
While I appreciate the vigor in your desire to prevent mass shootings, banning AR-15 style guns will not stop mass shootings. The Virginia Tech shooting is proof enough if that. 32 people were killed; the second worst shooting, in which two or more people died, in our recent history. Those innocent people were killed with a .22 semi-automatic pistol, and a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. A ban on AR-15 style weapons would not have prevented that shooting. The Oklahoma City bomber used fuel and fertilizer. A ban on AR-15 style weapons would not have prevented that. The Boston Marathon bombers used pressure cookers. A ban on AR-15 style weapons would not have prevented that. The Columbine shooters used shotguns, handguns, and a pipe bomb. I think you get the picture. In fact, of the last 50 mass shootings in the USA, only 9 have included an AR-15 style weapon (source). Furthermore, in early 2014 the Orlando shooter was placed on a government watch list for suspected terrorist activity, and interviewed twice by the FBI. Later in 2014 he was again investigated, and again his case was dropped (source). There should have been warning lights and red flags go up the moment he tried to buy a gun, but the FBI dropped the ball.
You say that putting a ban on AR-15 style weapons will keep people from buying or owning them. Did banning alcohol keep people from drinking it? No. Does banning marijuana keep people from smoking it? No. Banning a commodity does not magically make it disappear; it only limits the supply, and consequently drives up the cost of said commodity. This serves to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to obtain the item, and criminalize them for doing so. If you do ban AR-15s what then? Will all the bad guys stop using them? Will men with evil intentions suddenly see the error of their ways and stop killing? No they won’t. Criminals are called such for a reason, namely, they commit crimes. More gun law will only give them more crimes to commit, and make criminals out of otherwise peaceful law-abiding citizens. Banning AR-15 style weapons will only disarm innocent people, and turn them into targets.
By your logic banning guns will result in lower rates of crime and violence. Let us look into that. Switzerland has one of the highest rates of gun ownership per capita in the world (source), one of the lowest crime rate in the world (source), and they haven’t been in an armed conflict since 1847 (source). So despite having a high rate of gun ownership, Switzerland’s crime rate is quite low. Now let us look at Chicago. In 1982 Chicago passed an outright ban on handguns (except those owned before the law). Although there was a drop in handgun murders immediately after the law took effect, the handgun murder rate had already been on the decline for a few years. Within three years after the law took effect handgun homicide was on the rise, climbing to 40% higher than the pre-law rate (source). The United States, despite its nearly 300,000,000 privately owned guns, ranked 111th in homicide per capita rate in 2012 (source). Even the CDC, after spending $10 million to study gun related violence, “found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies” (source).
When Hitler took power in 1933 he used a gun registry from the Weimar Republic which he was never supposed to see to seize the guns from the Jews and anybody who opposed him. Then in 1938 when he had eliminated many of those who threatened him, and put many Jews in concentration camps, he enacted a law that made it easier for his supporters to get guns. What followed was a world war, and the mass execution of millions of Jews, Poles, gays, and any another social group or race he didn’t like (source).
Mass shootings rarely happen in areas where guns are freely carried. A recent study found that from 1950 to the most recent shooting of police in Dallas, only 1.6% of all mass public shootings occurred outside of gun-free zones (source). The study finds only 4 mass public shootings that happened outside gun-free zones. Unfortunately the only people who read and follow “gun-free zone” signs are the people who are gunned down.