“Get back into action quickly with a spare magazine at your fingertips. The magazine sports a durable, black phosphate finish and holds 20 rounds of .308 ammunition.” That’s actual ad copy from Cabella’s website selling high-capacity rifle clips.
If people truly use AR-type rifles for hunting and target shooting, like the gun lobby would have you believe, then why would you need a spare magazine at the ready?
The prose in the ad is telling. It’s as close as you’ll get to confirmation that these weapons, based on the M-4 platform our soldiers and Marines use, are designed for combat. And as we’ve seen time and time again, they’re also very effective at murdering a lot of innocent people in a matter of seconds.
There are so many AR-type rifles out there — along with 20- and 30-round magazines — that outlawing them would do very little in the immediate future to stop the type of horror visited upon students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School this week. But it’s a needed step in the right direction.
At the very least, it would signal that we care enough as a society to admit that somewhere along the line, we seriously erred by flooding the market with guns whose most benign purpose is to fight wars, but which have become go-to tools for terrorists, wicked people and whack jobs intent on slaughtering school children, club goers and music fans.
Evil people — and yes, let’s not be afraid to properly label the Parkland shooter — will always find ways to do harm. But why are we making their goals so easy to achieve?
This isn’t a Second Amendment issue. This country has a long tradition of gun ownership, which should continue. Americans should always be allowed to hunt, shoot at targets and defend themselves, their families and their homes.
But like most products, there should be a spectrum of what is legal and what is not. Pilots are allowed to have airplanes, for example. But they can’t mount sidewinder missiles on them. Sports cars are legal. But one can’t buy a Formula One single-seater and drive it on the highway. Guns should remain legal, but not ones capable of firing 14 rounds per second down range or in a crowded high school hallway.
Of course horrors like Parkland, Las Vegas, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Newtown, Orlando and Columbine won’t stop with common-sense gun legislation. At the same time AR- and AK-type weapons and pistols with extended clips have become so easy to have, we seem to have been churning out an awful lot of despicable, broken people. Who knows how we can stop this trend.
Maybe we can start by telling our children every day how much we love them, but also not hesitate to tell them when they are wrong, hold them accountable for their actions and make them appreciate that everything they do has consequences.