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Remove semi-automatic weapons from public hands

This petition had 638 supporters

On Sunday June 12 a man without known criminal history walked into a nightclub and massacred 50 innocent people. The rifle he used was an AR-15, a semi-automatic that can be purchased with relative ease in most states around the US. Semi-automatics including but not limited to the AR-15 have been the de facto weapon of choice in every surprise massacre that has consumed the US since they have been public and popular in circulation, including Orlando, FL (50 killed); Blacksburg, VA (32 killed); Newtown, CT (27 killed); San Bernardino, CA (14 killed); Aurora, CO (12 killed); and Rosenburg, OR (9 killed). In almost every case the weapons were purchased legally, with a federal background check.

This is not a partisan proposition. Eliminating weapons of mass destruction from convenient access to the public is consistent with conservative moral values—to preserve a US that encourages strong family and civility—as well as liberal values.

Nor is this a proposition to limit public access to normal firearms. I grew up in Wisconsin, where people regularly fill their dinner tables with deer who overpopulate the state. The tradition and weapon of choice for hunting is a single-fire rifle. Reserving our ability to hunt deer (or other animals) with semi-automatics just isn’t worth the danger such weapons pose to the general public.

Eliminating convenient public access to semi-automatics and automatics is not a panacea or a silver bullet. We need to examine the psychological issues that compel these hate crimes from occurring. Reducing easy access is part of the solution—just as we do not want nuclear arms to be widely available to the public. Consider that Australia passed strict gun laws in 1996 and has not experienced a mass shooting since.

This public call to action is worth my effort if it encourages one undecided, concerned citizen to examine it; conduct their own research; and arrive to the position: it’s time for us to stand up to powerful interest groups, reach across the partisan isle, and take clear and decisive action on a clear measure. We had a ban for ten years, enacted in 1994. It wasn’t perfect, in part because it expired ten years after it went into effect.

This petition will be a victory if enough people in the House of Representatives demonstrate their elected mandate to rise above the political fray and work together on a new bill. A ban on semi-automatic rifles will not stop mass shootings from occurring. But the data and historical precedent show us that it will reduce the number of people who die from them.

While the most violent shootings in the US span idealogical motivations, they are consistent in their weapon of choice: semi-automatic guns, mostly rifles; almost all purchased freely and legally.

  • Orlando, FL: 50 killed with Sig Sauer AR-15-style rifle
  • Blacksburg, VA: 32 (mostly students) killed with Walther P22 semi-automatic pistol
  • Newtown, CT: 26 (mostly children) killed with AR-15 Bushmaster XM-15 rifle
  • San Bernardino, CA: 14 killed with Smith & Wesson M&P & DPMS Panther Arms rifles
  • Aurora, CO: 12 killed with Smith & Wesson M&P rifle
  • Rosenburg, OR: 9 (mostly students) killed with Del-Ton rifle

Sign this petition, share it, and tell your congressional representative to do the right thing and confidently vote the way their constituents want them to.

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