Lazarus: Ban assault weapons |

Lazarus: Ban assault weapons

Barry Lazarus

Man the barricades shouted the students in the smash movie hit, Les Mis. Unfortunately, their muskets fired only a single shot before reload. Most of the students died. Recently, a woman on the national news shouted she wanted an assault weapon with a large magazine of bullets. Seems she was worried about being attacked by three or more assailants. She needs an assault weapon? Do we? Data is scant.

Twenty-five states have statutes called “Make My Day” or “Castle” laws. If an individual’s personal space is violated or the sanctity of his/her home, she has the right to shoot and ask questions later under the protection of the law.

The most infamous of recent cases is the shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, February 26, 2012. Florida is a Make My Day state. The statute is being invoked by Zimmerman in his self defense plea. Martin, according to Zimmerman, invaded his space after they engaged in fisticuffs.

Analysis reveals that of the 310 million firearms in the United States (2009 data) approximately 3.75 million are AR -15 rifles. The AR-15 is cousin to the M-16 used by the US military. I shot an M-16 before shipping off to Vietnam as an Army military doctor with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. I also witnessed the devastation it caused our soldiers. It is unknown how many of our concerned citizens own other assault weapons such as the AK 47 or the Ruga Mini M14 used by the mass murderer in Norway which killed 77 mostly young people in 2011.

There are relatively few instances where a person is actually shot in a home as an intruder. In Boulder in May, 2012, an intoxicated, recently graduated University of Colorado female student wandered into a home and was shot in the leg. Anecdotal cases exist in other states but the numbers are small. I suspect if there were rampant application of Make My Day and Castle statutes we would read about it or hear about it on the news. It is uncommon. Do we want schoolyard fights to end in mass shootings? Or domestic arguments result in the use of a handgun with a high capacity magazine?

Ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. Hunters do not want them. Sport shooters have an enormous variety of weapons to fire. Second amendment rights would hardly be abridged with an assault weapon ban. There would still be more than 300 million guns out there. And just maybe someone’s child or grandchild will be saved.

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