California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein called for a hearing on a bill that would ban assault weapons, using facts to point out how effective it could be at reducing mass shootings.
In a statement, Feinstein said her bill to ban assault weapons – the type of gun used in recent mass shootings – “deserves a hearing.”
A portion of the California Democrat’s statement:
“Over this past week, we’ve heard passionate pleas from students who survived a massacre and lost their friends and teachers. There have been 239 shootings at schools since 20 first graders were slaughtered at Sandy Hook—the last time we said ‘never again.’ These shootings resulted in 438 people being wounded, 138 fatally. There’s no other country where school shootings are a monthly occurrence, no other country where children are afraid they are going to be killed at school, and we’ve got to stop it.
“Through their pain, these students have been demanding lawmakers take action to make sure an AR-15 isn’t used to perpetrate another mass shooting. At a rally this week, one of the Parkland students said, ‘We can’t protect our guns before we protect our children.’ We owe it to these students to listen.
“Our country is in the midst of a significant conversation on gun reform, and our bill to ban assault weapons, which is before the Judiciary Committee, deserves a hearing.
“From Aurora to Sandy Hook, San Bernardino to Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs to Parkland, one common thread that runs through mass shootings is the use of AR-15 military-style assault weapons. These weapons are designed to kill the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time and we need to get these weapons of war off our streets.
Feinstein didn’t just make an emotional plea to her colleagues across the aisle. She also laid out the facts about how effective the previous assault weapons ban was before it expired in 2004.
“When the assault weapons ban was in place, the number of gun massacres fell by 37 percent and the number of people dying from gun massacres fell by 43 percent,” Feinstein pointed out. “After the ban expired, the number of gun massacres increased by 183 percent and the number of people dying from gun massacres increased by 239 percent.”
No civilian should need or even want to possess a weapon designed for the sole purpose of killing the maximum amount of people in the least amount of time. It’s a killing machine – plain and simple – that has no place on the streets of a civilized society.
Enacting a ban of such weaponry isn’t just the right thing to do, but as Feinstein pointed out in her statement, the last time such a ban was enacted, it proved to be effective at reducing the number of people killed in mass shootings. That should be our priority.
It’s time to retire these deadly firearms and put the safety of American children above the non-existent right to own a weapon of combat.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.