Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis used an AR-15 in addition to other weapons. PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons
UPDATE: Well, both Dianne Feinstein and I look a little silly right now: sources are now saying that Aaron Alexis did not use an AR-15 assault rifle in his attack on the Washington Navy Yard. He rented one, but apparently returned it before going on his rampage. Still, the overall point stands: Aaron Alexis had access to an assault rifle, and that's a bad thing. If limiting his access to an AR-15 means limiting ours as well, then so be it.
Raise your hand if you believe that it is your right, as a citizen of the free world, to own chemical weapons. Anyone? Someone out there want to defend your right to having a little sarin in your house, just in case?
Now ask yourself if there is anything sacred about your right to own an assault weapon like the one used by Newtown killer Adam Lanza?
In the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting which killed twelve people, plus killer Aaron Alexis, Senator Dianne Feinstein renewed her call for an assault weapons, saying Congress was “shirking its responsibility.” And she’s right. Congress is supposed to act in the public interest, and by not reinstating the assault weapons ban, Congress is empowering the NRA and crazy people like Lanza and Washington Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis.
To be fair, one can imagine a scenario in which you would really prefer an assault weapon over a handgun, but those scenarios generally involve an action-movie situation where you are surrounded by bad guys who will stop at nothing to kill you. Think about your actual life for a moment: how likely is that to happen?
Then remember that in order for you to have access to your “just in case” assault weapon, we also have to grant that same access to Aaron Alexis, Newtown killer Adam Lanza, and the next madman who opens fire on a group of innocent people. For you, a sane person with no killing-spree impulse, the ability to own an assault weapon instead of just a handgun or hunting rifle, is analogous to the ability to own lightning insurance. It will probably never matter, but maybe you feel more secure having it. The difference is that your ability to own lightning insurance doesn’t make anyone else less safe.
Ask yourself, which is more important to you: that you can legally purchase an AR-15 (as opposed to a weapon with less capacity) or that Aaron Alexis can't?