Assault Rifles and Turkey (Opinion)
Thanksgiving—the holiday that brings families together for one awkward meal. The conversations are normally the same; expectations are normally met. My Thanksgiving was no different except for one simple fact: I held an assault rifle.
My family is by no means the norm in that we all mostly share the same liberal views. There are no Trump supporters at the table, perhaps a Bernie supporter here and there. Despite our left lean, my cousin has an arsenal of nine firearms ranging from the tiny .22 caliber to the ultimate killing machine: the AR-15. As I stood there in our liberal household, holding the same model rifle which had taken the lives of practically every mass shooting victim, I had the closest thing a 20 year old can have to an epiphany. In my uncle’s basement, I realized that these guns were not going anywhere.
A Gallup poll taken last October shows that thirty six percent of Americans support the banning of assault rifles and this number is steadily declining. In fact, more Americans approve of the ability to own assault rifles than they have in the last twenty years. Ironically, in the last twenty years, there has been an immense spike in both the frequency and the horrifying lethality of mass shootings. It is no coincidence that the rise in the accessibility of assault weapons has accompanied the rising death tolls. These weapons were designed to kill people fast and efficiently on the battlefield. In fact, that is what makes them so popular.
This popularity cuts across party lines. As someone who does not see the appeal of owning a weapon of war, even I could not help but feel its power when it rested unloaded in my hands. As morbid as it may be, this feeling seemed as American as Thanksgiving turkey. It felt as if the weapon I held was just an innocuous hobby. As much as I did not want to feel this way, I did.
In the past few years the intensity of mass shootings have gone up, yet our elected officials have done nothing in response. Many blame the massive purse of the NRA. While this definitely has a major role to play in influencing congressmen and women to curb gun control, it is us, the American people who are to blame. We have become desensitized to the violence.
Mass shootings are not the norm in any developed country other than the United States. We stand alone with bashing our heads in with football and shooting each other with assault rifles. As bleak as it may be, AK-47s and AR-15s will be ever present and as long as there is a Constitution. According to another Gallup poll taken in 2017, forty two percent of Americans have a gun in their home. Congress has shown that despite the carnage, they will not budge. It is time for the American people to accept that guns are an undeniable part of our country whether or not its logical.