Iraqi War Vet: Ban Assault Weapons
Steven Katz: Those who blindly cite the 2nd Amendment are being selfish
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2013 11:57 AM CDT
Updated Mar 20, 2013 12:37 PM CDT
A gun shop owner shows off an AR-15 assault rifle.   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(Newser) – Before making the case that the US should ban assault weapons, Steven Katz lays out his "street cred" in the Christian Science Monitor: He's a conservative Republican who voted for George W. Bush twice, backs small government and the 2nd Amendment, and served two tours in Iraq. But he thinks those that wave around the Constitution as blanket protection for owning AR-15s and similar guns are being selfish.

It's ridiculous that hunters need them, and a pistol is better for self-defense, writes Katz. What's more, gun fans should remember that the Constitution is a living document that has been amended 27 times to reflect the needs of a changing country. The harm being inflicted with assault weapons outweighs someone's desire to own one for target practice or for a collection. "It is time for gun advocates, including my colleagues and friends, to place the welfare of the country first and take a cue from one of the Army’s axioms—'selfless service'—and support legislation in curbing the legal accessibility of offensive weapons like the AR-15." Click for Katz's full column.

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Mar 22, 2013 12:16 AM CDT
We've heard the pros and cons but isn't it about a person wanting to improve his/her odds of surviving in a world of guns aplenty? The idea is if you can shoot more rounds in a small amount of time, the more victims you have. It's math & probability. "Lanza's killing spree lasted less than five minutes and during that time he fired 152 bullets into two classrooms in the Connecticut elementary school."
Mar 21, 2013 5:30 PM CDT
Katz wants to ban semiautomatic rifles because they cause damage, but thinks pistols are ok.. Britain did that after a mass school shooting. Then there was another mass school shooting by someone with a pistol. Then they confiscated all the pistols. Surrendering rights for safety will just leave you with no rights. And as Ben Franklin wrote, "They that give up liberty for safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Freedom is not free, and hundreds of thousands of our servicemen have paid for our freedom with their lives. I, for one, will not give up freedoms that were paid for so dearly. Certainly not under the illusion that a freedom is dangerous. Before anyone "brushes aside as unfounded" the concern of the founding fathers that the US could "morph into an Orwellian police state", he should remember that 262 million people were killed by their own government in the last century. Nazi Germany was a modern, western democracy. Can Katz know that it can't happen here over the next 200 years? If we are different than the rest of the bloody, tyrannical world, its because we revere our Constitution and our rights. Katz is too happy to subvert that by characterizing them as flawed, outdated, and "not the gospel". The founders considered the Army to be a particularly dangerous institution. Its why they wanted a militia based national defense system, like Switzerland has today. The Swiss government requires their citizens to keep real, fully automatic, assault rifles in their homes. Katz has the Army creds and disprespect for our rights to be just who the founders were suspicious of.
Mar 21, 2013 5:16 PM CDT
There are some compelling arguments, and I think he presents in a logical way. I think he is chasing the wrong problem however. He's all for pistols, but pistols do a vast majority of the killing in this country. Rifles do kill, but banning assault rifles will not have a notable effect here. The weapon of choice is not the rifle for mass murders nor for murders in general. Until you think of the problem being a human and not the weapon, you will reach the wrong conclusions (e.g. rifles owners are selfish). I don't respect that opinion. If you express the problem statement in the wrong way, you waste a lot of time.