United States of Assault Weapons

Jake Melton, Sports Editor

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Between January of 1982 and January of 2019, there have been forty-two mass shootings that involved an assault rifle. Assault rifles are high power weapons designed for combat. Not hunting, not self defense, not display, but for combat! According to the Huffington Post, the bullets are often referred to as “tumblers” because of their tendency to enter the body and ricochet off of bones shredding organs and tearing tissue. A standard equipped assault rifle has the ability to fire off 30 round before reloading. That’s enough bullets to kill every person in the average class here at Coffee County. These weapons can be legally modified to hold a 100 round drum, and before being banned by the federal government, they could be equipped with a bump-stock. A bump-stock is an attachment that can turn a standard assault rifle into a fully automatic weapon, capable of releasing an entire magazine of ammo with a single pull of the trigger. There is absolutely no reason for these weapons and attachments to be sold to the general public.

In today’s world we are unfazed by a mass shooting; it’s just another day in America. Shootings happen so often it no longer surprises us. Mass shootings have taken place in concerts, clubs, offices, churches, and schools. Yes-Churches and Schools! Should we not feel safe in these places? Think about your favorite class. Think about the people who sit in front of you, the people who sit behind you, the people who sit to your left, and the people who sit to your right. Now imagine stepping over their body as you run for the door from a shooter. This is now a frequent occurrence for students in  the United States. Last year, here at our own Coffee County Central High School, 484 students missed school due to a violent threat. An unknown person posted a picture on social media of a shadowy figure holding an assault rifle with the caption, “Don’t come to CHS tomorrow.”

There will be another shooting today in which an assault rifle will be used, and America will send its “thoughts and prayers.” “Thoughts and prayers” won’t save students from bullet holes. The government has banned the selling of flavored JUUL® pods before banning AR-15’s, the weapon used in many mass shootings including the the most deadly mass shooting in history. According to the Washington Post, this was during 2017 when a shooter opened fire into a concert killing 58 people and injuring 851 others in Las Vegas.  The government regularly talks about the long term effects vaping has on our bodies, but if they don’t get their priorities straight, we won’t be alive long enough to see the long term effects of vaping. How many more children have to die before the government realizes the problems assault weapons cause? Does Washington just see our generation as a replaceable resource that is just born to die? Everyday I hear adults say, “You are the future of this country.” With the continued availability of assault rifles to the general public, there won’t be a future of this country…because there won’t be us.

I urge you to take up action. Protest. Write to your politicians. During the next election vote for those candidates who make it a priority to change gun laws. Ask yourselves,“Will I make an effort to stop the next massacre or just send my thoughts and prayers after it happens?”