Many people simultaneously claim to support the Second Amendment while insisting the federal government should be able to ban “military-style weapons.” These are actually mutually exclusive positions. In fact, the whole purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure the people would always have access to “weapons of war.”
On February 14, 2018, Nicholas Cruz shot and killed 17 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Cruz, 19, had been suspended from the school for disciplinary reasons. Despite a long history of bad behavior, as well as attention from law enforcement, Cruz was not treated as a legitimate threat. In an attempt to reduce the school-to-prison pipeline, the district failed to report activities and generally kept him under the radar of local law enforcement agencies.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also admitted that the FBI failed to act on numerous reports of erratic and threatening behavior on the part of Cruz.
Despite government failures at both the local and federal level, the public debate predictably turned to the issue of gun control with specific focus on the ban of “military style” rifles, or “assault rifles,” as they are often called. In one school, students were instructed to write letters to representatives asking them to implement stricter gun control regulations.
A common refrain from both sides of the debate is, “No one is saying that military weapons should be in the hands of civilians.”