On March 24, 2018, students across the country joined a March For Our Lives in Washington DC initiated and organized by students of Parkland, Florida, in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 were murdered and 14 wounded on Valentines Day, 2018. In Swansboro and Cape Carteret, and Beaufort we wanted to support these teens in finding a solution to gun violence which has plagued our nation in the 18 years since Columbine High School shooting. We prepared eight petitions offering solutions to curbing this problem.
Ban the sale of assault-type Weapons
Ban the sale of bump stocks and add-ons
Develop universal background checks
Install metal detectors at entrances
Increase funding for diagnosis and treatment of mental illness
Raise the age limit from 18 to 21 to purchase any gun
Hire more school resource officers and arm personnel
Limit the size of ammunition magazines
A chart shows the compiled results of the petition signing. People could sign any petition which they would support, so many signed more than one petition. In all there were 737 signatures. Two pages containing 20 signatures each were lost during the day, so including them would bring the total to 777 signatures.
These petitions represent voters who will support a platform recommending sensible gun control legislation. While banning the sale of assault-type weapons received the most signatures, raising the age limit to 21 and universal background checks met with approval. No one suggested doing away with the second amendment.
Marines told me that assault weapons such as the AR-15 are weapons of war. They are not designed for hunting, as their bullets shred the meat. They are designed for killing quickly by organ damage and bleedouts. Therefore hunters do not need them in their arsenal.
The NRA lists uses for AR-15 as target practice, training, and home defense. All of these uses can be met with less firepower.
In the case of an attack from a governmental force, one marine assured that an AR-15 would then be under power from real military force.
As to raising the Age Limit some constituents said that if someone is old enough to be in the military, he or she is old enough to own a gun. A marine pointed out that in the military recruits go through extensive training before their weapon is loaded with ammunition. Guns are stored in an armory and only used during training or in warfare under rules of engagement. The service person does not make the decision as to when and who to shoot.
As to arming personnel (teachers and others), a retired marine pointed out that many shooters firing at the same target from different directions results in cross-fire. First responders would not know which person holding a gun was the assailant. Employees of color would be the first targets.
A hunter told me large scale magazines are not useful in hunting and expensive to use. “If you cannot hit your target in ten rounds, then you are a pretty bad shot!” he said.
Surely, if we can protect spectators at the Super Bowl, passengers at airports, and retail stores from shoplifters, we can protect our children when they go to school. Let our legislators know which ideas you support by phone, e-mail, or petition.
Ann vonHoorn, Cape Carteret