Several weeks ago, I shared some of my thoughts about the gun control debate. There’s no doubt we have a real problem in this country because we are no longer teaching our children and grandchildren to value life, and our nation is doing nothing to address the mental health pandemic happening around us.
Unfortunately, so many of my colleagues across the aisle would rather take away the rights of law-abiding gun owners instead of addressing mental health issues or taking any reasonable steps to prevents acts of violence. Every time a shooting happens, we hear calls for new laws and increased gun control, but these actions don’t address the root of the problem. All they do is infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.
Last week, House Democrats took more steps to attack Americans’ Second Amendment rights by passing H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022. This bill (which passed by a very slim margin) would ban AR-15s and similar simi-automatic refiles, which are some of the most popular firearms around. There are so many misconceptions about AR-15s – first, they are not “assault weapons” or “assault rifles.” An assault rifle is a fully automatic machine gun, and these firearms have been restricted from private ownership for almost 100 years.
The Department of Justice even admits banning these firearms would have such a small impact on gun violence that it would be “perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” The DOJ’s crime report has also consistently shown that murders from all rifles (not just semi-automatic ones) are used for fewer murders than those committed with knives, clubs, and fists.
The bottom line is the Biden administration has ignored the fact that Americans of all races, creeds and colors are purchasing firearms in record numbers. In the last two years, more than 14 million Americans have purchased their first firearm, and background checks for gun sales during this period have by far broken previous records. Huge chunks of these new gun owners (many of whom are women and minorities) are registering for gun training and are going through the proper steps to be responsible gun owners.
Until we get serious about addressing mental health issues and building a culture that respects life, we will see violence and lawlessness continue. And we certainly should not punish law-abiding citizens for the actions of violent criminals. That’s why I voted against the Democrats’ partisan Assault Weapons Ban and will continue fighting back against any efforts to infringe on our Second Amendment rights.
Jerry Carl represents Alabama’s First Congressional District. He lives in Mobile with his wife Tina.