Gov’t must ban people from owning assault rifles

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Since I am not a gun enthusiast, my opinions on the subject of guns are personal. Studies have shown that the number of homicides in a country is in proportion to the number of guns it has. The United States has the dubious honor of being fourth in the world in the number of gun-related deaths per year (9,369), only behind such distinguished company as South Africa (31,918), Colombia (21,898) and Thailand (20,032).

Conversely, all other advanced, industrialized countries fare enviably better, such as Germany (269), Canada (144), Japan (94) and England (14).

Hunting is a passion for some. They enjoy trekking through the woods with their rifles, legally licensed to shoot at birds and animals. The same applies to pistols and those wanting to be prepared to ward off a home invasion. These rights are guaranteed by the Second Amendment and therefore legal.

But what in the world is the need for military-style assault weapons with huge repetitive rounds with the mere flick of a finger? If it takes that much firepower to kill a deer or quail, that hunter is a danger even to himself.

The AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle is a converted version of the military’s fully automatic weapon. It utilizes high-capacity magazines with clips holding as much as a hundred rounds, which could be fired off in a minute without reloading.

One does not need an assault weapon to shoot a deer or protect one’s family. No one should own an assault rifle except our soldiers in the military and the law enforcement officers who protect us. In 1994, Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons and President Bill Clinton signed it. Unfortunately, it was allowed to expire.

During his 2008 campaign, now-President Barack Obama promised to reinstate the ban, and Mitt Romney signed an assault weapons ban as governor of Massachusetts. It is time to reinstate the ban, though it is not that easy.

One hurdle, of course, is the omnipresent National Rifle Association. They are as much of a danger to the safety of our citizens as are the assault rifles themselves. They will do whatever is necessary to defeat such a common sense ban. They will distort, lobby and spend as much as is necessary as they always have.

Their paranoia that the government is going to steal their weapons is idiotic but has rubbed off on a large portion of our citizenry, who believe it. Let us hope facts will conquer fears.

Nicholas Zizelis


Posted 10:32 pm, August 22, 2012
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Reader feedback

Lou from Bayside says:
Goofy, uninformed letter. Our wonderful government recently entered into a United Nations Treaty that has language that would allow Foreign United Nations troops to confiscate the guns of Americans. When that day happens and it will, you will see the necessity of some Americans owning assault rifles. If you dont see tyranny all around you then you are blind.
Aug. 28, 2012, 6:11 am
Paul from Patchogue says:
You make your claim against what you call "assault weapons" yet the CDC says,

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those age 5-34 in the U.S. More than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. The economic impact is also notable: the lifetime costs of crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers were $70 billion in 2005.


What is your opinion on cars that perform well and far above what the law allows? Huh?

I think any car that can perform above and beyond what the law allows should be banned. I see no need for them. They're not safe.
Aug. 28, 2012, 6:59 am
JB from LI says:
Nick you are clueless.
First off, What studies??
None that I'm aware of.
Studies have shown in countries with stronger gun control there is more violence not less.

For example a study published in the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy they conclude:
"Nations with stringent anti-gun laws generally have substantially higher murder rates than those that do not. "
Harvard is hardly a NRA affiliated school.

Speaking of the NRA. The NRA is made up of People. Not gun manufacturers or big business or unions with an agenda. Citizens that believe in the second amendment. You disagree with them fine, But they have as much right to their opinion as you do. Unless of course you think only people that think like you should vote.

Second if you want to compare incidents ( gun deaths per country you should really make it apples to apples.
Per capita. The USA has something like 300 million people so to compare it to countries like South Africa pop 50 million is misleading.

Third, Hunting is NOT a right guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment. 2A is to keep the means for fighting against a tyrannical government in the hands of the people. Think that's outdated? Fine. The Constitution was made to be amended . So have it amended.

The only one distorting things is you. Not the NRA as you state. If they distort things as you claim. give example.
If "studies have shown" things you claim, list some of them.
If you can't, perhaps you should print a retraction.
Aug. 28, 2012, 7:31 am
Mad Russian from Massapequa says:
The fact that even with all these so called 'assault weapons' in the hands of the people who do not commit any crimes seems irrelevant when confronted by irrational fears. The number of crimes committed with these so called assault weapons is also so small that it barely registers as a statistical blip is also irrelevant.
More loss of life and theft has been done with a flick of a politician's pen than with any type of gun can also be disregarded because facts are irrelevant when seen in the light of feelings.
When Americans trust their government they may give up their guns, but the fact is that Americans don't trust their government.
Let's take a look at Australia, and it's (almost) noble attempt at reducing crime: they enacted a ban on guns and law abiding citizens turned them in. Crime of all types shot up over 30%. The Australian government is now at a loss to as to how to explain to its citizens why.
Aug. 28, 2012, 7:34 am
Malcolm Browne from Sayville says:
"Let us hope facts will conquer fears."

That's exactly what gun owners are hoping for. Problem for you is we're the one's with the facts. Perhaps you should try writing an article using real information and not your biased opinion on things you clearly know nothing about.
Aug. 28, 2012, 7:45 am
JoeLi from Long Island says:

I am trying to find in the constitution where is says we should be banning certain types of firearms. Can you help me out with that search? Because I see that we are given the right to keep and bare arms. There is no mention of the valid reasons why Americans can keep firearms, there are no exclusions, there are no exceptions. Your own stated ignorance of firearms makes your entire editorial nothing more than a emotional rant devoid of any factual information.
Aug. 28, 2012, 7:48 am
Tony the Greek from Hicksville says:
It is unfortunate that people do not research the truth. The cities that have the most restrictive gun laws have the most gun violence, ie. NYC , Chicago, LA. It is proven that LEGALY owned guns are a deterent to crime. AR 15's are not the problem! Uniformed citizens are!
Aug. 28, 2012, 7:54 am
BillyBonds from Long ISland says:

It's funny, but if you google the term "assault weapon", it is defined as a politcal term defined by the 1994 assault weapons ban.

The number of homicides as compared to the number of guns? How about we compare it to the population first? We are actually 17th on the list when accounting for homicides per 100,000. Then I am sure there are better studies linking homicides to poverty than there are to the number of guns.
Aug. 28, 2012, 7:54 am
winston from commack LI says:
What I find from people like Nick is their total experience with firearms is what they see on TV and video games. If it looks scary just by looking at them can cause death. Its an irrational fear something.

If Nick was so inclined as to grow-up and lose his silly fears and go target shooting it will be both educational and fun and most likly habit forming.
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:22 am
Paul from East Northport says:
The NRA is not some mysterious organization, it's US ! The gun owners of the USA, they represent WHAT WE WANT ! Do we need 450HP Mustang GT400s ? when the speed limit of all of our streets is 30MPH ? I don't see you screaming about that. Do we need 100 proof Vodka, do we need 80 proof Vodka, not let's do away with it completely, lives and families would be saved, no ?
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:22 am
Raul from Long Island says:
The second amendment has nothing to do with hunting or sport shooting. It has everything to do with keeping the people armed and ready to construct a militia during times of a tyrannical government to stop oppression.

If you take a careful look at history you will see the most tyrannical governments systematically force gun registration and then gun confiscation prior to commiting the most disgusting acts of terminating political dissidents and civilian opposition to government. Russia (Stalin), Germany (Hitler), etc.

With a disarmed populace you will have no ability to stop oppression.... period.

Look at Katrina victims in New Orleans. House to house confiscation of legal firearm owners which resulted in no ability to stop looting of those who illegally had weapons.

And as others have stated areas with high gun control and "gun free" zones have the highest crime rates and firearm related deaths. Why? Because the gun control only affects citizens who obey the law. Criminals could care less which results in law abiding citizens with no ability to defend themselves and criminals with little fear of the consequences of their actions.

As a legal firearm owner I have a responsibilty to protect my family, my community and myself and I value the lives of myself and others. I take supreme care of how I handle my firearm including proper safety procedures. I hope I never have to point my weapon and fire in a defensive or offensive manner against another human being. However I would rather have it and never use it than need it and not have it.

Why do we need semi-automatic rifles? Because criminals have them and having them in the hands of law abiding citizens levels the playing field.
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:31 am
Nordon from East Northport says:

Why don't you study history and let me know over the past 100 years the names of leaders that were paramount in instituting "sensible" gun laws on their citizens, let me start you off with a few:

1. Adolf Hitler
2. Josef Stalin
3. Fidel Castro

I'll leave the rest up to you.
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:32 am
Pat from NY says:
Those who hammer their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.”
― Thomas Jefferson

Wake up Nick.
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:38 am
Nordon from East Northport says:
" No one should own an assault rifle except our soldiers in the military and the law enforcement officers who protect us."

So, the LEOs protecting us are protecting us from criminals that are armed differently only when they are are present ?, so if no LEO on the scene, the criminal will drop the "high capacity" weapon for one that is not high capacity to place themselves on a level playing field with me ?
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:39 am
Joey from Glendale says:
Hmm, wonder why Switzerland was not included in his list of industrialized nations, care to ponder ?
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:41 am
Joey from Glendale says:
Nick, I wonder what the results would be for South Africa, Colombia and Thailand if in fact their citizens were allowed firearms. I can guarantee a lot fewer in terms of victims.
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:43 am
Glenn B from Nassau County says:
I seem to recall, at one point in history not too long ago, that the number of murders in a particular country was directly associated with the number of ovens in that country and inversely related to the number of firearms in the hands of civilians. Should we ban ovens too?
Aug. 28, 2012, 8:46 am
JL from Long Island says:
It's sad to see poorly informed articles such as this. Nick, you must be living with blinders on. The NRA is not the problem. The problem is the criminals do not care what the law says. The more restrictive you may gun laws, the more violent crime rises. Gangs exist, they have firearms. How often do you hear about a random shooting in places with restrictive laws such as LA? Often. How often do you hear of random shootings in places with more rights for law abiding citizens? You dont. Because the only shootings that occur in those places are those of self defense.

Was there not a shooting in CO recently where an armed CITIZEN saved the life on innocent bystanders AND a police officer!? Yup. Thats right. A citizen who is armed is also very likely to have lots of training and/or practice with their firearm(s). In fact, here on LI I am willing to bet the average citizen who owns any type of firearm is AS proficient or even MORE proficient with it then some of our police officers are.

With all the recent budget cuts, especially in Nassau County, the police cannot be everywhere at the same time. As the saying goes, when seconds count, the police are minutes away. A properly armed/trained citizen has a much better chance and saving their own life and the lives of their family from those criminals who do not care what the law says. And in my personal opinion, one less criminal off the streets due to a legally abiding citizen is cause for celebration.
Aug. 28, 2012, 9:06 am
Nick from Lindenhurst says:
This article is funny. You know nothing about firearms, yet write an article about firearms with no research? Your title reads, "Gov’t must ban people from owning assault rifles." Did you know that this has already been done? You also called the AR-15 a "Semi-Automatic Assault Rifle." That's an oxymoron. An assault rifle, by definition, is an automatic rifle. You are calling for a ban on "Assault Weapons," which are already outlawed in NY. The term assault weapon was fabricated by a California politician with as much knowledge of firearms as you. The AR-15 merely looks like the M-16, however it functions like any other semi-automatic rifle. It is no more "dangerous" than any other hunting rifle out there. It's a versatile platform that allows for customization to the shooter's delight. You can change the rifle with the hunting seasons for different game. The "Assault Weapons" ban only outlawed certain "evil" features on the rifles, like an adjustable stock (ooo, scary), a pistol grip, a flash suppressor (it redirects gases to improve efficiency, how dare they), and a grenade launcher (I'm pretty sure grenades are illegal anyway). As you can see, the ban is pointless and counterproductive. It doesn't save ANY lives.
Aug. 28, 2012, 9:18 am
Eric from Long Island says:
I have noticed that there are plenty of articles that paint firearms and enthusiasts in a paranoid light as if they are the fringe, yet when I read the comments, they are overwhelmingly in support of firearm ownership and the posters,and for the most part support their stance better than the actual article's author.
Why is that?
Aug. 28, 2012, 9:25 am
JC from Long Island says:
When a home invader kicks in the front door, you can reach for your phone to call your protectors. Me? I'll be leveling my AR-15.....
Aug. 28, 2012, 9:39 am
Johnson from Malaka says:
Nick you are clueless, you are a malaka, you know its true. I mean did we really expect an inteligent answer from a Greek?
Aug. 28, 2012, 10 am
GunsNGolf from Rocky Point says:
Hey Nick, tell me why these "evil assault rifles" are so "evil". Only 1%-3% of gun violence occurs with an "assault rifle". But you try to make it sound like everybody shot today is shot by an "assault rifle". You should really do some fact checking before you put your uninformed opinions out there. Why are you angry at the gun? Why not be angry with the district attorney's that plea bargain with criminals and let them back out on the street. 86% of violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders. Fact is, states that have the least gun restrictions have the least violent crime PER CAPITA. Just look to Washington DC or Chicago for proof that restrictive gun laws don't work.
Aug. 28, 2012, 10:09 am
Jack from Long Island says:
This clueless goon of writer knows nothing about firearms, but he sure wants to ban those "evil assault weapons."

Hey moron, an AR15 fires an intermediate cartridge in .223 caliber, essentially a glorified .22. This is considered a varment round and it is believed by many to be inadequate for hunting deer.

The .223 typically fires a 55 gr bullet with 1282 ft·lbf .

On the other hand, the 30.06 which was the US Army primary rifle round for 50 years is commonly used for hunting. This typically fires a 165 gr bullet at 2872 ft·lbf .

What have we learned? The typical hunting round, once used by the military is over twice as powerful as the ammo used in those evil and dangerous "assault weapons."

But you want to ban those "assault weapons" because they look evil, while ignoring the more powerful hunting rifles. Sure, you make sense, just like all anti gun extremists.
Aug. 28, 2012, 10:09 am
Richard from Suffolk says:
Remember a guy named Timothy McVeigh? Remember what he did and how many people he killed? Maybe we should ban fertilizer too.
Aug. 28, 2012, 10:14 am
Christopher from Suffolk County, NY says:
Firearms are not the problem. Uninformed fear mongers like you who don't understand that crimes with guns are NOT committed by responsible citizens are the problem. Criminals will find guns and ways to perpetrate crime with or without restrictive gun laws. The only people that suffer from restrictive gun laws are those who are not likely to commit a crime in the first place.

Learn the facts and open your eyes instead of writing with emotions and hearsay. Get informed then write another editorial.

"...what country can preserve it's liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
-Thomas Jefferson
Aug. 28, 2012, 10:26 am
Number 6 from Planet Earth says:
As "assault weapon" is a political term used to describe a semi-automatic firearm that has an evil appearance, yet is no more powerful or deadly than any other firearm. And regarding "machine guns," these have been essentially banned since 1934.

The "assault weapon ban" described cosmetic features of firearms such as a bayonet lug, flash hider, pistol grip, and collapsable stock. These items in not way changed the function or power of the firearm, but they made the firearm look "scary" to many that have no knowledge of firearms.

Imagine if a politician wanted to ban sports cars, because "some study" mentioned they led to irresponsible behavor that killed people, or that sports cars were more likely to be used in crime than a standard sedan.

So the politician defined these evil sports cars as two door autos with hood scoops, rear spoilers, mag wheels, and bucket seats, and had any new manufacture of them banned.

Would that stop vehicle deaths? Would that reduce crime by auto? Would this ban result is less illegal drivers on the road?
Aug. 28, 2012, 11:01 am
A Moderate American from Nassau County says:
Was this author and article even vetted by the TimesLedger before it was published?

Such uneducated and poorly supported work as this makes me ponder the credibility of anything they put out. If it was posed an opinion that is fine, but to distort facts into an erroneous fiction is just poor journalism at best.

The assault weapons ban, was a pointless waste of taxpayers money. One could have saved and benefited many more lives by using the wasted monies of the Clinton ban on public health, and preventive medicine for children. Even the CDC could find no benefit when they researched the ban.

Its articles like this that make those of us who support laws regarding firearms appear to be the fringe, fear mongering horde. =/
Aug. 28, 2012, 11:01 am
Pat M from Long Island says:
A country where only the police and military have "assault rifles." I feel safer already.

Hey Nick, let's say we all turn in our semi-automatic riles. Do you promise not to ask us to turn in our revolvers and lever-actions later? I didn't think so.
Aug. 28, 2012, 11:43 am
XTheUnknown from LawnGuyland says:
The author uses the term assault weapon and assault rifle interchangeably, a very common mistake.

Assault rifles are for all practical purposes, banned already. These are military weapons that in layman's terms, are submachine guns.

Assault weapons was a name coined by anti-gun groups who picked arbitrary features which have nothing to do with it being a submachine gun or not. Definitions as to what an assault weapon is will vary with each state, and the definitions will give rather silly results. the tiny .22 cal rifle, small pistols, or even civil war era weapons have all been defined as assault weapons in existing or proposed legislation based upon attachments to the gun itself.

I'd comment more, but I'm not sure if the author means assault rifles or assault weapons. If its assault weapons, there are at about 7 or 8 different definitions on the books, and dozens of proposed definitions.
Aug. 28, 2012, 1:10 pm
Blake from It's a beautiful day says:
Our founding father's didn't include the 2nd amendment so people could enjoy hunting and stopping burglars, they did it so the people could defend themselves against the government. I am not fearful that this will happen, however, facts show that in EVERY case of genocide in the history of the world, it was preceded by a mass disarming of the people. Second, your statement about cops protecting us. The supreme court has ruled that police only have a duty to protect the community as a whole, not individuals. Their guns are carried to protect THEMSELVES, not you. Not saying this will happen, but let's just speak hypothetically. UN decides civilians no longer should own AR-15's. Troops storm the cities and confiscate them all. Then, some big foreign super power starts acts of genocide. So now we're forced into the 2nd Revolutionary war. You're up against .50 cal machine guns, rockets, grenades, and air support. Do you want to count on your 5 round hunting rifle and 6 shot revolver? LASTLY, the Assault weapons ban of '94 was mildly idiotic. All it did was ban cosmetic features, such as collapsible stocks, flash hiders, bayonet lugs, and barrel lengths. So now, you've made it so all stocks are fixed, instead of adaptable to the individual. Instead of flash hiders, you have compensators that blow gas in the person at the range next to you's face. You have no bayonet lug, so you won't be doing any of those mass bayonettings you see so often. Does this make sense?
Aug. 28, 2012, 2:04 pm
Yaphank Kid from Yaphank says:

I'm sure there were people in pre-WWII Germany who thought exactly this way.

It all starts here. Take away the right to protect ourselves and then they do whatever the want to us. They slowly herd you like cattle and bring you to slaughter without you even knowing it. You as a NYC resident are already experiencing it on a small scale in the most subtle of manners.

How's Adolph Bloomberg's Smoking ban going for you if happen to be a smoker? How's his soda ban? Little by little tyranny takes over and becomes the "NORM" for everyone.

I personally do not own any sporting firearms that look like Military rifles. (for the media's sake lets say assault rifles) I have shot many of them, even competed with them at rifle matches and they are fun to shoot. It is my choice not to own them but NEVER would I deny any American citizen the right to own one.

As I stated above it all starts here. When the AWB was instated, the barrage of gun grabbing legislation was (and still is) UNBELIEVABLE. The Government had it's foot in the door and was starting to use the battering ram. Once they had control of THIS type of firearm, the gloves were off and they went for the jugular. They used this semi auto platform to attack every other firearm known to man and succeeded to a point. Ever notice that here in NY you cant get more than a 10 round mag? even for a Ruger 10-22? Take a kid shooting with a 10 rd mag and see how much fun YOU have reloading all day. It's ridiculous. They also tried going after semi-auto shotguns and when magazine capacity was center stage, lever action hunting rifles were on the chopping block too.

Out in Suffolk County the idiotic legislation continues. We must be diligent and watch all anti-activity. A while ago, they said hunting deer with a shotgun was too dangerous because of the population density on Long Island. So they proposed a bill to try and stop slugs from being used and make it bow only.
It was amazing because the way they so cleverly worded it was that it would be illegal to SHOOT a WEAPON in Suffolk county, thus eliminating bows also. So don't think that trying to ban one certain type of firearm isn't going to affect all firearms or weapons.

Our forefathers fought and died to earn us this right, and our Military and Veterans have done the same to retain it for us.

They never gave up on us, so let's not ever give up on them.

The Kid
Aug. 28, 2012, 3:45 pm
Sean from Bay Ridge says:
Hunting and shooting sports have nothing to do with the second amendment. The second amendment was designed specifically to allow the citizens of the United States to have the ability to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. That's where assault rifles come into the picture. Banning assault rifles is not only unconstitutional, but it saved no lives and made no impact on crime.
It's been a while since I looked at the stats for nationwide wide, but it seems pretty rare or at least uncommon for assault rifles to be used in murders or other violent crimes. Handguns seems to be the weapon of choice for most criminals when it comes to guns.
If your concern is violent crime, as is mine. Then maybe we should work together to stop crime. We should stop trying to pass stupid laws that do nothing but violate the constitution and inconvenience law abiding citizens. Instead we should be working to keep violent criminals behind bars. Want to look at some stats that mean something, why not take a look at how many violent criminals commit are given light sentences then re offend. Gun laws arent failing you. Your weak criminal justice system is.
Aug. 28, 2012, 5:42 pm
Parashooter from Amityville says:
Nick... Are you reading???.... Are you ready to wake up and smell the nitrites? I want to point out the obvious to you, since you can't see it already - Law-Abiding Citizens are not the problem - We should be able to own whatever we choose, for whatever reason... Criminals on the other hand will have them even if they are outlawed - Remember, this is why they are criminals!... Now do us all a favor and go read a study written by Dr. John Lott - "More Guns Less Crime" where he details the data that shows how in places that are LESS restrictive on guns, there is less crime.

.....All of us Long Island Law-Abiding Citizen Gun owners are waiting for your apology....
Aug. 28, 2012, 6:14 pm
Tony from Bayside says:

My misinformed friend the Ar15 is not an assault rifle it is a semi automatic rifle only capable of firing one round at a time. A real assault rifle would be the M16 which what is fully automatic and used by the military. But lets not let the facts get in the way. Ill leave you with a famous quote to from one if this countries founding fathers.

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- (Thomas Jefferson)
Aug. 28, 2012, 6:36 pm
Zack from Bayside says:
Read the article concerning assault weapons and the carnage that comes along with them. I thought to myself, how could anyone with an ounce of common sense not see the validity of the letter. No one could be either that naive or stupid. Reading the negative blurbs above, it seems thatwe do not have a shortage of either.
Aug. 30, 2012, 1:55 am
Al from City Island says:
Nick & his buddy Zack
You don't have common sense or you would see yourself as the kind of person who is scared of the very things that give all of us the freedom & lifestyle we live.
Why would you take anything (even so called assault weapons) away from honest citizens who commit no crimes?
Using the death rate as the excuse gives me more reason than you have to ban every car & truck that can exceed 55 mph.
Do you drive Nick Or Zack?
If you do & you come for my guns & Im going to advocate gun owners put a bag of cement in your engines oil fill the moment you try it!
Your cars kill 5 times the people my guns do in America!
May 23, 2013, 9:22 pm

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