Phil Garber
4 min readMar 24, 2021



No Need For Assault Weapons

You are more likely to get hit by lightning than you are to get killed in a mass shooting but that doesn’t mean you should walk around with an aluminum ladder on your back during a thunder storm any more than it means that we don’t need to ban automatic weapons because relatively speaking, the chances are from slim to nothing that you will be a victim. If you fall in that slim to nothing category you will probably advocate for stricter gun control measures.

This country has more mass shootings per capita than any other country on the planet and the question is why. It is not a simple question and there are no easy fixes so no, barring automatic or assault weapons won’t end the killing but it may just may deter the next one, maybe make it a bit less deadly and that would be a good thing and anyone who argues to the contrary should get their head out of the sand or wherever else it happens to be sticking.

There are many people, Republicans mostly, who say the discussion over gun controls is pure theater, they politicize the discussion, claiming that the Democrats want to take everyone’s guns away and that banning assault weapons is just the first step on a slippery slope. Again, maybe that ‘s so, although I don’t think anyone with a brain would try to take away everyone’s guns but once again, if you are on the wrong end of a real assault weapon, you probably wouldn’t argue about any theoretical slippery slopes.

If I could promise, cross my heart and hope to die promise, swear on a stack of Bibles promise, that there is no slippery slope and that all I want is your semi-automatic weapons would you agree or would you say that my promises are no good or that it is your constitutional right to own automatic weapons or that people kill people, guns don’t kill people? It all gets back to you wanting your toys, only these toys are deadly in the wrong situations. Keep your other toys just not the ones that can fire off 45 rounds a minute and carry up to 100 rounds in the magazine, making for a continuous and effective stream of death.

You are not dumb, you who fight for gun rights but you are misled, and may I say, some of you are just evil. Why are you so vehement that people have the right to possess weapons that have no use other than target practice or to kill other people? I dare say that those who have been victimized by the assault weapons find God real quickly and jump to the side of greater controls real fast. And why is it unacceptable to use your shotguns or your rifles or your guns at target practice or for hunting as I would think it would be less challenging to kill a deer with a lethal, semi-automatic rifle than with a single-shot rifle.

I think this really has a lot to do with a macho John Wayne, Terminator culture where you’re nothing without your guns and all they stand for, like masculinity, testosterone, manliness. It has to do with a twisted belief that the world is a very dangerous place, that mayhem rules, that carnage is everywhere and I will defend myself and my family so don’t even think of taking my guns or limiting my right to have automatic weapons or I will blow your head off, figuratively, of course. And there is the argument for protection, self-defense, that it is every American’s right to protect life and property and yes, that is so, but no, it doesn’t mean everyone has a right to the most sinister, powerful rifles available.

But nobody likes a complicated situation, they want clear answers, and they say the solution to the mass shootings is to improve services to help people with mental illnesses before they act out their anger and disappointment in lethal ways But it is not an either or situation. Of course mental health treatment is woefully inadequate, so improve the system, and at the same time, get rid of the most dangerous weapons. Stop muddying the waters with non-sequiturs because there is no good, defensible, moral reason to allow people to have automatic weapons and that is the end of the story.

So, to be clear, Officer Eric Talley, 51; Denny Stong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65, were not killed with a shotgun or a rifle but apparently died from wounds fired by 21-year-old suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, with his military-style semiautomatic rifle, and his Ruger AR-556 pistol, a short-barreled variant of an AR-15 carbine that is marketed as a pistol.

By the way, semiautomatic rifles were used in the Aurora movie theater shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Orlando nightclub shooting, Las Vegas shooting, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and Tree of Life synagogue shooting.

For more on the need for gun regulations, take a look at a 2017 column in the N.Y. Times by Nicholas Kristoff was reprinted in today’s paper. The statistics point to the enormous amount of weapons in the U.S. and it is very, very scary. To see the column, go to



Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer