The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Opinion: AR-15s: An epidemic of easy accessiblity to military grade weapons

Opinion: AR-15s: An epidemic of easy accessiblity to military grade weapons - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

FILE -Three variations of the AR-15 assault rifle are displayed at the California Department of Justice in Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 15, 2012. In acknowledgment of Gun Violence Awareness Day, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Friday, June 3, 2022, that California is spending $11 million on education programs promoting wider use of "red flags" orders that are designed to temporarily take guns away from people who are deemed at risk of harming themselves or others. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

AR-15s are typically the weapon of choice for mass shootings over the last two decades. It is a weapon that mangles whatever part of the body its bullet hits. Victims who have died at the hands of an AR-15 faced the harsh reality that there’s no surviving such vicious damage. 

AR-15s took the lives of children from Sandy Hook, Uvalde and Covenant elementary schools. They became unrecognizable to their families from the mutilation done by the bullets of a high-velocity weapon. Hearing the families’ testimonies alone should get legislation for gun control passed in a heartbeat.

It hasn’t happened. 

FILE – This Nov. 13, 2012 file photo provided by the family via The Washington Post shows Noah Pozner, 6, killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. Pozner’s family has submitted a detailed proposal to a White House task force that proposes a range of reforms, including federal grants for public schools to undergo reviews to improve security and requiring gun owners to lock up their weapons in their homes if the guns could be accessed by mentally ill or dangerous people. (AP Photo/Family Photo, File)

Recently, The Washington Post published an article describing the damage an AR-15 does to the body. The gruesomeness of the details will leave you in a state of shock. Hearing about the brutal deaths of Sandy Hook student Noah Penzo, 6, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas student Peter Wang, 15, leaves you permanently scarred. Both children were left unrecognizable by the damage done by a military-grade assault weapon. 


The shooting at Columbine High School could have set the precedent for legislative action toward the protection of students, but that was not the case. Since Columbine, there have been 377 school shootings, which have resulted in 199 victims – victims ranging from kindergarteners to college seniors. The epidemic of school shootings has gradually gotten worse over the course of two decades with 115 shootings happening since 2020, according to The Washington Post

This problem should have been fixed long before children had to die. It is very simple. AR-15s should be banned in all states in the U.S. 

I don’t need to hear why you need this specific gun; I don’t need convincing and neither should anyone else. These weapons have no purpose in a peaceful society. There are other options for gun owners outside of semi-automatic rifles, so the argument for the right to buy this weapon shouldn’t be considered. Members of Congress at both federal and state levels have done nothing to ban these weapons from getting into the hands of mass murderers. 

FILE – A photo of Peter Wang is placed in a memorial in Parkland, Fla., Friday, Feb. 16, 2018. Wang, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., was killed when former student Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Allen Breed)

There are serious questions that politicians must answer for the public. What makes it so hard for both Republicans and Democrats to see eye-to-eye on this topic? It boils down to selfish reasons many Republicans are pro-gun and irritably pro-second amendment. A mass majority of U.S. senators like Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) are endorsed and funded by the National Rifle Association. 

Republicans aren’t the only ones to blame, however; Democrats haven’t done enough to push gun safety/control. It is a two-party problem, politicians cannot agree to protect our children in schools. 

Can politicians explain their reasoning for not banning the sale of AR-15s to the victim’s parents and loved ones? No. Will they ever understand the loss that many parents feel every day because their child is dead? No. The “American Dream” is a false ideology that has never lived up to its name. It is easier to buy an AR-15 with several rounds of ammunition than to gain citizenship in the U.S. How does that make sense? It doesn’t. 

Children dying at the hands of a gunman with an AR-15 is not what people signed up for. Fire drills turned into school shooting drills. According to Education Week, students participate in simulated active shooter drills by locking classroom doors, shutting off lights, standing out of view from any windows and remaining silent. 

These drills have lasting effects on students, parents and teachers, according to Everytown Research

It is hard to remain optimistic each and every time a school shooting happens. It’s a cycle of caring for a couple of days then everyone moves on. People ask what should be done and the answer seems simple: raise the age limit to purchase a gun, create stricter red flag laws and ban assault rifle-style weapons. If anything, that is the bare minimum. 

Only when politicians put the citizens they serve above themselves, can real change occur. Until then, we will have to wait until the next school shooting to voice displeasure with the lack of change. 

About the Author

Raul Trey Lopez
Raul Trey Lopez is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. He is a first-generation college student. In his spare time, he likes listening to music. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in journalism while also maintaining his family flooring business.

Join the Conversation

© 2024 Jaguar Student Media | Texas A&M University-San Antonio. All Rights Reserved. All Rights Reserved.
San Antonio Website Design & Development - Backyard Studios
Join Our Newsletter

Get the Mesquite News delivered straight to you.