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No citizen needs an assault weapon

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POSTED August 15, 2012 7:47 p.m.

For all of the gun lovers, feel free to go buy your Glock, shotgun, hunting rifle, .22 pistol, .357 magnum or any of the other guns at your disposal, but you do not need an AK-47.

For some, it’s too soon to discuss gun reform just one week after the mass killing in Aurora, Colo. Well, I disagree. Too many Americans are being killed by guns every day, so one heinous tragedy should not keep us from having a rationale debate that must be had.

Let me be crystal clear: I do not own a gun, have no desire to get one and don’t begrudge you for thinking differently. Safety? No problem. A hunter? Knock yourself out. I’ve shot a submachine gun once — at the FBI Citizens Academy in Chicago — and it did nothing for me, so please, carry on.

I absolutely and positively support the Second Amendment. Americans have the right to bear arms, but nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it say that you must be able to bear any arms your heart desires.

There is no reason the ban on assault weapons is no longer the law of the land. If you need an AK-47 to hunt, maybe you need shooting lessons.

President Barack Obama was right when he told the National Urban League this week that “AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not on the streets of our cities.”

The inability of the National Rifle Association to understand that is shameful and destructive. They assume that any reasonable restriction on guns is un-American and unnecessary. Well, they are wrong. Dead wrong.

And they are just as wrong when they oppose efforts to ban bullet cartridges that can hold 100 rounds, such as the one the killer in Colorado used to mow down moviegoers.

Seriously, please offer me a reasonable and rational explanation as to why a non-law enforcement American needs to fire off that many bullets?

This is where common sense makes a ton of sense. Yes, people are the ones pulling the trigger, but our gun culture borders on the truly obsessive. Gun deaths here have reached epidemic levels, and too many of us have an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude.

Enough with timid politicians afraid to offend the gun lobby. Enough with voters making the stupid and nonsensical argument that the government wants all of our guns.

As a nation that trumpets being the best in the world, let’s stop outdistancing gun deaths in Japan, China and England. If we want to lead, let’s lead in changing directions when it comes to our gun culture.

America’s gun obsession is unhealthy, unwise and deadly. Delaying the conversation does nothing for all of us.

It’s time to stand up and lead, America.

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