Consumer Craze for Assault Rifles

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With soaring sales of military assault rifles for personal use, the gun debate is still sharply divided in the USA, writes Prem Geet.

In the aftermath of the San Bernadino, Orlando, and other mass shootings, buying an assault rifle (AR) in the USA is easier than ever. The assault rifle is defined as “a rapid-fire, magazine-fed automatic rifle designed for infantry use.” Perceived as sexy, fun, and popular toys by gun fanatics, assault rifles have been called “Barbie dolls for men.” It’s no surprise that advertisers imply additional virility for the men who purchase one.

Barbie AR
Illustration credit amystoyplace 

Unconfirmed research says that assault rifle sales have tripled in the last 8 years in response to social violence and politics. Reportedly there were 9 million ARs in circulation in the USA in 2014. Just this month, the Washington Post reported that Senator Chris Murphy (Democrat-Connecticut), during a 15-hour gun control filibuster, said, “It is not coincidental that there was a massive increase in mass shootings in this country after 2004, when the assault weapon ban expired.”

Adolf Hitler is credited with naming and mass-producing the assault rifle. According to Wikipedia: “The Germans pioneered the assault rifle concept, during World War II, based upon research that showed that most firefights happen within 400 meters and that contemporary rifles were over-powered for most small arms combat. The Germans sought to develop a select-fire intermediate powered rifle, combining the firepower of a submachine gun with the accuracy and range of a rifle.” Clearly, these are not pop-guns or hunting rifles.

Visiting a local gun store recently for educational purposes, a friend and I learned how easy it is to buy a combat rifle. In short, we were amazed to learn that anyone over 18 can buy a combat assault rifle with the show of ID, filling in a simple form, and a quick background check. Buying at gun conventions is even more lax. No one asks why you are buying a military-use rifle, if you are intelligent, if you are trained, if you are mentally healthy, if you think guns are sexy, if you have fits of rage, if you are destructive, and so on. The authorities are not notified when the customer leaves the store with a new military-style rifle and ammunition. Purchasing a box of deadly weapons is as easy as buying a bag of groceries. Most strange, if you sell or give the rifle to your neighbor, no one will ever know. There is no paper trail.To make the point, several days ago a CBS news producers spent “38 minutes and $1,030 to legally purchase a rifle, 100 rounds of ammunition, and a 30-round magazine. “All over the internet, gun enthusiasts say the assault rifle is “fun to shoot.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, the demand for the sadly fashionable AR-15 assault rifle used for most mass shootings, has outpaced production. This rifle is typically easier to buy in some states than a pistol because there is no 72 hour waiting period. Customers are also enticed to believe they can “cool up” their assault rifle by adding a silencer, an attachment that fits over the barrel to silence the sound of the shot. Massive gun silencers are seen in spy movies, but again, who would need to buy a silencer and why? No one asks. Buying a silencer shouts a clear message to the world, but no one is listening. And why is it that gun owners sheepishly say of a new purchase, “Well, don’t worry, I’m never going to use it.”?

John Andrews (aka Prem Amrito) wrote of the gun debate for the Huffington Post last October, saying: “Each side is both right and wrong: of course guns kill only with the help of people – people conditioned from childhood to use guns to kill. It is the conditioning that is the killer.”

When will the dabblers and dreamers of violence be able to see that? No matter what story they tell themselves to justify a purchase, guns are toys for the ego.

Meditation is the best toy, and it’s free and safe. Meditation can heal the individual and ripple out to harmonize our society if not in peace, in some level of sanity.

Article by Prem Geet

For further reading on The Guardian: US car dealer offers free AR-15 assault rifle with every car

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