The forefathers of our country included a Bill of Rights at the end of the Constitution in order to protect individual rights. One of these rights was the right to bear arms, for citizens to own guns. While the Constitution does allow citizens to own guns, it does not allow citizens to own and use assault weapons.
When our founding fathers drafted the Constitution, the guns that were contemporary at the time were mainly small rudimentary rifles, which were only capable of firing up to 4 shots per minute, reloading after each shot. In modern times, horrible massacres are occurring not with these old rifles, but with extremely powerful assault weapons. Semi-automatic rifles are capable of shooting 45 rounds per minute. These are not the guns that Jefferson and his peers imagined when they drafted the Constitution. Relatively speaking, the guns in 1787 were much less dangerous than the guns used today, yet the law regarding the right to bear arms has not changed. It could be said that the weapons used in 1787 should not even be considered ‘guns’ by today’s standards.
Some people would argue that the fact that the Constitution protects Americans’ gun rights means citizens should be able to own any gun they want; this is absurd. It is one thing for Americans to own handguns, rifles, or even shotguns, but for average civilians to own largely powerful assault weapons is completely unnecessary. Understandably, some may want to own a gun for self-protection purposes; for example, a family living in rural areas might own a shotgun to shoot any unwanted wildlife in the area, or a single woman living in the city might own a handgun for protection. But there is no reason average American citizens should own assault weapons. They can’t be used for hunting and without proper training, would be difficult to use for self-protection; yet according to the New York Times 40% of all the guns from one large Russian gun company are sold to American citizens, the same percentage as the factory sells to the Russian military. It seems the only use that these guns have are for killing many people at once, as evidenced by recent events in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado.
The US government should not ban all guns, but it should certainly consider trying to control ownership of assault weapons. The Constitution does not give American citizens the right to own these weapons of mass destruction.