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WNIJ Perspectives
Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: A Swiss Army Knife?

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My husband has carried a Swiss Army knife in his pocket ever since I’ve known him. It comes in handy when he needs to open packages, tighten screws, and sharpen pencils.

 

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What a surprise then to hear a California judge compare the three-and-a-half inch Swiss Army knife to an AR15 rifle when he overturned the state’s 30-year ban on assault weapons. He said both were the “perfect combination of home defense weapon and homeland defense equipment.”

 

Can he be serious?

 

The AR15 is a family of weapons developed in the 1960s as a civilian version of the military’s M16 rifle. It is light and has little recoil. The operating system allows for rapid fire and the original version could handle a 20-round magazine. Later versions have modifications that make them even more powerful.

 

Partly because it was banned in 1994, the AR15 gained great mystique. When the ban expired in 2004, sales took off. Despite its obvious connection to the military, it was marketed as a modern sporting rifle.

 

The number of mass shootings continues to rise in the US, with 247 already this year.

 

Gun advocates point out that many more people are killed by handguns than by rifles. Nonetheless, assault weapons are often the weapon of choice for mass shootings. When your aim is to kill a lot of people, you don’t reach for a handgun. Or for a Swiss Army knife.

 

I’m Deborah Booth and that’s my Perspective.

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