Straight Shooting: The Gun Debate


Another shooting with mass casualties means another push to do something – anything – to prevent it from happening again. Whether it’s at a school, a church, or a concert, these horrifying events bring renewed attention to a controversial question in the U.S: what kind of weapons should Americans have access to? How regulated should that access be?

24 Hour News 8 aired a special program focused on one firearm that has garnered the most attention recently: the ArmaLite Rifle, commonly known as the AR-15.

A firearms instructor took us inside the rifle and onto the shooting range, showing us how it works compared to a 9mm handgun. And a West Michigan surgeon who worked in Las Vegas and operated on patients with injuries from AR-15s explained the difference in trauma compared to a bullet wound from a 9mm handgun.

The program also explored the federal ban on what lawmakers referred to as ‘assault weapons’ that existed from 1994 to 2004, what the impetus was for it, what research shows happened during the time it was in effect and what the challenges were in putting it into effect.

Gun owners in Michigan shared their reasons for having an ArmaLite Rifle and why they believe there shouldn’t be a discussion about whether they should, or should not, have one.

The program also covered new legislation introduced in Lansing since February which is aimed at stopping mass shootings and protecting students. How likely is it that this legislation will pass, and, if it doesn’t, what else might lawmakers attempt to do?

A civil rights lawyer and a proponent for more gun legislation joined 24 Hour News 8’s Teresa Weakley to explore the question that has dominated so many household conversations: what is the solution to mass shootings?

Watch the discussion that took place after the show on Facebook Live below. 

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