Second Amendment

Why Does a Civilian Need an AR-15?

AR-15 Gun

(Photo Credit: USA Today)

You can be a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment and not support civilians having access to an assault weapon like an AR-15. A weapon of war like an AR-15 isn’t needed for killing deer and squirrels, so don’t say assault weapons are necessary for hunting. Hunters will be successful without using assault weapons. If you’re really serious about ending mass shootings, then you will reach the responsible conclusion that federal legislation banning the sale and possession of assault weapons for civilians is required.

Err on the Side of Life

Although I’m not a member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and not an active hunter, I’m a passionate champion of the 2nd Amendment. In fact, I agree with much of what the NRA has to say about gun rights. Also, as a pro-life individual, I believe in promoting the right to life, a culture of life. With an earnest pro-life advocacy, I, reminded of what President George W. Bush once stated in a different context, choose to “err on the side of life.” To “err on the side of life” in the current gun rights/gun control national debate means, from my perspective, to take whatever actions possible to save as many lives as possible.      

Assault Weapons Aren’t Necessary for Hunting and Personal Defense 

Since assault weapons aren’t essential to hunting and defending one’s person and property, these weapons shouldn’t be available to civilians—they should be reserved for the battlefield. Plenty of powerful guns will still be available to civilians. It’s not, therefore, a zany idea to advance federal legislation banning the sale and possession of assault weapons for civilians.


Democrats and Republicans need to exercise moral and political courage and face the gun lobby, the NRA head-on to foster a true culture of life in America. It’s going to be more and more difficult to attempt to articulate right to life positions while still permitting civilians to purchase and possess assault weapons.

If you’re going to be pro-life, then be pro-life regarding all issues.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison


Violent Video Games, Mass Shootings and Mental Health

The Second Amendment

(Photo Credit: Fox News)

As Dr. Patrick Markey, Associate Professor of Psychology at Villanova University, recently disclosed on CNN, no empirical research evinces that playing violent video games leads to real-world violence. Although researchers should continue to investigate any potential connections between violent video games and violence in society, we shouldn’t get distracted by the most important issue we should be focused on concerning the recent mass shootings: mental health.  Even though all of the most recent mass shooters covered in the national media devoted significant time to playing violent video games, all of them had serious mental health issues that were not addressed.

While it seems that the divisive national debate about gun control and gun rights is dominating our attention, we need to dedicate more attention to mental health.  We need to make greater efforts to ensure that those with mental health problems do not get their hands on guns, and we need to provide them with the critical mental health services they warrant.

If we really desire to make America safer, then we won’t simply have discourses about how to reduce the number of guns in the hands of Americans; we will have meaningful discussions about how to decrease the likelihood of the mentally ill getting their hands on guns.  It’s time to get real about guns—not overly emotional.  Guns in the hands of mentally healthy Americans save lives.  The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the fundamental right to protect themselves with guns.  Knee-jerk reactions to recent mass shootings shouldn’t lead to diminishing the freedoms safeguarded by the Second Amendment.

It’s probably a good idea for parents to prevent their children from watching violent movies and television programs for exorbitant amounts of time, and it’s probably a good idea to keep your children from playing violent video games for an abnormal number of hours.  Adults should be aware of the number of hours they give to watching violent television programs and movies as well.  For those adults who play violent video games, reflect on the impact that this video game playing may have on you.  We have to be more responsible about the things we allow ourselves and children to consume, considering those phenomena could have negative impacts on us that go undetected.

Let’s not give violent television programming, movies, and video games too much credit for the recent mass shootings, however.

Our efforts to reduce the number of mass shootings should be concentrated on addressing mental health issues, preventing the mentally ill from obtaining guns, and ensuring that those who aren’t mentally ill are able to get guns to defend themselves and others from those who would attempt to engage in mass shootings.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison