Dad of Sandy Hook Student Poses Critical Gun Control Question to All of Us

Inspiring 38

One father of a little Sandy Hook student refuses to keep silent anymore -- about gun control. He writes:

Why would we think that assault weapons should ever be in hands of civilians? Why are modified M-16s and Kalashnikovs sold in this country? What exactly is an appropriate civilian use for hollow-point bullets? Why do we have age limits, written and practical tests to acquire a driver’s license, but have nothing that would be at least as rigorous for acquiring a weapon that can take out countless lives?

Andre Nikitchyuk is the father of an 8-year-old boy, nicknamed "Bear," who went to school at Sandy Hook that horrible day, just like he went every other day.

But that day, Adam Lanza entered the school with a semi-automatic .223 military-style Bushmaster rifle. He had 30 clips in the round and hundreds more ready. This is a civilian firearm modeled after the military M-16 rifle and it has links to the DC sniper shootings. Yet, it is perfectly legal, and doesn't fall under the category of "assault weapon."

Andre and his son were supremely lucky that day. Bear did not end up being one of the 20 children and six adults killed in that school because a teacher grabbed him from the hallway and hid him in her classroom.

And now Andre is speaking out. He passionately continues in his essay in the New York Daily News:

I used to be part of the silent majority of people around this beautiful country that saw how weaponized and unsafe our society became, but kept our silence.

I thought guns are a part of American history. Many people know how to handle them and keep them safe. Our politicians know what they are doing and the situation will be corrected.

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, chipped at those beliefs, but I averted my eyes. On Friday, this belief has been shattered for me, my wife, my relatives and friends, and -- most important -- my kids. It’s been long overdue, but it’s clear to me I have to speak up.

Someone can say that you need a human to shoot a gun. What they are not saying is guns allow human feelings of malice and hate to be amplified. They amplify them in a way that's God-like, final and irreversible. It takes away someone's life with just a slight pull of an index finger. No one should have that power.

Judging by all of the petitions I'm seeing going around -- and from people I would have never expected -- it seems a lot of people are no longer going to stay silent. Even Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough, former conservative Republican congressman and NRA supporter, has changed his mind about gun control.

I've asked people who strongly believe in the Second Amendment why they think that people would need such high-powered rifles for home and personal protection. I usually get no answer. Maybe I get a picture of the Holocaust (this seems to be a favorite response of pro-gun advocates). I hear about how the teachers should have been armed. (Again, not answering the question.)

So I'll ask again and maybe someone will give me a straight answer: WHY does anyone who is not in law enforcement or the military need a military style gun that can shoot dozens of bullets in seconds? Anyone?

I'll end with Andre's words:

Please, everyone, think of what you want this society to be for our children (if we will be able to save our children to adulthood).

Ask yourself if our current laws are really protecting our children. When they ask why "bad men" can so easily get these guns -- when countless toys and strollers are recalled at the first sign of trouble -- what will you tell them?

Have you decided to speak up about gun control?

Image via Robert Huffstutter/Flickr

guns, in the news, crime


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Pinkmani Pinkmani

You can' t convince me that you need automatic and semi-automatic firearms. Everyone must register their firearm and report it stolen or be held accountable. There should also be mental annual evaluations. 

butte... butterflyfreak

Well, sure if you want to give up your right to bear arms so that you can obtain a false sense of security, go right ahead. But don't come crying to ME when you get rounded up and exterminated with the rest of the sheeple. Look at history and you'll see exactly why civilians should be just as well armed. Because when you ban guns, then only criminals and tyrants have all the guns. Sure, go ahead and tell yourself that it could never happen in America. All these people probably thought that same thing, not in MY country.

dirti... dirtiekittie

i see both sides of the argument. as another poster pointed out yesterday, the idea behind 'the right to bear arms' was to protect our soil from foreign invaders. do you think that foreign invaders would not have assault rifles? if another militia group tried to take over communities in the US, do you think they would only use "baseball bats and knives"? the answer is no, because they know an unprotected civilian population is the fastest and easiest way to get an aggressive kill count. i'm not trying to make this sound blase, but pointing out that it's not just other americans these guns were meant to protect us from. 

and before you say that only the military should have them and can protect them - do you have military in your hometown to protect you? or are they all shipped off policing some other country in the world? 

i know this tragedy has hit home for a lot of people and there were tiny innocent victims - no one is disputing that fact. but as it's been quoted to the point of silliness now - if you outlaw all the guns, the only people with guns will be outlaws. 

Doomy234 Doomy234

There are age and restrictions for firearms. You have to be 18 to buy a rifle, 21 to own a handgun. You also cannot purchase one legally if you have committed a felony. This mother (who owned the guns) did nothing wrong. Had she known her child would do this kind of thing, I am sure she would have taken extra safety precautions. We dont know the details about how they were kept, but I doubt they were left sitting on the table.

Pinkmani, do you know what classifies a gun to be semi-automatic? It is any weapon that loads automatically after the previous round is ejected. You know that the top carried police gun is semi-automatic? Automatic weapons are HIGHLY illegal already. No one can purchase them legally in the US.

tinyp... tinypossum

If the only way to have a peaceful society is to arm the citizens to the teeth, how do you explain Australia?


SKDMo... SKDMom1020

I see both sides to this issue too.  I posted something similar on another blog a few days ago.  I am a conservative Republican who supports individuals who want guns to protect their families. (although I would personally never have one in my home with my children)  And I absolutely believe that if someone wants to kill, they will find a way no matter what.  But, when that person gets their hands on an automatic weapon the amount of death and destruction is magnified to horrific levels.

Handguns and shotguns for law abiding citizens, yes I support these.  Automatic weapons that can kill dozens in a short amount of time, No.  It just isn't worth the lives that are being lost.

quinn007 quinn007

Comparing the US to Australia is apples and oranges.  I keep hearing this comparision and it isn't a good one.  First of all, prior to their enactment of strict gun control laws, the percentage of citizens that owned guns was 7%.  In the US today the percentage is 34%.  There are 300 million privately owned guns in  America today, a massive amount more than in Australia.  It would take decades-some expects say 100 years-to get those guns out of circulation.  We are also bordered by Mexico which makes millions from the illegal trafficking of guns into the US, a problem Australia did not have.  I could go on but we need to stop wasting our time assuming what worked in another country would work as well here.

Candace Hellvira Miller

I'm  sorry, but those that are in support of these types of weapons are flipping crazy. Period. Look at all that has happened- all the massacres- and I ask you which is more likely to happen? Another mass shooting or us being invaded to the point where we would all need to use these to protect ourselves. Ridiculous to use that as an argument in this day and age. If we cannot get our country under control to the point that we stop killing each other than I think we can put the idea of others coming in and doing it on the back burner for now and leave that up to our armed forces.

Candace Hellvira Miller

PS-I am talking about automatic weapons here, not your standard handgun or hunting rifle. No one is talking banning all firearms here, just military style


2cent... 2centsCDN

You guys are kidding right? You're sounding a little paranoid thinking that another country would invade the U.S. First its protection from unknown assailants breaking into your homes and now its other countries invading? No one has said the Mom did anything illegal. The question was why anyone should be able to buy that type of gun?

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