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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Jessy Roos

Butterflyfreak: It took me all of three minutes of research to pull some facts about Switzerland (since the link you supplied points to a Facebook group using Switzerland as a case study for why the US should have more guns,I thought I would share.

1. Switzerland does not have an army, but rather a civilian militia, which can be definied as somewhat like the Israeli army. Most men between 20 and 30 are conscripted to militia training and supplied with a military grade gun.

2. There are tons of guns in Switzerland if you look at the per capita rate, but it's still just over 1/2 of the per capita rate in the US.

3. Guess what the biggest difference between Switzerland and the US is? Training and ammunition. Militia member must go through weapons training annually, including safe handling classes. Ammunition is stored in GOVERNMENT WAREHOUSES. No ammunition for the military grade weapons may be stored in private homes. If an alert is issued, all militia members must proceed to the closest government warehouse to pick up their ammunition.

By your logic, Switzerland is doomed.  Sure, they have lots of guns, but all the ammo is in the hands of the government, making it impossible for them to protect themselves if the government suddenly decided to round them up and exterminate them, as you say is likely to happen.

ethan... ethans_momma06

I think that a large reason many gun advocates don't launch into a defense of 'military' style weapons is not that they have no defense, it's rather they are often the brunt of a large verbal attack against them if they do.

"There's no good reason" leaves no room for honest, open discussion. "They're just crazy/paranoid/delusional". I could go on, but I think the point is made.

The fact is, that this man is having an emotional response. But simply because his family faced horror, tradegy- doesn't make him an expert in this debate. It doesn't cancle out the other side at all. Yet, people  always push their stories to the forefront. Like they know something we don't.

Truly, my heart just goes out to them. I understand his reaction.

quinn007 quinn007

Candace, you don't understand the difference in these guns.  I'm not being snotty, unless you own or are around guns how would you know the difference but I do think it's important if you're going to have an opinion on gun control to understand the facts about guns.  Automatic weapons are tightly regulated and require a serious committment to get (ATF and FBI are involved).  An AR-15 is considered semi-automatic because it does not require a reload.  One pull, one shot.  It does NOT fire multiple bullets with one trigger pull.  Most guns today have some sort of semi-automatic feature to them.  What makes one gun more dangerous than another is magazine capacity.  Most AR-15's can hold up to 30 rounds as opposed to a Glock that holds 10-15.  Many states already have restrictions on the rounds a magazine for sale can hold. 

Jessy Roos

ethans_momma06: I totally agree that having any fruitful discussion cannot involve namecalling. I would be interesting in your thoughts about the defense of military grade weapons in the hands of civilians.

Candace Hellvira Miller

quinn007- thank you for explaining but still why would you need something that fires even 30 rounds at a time? I guess everyone can explain it until they're blue in the face, it will NEVER make sense to me. Period. Are the deer and bears shooting back? If someone  breaks in your house and you are forced to use a gun will not a hand gun do? Why the need for them other than for a hobby I guess? Really, somone explain it to me, I am all ears.

quinn007 quinn007

I don't disagree Candace.  I just wanted to offer an explanation as I think so many people imagine the AR-15 as some crazy machine gun like Rambo uses :)  I guess my point was we should be less concerned about the kind of gun and more concerned about magazine capacity and ammunition sales.  As for why people prefer a gun like an AR-15 for self defense there are several reasons.  First, they are more accurate and easy to shoot than a handgun.  They are also more powerful-if someone is breaking into your home chances are a shot from a handgun isn't going to kill them unless you are very accurate.  With the correct ammunition, rifle bullets are also less likely to make it through walls into rooms (and people) that are not a target.  In addition, if someone is in your house but you don't know where a long rifle allows you to take a defensive position without exposing yourself to the intruder.  For those that buy a rifle for home defense they are doing so not because it holds 30 rounds but because of the reasons above. 

Lisa Brand

I challenge those who think that civilians armed with assault weapons can defend against an American military that has nuclear and chemical weapons in its arsenal to think again. Advocating for your right to bear these weapons under the guise that they will make you ready to defend your personal freedom against the government is delusional.

Candace Hellvira Miller

I see what you are saying quinn, thank you for explaining the difference. I do believe that maybe the handgun won't kill them but it sure will stop them. How sad that this is even a topic, it makes my heart hurt.

Kim Clews

Great point about the recalls--I hadn't even thought about it that way.

quinn007 quinn007

I agree Candace, even just reading my last post kind of stabs me in the heart.  There are no easy answers and it really sucks.

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