Donate American Assault Weapons to Ukraine

President Biden should announce that he has found a way to reduce mass shootings that have shaken our country, and, at the same time, aid Ukraine.

To reduce mass shootings, the president should issue an executive order prohibiting civilian ownership of assault weapons. The president should explain that assault weapons are weapons of war. They are not used for self-defense or hunting. Israel, where military service is compulsory, has strict gun regulations, including an assault weapons ban. To aid Ukraine, the president should promise to donate the banned American assault weapons to the Ukrainian armed forces.

The U.S. had a federal assault weapons ban that was enacted in 1994 after a mass shooting in California, but was allowed to expire in 2004. Several attempts to renew the ban have failed. In 1994 the ban was part of a larger crime bill that led to a backlash against the assault weapons ban among gun advocates. A fear that gun control cost Democrats votes began after the midterm election in 1994 when the Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress. That fear intensified after the presidential election of 2000. That year’s Democratic nominee, Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee, who supported the assault weapons ban, could not carry his home state. In 2004, the Republican Congress refused to renew the assault weapons ban which was supported by Senator John Kerry, the unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee.

Critics of the ban have argued that it violated Second Amendment rights while accomplishing little. Defenders replied that it reduced the number of people killed in mass shootings.

To overcome expected opposition by Republican politicians and the gun lobby to an executive order for an assault weapons ban, the president should link the ban to the popular desire to assist Ukraine. The federal government should execute the assault weapons ban by implementing a gun buyback program to collect all assault weapons currently possessed by American civilians. These weapons should then be donated to the Ukrainian military forces fighting to defend their country against Russian invaders.

About the Author
Ted Sheskin is an emeritus professor of industrial engineering and the author of a textbook, Markov Chains and Decision Processes for Engineers and Managers. He has published peer-reviewed papers on engineering systems and mathematical algorithms. His letters to editors addressing politics, economic policy, and issues facing Israel and American Jews have appeared in the NY Times, Daily News, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Jewish News, Jewish Week, and Jewish Voice.
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