Teen gun rights activist Sarah Merkle became a YouTube star after video of her testimony against a package of gun control legislation being considered in Maryland went viral.
Merkle, 15, said she belongs to the Maryland Rifle Club and Maryland State Rifle Club. She listed the Bushmaster AR-15 -- the weapon used in the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting -- as her rifle of choice and said shooting has given her unique opportunities, including college scholarships.
“Achieving stricter gun control laws would obliterate any opportunity I could have had to attend a decent college on a shooting scholarship,” Sarah told the Maryland State legislature in Annapolis. Video of her testimony, which you can view above, has surpassed more than 2.3 million views on YouTube.
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Sarah detailed why she is against the package of bills being considered in Maryland that would ban high-capacity rifles and magazines that can accommodate more than 10 rounds of ammunition, among other regulations.
The teen gun rights advocate said she believed people, not guns, are to blame for the violence committed by those with firearms.
“Purging our society of violence and murder cannot be done through gun control legislation. By signing this legislation, you are not signing away gun violence, but instead liberating American citizens of our constitutional rights,” Sarah said. “You are not eliminating guns from society, but eliminating our ability to protect our lives, liberty and pursuits of happiness.”
To bolster her case, Sarah rattled off statistics showing a Chicago resident is more likely to be killed than a member of the U.S. military in Afghanistan, even though the Second City has the toughest gun control legislation in the country.
She said during a four-month span, 2,166 people were killed in the war in Afghanistan while 4,265 Chicago residents were killed in eight years -- 3,371 of whom were shot. Of those 3,371, only 37 were killed with a rifle (98 percent were killed with a handgun not impacted by the pending Maryland legislation) Sarah said.
Sarah also noted that on the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first graders were killed with an AR-15 fired by Adam Lanza, a man in central China stabbed 22 children.
“Guns are not needed for mass murder and robbing American citizens of our rights to own them won’t solve anything,” the 15-year-old told the legislators in Annapolis.
Despite Sarah’s testimony, the Maryland legislation passed the state Senate 28-10. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is likely to sign the bills if they land on his desk, according to ABC News.
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