To the Editor:
Assault rifles, because of their intended purpose, should not be available to ordinary citizens. Although the Second Amendment was intended to support “a well-regulated militia,” it was written in 1789 when a rifle was a musket that could fire a lead ball maybe three times per minute with little accuracy. The assault rifle is designed to fire automatically when the trigger is pulled, or when modified, to shoot every time the trigger is pulled: two or three times per second! This screams for regulation if not control. Indeed, the framers of the Constitution at the end of the18th Century could not even imagine a weapon like a modern assault rifle.
Dr. Ernest E. Moore, a trauma surgeon, wrote Feb. 2018 in an opinion for NBC News:
“An assault rifle is designed to deliver fatal wounds to multiple individuals within a short time period; it has no other purpose. The AR-15, the civilian version of the military assault rifle (M16 or M4), has become the most commonly used rifle in US mass shootings; the recent shootings in Parkland and and Las Vegas, for instance, testify to the effectiveness of this weapon’s design. It was made for the military, to allow members of the armed forces to better dispatch multiple enemies in short order; in the hands of civilians, it not only clearly serves the same purpose for some individuals, but it’s unclear what other purpose it could serve, given how and why it was made. Given that, there is no reason that these weapons should be broadly available to the civilian population.”
We are seeing the results of what happens when assault rifles are commonly available: innocent adults and children die because these weapons are not reasonably regulated. Indeed, children were beheaded by an AR assault rifle recently in the Uvalde, Texas school massacre.
We regulate cars and insist that new drivers be of age, trained, tested, and licensed. If we do not outright ban weapons such as the AR 15 from civilian use (which I would prefer), we ought to at least insist on age limits, training, testing and licensing of assault rifle ownership or ownership of lethal weapons of any kind.
The argument by hunters that they have a right to own assault rifles is, of course, spurious. Assault rifles were intended to kill human beings.
The recent shootings in schools using assault rifles are not acceptable. It must stop, and it is our government that must stop it. Please contact your representatives and senators about this issue.
D. Bruce Roberts