The time has long since passed to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault rifles such as AR-15s.

In 1970-71, when I was serving in the Central Highlands of Vietnam (Kontum Province), I routinely carried two weapons in addition to my .45-caliber handgun. One was an M-79 grenade launcher and the other was an M-16 rifle. Both weapons were invented and intended for only one purpose—to kill other human beings. Today, it is virtually impossible for a civilian in this country to legally own an M-79—thank goodness. However, anyone who can pass a rudimentary background check can buy an AR-15, which is simply a semi-automatic M-16. Just like the M-16, the AR-15 is not a good hunting or target rifle. To my knowledge, it has no sporting purpose whatsoever. Thus, its primary role remains the killing of people, and, as such, it should not be available for sale to the general public.

Please remember that the Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear arms” is predicated on “a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.” The United States has a well-regulated militia. It’s called the National Guard, and it is well-armed and well-regulated. I know of no one who objects to the legal possession of shotguns, rifles, or handguns, nor do I. All such guns have legitimate sporting or self-protection purposes. However, in this day and age, there is simply no legitimate reason to continue the commercial sale of AR-15s or similar weapons.

Will banning the sale of assault rifles in this country stop all gun violence? Certainly not. However, it should make future mass shooters much less efficient—and less deadly.

Mike Shane, Hailey

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