Published DateTo the editor,
Honorable Senators and Representatives:
Our Second Amendment rights are dear to me. I have owned long guns (sporting) and handguns since my teenage years and have held a pistol/revolver license for 41 years. I served with a line company with the 1st Marines in Vietnam for over 19 months. I have taught my children and their peers the proper handling of sporting weapons and handguns and the responsibilities that accompany their use and ownership.
There is no one solution to curbing the escalating gun violence we are experiencing. Multiple initiatives need to be implemented and supported by proponents of gun safety and the 2nd Amendment. The .22 caliber AR-15 is, for all intents and purposes, the M-16 of my youth. Minus the full automatic sear mechanism, which I seldom used because of its lack of accuracy, this is the primary assault weapon Marines used to kill people. Semi-automatic is deadlier then full automatic. It is insanity to believe that assault weapons and large capacity magazines have a practical use in civilian society. Assault weapons are not sport weapons; they are specifically manufactured and designed for killing people.
It requires intense initial training and continued periodic instruction by professionals to develop the military man into a competent assault weapon practitioner. Why would we want an army of untrained, unorganized civilians armed with assault weapons? Today there are far too many thoughtless, dangerous people who can legally purchase weapons. Nancy Lanza is the quintessential example of that type of irresponsible, though legal, assault weapon owner. Not necessarily a triggerman, she certainly was the enabler who provided the means for a tragedy and one who shares equal, if not more of the guilt for her sons' murderous rampage. He would not have had that military assault rifle had it not been for her.
Thorough background checks need to be required for the purchase of all firearms by any individual. Inter-agency information sharing and transparency is a must. Current laws are ineffective and flawed. Close the loopholes that currently exist! Vigorously prosecute and punish those buyers, sellers and callous gun owners who violate the laws. Reasonable and more restrictive requirements would have a positive impact on me, on other sporting and defense minded gun owners and on the general citizenry.
For years our citizens have been the principal suppliers of weapons to the Mexican drug cartels. Lax law enforcement tools allow some Americans to become wealthier at the expense of others who become victims. Please, get serious about gun safety.
Intransigent organizations, such as the NRA and Gun Owners of America, are little more then political action committees that lobby extensively for the benefit of manufacturers and retailers. They do a great disservice to the majority of responsible gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Amendment like myself. The politicians who have taken the teeth out of gun safety laws are intimidated by their hyperbole and campaign dollars. I hope you are be the political leaders needed to break the cycle of "any guns for anyone" and restore the intent of my 2nd Amendment rights.
R. Natt King