The mass shootings using assault rifles (ARs) continue. The mass shootings in Connecticut, Florida, Texas, Nevada and California have resulted in 190 deaths and many more wounded. All are equally tragic. In 1994, a law was enacted that prohibited the manufacture of ARs for civilian use, but it allowed manufacture for law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, this law expired in 2004 and there was no effort by Congress to extend it. Thereafter, AR manufacturing surged. In 2012, in response to the Sandy Hook shooting of children and their teachers, a bill entitled The Assault Weapons Ban similar to the 1994 law was introduced. The NRA condemned this bill and the Senate rejected it by a vote of 60-40. So now there are as many as 15 million civilian-owned ARs, and the number continues to grow.
Certainly, a law like that proposed in 2012 should be enacted. But what should be done about the 15 million already manufactured and sold?
To think that mental health expansion, which is worthwhile, will solve the problem alone is naive. This is because it would be impossible to find, evaluate, treat and monitor all those of the 15 million that might be thinking of using their ARs to kill. And, as we have seen in the past, the tracking of those individuals who are known to pose a threat is prone to human error.
The only solution to this horrific problem is to ban ARs from our civilian population. People’s lives are at stake. Congress must act.
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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion