Stop the carnage
Editor, Gettysburg Times,
A Question: Would banning modern, military-style assault weapons be consistent with long-standing national policy? History and experience say “yes”.
18th Century. When the Second Amendment was written in 1787, mass murders were impossible. The prevalent weapons were muzzle loaders, which had two major shortcomings. First, accuracy was terrible: most muzzleloaders had no sights. Second, a shooter could fire only 2 or 3 shots in one minute.
Thus, if a killer fired into a crowd in 1787, he could fire only one shot. Before he could reload, the crowd had ample time to overwhelm and subdue him.
20th Century. Thompson sub-machine guns were developed late in World War I, and then became available to the public. Mobsters exploited them to kill other mobsters and law officers. In some instances, mobsters killed innocent bystanders, including children.
To stop the carnage, in 1934 our nation enacted the National Firearms Act. This act outlawed public possession of machine guns and certain other, highly lethal weapons. This Federal law remains in effect today.
21st Century. Today, 329 million Americans can acquire an arsenal of modern, highly lethal weapons designed for war — designed to kill and maim as many people as possible as quickly as possible. These military-style, assault rifles are far more lethal than the outlawed Thompson machine guns. Two of several reasons: (1) their projectiles travel three times faster, thereby violently destroying vital human organs; and (2) they have far greater range, e. g., they enabled a mass killer in Las Vegas to kill 58 people and wound 422 who were 450 yards away.
A Personal Perspective. I have owned a firearm for 68 years, first as a paid hunter while a teenager: a large-scale sheep farmer hired me to shoot predators that were killing his baby lambs. Later, … a marksman on an Air Force rifle team, builder of high-precision custom rifles, holder of a Federal firearms license, etc.
I am grateful that our ancestors acted courageously in the 1930s to stop the carnage inflicted by lethal, military-type weapons.
Now, we face a more serious threat. Will we act as courageously as our ancestors to protect our children, families, and neighbors? Or will we just watch passively as mass murderers — enraged or deranged — slaughter innocent people using modern, military-style assault weapons, weapons that killed 9 of our fellow citizens and wounded 27 more in just 32 seconds?