Mike Myer’s column of August 19 is way off base. While the reality of the number of “assault rifles” already in the country may be sadly correct, the premise that there is nothing to be done is incorrect.
You cited the strict control of the 638,000 fully automatic machine guns owned by “gun enthusiasts.” If these guns can be regulated, why not regulate semi-automatic assault weapons? As you say, the fully automatic machine guns are more expensive than a standard rifle or even a modified assault rifle. The expense keeps them out of the hands of some of the “deranged” individuals you describe.
A study commissioned by the Department of Justice just 30 months after the 1994 ban on assault weapons showed that fewer assault weapons were being confiscated by police precisely because they were more difficult to obtain. The expense of the ammo is another issue and this too can be a deterrent to the kind of individual you are describing in your article. Most of the mass shooters in the recent murders were not particularly financially flush but when the supply is plentiful, the cost goes down.
The biggest issue in the vast majority of mass shootings has been the high-capacity magazines which allow rapid firing with no need to stop and reload. Even law enforcement is at a distinct disadvantage when the shooter is armed with 100 magazine drums as was the case in Dayton. A minor miracle occurred that the police who responded were able to take him out but only after nine had died and many more were wounded. A limited number of rounds would have reduced the carnage or at least given people more time to run away.
I have been told that some gun owners like to use the semi-automatic rifles for ‘target’ practice and they do hate to stop and reload. What kind of skill does it take to fire countless rounds at a target? Is that really a skill or just an angry male expressing his impotence using a gun?
Please get your facts before you throw in the towel on sensible gun regulation. Thank you.
Steve and Teresa Porter