Perpetrator to blame for atrocity PDF E-mail

To the editor:

I was disappointed to read the editorial column calling for further gun control, particularly on so-called assault weapons. The editor claimed to "fully support the Second Amendment" then made a hypocritical statement supporting limits on the sale of assault weapons, banning high-capacity magazines, and finding it "hard to defend why those rights should cover an arsenal designed for military use."

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) recently held in D.C. v. Heller that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess weapons "in common use for lawful purposes." The AR-15 rifle, the type used in Newtown, is the most popular centerfire rifle for sale in this country and has been for several years, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Thus, the AR-15’s popularity indicates it is in common use. No longer on the fringe, AR-15 variants are manufactured by hunting bellwethers Remington and Mossberg as well as by firms with a rich history of civilian self-defense arms including Smith & Wesson and Colt.

SCOTUS’ opinion in U.S. v. Miller indicated that the Second Amendment protects firearms that are conducive to militia service and are "ordinary military equipment." The AR-15 rifle is the semi-automatic (one shot for one pull of the trigger) version of the Army’s fully-automatic M16 rifle and M4 carbine, so the AR-15 passes the Miller test.

If we look past AR-15 rifles and other assault weapons, we will find that many other common arms have a military pedigree. One of the most common is the bolt action rifle, found in deer stands and battlefields alike. The fodder for the M1903 Springfield bolt action rifle is the classic .30-06 cartridge, designed by and for the U.S. military, and one of the best selling cartridges for big game hunting. The Remington 700 is issued to certain troops and is a favorite with hunters. The pump-action shotgun saw military use as far back as World War I and is still a tool used by the military. Revolvers have been used by the military as far back the 19th century. If we begin banning or imposing draconian limits on firearms with a military heritage, we will find ourselves left with sticks and stones.

The fringe left would have people believe that AR-15 rifles and rifles similar to them have no use except on the battlefield. This is untrue. Such rifles are legally taken afield every year to humanely hunt large and small game. They are also used in sanctioned competitions including the National Matches at Camp Perry and in more jocular events like Pandemic 2012 in Grand Island.

The editorial points out there are millions of these firearms in the hands of citizens, but the writer seems to disregard the fact that on Dec. 14, only one of them was used by a monster. In the same vein, I do not see the editor calling for bans on cars and trucks despite their involvement in DUI deaths. It would be ludicrous to blame the vehicle as it is just a tool. We need to place the blame for this shooting not on the gun, the parents, or video games. The responsibility for this atrocity falls squarely on the perpetrator.

We already have safeguards in place to limit access to weapons. It is already illegal for someone adjudicated mentally defective or committed to a mental institution to possess firearms. Fugitives, felons, wife beaters, illegal aliens, and drug addicts are prohibited from possessing firearms. Connecticut is one of seven states with a state-level assault weapons ban.

There are tens of thousands of laws pertaining to firearms in this country. It is naïve to think that one more law, especially one which disproportionately punishes law-abiding citizens, would curtail the activities of a depraved lunatic.

Richard Ballas

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