By editorial board • 

Sensible gun control action is long overdue

On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza used a rapid-fire semi-automatic rifle to kill his mother, then gun down 26 students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

On June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen used a rapid-fire semi-automatic rifle to slaughter 49 revelers at the Pulse night club in Orlando, Florida.

On Oct. 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock used multiple rapid-fire semi-automatic rifles to rain thousands of bullets onto concert-goers in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 and wounding more than 500.

Next week, next month and next year, new madmen will no doubt commit new massacres here in gun-crazed America. Such incidents have been recurring in almost clock-like fashion, and each new maniac seems hell-bent the top the previous kill count.

We can’t prevent the bumper crop of psychopaths that the frantic pace of modern society seems to produce. However, we can reduce the incredible lethality by establishing reasonable limits on the weaponry of choice.

Paddock mounted a pair of assault-style rifles on tripods, fitted them with high capacity magazines and equipped them with bump stocks that boost their effective fire rates, normally 45 to 60 rounds per minute, more than 10-fold. Taken together, that enabled him to unleash a torrent of lead onto his killing field 32 floors below.

Modifying an assault-style rifle for automatic fire is illegal, though conversion kits are readily available. Achieving a like effect by fitting one with a bump stock is legal, as is employing a massive magazine, because that’s classified as adding an external accessory rather than making an internal modification.

America, home to 300 million people armed with 300 million firearms, has the laxest gun laws on the planet. As a result: In an average day, 93 Americans die of gun violence. In an average month, 50 American women are shot to death by domestic partners. In an average year, 12,000 Americans fall victim to gunshot homicide.
Our incidence of homicides leads the world, and two-thirds of them stem from gunfire. Our gun homicide rate runs 25 times that of the rest of the civilized world.

No one is advocating repeal of the Second Amendment, which establishes our constitutional right to bear arms. However, it’s possible to significantly limit the lethality of civilian weaponry without crimping the ability of armed citizens to protect their persons and property or engage in hunting and target-shooting.

A good place to start would be banning rapid-fire assault-style rifles like the AR-15, which the industry and its NRA front euphemistically term “modern sporting rifles.” Their manufacture and sale for civilian use was banned in the United States from 1994 to 2004, but before and since the industry has pumped millions into the market, fostering much mayhem.

We might also profitably ban devices helping ganglords, druglords, terrorists and psychotics to rain almost unimaginable firepower on innocent victims and their police department protectors. We owe it to ourselves — and our children — to demand sensible action.

Web Design & Web Development by LVSYS