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Opinion: Respect responsible gun owners but ban assault rifles

My resounding YES to Mr. Devin Pandy’s letter to the editor of May 19 entitled “AR-15 rifle doesn’t need ‘national gun’ designation”in which he calls on Congressman Andrew Clyde to prioritize the safety of our citizenry rather than glorify an assault rifle!  It’s often said that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.  My response to that is “people with assault rifles kill a lot more people” and too many people who shouldn’t have assault rifles kill innocent people with them.

 National statistics show how many more people are killed by assault rifles with high capacity magazines when there is a mass shooting.  The reduction in gunshot deaths by the national ban on assault weapons from 1994–2004 under the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Act showed the deadly effect of assault rifles and the lessened effects of gun violence during the ban. I believe that Congress needs to pass legislation like the Assault Weapons Ban of 2023 that permanently bans assault rifles with high capacity magazines from all but those actively engaged in combat operations.

As Mr. Devin Pandy stated, “Our efforts should focus on key aspects that prioritize the safety and security of our citizens. This includes fostering responsible gun ownership, strengthening background checks, allocating mental health resources, and, crucially, restricting access to military-grade weaponry to enlisted individuals actively engaged in combat operations.”

I believe in responsible gun ownership for hunting, sports and self-defense, but even a responsible gun owner can have his gun taken and used against him or others. How much worse this becomes when the firearm is an assault rifle? Our nation is an increasingly complicated and diverse place.  It has changed greatly even in my 68 years. Instead of glorifying assault weapons, our leaders need to unite and pass urgently-needed legislation that still respects the right to own a firearm but bans assault rifles with high capacity magazines to ensure our public safety and security going forward.  What harm is there in doing this?

Bill Neiheisel