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Letter: Military-style weapons aren’t necessary to ensure safety
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A line of AR-15 rifles and other long guns with conventional stocks sit against a wall at Georgia Gun Store on Oct. 5, 2017. - photo by Nick Bowman

Neither gun owners nor the people who don’t own guns condone mass shootings at schools, churches, concerts, casinos, movie theaters or sport events.

All of us want a better system of reporting behaviors that indicate a person is planning a mass killing. We agree anyone who kills innocent people is a sick person. We acknowledge that background checks and communication between enforcement agencies have failed us.

However, no other modern country is experiencing more than 300 mass shootings, defined as four or more victims, in one year. In mass shootings, the perpetrators too often use an assault weapon. The writers of the Second Amendment never envisioned the use of assault weapons to kill children.

Maybe we should re-examine the phrase “well regulated” found in the Second Amendment. That phrase refers to a militia, but it also makes sense to apply it to our civilian use of guns.

Some people believe that owning more assault weapons will make our nation safer. I believe safety comes from fewer assault weapons. Some imply that the Australians lost their safety when they gave up assault weapons. I believe the Australians gained their safety by outlawing assault weapons.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t believe that arming schoolteachers and other civilians with assault weapons will make our children safer. The definition of “assault” is a violent attack on humans.

We should enforce better security clearance for anyone entering our schools. We should respond proactively when anyone’s behavior indicates criminal intent. We should stop selling automatic firing weapons to anyone younger than 21. We should require significant background checks on all gun purchases, including those at gun shows.

More and more U.S. citizens are changing their definition of safety. Safety does not require having more military-style weapons, it is limiting their sale. State and federal legislators have an obligation to respond to this cultural shift on what actually creates a safer environment.

Our young people are very articulate about what will create safety in their schools and what will not. I know of no one who wants mass shootings to continue in the U.S.

Calvin King


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