We are mourning again, angered, questioning why more have died, this time in Orlando. I’m among them, but I belong to a gun-owning family of three men who hunt.
A strong memory is telling my family that I’d heard that the Federal Automatic Weapons Ban was allowed to expire in 2004. My high school-aged sons were astonished; they used guns for hunting deer and knew that an automatic used for hunting would destroy it. So, what is the purpose of owning an assault weapon, designed for waging war? I know about its military use, when it began as an M16, used during war to protect by rapidly killing large numbers of soldiers, when needed.
Seeking answers, it was easiest to go to Wikipedia, where I found some statistics about civilian use of AR15 style automatic rifles. According to this one source, “As of 2012, there are an estimated 2.5-3.7 million rifles from the AR-15 family in civilian use in the United States. They are favored for target shooting, hunting, and personal protection, and have become the most popular rifle in America.”
It’s past time to address our internal American war.