To the Editor:
The current debate on safety in our schools and churches should not be framed as a gun issue. It should be about the sale of automatic (i.e. assault) weapons designed not for hunting, but to kill and/or wound enemy soldiers in combat.
Rifles and shotguns designed for game hunting and sports such as skeet shooting are exempt in this debate. Handguns are a separate and deadly issue, marketed and sold to individuals for personal and family protection.
Yet, they are responsible for the vast majority of deaths by firearms in America. Statistics that they prevent crime are nonexistent.
Congress cannot be relied upon to even debate the issue as they choose inaction even when members of their chambers were shot and gravely wounded. Why then should we expect them to react to the killing and wounding of adults and children in our schools and churches?
The latest slaughter of innocents should compel the states to take action against the sale and distribution of assault weapons, and I believe the right to enact such legislation can be found in the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which begins with these words:
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state.”
Therefore, I believe the states are to regulate the sale of combat weapons and to require training and oversight in their use. Certainly any state enacting such legislation would be immediately challenged in court, thus bypassing the Congress and letting the Supreme Court address the issue.
I can only hope that at least one state will act along these lines.
Robert E. Lyon
retired U.S. Army colonel