To the Editor:
Seventy years ago, I swore allegiance to our country and then became very familiar with firearms and also high explosives. I also learned what freedom really means after being a German POW. After the war, I became a member of the National Rifle Association for the promotion of gun safety. I did not remain a member because I believe the group became more interested in gaining membership than in promoting safe gun ownership.
The recent death of school children caused by firearms has alarmed the nation. It has brought the Second Amendment right to bear arms into question. I believe our founding fathers were correct to include in the Constitution the right of citizens to bear arms. When the Constitution was written, firearms of all calibers were muzzle loading, far different from the firearms of today. The rights to own firearms and ammunition must be made conditional to a background check, require knowledge and understanding of firearms and then assume full responsibility for their use and storage. To treat the sale of, use of and storage of firearms, ammunition and explosives in a casual manner is a prelude to disaster, as we have recently seen.
The so-called assault weapons with high capacity magazines that seem to be the rage today are mostly junk and only have one purpose – killing. It also should be noted that a gunsmith can change many semiautomatic weapons, so-called assault weapons, to an illegal, full automatic weapon. I believe weapons with high capacity magazines should be only for trained, authorized personnel and not by someone who just wants one.
We are one nation, and it’s time for a reasonable and responsible federal standard for the sale and ownership of firearms and ammunition that is in the public interest and not for special interests. The National Rifle Association should be in the forefront of safe public ownership of guns and ammunition, which would satisfy the need of all types of gun owners, from users to collectors.