The first such goal is changing the AR-15 from the most popular to the least popular rifle in America. The glorification of this weapon of war, as well as the associated marketing campaign showing it as a harmless toy rather than the massively lethal implement it is, makes carrying it a macho symbol.
Thus, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is a necessary step. Violation of these bans, including possession of loaded high-capacity magazines, would result in their permanent confiscation and a suitable fine.
Another step could be inhibiting the purchase, sale and transfer of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Advertising could be banned. A high tax on their transfer could be imposed. And a buyback program could be implemented. Continued manufacturing of these items could be discouraged by limiting their sale to law enforcement or the military.
No doubt there will be a great deal of anguish expressed by manufactures and dealers, gun rights advocates and owners. But there is absolutely no benefit to their family, the community and the country to having members of the public possess these weapons “just for fun.”
But, as the editorial showed, there is a tragic cost associated with their unfettered proliferation.
Dave Sullivan, Palm Beach Shores, Fla.
I viewed the grim photos and videos published in “Terror on repeat,” the Nov. 16 online installment of “American Icon,” with horror and profound sadness, which the Nov. 18 editorial addressed. As a victim advocate, I often find myself questioning the journalistic merit of publishing gruesome images of injury or death suffered by victims. Those images and first-person accounts of survival and loss — not in war zones but in schools, synagogues, churches, shopping malls and community parks — should never have to be seen or read by anyone.
But the reality is that survivors and victims’ family members experience those memories every day. Though The Post’s decision to publish those images is already being rightly debated, I want to give credit where it’s due. The Post’s explanation of its reasoning, its reporters’ commitment to interviewing survivors and respecting their wishes, and especially editors’ decision not to publish identifiable photos of the victims to avoid further harming their families are all commendable. Too often, news outlets publish other people’s trauma under the guise of public service when the ultimate goal is exposure. “Terror on repeat” does a service — though a hard one to accept — by conveying to everyday Americans a fraction of the trauma experienced by survivors of mass shootings.
Some survivors will be retraumatized by this report. My prayer is that laying bare this carnage is the impetus for all of us to do everything we can to end America’s epidemic of gun violence. Victims, survivors and the American people deserve no less.
Renée Williams, Landover
The writer is executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime.
I commend The Post for its brave decision to show in graphic detail the devastation and death caused by an AR-15. I understand why The Post chose to show online how a bullet from the AR-15 can tear apart a hymnal instead of showing how it can mangle a human body, leaving a victim unrecognizable even to their own families.
Because gun violence is now the leading cause of death in children, no child is safe at a church, a school, a parade or a concert. Our only hope of ever reducing gun violence in this country is if all Americans write or call their congressional representatives and demand they pass gun-safety legislation and ban military-style assault weapons with high-capacity magazines.
It is way past time for those in Congress to start protecting the lives of their constituents instead of the bloody profits of the National Rifle Association.
Sharon Austry, Fort Worth
After reading “Don’t just look away. Ban these weapons.,” I submit that conventions of our 50 states should be held to consider amending the Second Amendment, the “right to bear arms.” True, there is always the possibility that if you open up a controversial and complex problem for public discourse, you’ll wind up with a worse result than you have now. And it is, therefore, true that in seeking to clarify and specify the scope of Second Amendment rights, the upshot might be a negative resolution to issues that have been left open by our present conservative Supreme Court, such as the possession and use of “dangerous and unusual” weapons that were not in existence at the time of the founding.
But the existing Second Amendment, with its confusing and outdated language, has been unchanged for more than 230 years, and there has been much water over the dam since then in terms of the structure of our military, our customs and traditions, the tremendous technological changes in the nature of our weaponry and the seemingly increasing number of mass killings caused by firearms. It is well past due for “the people” to consider the whole realm of issues concerning the use and possession of such weapons and their regulation.
Congress should enact a law by at least a two-thirds vote, as required by Article V, calling for a comprehensive review by the states of this critical subject.
Elihu I. Leifer, Chevy Chase
When will The Post, or really anyone, get serious about gun safety and accountability?
No more debate about half-measures. We must at last confront the fact that many measures are needed to achieve gun safety:
- Strict liability for manufacturer, buyer, seller, owner and user.
- Mandatory liability and medical insurance for manufacturer, buyer, seller, owner and user.
- Mandatory licensing and education for sellers, buyers, owners and users.
- Registration and taxes on gun sales and ownership, with the revenue paying for the carnage.
- An outright ban on assault weapons, including machine guns, bump stocks, semiautomatic weapons and large clips.
- Strict regulations for handguns that require proof of need for such a weapon: national defense, law enforcement, protection from grizzly bears, rattle snakes, etc.