The tragedy in Aurora

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

To the Editor:
I was disappointed when I read your Sunday editorial where you attempt to bootstrap an assault weapons ban onto the Aurora, Colorado tragedy. You fail to mention that three of the four weapons that disturbed young man used were sporting or self defense weapons and he could easily have purchased a semi-automatic sporting rifle if the AR-15 that he did purchase had not been available. A sporting rifle would have been equally lethal. You also seem to be under the impression that civilian versions of military weapons are somehow more lethal than their sporting counterparts and that is simply not true. They both fire the same ammunition and they both use semi-automatic chambering mechanisms that fire one round every time the trigger is pulled. A double action revolver operates in a similar manner in that it also fires one round every time the trigger is pulled. The civilian versions of military assault weapons do not have a fully automatic capability like their military counterparts. They are essentially fashion statements that appeal to some in the same manner as military style clothing.
Lobbying for a band on assault weapons will not make us any safer. If one had been in place prior to this tragedy, it would not have prevented it from happening. Lobbying for an assault weapons ban is just something well meaning folks do in the aftermath of a tragedy to make themselves feel like they are doing something when in fact all they are accomplishing is the diminishment of consumer choice and the erosion of personal freedom. It is sad that the editorial staff of the WDN chooses to jump on this bandwagon.
The tragedy in Aurora was brought on by the mental disintegration of a young man of considerable promise who somehow got into his head that this sort of behavior was acceptable. It is truly baffling why this happens but it is something that has happened in the past and it will happen in the future. If these deranged young men do not use guns, they will find other means for creating mayhem.
If you actually want to do something meaningful to honor the victims of the Aurora tragedy, why not lobby for an increase in research funding to investigate this behavior to see if there are any markers that can be used to identify these young men early and get them into treatment before they go off the deep end and hurt someone.