Dear Editor: Once before the U.S. Congress gathered courage enough to pass legislation controlling machine guns and other dangerous and unusual weapons with the 1934 Gun Control Act. Although modified, the act still limits the availability to only individuals who pass an extensive background check, pay a $200 transfer tax, and fully register the weapons.

Impetus for the need to control fully automatic weapons was the blood-letting done by organized crime gangs with their Tommy Guns and sawed-off shotguns, with the first St. Valentine's Day massacre as an example.

No sentient person can deny that in the recent past, centerfire semi-automatic rifles (including AR-15s) and pistols in the hands of criminals and mentally challenged individuals have slaughtered scores of innocent men, women, and children.

Selecting semi-automatic centerfire rifles and pistols to be included in the category of machine guns, perhaps, may be the ONLY way to slow the killing in the U.S.

This action would not BAN "assault rifles" outright, but it would limit their possession to those rigorously screened individuals who would use the weapons safely. So far as I can determine, no machine gun has been used in any mass killing since the Gun Control Act was passed. The act's purpose and benefits have been demonstrated. It just may work.

Now to find enough legislators NOT in the pocket of the NRA.

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Orie Coller


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