Saturday, May 28, 2022

An Open Letter to President Joseph R. Biden about military style firearms

Dear Mr. President, 


Thank you for your long service to the United States. 


I am overwhelmed with grief over the killing of 19 school children and two adults by a shooter in Uvalde, Texas. I am not alone.


I understand the killer used an AR-15 rifle much like the M-16 used by our armed forces. I would call it an “equivalent” of the military rifle.


I respectfully request that arms manufacturers must be required to agree contractually that they will not supply to the civilian market any weapon substantially equivalent to any weapon they sell to the U.S. armed forces.


Proposals to regulate weapons often stall on 2nd Amendment objections. I see no legitimate objection to using government contracts to keep military weapon equivalents out of the civilian market. This would not eliminate the weapons now in the market but would stop our government feeding new weapons into the existing supply. It would be a small but meaningful step toward peace and safety.


There was a mass shooting of newspaper staff members in an Annapolis, Maryland newspaper office a few years ago. The local paper said “Condolences and prayers are not enough. It is a tragedy that this cycle of gun violence continues to play itself out, over and over again, while lawmakers offer thoughts and prayers instead of action. This cycle must end, and it must end with us.” 


The cycle the Annapolis Capital Gazette described has not ended. Shooters employ military equivalent weapons that can get off many rounds quickly, killing many people before help can come.  


I favor citizens having weapons for self-defense if they choose, but I oppose the continued production and distribution of military equivalent weapons to the civilian public. These can tempt even law-abiding citizens - especially youthful ones - to careless and destructive use.  


Of course, trained and disciplined law enforcement officers should be trusted to use military weapons when necessary to protect the public. 


Please use appropriate executive and legislative means to limit companies that contract with the U.S. government from distributing market military equivalent firearms to the civilian public.




Douglas M. Smith