Weapons of choice

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

America is dramatically more violent than any other industrialized country, as determined by its rate of assault deaths (guns, stabbings) per 100,000 people. Still, America's assault death rate is rapidly dropping (thought still very high), and the number of gun owners in America is also steadily declining. Studies show that banning assault weapons does not at all affect America's violent crime rate.

But banning assault weapons would affect America's mass murder shootings. The weapons of choice of the mass shooters were overwhelmingly semiautomatic handguns and assault weapons.

Of the 61 mass murder shootings in the United States since 1982, in only 11 of them were weapons used that were illegally obtained — in 49 instances, the weapons were legal.

Banning assault weapons probably would not reduce our overall crime rate, but it would remove these weapons of mass murder from those nuts who commit mass murder and who obtain them legally. A worthy achievement.

Let's reinstate the ban on assault weapons and high-volume magazine ammo clips. Who but mass murderers need them?

David Michaels

Salt Lake City