Why should anyone — whatever their mental health or criminal record — be able to buy legally a weapon whose designed purpose and only practical use is to kill many people in a short period of time? Those few persons who are required by their job responsibilities to be prepared to kill many people rapidly, such as combat soldiers and SWAT team members, will be provided with such weapons. Hand grenades cannot be purchased legally by the general public; why should assault-style rifles be widely available?

The well-regulated militia, whose continued effectiveness is ensured by the Second Amendment, has evolved into the National Guard over the past 200 years. The National Guard is appropriately armed to protect our nation from invading forces and does not depend on, or even welcome, help from every Tom, Dick, and Harry with an assault rifle. It is no longer necessary or appropriate to arm every citizen to protect our nation from invasion.

Let’s cut through the distracting discussions about background checks and mental stability and focus on the root of the problem of mass shootings: weapons that are designed to kill many people in a short period of time are now legally available for sale to the general public and should not be.

Charles Hudson