I want to thank Gary Hartman for providing a response for which I was hoping (Mailbag, April 27). His clarification that some semi-automatic weapons are not gas-operated is very much appreciated. His elucidation means that a ban on gas-operated weapons should be expanded to include all semi-automatics, much like the current ban on automatic firearms, a ban on the manufacture, distribution, sale, and ownership of all such guns.
The only exception to this ban would be for military use. After all, America is the world’s leading arms dealer and we wouldn’t want to stymie the arms industry.
While Mr. Hartman pleads for leaving “law-abiding citizens alone,” there is nothing about a ban on all automatic or semi-automatic firearms that violates any citizen's rights and is consistent with Supreme Court decisions upholding limits on the possession of firearms.
I agree that no law will completely prevent mass killings, especially when, as happened in the Waffle House shooting, firearms removed from a person documented to be dangerous are returned by a family member. It is not just non-law-abiding citizens that kill or abet killers. There have been other instances in which killers obtained guns from family members who had possessed them legally.
There is also the reluctance of law enforcement to remove guns from the homes of those documented to be dangerous to others and themselves.
These highlight the need to enforce existing laws more diligently while limiting the type of firearms Americans are legally allowed to own and possess.
Robert B. Harris Ph. D.
Albany (April 28)