This letter refers to the recent tragedies in Monterey Park, Oakland, and Half Moon Bay.
I support the Second Amendment, guaranteeing law-abiding citizens the right to keep and bear arms, but the proliferation of assault weapons goes far beyond what the Founding Fathers had in mind.
When the Second Amendment was codified, the weapons in question were muzzleloading muskets, single-shot shotguns, rifles or pistols used for hunting and personal protection of life or property.
No one other than fully-vetted active-duty military or police personnel need to have an automatic (or semi-automatic) weapon for any reason! Manufacturers of such weapons should restrict their access solely to those agencies, which are in turn responsible for verifying that any member receiving such a weapon is sound of mind.
There are too many “loose guns” around, in the hands of questionable people who can lose control and create havoc, distress and loss of life.
I apply the same standard of responsibility to gun ownership as I do to psychiatrists who approve the release of someone from an institution for the criminally insane.
If a person passes stringent background checks for gun ownership and then purchases a weapon and goes berserk, the approving authority should share responsibility for that person's acts in using that weapon. Similarly, a psychiatrist authorizing the release of a criminally-insane person ought to share responsibility for that person's behavior upon their release. This may be harsh, but it can save lives.
We neither need automatic weapons nor more crazies on our streets!