In reply to Shawn Wells' letter, "Anything can be an assault weapon," of Feb 27: This letter was intended to deceive and obfuscate.
My bona fides: Marine veteran of Vietnam, machine gunner, qualified expert with M-16. Retired federal officer. Collateral duties as range master and firearms instructor. Both Federal Bureau of Investigation and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center classes. Armorer for SIG pistols.
The term "assault rifle," in the shooting world, refers specifically to a class of long guns for military use. Originating from the German Sturmgewehr employed in World War II, they include the Eugene Stoner-designed AR-15 as well as its variants (M-16, M4, etc.). Stoner impressed Gen. Curtis LeMay (shooting up watermelons) and that led to the U.S. military adopting the weapon. It was never designed for sporting uses.
The 5.56 (.223 Remington) is too low in energy except for shooting people and coyotes. It is strictly a weapon of war designed to kill as many as quickly as possible.
Sure, the shooter is responsible. But that doesn't mean we have to put the weapon in their hands to commit mass carnage. They only belong in use for military and law enforcement purposes.