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The recent shooting in Virginia Beach, Va., shows that the most severe gun-related problem facing our society is the proliferation of guns containing a semiautomatic mechanism. The gun used in this incident was a .45-caliber handgun, not an “assault rifle.” The connection between the handgun used and an assault rifle is the incorporation of a semiautomatic mechanism in both. This mechanism automatically ejects spent cartridges and loads new ones. Both styles of weapons accept high-capacity magazines and can handle large-caliber ammunition. While we focus on AR-15 style weapons, literally tens of millions of semiautomatic handguns are sold to the general public. These are the weapons that function exactly the same as the Virginia Beach gun.

Our organization, the Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition, is working to achieve legislation that will ban the semiautomatic mechanism in any gun sold or owned in Massachusetts. These are weapons that were designed for military and law enforcement purposes only and not for the general public. Revolvers, lever-action, pump-action, and bolt-action guns cover the full spectrum of civilian needs, whether they are hunting, personal protection, or home protection. The semiautomatic mechanism for guns has no place in civilian hands.

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Richard Duby

President, Falmouth Gun Safety Coalition

East Falmouth