What are we to do about shootings in schools and other public places? How do we balance long-held constitutional rights with the public safety of a free and open society? Do we even have the right to arbitrarily possess any type of firearm? It appears that lately a preferred firearm of mass shootings/murders is the Colt AR-15 rifle, or derivatives of the AR-15.

The first national firearms law in the United States was the National Firearms Act of 1934. The NFA imposed a tax on the production and transfer of firearms defined by the Act, as well as a special tax on persons and entities engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing and dealing in NFA firearms. Firearms subject to and regulated under the NFA included shotguns and rifles having barrels less than 18 inches in length (such as sawed-off shotguns), machine guns (select fire or full automatic weapons) and silencers.

The underlying purpose of the NFA was to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions in NFA-defined firearms. Congress found those firearms posed a significant public safety concern because of their frequent use in crime, particularly the gangland crimes of that era such as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (in Chicago in 1929).

Perhaps it is time to look to the law and designate certain firearms, based on their design characteristics, as an “Assault Rifle” (and not by make or model), and require a new Type (classification) of Federal Firearms License.

— Mark Mutz, Caliente