In this July 20, 2012, photo, a row of different AR-15 style rifles are displayed for sale at the Firing-Line indoor range and gun shop in Aurora, Colo. A warning about possible violence last year involving the 18-year-old now being held in the Buffalo, New York, supermarket shooting is turning attention to New York's "red flag" law. Credit: Alex Brandon

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As a Navy veteran during the Vietnam War years, 1968 to 1972, my first duty station as a Navy hospital corpsman (medic) was at 1,000-bed St. Albans Naval Hospital in Queens, New York City. I was stationed on a neurosurgical ward, which was populated by patients with head and spinal cord injuries who were directly medevaced with wounds from the war in Vietnam. I saw firsthand the damage that can be done by weapons of war.

Assault rifles like the AR-15 are designed to kill as many people as possible in as short of a period of time as possible. They have no other purpose. I think anyone that possesses an assault rifle has only one purpose in mind: to kill as many people as possible in as short of a period of time as possible. Assault rifles like the AR-15 have no place in the hands of a civilian citizen. They should be outlawed for the general population. Past actions taken by mentally deranged people with an assault rifle have exposed the intent of those people time and again in this country.

It’s time for our lawmakers to take aggressive action to create laws banning those weapons outside of the inventory of the military.

Paul Smith