Pecan trees, planted in the 1960's, shade a memorial created to honor the victims killed in the recent school shooting at Robb Elementary, Thursday, June 9, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas. The Texas elementary school where a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers has long been a part of the fabric of the small city of Uvalde, a school attended by generations of families, and where the spark came that led to Hispanic parents and students to band together to fight discrimination over a half-century ago. Credit: Eric Gay / AP

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The heart-wrenching scenes and reports of children so “shot up” by shooters with military-type weapons that  DNA must be used to identify them is beyond incomprehensible. The military locks these weapons and ammo up and only issues them to trained or soldiers in training under strict supervision. For training, soldiers get 15-round or smaller magazines and are only issued ammo when moving into a combat scenario.  

We train them to the “one shot, one kill” mantra illustrating the fact that these weapons are required to “kill the enemy” quickly before they kill us. And yet, in our civilian world, we let teenagers buy these weapons, large capacity magazines and unlimited ammo with literally no restrictions. There are limited or no background or mental health checks, no licensing or safety training required, no safe storage controls, etc.  

I was a senior weapons instructor in the Army. My instructors taught thousands of soldiers how to shoot and kill the enemy and that enemy was not American 4th graders. I personally have qualified on both M16s, the Soviet AK-47, German Assault Rifle and others. I learned that we adopted the term “assault rifle” from the Nazis as they named their version ” Sturmgewehr”  deadly and terrifying on the battlefield. The AR-15 style assault rifle is today’s Sturmgewehr and turns out to be deadly and terrifying in the classrooms in Sandy Hook, Parkland and Uvalde — just as designed.

These weapons do not belong in the hands of civilians except, maybe, for gun club use under strict control. I like to target shoot.

Peter Duston