Tributes hang on the temporary fence surrounding the parking lot in front of a King Soopers grocery store in which 10 people died in a 2021 mass shooting in Boulder, Colo. Credit: David Zalubowski / AP

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Susan Young is correct that getting a ban on military-type assault weapons through Congress is a fantasy. But doing so in Maine is not. President Franklin Roosevelt believed a long time ago that states can be  laboratories for democracy where new ideas can be introduced and accepted or rejected. Maine is a small state, and as such, it is a large community of friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

Maine voters can be trusted to make a good decision on an assault weapon ban. My first premise is that military-type assault weapons serve no useful purpose in the hands of civilians. They are used to kill people. If Mainers want a common-sense solution to reduce the occurrence and casualties of mass shootings, then the sale and possession of these weapons should be banned. My second premise is that assault weapons are dangerous.

Drawing a distinction between a weapon and its capability is truly a superficial issue in the discussion of banning assault weapons. A ban should include a state licensing board that determines whether or not a multi-shot and rapid-fire weapon is legal in the state of Maine. A licensing board will deter and prevent workarounds by individuals and gun manufacturers.

So, what is the next counterpoint from your editorial board?

Stephen Freeman

Presque Isle