I have not seen any in-depth reporting about why Americans who buy assault-style guns buy them. What is their belief about why they are buying them? What do they think they intend to do with them?

I grew up in Maine, and there were BB guns and rifles in the family. But I was raised to believe they were used for hunting only and that no gun should ever be pointed at any person, not even in make-believe play, unless it was a plastic water gun. So those principles became my core beliefs about why one has a gun.

My “right” to own a gun wasn’t an issue for me. I didn’t need to think about my “rights” vis-a-vis guns unless I were thinking about hunting in order to feed myself.

However, what I grew up believing is clearly not what constitutes core beliefs for many Americans. But I don’t know what those core beliefs are, and I don’t suspect I am alone in feeling baffled.

It seems we must try to explore the topic in more sensitive depth, so we, as a country, can address the topic of gun control without becoming mired in head-butting.

Elizabeth Burke

Portland