I would offer a couple of seldom-made points regarding the current gun control debate.

There exists a wide range of arms, from slingshots and BB guns to ICBMs with thermonuclear warheads. No one, even in the National Rifle Association, argues that civilians should possess fully automatic rifles, mortars, tanks, rocket-propelled grenades or land mines, let alone thermonuclear weapons.

We already restrict the amount of firepower that civilians can possess by keeping people-killing military weapons out of the hands of civilians. Where then, does a sane society draw the line?

Indeed, we have drawn the line at fully automatic military assault rifles, and successfully keep military hardware out of the hands of civilians.

AR-15s are military-grade weapons, designed to kill large numbers of people in a short time. By what reasoning do we then allow these weapons to be in the hands of civilians? They are unsuitable for hunting and, unless one is expecting an invasion in their neighborhood from the North Korean army, unnecessary for personal defense. A bedside Glock 9mm will stop a burglar or home invader.

The main reason for owning an AR-15 seems to be that they are lots of fun to shoot. I would ask the advocates of unrestricted access to AR-15s to weigh their pleasure in shooting one against the tragic slaughter of our precious children (and adults!) with these weapons.

The Second Amendment states that a militia must be “well regulated.” To my mind, this opens the constitutional possibility of well regulating the sale of AR-15s and high-capacity magazines as we already “well regulate” other military hardware.

It is time for a rational discussion on how to end the slaughter, including both better screening and mental health services and a ban on assault rifles and their magazines. Please people, it is past time for sanity. The lives of our children and grandchildren are at stake.

Ron Feintech

Portland