Where have we heard this before? “I am a proud card-carrying member of the NRA, but…” Bob Rose lists his bona fides as a firearm owner, user and licensed concealed carrier in his Forum opinion piece “Guns are not the problem, but ban AR-15s” on Nov. 14. Plus, he’s a “lifelong Conservative and registered Republican.” Wow! He sounds like a real reasonable and well-informed member of the community. Unfortunately, he goes on to show his firearm ignorance by calling an AR-15 an “assault rifle.”

An assault rifle is capable of fully automatic fire as opposed to the normal semi-automatic operation of the millions of legally purchased AR-15s owned by law-abiding citizens like himself. Semi-automatic firearms have been available for over 100 years. Nothing new. Even under the strict firearms restrictions in place since the 1930s, any citizen with a clean record may own a fully-automatic “machine gun” after submitting the paperwork and paying a $200 tax through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

What is the real problem? Failure to enforce the laws that are already on the books. Whenever a person is arrested while committing a crime while using a firearm, every defense lawyer first pleads away the firearms charge. Judges handling criminal cases are reluctant to keep offenders in jail, but let them free on low bonds. The police and National Guard knew the Lewiston shooter should have been dealt with sooner, but did nothing.

Banning firearms that have been legal for years does nothing to stop criminals and the mentally deranged from acts of violence, whether they use firearms, blades or motor vehicles.

Jack Uminski

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