Eliminating assault weapons could cost jobs but save lives

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This wasn’t the right Christmas to buy that semi-automatic assault weapon for your loved one.
Fresh off the murder of 20 children in Newtown, six school staff members and the crazed killer’s mother, four firefighters were shot and two of them killed in Webster, N.Y., just before Christmas.
It is time for Congress to pass legislation banning the manufacture of semi-automatic assault rifles for public use. These guns are based on technology used to make nearly the same weapons for the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies.
Gun manufacturers in Connecticut, including Colt in Hartford and West Hartford and Sturm Ruger in Fairfield, employ nearly 2,900 people, who earn $224 million a year, according to a recent Hearst Connecticut Media report.
Colt, known for manufacturing the “gun that won the West,” is privately held, and detailed financial information is not as readily available as with a public company like Sturm Ruger, which reported net sales of $118.2 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 29, compared with net sales of $80.5 million in the same period last year.
Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Fifer said the impressive jump was driven by a 47 percent growth in sales and improvement in operations at Sturm Ruger, which does not manufacture in Connecticut. It has two U.S. factories in New Hampshire and Arizona where its semi-automatic assault weapons, much like the Bushmaster used in the Newtown incident, are made.
Limiting production of these weapons, which use large ammunition clips, to law enforcement and military use, could mean the loss of well-paying jobs and a decline in revenue, upsetting some investors.
But perhaps it is time for these investors to urge these companies to halt production for the general public.
After the shootings, there was a television interview with an individual about shooting a semi-automatic assault rifle. “It’s fun,” he said.
Can someone forgo the “fun” of squeezing off multiple rounds from a semi to bring back the lives of 27 people in Newtown and two firefighters in New York state?
I think so.

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