AR-15 assault rifle

Joseph Pereira, 15, shoots an AR-15, the country’s best-selling style of long gun, for the first time at Markham Park shooting range in Sunrise, Fla., Dec. 12, 2015.

The AR-15 semi-automatic weapon must again be banned in the United States, as it was in the 1990s when mass shootings were much fewer.

Its widespread availability for private citizens has utterly failed to protect people; it has had exactly the opposite effect. Just ask the surviving victims from Las Vegas and the school kids of Sandy Hook Elementary School and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. This must stop.

Under the Second Amendment, we agree that sane, law-abiding citizens have the right to possess handguns for self-defense and hunting rifles for sports hunting; we also agree, most certainly, that this right does not extend to machine guns. The AR-15 is much closer to the machine gun in mass killing potential than it is to the handgun. Its place is in the military. Whatever happened to common sense?

How much longer is America going to allow the National Rifle Association to make the laws instead of Congress? Ask U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby and U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, who behave like robotic slaves to the NRA in Trump’s Orwellian nightmare. One of their main jobs is to protect American citizens, and they have failed miserably. Every time another massacre occurs, they send out “thoughts and prayers” and do nothing.

That’s not good enough. Common sense will return to our country and Rogers, Shelby and the other NRA toadies will soon be voted out of office for failing to protect innocent Americans, including school children. God bless those courageous kids from Stoneman Douglas in south Florida: Never again!

Rufus Kinney