Interestingly, in order to save people’s lives and become a doctor, you need eight years of training and regular licensure by both state and federal authorities. You take an oath to protect human lives at all costs.
Yet, to purchase a machine gun and enough rounds to kill a herd of buffalo, you just need a clean record and a few days to wait around.
On the other hand, every gun-owner I know is extremely vigilant and responsible with their firearms. I wouldn’t deprive them of their rights after Friday, any more than I would de-license every doctor after a few bad-apples abuse their patients.
To answer the question, “why would anyone need combat weapons?”, I say, “because we are Americans, and we push everything to its extreme.”
If you’ve never fired a 50-caliber machine gun, M16 or automatic weapon, you might not understand the very specific kind of adrenaline from having that much firepower at your disposal. Most aren’t even used for hunting, but target practice (you don’t want to clean up after a deer-hunt with an AK-47).
I know it’s difficult to relate to, but we Americans push the limit of every one of our past-times (football, politics, scrap-booking, you name it)…and gun ownership is no different. While some of their politics may be different than mine, most gun owners take their responsibilities as seriously as most doctors.
If I’m not mistaken, most, if not all, of these tragic shootings have started with the murderer stealing, borrowing, or obtaining their weapons through loopholes.
So to me, the problem stems mainly from the wrong people getting access to otherwise legally owned weapons, at the (horribly) wrong time.
We don’t need government to fix this – the video-game and motion-picture associations voluntarily regulate and label their products (or they used to), to avoid regulation and censorship. So, too, can gun-owners take it upon themselves to form a protective pact, oath, whatever is necessary, to ensure that none of them ever lets their weapons fall into the wrong hands.
That should include some guarantee that all weapons will be kept secure from children, criminals, and the mentally ill.
Violation of that pact could (should) result in the suspension of the owner’s purchasing ability until the danger is removed from the person’s home, or the weapon can be proven secure.
There’s no reason the ~150mm gun owners in the US can’t police themselves and do a better job looking out for each other (after all, every one of these crimes makes all gun-owners look bad)…they just have to want to protect lives more than they want their guns.