Consider the uplifting story of how military and police weapons saved the firearms industry in the United States. Beginning in 2006, Smith and Wesson got the brilliant idea of marketing what it called M&P (for military and police) weapons to civilians.
While the sale of traditional hunting rifles has declined in recent years, along with the interest in hunting, the boom created by assault-style weapons has more than taken up the slack.
The Bushmaster .223 used in the Newtown slaughter of the innocents is a variation on the M&P used in the Aurora, Colo., massacre. Both weapons come with high-capacity magazines. The civilian version is only semi-automatic (not a machine gun), meaning that the killing of the 38 people and wounding of an additional 58 in these two incidents combined must have taken as much as, oh, seven minutes total.
Still, as inefficient as the rifles may be, the industry makes $1.3 billion in Connecticut alone, not to mention the enormous profits for national retailers. And in the first 10 months of 2012, the firearms industry’s political action committee, the National Shooting Sports Foundation PAC, was able to provide Washington lobbyists with $500,000.
What real American would criticize an industry that contributes so much to our democracy?
Richard C. Massey