The AR-15 rifle was developed and patented by Gene Stoner in the 1960s with the intent of providing a compact, lightweight killing machine to replace the old, heavy machine guns in the Army. As developed, it could fire in automatic or semi-automatic mode. The clones marketed today only fire in semi-automatic mode.

Today most guns, including handguns and shotguns, fire semi-automatically, meaning one bullet per trigger pull. I am familiar because Mr. Stone was my gun contractor and personal friend my last five years in the Army when I managed a gun development program.

I am not optimistic good gun control laws will be enacted any time soon because we have too many politicians at the federal and state levels who prioritize guns and money over the lives of American citizens. So sad. Voters will need to change the politicians.

All semi-automatic guns, rifles and handguns can be devastating in mass shootings if they have large-capacity magazines. There is little reason to believe that will stop any time soon. However, there are ways to reduce the carnage without getting rid of the guns. That may be the best we can hope for.

First, implement a 30-day period from purchase to delivery of all guns. This would provide time for a detailed background check.

Second, outlaw large-capacity magazines for all guns purchased by citizens. With large-capacity magazines a shooter can fire more than 50 rounds per minute. With seven-round magazines, about 15-20 rounds per minute.

I suggest a one-year grace period for all gun owners to trade larger magazines for a seven-round magazine. After the exchange, a stiff penalty should be leveled on anyone caught having a large magazine.

John L. Houle, Lt. Col. (Ret.), Lakeland