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Letter: Nasty surprise in the woods

Not far from my little country neighborhood is a gem of a wooded area. People like to go there to hike, bike, run and go for family walks to take in the wildlife and beautiful scenery.

And yes, some do legally hunt there as well.

Last fall while running in the area, I heard what can only be described an unusually loud series of shots unlike any I’ve ever experienced. I was startled in that the shots were right off the main trail. Upon circling back around the trail, I confronted an individual with what appeared to be an assault-type rifle. I know a little bit about firearms and I asked the individual if that was an M-16, and he said yes.

I would later learn that although not impossible to obtain with special permits, this was most likely a semi-automatic version of the gun as the fully automatic version is most definitely illegal in the hands of a civilian.

More than likely, according to some of my gun-owner friends, this was probably a semi-automatic version of the M-16, perhaps an AR-15 class weapon like the now notorious Bushmaster used in the murders in Newtown, Conn.

As I left the woods that day, I couldn’t believe someone was hunting small game with such a powerful weapon. What was the point? Why did this civilian have such a powerful weapon in his possession?

Upon my return home, I immediately called the local authorities, not once, but twice regarding my concern for the safety of not only myself, but the many who frequent our little wooded area.

Surely such an assault weapon cannot be used legally, I thought ... call me naive.

But the assault weapons ban was lifted in 2004 allowing the general public access to these high-powered weapons. Thus, I was told they are quite legal and there was absolutely nothing they could do unless the individual was clearly breaking the law (hunting without a license, discharging the firearm within 500 feet of a home, hunting on posted land, etc.).

As my heart aches for the victims, those brave teachers and beautiful little children on that awful day, I’m left wondering just how terribly broken our gun control system is and when will it ever be fixed.



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