I am not describing a toy. I’m describing a tool. Tools can be used for more than one purpose. When rebuilding the front suspension on my motorcycle this weekend, I used various different tools, many of them in unique ways that were not for their originally designed purpose.
Semi-automatic rifles can be used for “plinking” or for formal competition. When used as a weapon, they can be used for defense or for murder. None of these activities require a “toy”. They require a rifle, and a rifle is a tool.
In Europe, terrorists have been using automobiles to kill people. Lots of people. An automobile is a tool too. A tool designed to transport people at faster than a walking pace. Some automobiles are used for racing. Some for transportation. Some for commercial use. Some for professional use.
In Europe, terrorists are throwing acid at people. Acid is a tool as well. Some uses include industrial, professional, and for certain hobbies as well. In Europe, people use hammers to kill or harm people too. Of course, hammers are tools and they have private, professional and industrial uses as well. The same goes with knives etc, etc. FBI statistics indicate that more people are killed by knives and blunt objects such as bats, pipes and clubs than semi-automatic rifles.
By your thinking, someone who collects knives, daggers and swords may trip out and start using them on people. If the Las Vegas shooter had one less rifle, would those people still be alive? How about five less? Where would be the tipping point?
Five million people in the US own AR-15s. They are the most popular rifle produced in America today. As tragic and horrifying as mass shootings are, if there were one mass shooting a week, that would still mean that less than 0.0001% of the people that own them will twist off and start killing. But there is far less than one mass killing per week, isn’t there? So, far less than 0.0001% of semi-automatic rifle owners will become mass shooters.