I must correct some inaccuracies in one of the Letters to the Editor published Jan. 22, "Con-gress should defend gun control laws in effect," by my friend Betty Dean.
Betty writes that the assault weapons ban law "bans military assault weapons." In fact, there is not such a ban in the cited law, because by definition military assault weapons are capable of both automatic and semiautomatic fire, utilizing an intermediate power cartridge. Firearms meeting that criteria have been highly regulated for more than 60 years, although they still may be owned by members of the general public after clearance by a local law enforcement official and payment of a $200 tax.
The cited law does ban certain brands and types of semiautomatic firearms and leaves the U.S. Attorney General with the authority to add others. I wonder how many of us would care to have this or any future Attorney General circumscribe other semiautomatic firearms say, for example, your Remington Model 1100 shotgun (a semiautomatic firearm) which you've been using for 30 years to hunt ducks?
It does have impact on responsible gun owners and hunters.
In addition, the assertion that gun control makes it harder for criminals to get guns is highly suspect in light of certain recent experiences. Our cousins, the English, effectively have banned most types of firearms and made it illegal to even resist the criminals bent on robbery or bodily harm, yet they are experiencing a dramatic, even exponential rise in firearms-related crime.
Personally, I feel much safer here in Sterling where there are few restrictive firearms laws than I do in any of the Lower 48 cities where I've been obliged to visit during work and personal travel, most of which have much more unwarranted restrictive laws than do we.
The "Assault Weapons Ban" is a very bad law. Anyone interested should look at the law itself; possibly they will notice that some of the banned firearms are different from non-banned firearms merely by the shape of the stock of the gun. This onerous and useless law has a "sunset provision." Congress should be told to let it expire.
Betty is correct in saying that we should all support gun control, and this process should be started at home very early in a child's life, continued in school at all levels and encouraged after school.
With proper training, anyone may be taught that with proper control of a gun, legitimate targets such as paper "bullseyes," old soda cans, silhouette targets, clay "pigeons," water-filled balloons, grouse and the occasional nice, tasty moose can be cleanly fired on and taken. Proper training would, in fact, reduce the already low accidental shooting rate and provide all of us with a framework of when and how firearms may be used legitimately.
Arthur Sponsel, Sterling
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