LETTER: Writer stands by informationTo the Telegram: I was puzzled by two letter writers who criticized a letter of mine about gun control.
To the Telegram:
I was puzzled by two letter writers who criticized a letter of mine about gun control.
First of all, I stated, “I think the 2nd Amendment represents a rational need for Americans to provide for self-defense by owning private weapons” — thereby agreeing with the most crucial element in that amendment. In a nod to the NRA, I also admitted that the term “assault weapons” has been used in this debate, as a misnomer. I even defined the difference between semi-automatic and automatic weapons — stating that semi-automatics, like the AR-15 used in Newtown, Conn., are only capable of semi-automatic fire — one round fired with each pull of the trigger. I also decried large ammo “clips” and now acknowledge that the correct term should be “magazines.”
I further recommended that we should “apply universal and thorough background checks,” whenever semi-automatic weapons are purchased. I compared them to bolt action rifles in order to contrast the greater damage that can be done with semi-automatics. I did not attempt to equate the entire 2nd Amendment debate, around rifles used by deer-hunters.
I stated the gun industry itself and the NRA, were really the ones who first incorrectly referred to their products as “assault weapon” and indeed, my research has uncovered many websites that show photographs of several different covers on the publication Guns and Ammo, which advertise “assault pistols” and how to “customize your assault rifle.” These magazines were put out in the early and mid-1980s — several years before Josh Sugarmann’s purportedly controversial statement.
I also mentioned the industry manufactures many semi-automatics that closely resemble military assault weapons along with the observation that only the gun industry can produce weapons that closely resemble those with cosmetic and/or design features found in fully automatic weapons. Even a “chicken or egg argument,” doesn’t let the gun industry off of the hook, since clearly the designation of assault weapons and assault rifles has been used by the gun industry many years ago.
For bringing up these observations I was accused of trying to confuse folks by comparing semi-automatic weapons with machine guns. But my reference to machine guns, clearly described them as assault weapons, which have been carefully regulated for almost 80 years.
Let others use information of their own — but please refrain from calling those who disagree, merely people who mislead the public with dishonest ploys.
Peter W. Johnson,