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Letter to the Editor - Jan. 25

January 25, 2013

A ban on assault weapons is not the answer

To the editor:

Like many, I was shocked and saddened by the Newtown shooting, just as I am with any such situation. In a logical sense, though, gun control for the law-abiding citizen is not the answer. Focus on the mentally ill is the answer.

A ban on assault weapons is not the answer, either. “Assault weapon” is simply a coined term that applies to the cosmetic appearance of the firearm more than its functionality. In many standard firearms, one pull of the trigger equals one shot. Many so-called “assault rifles” are termed semiautomatics, in which one pull of the trigger equals three shots — or burst, as it is known. In reality, though, I have seen skilled shooters who can discharge more shots at a faster speed from a standard firearm than an unskilled shooter can from a semiautomatic.

As for high-capacity magazines, they have a higher probability of a jam, thus stopping a shooter sooner than two smaller-capacity magazines attached to one another for the purpose of rapid changeout. Seeking a ban on assault weapons becomes a “be careful, as what you wish for may very well become your worst nightmare” situation.

A black market for guns is real. It does exist. Many mentally ill individuals have managed to secure semiautomatic firearms through legal channels, which is unfortunate. Take those firearms away, though, and force these people into the black market and they will then find fully automatic firearms. Nothing is viewed as illegal on the black market.

A fully automatic M-16 assault rifle with a 30-round magazine can fire all 30 rounds in mere seconds. This same M-16 has the capability to fire approximately 650 rounds per minute. Is this really what we want to lead these people to? I have fired the M-16, and my answer to this question is a definite no.

Randy A. Breeden
Williamsport

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