LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Automatic’ weapon still requires human intent

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, has stated that her intent is to introduce a bill on the first day of the next Congress to “ban assault weapons” (“Feinstein’s assault weapons ban would abolish the 2nd Amendment,” Web, Tuesday). That’s a catchy phrase with a lot of apparent emotional bite to it, just like the liberals’ “war on women” and “bigotry” of Tea Partyers.

In the most recent case, the true victims were the youngsters and staff of a Connecticut elementary school, murdered by a deranged person who wasn’t much older than the child victims. His punishment was the torment with which he lived and died.

In reaction to this event and the long-standing intent to pierce the armor of the Second Amendment, the follow-up “opportunity” seems to be a ban on “assault weapons.” The proposed legislation would limit weapon magazines to 10 rounds each. To solve this setback, that would mean a killer would have to change to a second magazine, taking two seconds, to be able to kill 20 people. Add another two seconds if the goal is to kill 30 people.

Those of us who served in combat know that assault is not a weapon, but rather a state of mind. Assault weapons can be semi-automatic or fully automatic, fire a single shot or even a burst of fire, but none is automatic. All gun categories are subject to the mindset of the person who possesses the weapon. On its own, no weapon is guilty of assault. The same can be said about a butcher’s knife, an automobile, a rock and a bowling ball, among other items.

Statistics will bear out that owners of most types of guns are responsible. Ironically, accused Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan did not use what we commonly refer to as an assault weapon, but rather handguns, to kill numerous innocent individuals. Are pistols assault weapons, too?

If we want to understand how people become murderers, we should give more thought to the problem of people in an open and free society who have been told they are not responsible for their own actions.


Sherman Oaks, Calif.

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