Three letters published Dec. 18 dealt with the tragic Connecticut school shootings. The Gazette gave two of them “assault weapons” captions. Let’s clarify that definition. Assault weapons are fully automatic guns that spray bullets as long as the trigger is depressed; in other words, machine guns. They are illegal to all but military and some law enforcement personnel.
The AR-15 that one writer railed about is a semi-automatic weapon. That means you must pull the trigger for each shot, just like revolvers from 170 years ago. Giving a gun military styling does not make it an assault weapon.
The first writer clearly showed his bias against all firearms when he said, “I don’t want anyone in my neighborhood to own weapons …” He also said AR-15s are increasingly used to kill cops. I’ve got a 30-year law enforcement background and still subscribe to police publications. The stats say most peace officers are being shot with handguns, just as in Wyatt Earp’s day.
The second writer said she interprets the Second Amendment to mean having arms if called for militia duty. The authors of the Constitution considered most adults to be a continuous militia. The Supreme Court has affirmed that intent.
The third writer said protecting liberty is a “murky concept,” perhaps based on the threat of dictatorship. Yes, the Second Amendment intended to shield us from such an internal threat, but also to protect us from criminals, terrorists (like school shooters), foreign invaders, etc.
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