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Re: "Needed: political marksmanship" March 28 Star

 


This letter is to address several false and erroneous statements in a guest column in your paper by Jack Stevenson regarding the AR-15 rifle.

The AR-15 has been called “America’s most popular rifle” and there are somewhere between 5-10 million in existence in the U.S. It is a box-magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifle. The box detachable magazine was patented in 1864; the first successful design semi-auto rifle was designed in 1895; the AR-15 was designed by ArmaLite in 1956; so nothing about the box-magazine-fed, semi-auto AR-15 rifle is new. This rifle has been in existence and readily available since the mid 1970s, but now it has suddenly become “evil” in the eyes of some because of the actions of a few deranged individuals? If an individual drove their Corvette or other similar fast car at 150 mph and killed people, would there suddenly be protesters calling for a ban on Corvettes? No, they would place the blame on the driver’s actions, which is where the blame should be placed, just as the blame for the mass shootings that have occurred in this country should be placed on the individuals that did them.

Yes, the original XM16E1, as used by American combat troops in the Vietnam War in the mid-1960s, suffered from some problems, partially due to the rush to put the rifle into service to replace the M-14. Despite the M-16’s advantages in weight and the troops’ ability to carry more ammunition, it suffered jamming problems due to several factors. Improved training, wider distribution of cleaning kits, and a change in the composition of the powder used in the rifle’s ammunition dramatically reduced the rate of malfunction.

The statement that the AR-15 is ill suited for hunting or target shooting is obviously made by someone who has no knowledge of either. AR pattern rifles are very popular for predator control, varmint hunting and are legal for big game hunting in certain calibers. They are very popular for target shooting and are used for shooting targets out to 1,000 yards in competitions across the country. The innovations and modifications of this rifle made by hunters and target shooters have led to some of these changes being used by the military to upgrade and improve their rifles. Much like auto racing has resulted in improvements to automobiles, so has civilian use of AR rifles resulted in better rifles being built for use by our Armed Forces.

The NRA should be thanked for protecting everyone’s Second Amendment rights. Liberals are upset they can’t browbeat the NRA into submission. They accuse them of being terrorists and murders, and attempt to demonize them with vile signs in their protests. The NRA andits members have children in the schools and they want them to be kept safe also. What better group to bring into the discussion of making schools safer than the experts on firearms and firearms safety — the NRA? You have the choice if you choose to own a firearm, and so should other people have that choice available to them. Of the thousands of laws on the books in this country, the only people who obey them are law abiding citizens, so to think more laws are the answer is to continue on the same course we have been on with the same predictable results. You can join the military and be in combat at 17 years old but can’t buy a rifle until you’re 21; does that really make any sense because of the actions of one depraved individual? A lot of the so-called “legal restrictions” proposed are nothing more than an attempt to deny the rights of all citizens to protect themselves and their families.

Does something need to be done since the adoption of the “Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990”? Basically, all it does is advertise that no one there is armed and opens the possibility for acts of violence. Unfortunately, there is now a big rush to do something without realizing what some of the repercussions might be. In Israel, when terrorists attacked a school in Maalot in 1974, instead of declaring every school a gun-free zone, Israel passed a law mandating armed security in schools, provided weapons training to teachers, and, even today, runs frequent active-shooter drills. There have been only two school shootings since then, and both have ended with teachers killing the terrorists.

What could have been done to prevent the Nikolas Cruz rampage? Go online and Google “Obama Broward County Promise”! This program that was forced on schools across the country is a major cause of the failure to identify Cruz and take action before he terrorized the school.

In closing – “If guns kill people, why do we send people with guns when they go to war? Why not just send the guns?” – Ozzy Osbourne

Glen Graevell

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