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Letter to the Editor: Gun Legislation

"Throwing a bit of light onto the hot controversy surrounding prospective gun control legislation."

Dear Susan:

I'd like to submit this piece in hopes of throwing a bit of light onto the hot controversy surrounding prospective gun control legislation.  It would seem that the terminology itself is confusing...both by intention and through ignorance.  Since I am professionally engaged in the firing range industry, I'd hope that my advocacy might have some purchase...at least with those honestly confused and not ideologically rigid.  

LETHALITY (not appearance) is the real gun issue. Semi-automatic and automatic weapons are military and police tools. They were designed to kill the enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible. Any distinction is academic between Semi- and Automatic weaponry. "Conversion kits," readily available on the grey-market, easily can reconfigure a semi- into an automatic weapon.

Definitions: A SEMI-automatic weapon automatically ejects the spent cartridge and automatically rechambers the next bullet. But you must pull the trigger for each shot. A fully AUTOMATIC weapon (ex: AK-47, Browning M2E2, UZI,  HK-417) does all of the above, plus it will keep firing as long as you pull and hold the trigger, until the magazine is exhausted. (By the way, only Automatics are true "assault weapons." I wish our legislators would get their terminology straight.  They leave a loophole large enough for the NRA's Wayne LaPierre to slither through!)

Neither style weapon — nor its accoutrements (30 > 50-round magazines, 100-round drums, unjacketed or hollow-point bullets, stockpiled ammunition -- have any business in the hands of civilians. (If one wants to outfit themselves with such an arsenal, I suggest they join a WELL-REGULATED Militia — as detailed in the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution)...the Marine Corps, the Army infantry, the Seals, Delta Force, the Virginia National Guard, or any big-city police SWAT team.)

For self and property protection, competitive and recreational target shooting, the hunting, skeet, and trap sports — a well-trained gun owner has no need whatever for semis- or automatics. These guns — because of their inherent lethality — have become choice Weapons of Mass Destruction for unstable mass murderers.  They should be banned outright to the civilian gun owner community. Yes...that may well harm a very profitable part of the arms industry. So be it. 

Just as important, the ATF Bureau must grow some teeth, backbone, and two more private parts. Their "regulation" of the gun trade, reporting requirements, background checks, etc. is a sick joke. They — and a supine Congress — make one wonder: for whom do they really work?

This note might appear that I'm anti-gun. Far from it...I'm in the business of supplying ballistic rubber media to firing ranges. This material safely encapsulates the fired projectile and its byproducts; lead dust, ricochet shrapnel, back-splatter.  Many new and renovated ranges now are opening to provide live instruction in responsible gun ownership and to train owners to qualify for open-carry permits.  I totally support both goals.

Jesse Clear, Owner/Principal
Rubber Mulch Is US LLC

Editor's Note: Patch accepts letters to the editor for consideration from local residents. Letters may be emailed to fredericksburg@patch.com.  Send them as you want them to be published, as they appear unedited.  Include your name and any affiliation under which you are writing.

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Jesse Clear January 07, 2013 at 05:31 AM
All interested: I'm bringing this thread to an end -- at least my own participation in it -- but I encourage further thoughts and commentary. First, I'd like to thank my Supporters for their inputs. And I'd especially like to thank my Detractors ... because you have sharpened my understanding of your positions, contributed valuable insights, and enhanced my resolve to approach this issue in a calm and reasonable way. More about that later. First, to my Supporters: May I offer a few admonishments ... ● Do not embrace the fuzzy Utopia of a "gun-free America," that never will, and never should, happen. ● As many detractors have noted, the vast, vast majority of gun enthusiasts are normal law-abiding citizens who inhabit those recreational or hunting cultures ... of which you happen not to be a part. ● Please don't fall for the scarecrow of ambiguous and ill-defined Assault Weapons ... because they "look scary." ● Also, don't fall for the "mental health" maze. This classifies mass murders as "victims" of their affliction. Rather, we must concentrate on BEHAVIOR signposts. Phony psychiatric "diagnoses" have let assassins, such as John Hinkley Jr, almost completely off the hook. Or consider the squalid and on-going soap operas surrounding Jared Loughner's and Nidal Malik Hasan's "treatments."
Jesse Clear January 07, 2013 at 05:34 AM
(cont'd) ● And please be aware that armed self-protection, in our day and age, is a vital concern (I speak from personal experience). While you may shrink at the thought of handling guns (vs getting qualified instruction in their safe use), please tell me YOUR alternative -- when your family or home falls under immediate and violent threat? But please read on -- I count upon your support. Now, to my Detractors: While I contained my enthusiasm for the tone and attitude of much of your commentaries (ex: "Elmer Fuddery"), I did glean valuable insights from them. ● Many of you have noted the lethality of bombs, knives, machetes, automobiles, even the abortionist's scalpel. True enough. But actually, you side-step the sad fact that the GREAT majority of killings -- whether day-to-day street violence, serial, revenge, or mass murders -- are committed with gunfire, by criminals, drug or alcohol infested minds, or deranged creeps. You are willfully blinding yourself to this reality. ● Please do not succumb to the mass hysterias of "Gun Confiscation," US government "Tyranny," or any other scarecrow that the NRA or other Second Amendment zealots may throw in your face. ● Yes ... I do consider NRA leadership to be the prime obstacle to REASONABLE gun legislation. David Keene and his front-man, Wayne LaPierre, have thrown up a stone wall of opposition to ANY change in legislation. This must Stop ... and they must Go.
Jesse Clear January 07, 2013 at 05:39 AM
(cont'd) ● Finally, please remember that I'm just the guy who keeps the back-splatter and ricochet out of your body and the lead dust out of your lungs. I do know my way around range construction, renovation, and furnishing -- as you know your way around the technicalities of weaponry and ammunition. ===================================== Within the next few days, I wil submit a petition to the new Gun Violence Prevention Task Force which will call for certain common-sense and reasonable changes in gun law, regulation, and enforcement. Its primary elements will include: ♦ Immediate closure of private gun sales exemption from individual registration (the most glaring loophole of them all). ♦ Enforce the enforcers. BATF has a truly miserable record in this prime responsibility. Establish effective oversight on this agency. ♦ This one is sensitive, but the most important of all. Starting from childhood through adulthood, we must set Behavioral Signposts which can be noted and tracked. Such behaviors as torturing small animals for pleasure, chronic bullying, death or injury threats of any kind through whatever media, extreme social isolation, repeated attention by police or judiciary for civil disturbance, domestic violence, child abuse. Many of these behaviors preceded and could have predicted individuals who showed capacity and intent to commit violence. Tragically, such dots have ever been connected.
Jesse Clear January 07, 2013 at 05:42 AM
(cont'd) ♦ Require that ALL gun owners re-qualify every year or 18-months by certified range training in accuracy, safe storage, and crisis behavior. (The Second Amendment conveys Responsiblities as well as Rights. This is one way to honor those responsibilities.) ♦ Institute a national gun and ammunition sales data-base (to identify suspicious frequency, quantity, and timing of buys and sells). ♦ Encourage the real value of responsible gun ownership, periodic training and updating. Recognize appropriate weaponry for recreational, hunting, and self-protection. We owe at least this much to the Newtown CT massacred children and their teachers ... and all the thousands of other gunned down victims across America, whether by criminals, drunks, dopers, or unhinged monsters in human form. It's clearly true that "guns (alone) do not kill people" .... but entirely too many guns are in too many wrong hands. To identify and incapacitate those hands -- that is our true mission.
Mac Smith January 07, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Thanks Jesse! We may agree and disagree with some (or all) of what you have written, but you did a good job of supporting and explaining your position. Well done.

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