Letter: A Line Has to Be Drawn

To the Editor:

Don’t pay much attention to the gun nuts who claim that the Bushmaster rifle used in the Newtown shooting was a semi-automatic, meaning that the trigger has to be pulled each time it shoots. If you Google “Bushmaster auto conversion,” you will find many devotees offering instruction in how to convert the Bushmaster to fully automatic mode. In effect, this makes it a machine gun and has been illegal since 1986. Still, the people who like to shoot these military-style rifles seem to have an everlasting itch to make them shoot in fully auto mode, as the Army uses in warfare. They have nothing but irrational criticism for anyone who suggests that what they’re doing is not only illegal, but perhaps insane. There are even companies that sell conversion kits for this purpose. (What are they thinking of except their bottom line?) Of course, these military-style weapons should be taken off the market and kept out of private hands. Forget the National Rifle Association; it would be in favor of extending “Second Amendment rights” to cover any weapon that any of its member companies manufacture. Lines have to be drawn somewhere. Should the public be able to carry hand grenades, keep a bomb in the closet, own a torpedo-loaded boat or helicopter gunship? Lines have been drawn banning ownership of those weapons, so why not rule out all military-style rifles that can be converted to fully automatic firing mode?

Hunting is intended to be a means of gathering wild meat humanely. This requires using an accurate rifle that is designed to place one bullet in a vital target area, not a spray of bullets that will mow an animal down (and ruin all the meat). Frankly, I believe all hunters would be better hunters if we were limited to using single-shot rifles. A skilled hunter needs only one well placed shot, and those who rely on back-up power are admitting that they may not have the skill to get close enough, or the marksmanship, to make a one-shot kill.

Jerome B. Robinson