The shooting sports community doesn’t respond to many gun-haters’ letters because we feel most folks have the intelligence to know better than pay any attention to their rantings, exaggerations and out-of-context claims. The Daily Progress letters of Aug. 21 (“ ‘Assault’ rifles not wanted, needed” and “Keep war weapons away”), however, offer too much of a rebuttal opportunity.
The true AK-15 was recently fielded by Kalashnikov for the Russian Army and is not available (or allowed) in the U.S. in any form. Russia has announced a civilian version — AK TR3 (no automatic fire) for Russian gun stores. The first letter writer is probably talking about the AR-15, but either would be a demilitarized version to be in the U.S. Their only relationship to a true assault weapon is their looks.
The writer goes on to say our country does not allow civilian ownership of machine guns and other military weapons, and somehow slips this gun in as one of those types. Neither the AK nor AR-15 is an assault weapon in its civilian version.
The “assault” terminology came from the gun-ban days under President Bill Clinton as the definition of a gun with a detachable magazine and one other feature, such as a pistol grip. That could make about 50% of civilian guns be assault weapons, including my bolt-action pest shotgun with its two-shell magazine.
The writer compared the “need” for a gun ban to the successful call for reducing vehicular deaths, and the decline of such deaths since 1960. Unwittingly, he presented a fantastic case for no gun bans. The reduction in vehicular deaths was done by enforcing existing laws and by adding better seatbelts, running lights, etc. — and without one single instance of banning a vehicle, gas, tire or parts. It was done with no violation of (or change to) anyone’s constitutional rights. Neither the car nor the gun is the problem.
Montie C. Duncan