To The Daily Sun,
In responding to my most recent letter, a writer took offense at my characterization of conspiracy theorists as being paranoid. I guess I struck a nerve. I want to caution this writer, that this is my personal view. I'm not a psychologist, and if he feels the need, he should continue to seek professional help. In this same vein, the respondent asserts, referencing the government coming after his guns, that "the only reason that it hasn't occurred is the 100-plus years the NRA has been steadfast in the battle against it." While this might make good NRA propaganda, the fact is that the government has never made any attempt to take his, or anyone else's, guns away — paranoia in the NRA runs deep.
This same respondent seems to perseverate over weapons being fully-automatic. Assault weapons are commonly defined as semi-automatic firearms and any various automatic or semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use (or mass killings). He is wrong in his assertion that an assault rifle must be fully-automatic. An assault-rifle does not have to be "fully-automatic" to qualify as an assault-rifle. Military-style semi-automatic rifles were called assault weapons because that is what gun manufacturers and gun enthusiasts called them. The NRA and its gun industry and media allies are using semantics and terminology arguments to downplay the dangers of this class of weapons, often associated with mass shootings and law enforcement killings. They began attempting to rebrand assault weapons as "modern sporting rifles" in 2009, but in the 1980s the gun industry and firearm publications routinely used the term assault weapon to describe military-style semi-automatic rifles.
I'm not a betting man, but even so, I would not except the wager proposed by the respondent. I realize that it is illegal as hell, without the proper paperwork, to purchase a fully-automatic rifle. It is also common knowledge that with the proper information, and a machine shop, many models can be converted to operate fully-automatic. Using only a few scraps of metal and some simple hand tools, the amateur tinkerer can convert semi-automatic to fully-automatic. YouTube offers an AR-15 fully-automatic conversion kit. Purchasing the kit is not illegal, while the conversion is. The AR-15s used in the San Bernardino shootings were illegal under California law because of the way they were customized.
One must keep in mind that the gun lobby doesn't care what kind of weapon you can buy. Their only concern is being able to sell any weapon they make with limited liability. They want to sell assault-weapons because people who see them in movies want them. They don't want universal restrictions because then the chain of evidence would lead all the way back to the loading dock, if not the production line.
The respondent's well thought-out, and mature reply to the questions and arguments that I raised, was that my "knickers were tied up in a knot" — I was hoping for a rejoinder with a little more substance.
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