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Gun terminology complaint won’t jam up this debate

To the editor:

A letter-writer from Hadley was irritated by sloppy terminology in my guest column Dec. 28 about assault rifles.

The Internet features a lot of discussions like this right now, which focus on technical aspects of weaponry. Their point seems to be that people like me don’t really know what we’re talking about because of our technical “mistakes.”

In fact, though, super-popular AR15s descend from military M16s. They are semi-automatic assault weapons and you can find ways online to show you how to transform them (illegally) into automatic weapons by using a household rubber band. They were the weapon of choice at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown (26 dead), the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., (13), Clackamas Mall in Oregon and the Beltway sniper attacks.

The writer praises such weapons for their ability to make bagging game a sure thing for hunters. In my growing-up days, “sure shot” meant something very different. It meant such keen skill of eye and experience that rarely if ever did a hunter need more than one shot.

No, I’m afraid these are killing machines, and they do the job very well. They belonged to the military and then to police enforcement, and frankly — despite how much fun they are at the shooting range — that’s still where they belong.

For the record, we used to take our young chilldren for vacations on working farms where farmers kept rifles handy as a matter of course, and where freezers were always stocked with venison or other game. Among my family and friends I count hunters and avid enthusiasts of target shooting. I’m think I’m less of a stranger to this writer than he is to me.

But I’m ready to learn more about the technical language of weaponry. Tell me, what are you ready to learn in exchange?

Judith Bruder


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