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Dear Editor:

I want to take a moment to discuss the column by Benjamin Bahney in Sunday’s “Second Opinion” section. The author encouraged laws banning semiautomatic weapons to combat violence with firearms. A semiautomatic weapon fires one round every time the trigger is pulled. This describes most handguns and many rifles sold in the United States. Most have removable magazines. The force of the round being fired cycles the gun’s action and chambers the next round to be fired. This differs from automatic weapons, which fire every round in the magazine with one trigger pull. Automatic weapons are highly regulated and very expensive, with an average cost of around $20,000. Very few people own them.

The author highlighted several mass shootings and the fact that the shooters used semiautomatic weapons. In these cases, the shooters chose locations where it was unlikely that anyone would shoot back. The shooters knew that they would have unarmed targets, and law enforcement response times would allow them to complete their objectives.

 The author discussed lax gun laws and made suggestions as to how we might prevent future shootings. He suggested that we allow the FBI to infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of citizens who are arbitrarily placed on a “terrorist watch list.” He then falsely stated that terrorists can buy a gun online. It is not possible to lawfully buy a gun online and have it shipped to a residence. The gun must be shipped to a licensed dealer who conducts a background check onsite.

He then suggested that we prohibit citizens from selling their legally-owned firearms without the buyer going through a background check. Perhaps the Fourteenth Amendment has something to say about this. It’s not clear how requiring background checks for private sales would dissuade criminals, who intend to commit murder, from purchasing a firearm from an individual simply because it’s against the law. He mentioned establishing gun registries, which have always been a precursor to confiscation. Next, he descended into fiction by referring to “high capacity clips” and “fast clip replacement mechanisms.” I presume he was referring to standard capacity magazines and magazine release buttons that are present on all detachable magazine-fed firearms.

We all despise these senseless murders, but our Constitutional rights are not open to discussion, particularly when that includes false or inaccurate statements. Execute criminals who commit murder. Don’t prohibit law-abiding citizens from arming themselves for their own self-defense. My Constitutional rights are not contingent on the evil actions of other men. The Second Amendment means what it says.