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AR-15, NRA hardly the causes of violence

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I’ve noticed that in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, many uninformed individuals have involved themselves in the gun control debate. These individuals typically indicate that they own guns or that they hunt. They say that they understand that the Second amendment guarantees the right to own a firearm.

Then, they qualify that statement with something like, “But not some firearms.”

The current target of their wrath is the AR-15. It has a standard capacity 30-round magazine, a pistol grip and some other military-style features that have nothing to do with the rifles lethality.

These individuals continue to betray their ignorance of the subject by referring to the AR-15 as an “assault rifle,” which it decidedly is not. The AR is simply the first two letters of the Armalite Co., which first manufactured the rifle in the late 1950s. AR is not a model designation identifying it as an assault rifle.

They say the AR-15 fires a powerful cartridge, but a quick comparison of the muzzle energy between a common 12 gauge shotgun slug and the .223 AR-15 cartridge will reveal the shotgun is 35 percent more powerful. So powerful, in fact, that in WWI the Germans lodged a diplomatic protest against shotguns use by the United States.

They say this dangerous weapon shouldn’t be in the hands of civilians, totally ignoring the connecting thread which unites all these mass shootings: mental illness.

There are currently efforts in Washington, D.C., to ban these AR-15’s and even talk of confiscating them.

Somehow the thought of a politician, most of whom are ignorant of the subject matter, making the decision as to which firearm is OK for me to own is repugnant.

A quick look at their record shows that the United States Postal Service is broke, the country is more than $16 trillion in debt and the Democrats and Republicans are scrambling to reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.

Why would I trust a politician with my gun rights? The right to own a gun is the right to self defense.

Why would I allow a politician to limit my choices of the type of self-defense firearm I might choose to protect my home and family?

The AR-15 rifle is short and easy to maneuver in the home, it fires a medium power cartridge that reduces the chance of over-penetration of walls in the home, and the adjustable stock allows the rifle to be easily fitted to the user, large or small. There are other benefits of this design but the point is, they make excellent home defense rifles.

Perhaps with all the media distortion and outright lies about the rifle, it’s understandable how folks could be confused.

My suggestion, let’s focus on solutions to the underlying societal problems that contribute to these mass shootings, not on the tool the shooter used.

Thirty years ago we didn’t have this problem. Something has changed. Since semi-automatic rifles have been around since 1885, it hasn’t been firearm technology.

As for the much maligned NRA, 4.5 million NRA members didn’t shoot anyone yesterday but we’re still counting the bodies from the Government Sponsored Fast and Furious gun running operation into Mexico.

LARRY MORSE is a certified NRA instructor and training counselor.

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