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Queens Chronicle

No assault rifles I

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Posted: Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:30 am

Dear Editor:

Since I am not a gun enthusiast my opinions on the subject of guns are personal.

Studies have shown that the number of homicides in a country is directly in proportion to the number of guns. The United States has the dubious honor of being fourth in the world in the number of gun-related deaths per year (9,369), only behind such distinguished company as South Africa (31,918), Colombia (21,898) and Thailand (20,032). Conversely, all other advanced industrialized countries fare enviably better, such as Germany (269), Canada (144), Japan (94) and England (14).

Hunting is a passion for some. They enjoy trekking through the woods with their rifles, legally licensed to shoot at birds and other animals. The same applies to pistols and those wanting to be prepared to ward off a home invasion. These rights are guaranteed by the Second Amendment and are therefore perfectly legal. But what in the world is the need for military-style assault weapons that fire repetitive rounds with the mere flick of a finger? If it takes someone that much firepower to kill a deer or quail or whatever needs killing, that hunter is a danger even to himself.

The AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle is a converted version of the militaryís fully automatic weapon. It utilizes high-capacity magazines with clips holding as much as 100 rounds, which could be fired off in a minute without reloading. One does not need an assault weapon to shoot a deer or protect oneís family. No one should own an assault rifle except our soldiers in the military and the law enforcement officers who protect us.

In 1994 Congress passed a 10-year ban on assault weapons and President Bill Clinton signed it. Unfortunately, it was allowed to expire. During his 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to reinstate the ban, and Mitt Romney signed an assault weapons ban as Massachusetts governor. It is time to reinstate the ban. But itís not quite that easy.

One enormous hurdle of course is the omnipresent NRA. They are as much of a danger to the safety of our citizens as are the assault rifles themselves. They will do whatever is necessary to defeat such a common-sense ban; they will distort, lobby and spend as much as is necessary, as they always have. Their paranoia that the government is going to steal their weapons is idiotic but has rubbed off on a large portion of our citizenry who actually believe it. Let us hope that facts conquer fears.

Nicholas Zizelis

Welcome to the discussion.