In response to Brian Gaarder's March 8th letter to the editor:
Gaarder asks where do we end with an assault rifle ban? I ask two questions: First, what assault rifle ban? Second, shouldn't the question be where do we start?
First, Gaarder makes it sound like the permit to get a machine guns and cannon/artillery pieces is simple. It is not that easy to do. The background checks are much more strenuous than just a regular background check for a semi-automatic rifle. For example, if a person has a restraining order against them they can still legally purchase a semi-automatic rifle, but cannot purchase an automatic rifle. Also, after obtaining the required licenses and permits, there is continuous monitoring and reporting that needs to be done. I can meet a complete stranger in a Walmart parking lot and sell him or her one of my rifles. No receipt, no reporting, nothing. Take the cash, and hand over my rifle. You cannot do that with an automatic rifle. They are registered in the owner's name at the time of purchase and it is legally required that all sales be reported to the federal government.
Then, Gaarder goes into an explanation about a shotgun, comparing the pellets in a shotgun to rifles used in World Ware II and the Korean War. What this has to do with modern day semi-automatic rifles is beyond me. He also contends that a shotgun has an advantage that you can insert fresh shells at any time rather than having to eject a magazine as in a semi-automatic rifle. Making this assertion is ludicrous. I have fired both pump and semi-automatic shotguns. I have also shot semi-automatic rifles including the AR-15. I can say with experience, that I can eject an empty magazine and insert a loaded 10 or 20 round magazine in an AR-15 faster than I can put 2 shells into a shotgun.
Gaarder asks which semi-automatic rifles do we get rid of? Wondering about his 22 semi-auto rifle. Comparing a 22 to a .223 AR-15 is another ludicrous statement. Look at the ballistics chart of a regular old 22 compared to a .223. For example, you can get a 22 in a 35 grain bullet. A middle of the road .223 is 55 grains. A standard 22 at that weight leaves the barrel at 3m000 feet per second. The 55 grain .223 can go over 3,200 fps.
That's a bullet weighing almost 60 percent more moving at a faster speed. It's simple physics which leads to more penetration and a larger wound channel. But don't take my word for it. Do a Google search and read the articles from actual trauma surgeons writing about the wound channels from an AR compared to that of other bullets. I won't even get into the fact that I can guarantee you I can eject and reload a magazine faster in an AR than you can in your old peashooter, leading to less time for an assailant to be taken out and more opportunity to cause more harm to victims.
Then Gaarder goes into an explanation using another WWI and WWII example, explaining about the long distance accuracy of weapons used back then and how they are more accurate than an AR. Well, when an assailant is inside of a school or any building for that matter, you don't need the accuracy of a rifle that can shoot 800 yards.....25 to maybe 50 yards is plenty of accuracy in that situation. Another ludicrous assertion.
Then we get to hear about the tired old Chicago has the strictest gun laws and a high murder rate. Where do I begin? First, on a per capita basis, Chicago isn't even in the top 20 for murder rates in large U.S. cities. Some cities that have a higher rate include Gary, Ind., Baltimore, Cleveland, San Bernardino, Calif., and on and on. Then the biggest farce about Chicago gun laws being stricter...it's not true! Chicago used to have strict gun laws, but most of those have either expired or have been repealed. New York City has gun laws that are stricter than Chicago and guess what? It's not even in the top 30 cities for homicides. Same goes for Los Angeles. Both of these cities are lower in homicides than Chicago. So, try again Mr. Gaarder. So I ask again, where do we start? Because politicians haven't even started to discuss it. All we hear is "now is not the time." When is the time? I am a gun owner, and yes, I do own semi-automatic rifles. I am also the father of a teenager in school. It's time to look at sensible gun laws. We will never eliminate gun deaths or mass shootings. But isn't it time we at least try and minimize them? Why should we make it easier for people who want to do others harm?
Johnson lives in Fargo.