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January 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

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Gun-control debates continue in Seattle and nationwide

Ban semiautomatics; anything can assault

The debate about so-called assault weapons is a red herring [“Time to talk about guns,” page one, Jan. 9]. An assault weapon is any weapon used to assault someone, be it an AK-47 or a garden rake. Which weapon is most deadly is entirely situational.

As a machine-gunner with the First Battalion Ninth Marines in 1967 I was very happy to carry an M-60 machine gun instead of an M-16 because it was more reliable. The early versions of the M-16 were not robust enough to stand up to the rigors of warfare and tended to jam.

The carnage of World War I and gangland slaughters using the “Tommy” gun” convinced Americans that civilians should not be allowed to own machine guns. The M-16 and its variants including the AR-15 and Bushmaster were designed for human slaughter and in many situations are deadlier than a machine gun.

Gun control intended to effect mass murder requires a ban on all semi-automatic weapons. This is doable.

— Jeff Curtis, Edmonds

Do not demonize lawful and responsible gun owners

The “assault weapon” on The Times front page puts symbolism first and rational debate last.

If the intent of The Times is to inflame a public hating of a caricature of gun owners, the symbol fits. But that wrecks any balance between the rights of citizens and attempts to improve public safety. Only a tiny minority of gun owners use them in theatrical assaults, yet the public-hating model would punish the vast majority, however crimeless.

If it’s time to talk about guns, the first words should oppose such symbolism, and the next ones should address the characteristics of individuals who shoot innocents to gain public notoriety. And the most words should address effective measures that would not demonize, punish or impose heavy red tape and expensive burdens on the lawful majority of gun owners.

-- Hank Bradley, Seattle

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Semi automatic rifles have been around for the public to purchase for a century or more... MORE
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