LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Gun control in the guise of public safety laws

Mr. Pritchett, I appreciated your candor in admitting that you were misleading and disingenuous in the use of the phrase “gun safety laws.” [“Common-sense safety laws,” Letters to the Editor, Dec. 14]

However, renaming those types of laws as public safety laws does not change the fact that you are really talking about gun control. You asked if I would be willing to support four “public safety laws.” In a word, no.

Let’s take your suggestions one at a time.

1. “Universal background checks.” Delaware already has universal background checks, with some exceptions. Transfers between certain family members and between concealed carry permit holders are the primary ones. There is no gun show loophole. Almost every firearm sold at a gun show is sold by a dealer.

Studies show that criminals do not purchase their firearms at gun shows or even legally. Dealers, no matter where the location, are required to perform a(n) NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] check.

It is also a myth that one can purchase a firearm on the Internet, or online, without a background check. While you may “purchase” a firearm via the Internet, you cannot legally take possession of it without going to a federally licensed dealer and having the NICS check done. In fact, the firearm must be shipped to a licensed dealer.

2. “Ban on semiautomatic assault weapons.” First, those two terms are mutually exclusive. By definition, an assault weapon is capable of fully automatic use. Fully automatic firearms are illegal in most states, Delaware included.

To even own a fully automatic firearm, which have been regulated since 1938, requires a background check, federal tax stamp, and then, state authorization. The term was invented by Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center (an extreme anti-gun organization) around 1988.

The reason was an attempt to demonize the modern semiautomatic sporting firearm that resembled the rifles used by the military. In other words, they looked evil and should be banned.

The assault weapon ban that was allowed to expire in 2004 was a total failure. That was the reason it was allowed to expire. The ban did nothing to prevent crime. Rifles were banned solely for cosmetic reasons.

Mr. Pritchett, would your ban also include shotguns? There are many popular shotguns that are semiautomatic. In fact, semiautomatic firearms have been around for over 100 years. Why are they suddenly a problem? Could it be the liberal media and folks like yourself are using fear in an attempt to accomplish your agenda?

3. “Ban on large-capacity magazines.” Many handguns, especially those used by law enforcement, generally have standard magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, which is the number used by those in favor of a ban on large-capacity magazines.

Mr. Pritchett, would your ban include police officers? I suspect not. So, why, as a civilian, should I be subject to such a ban when I may need to defend myself and family in a home invasion? The call for a ban on large-capacity magazines is no more than a smokescreen for more gun control.

The fact is that violent crime is at its lowest level in over 25 years, yet, the number of semiautomatic firearms and magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds is at the highest level ever.

4. Terrorist watch list. This is another myth foisted upon us by the Obama administration. None of us want terrorists or dangerous people to have firearms.

Currently, every time a person on the list attempts to purchase a firearm, local law enforcement is notified and then makes a case-by-case decision on the next step.

One glaring problem with the list: No one knows how and why people are placed on the list, and if one is placed on the list, one is not notified. You don’t find out until you attempt to fly. There is also no due process. You cannot even find out how to get off the list. Even Sen. Ted Kennedy and Nelson Mandela were on the list.

In conclusion, Mr. Pritchett, I will not agree to your gun control measures, no matter how you attempt to disguise them.

Jeff Hague

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