To the Editor: No, "many" American households don't contain fully-automatic weapons
[Editor's Note: The following letter was written to the editor of The Dayton Daily News in response to a letter-writer who alleged that "fully-automatic weapons" are in "many households" in America.
Re "Common-sense gun rules are what we need," March 6: Apparently, the letter writer is either grossly misinformed about laws relating to civilian possession and use of fully automatic firearms, which he alleges "many households have...fully automatic weapons...", or he is deliberately spreading false information.
For a private citizen to legally possess a fully automatic firearm (a "machine gun" which fires more than one round with one pull of the trigger), a very specific and rigorous licensing process must be followed.
The applicant must apply to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for a license for such a weapon, include a letter of endorsement from his/her county sheriff, and pay a $200 fee.
I have owned and used firearms, and been a member of the so-called gun fraternity for 62 years, and a certified firearms instructor for 11 years. I have never personally known anyone who owned a fully automatic (Class 3) firearm.
Now, back to "common sense." My common sense tells me that:
• Criminals ignore the law and do as they please. That is the defining difference between criminals and us law-abiding citizens.
• Because of the above, laws restricting the possession, carrying and use of firearms apply, in fact, only to law-abiding citizens.
• Restrictive "gun control" disarms only law-abiding citizens, thus leaving us less able to defend ourselves against criminals.
Gun control encourages violent crime, and law-abiding armed citizens discourage it and drive the crime rate down.
If anyone doubts that, I suggest he/she refer to the research of Dr. John Lott of the American Enterprise Institute and Dr. Gary Kleck of the University of Florida.
The facts and statistics are rather boring, but the conclusions are inescapable. Guns deter crime and save lives.
Richard W. Martin