Non-automatic weapons can also kill

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:54 AM

Richard Cheney


The writer’s argument in the Feb. 17 letter, “Only military need high firepower weapons,” was passionate, but inaccurate. He argued for revising the Second Amendment because our founding fathers could not anticipate semi-automatic weapons. They were responsible for creating the most successful application of a free republic in the history of human civilization. I would not be so quick to deny their ability to anticipate the evolution of firearms.

The writer argued that if AR-15s had “…the same laws applied as automatics, the recent shooting would not have occurred.” This fails on two counts. One, all semi-automatic weapons have the same human interface as non-automatics; one trigger pull equals one discharge of one projectile. Two, it is flawed logic to attempt to prove a negative; X would not have occurred if Y. “X” is any event which cannot be proven impossible by the negation of Y; in this case, the ban of weapons. Otherwise, we should ban sticks and stones, thoughts and words and bare hands.

The writer also argued that if semi-automatic and automatic weapons were banned, this would prevent any future incident. But the writer admitted there are three million AR-15s in our hands. Do these vanish by banning future purchasing? Do we guarantee they all vanish by confiscation? Recall that three thousand were killed on

9/11 by the use of devices not designed as weapons: box cutters and airplanes.

Let’s try again with a sensible argument. Start with the premise that we must assure our individual freedom, and that one’s freedom ends at another’s nose, or we are no longer the land of the free and home of the brave? We must cure the disease, not the symptom. The gun is just a tool.

So is a thumb. It, too, can kill, but only if the brain behind it is intent on that outcome. This is not as easy as confiscation, or changing some words, is it? Whoever said America is easy?

Richard Cheney


Sign up for e-mail news updates.