Letter to the editor

Society’s the problem, not guns

February 15, 2013 

A recent letter by Mr. Kenneth Ring (Feb. 3, “How about a tax on assault weapons?”) indicated he thought a tax should be levied on “assault rifles.”

Mr. Ring, owners of actual assault rifles already pay a tax on their weapons.

Let me first address the definition of an “assault weapon.” An AR-15 is not an assault weapon; it is a semi-automatic rifle.

Apples are apples and oranges are oranges and only those ignorant of the difference can be fooled.

A true assault rifle must have select fire, single or automatic rate of fire or fully automatic machine guns. These weapons have been restricted since 1986; the year the federal government banned the import or manufacture of fully automatic weapons.

This only accomplished one thing: it fixed the number of automatic weapons, known as Class III weapons, and drove the price of these weapons through the roof, putting them out of reach collectors such as myself, who can no longer afford to buy Class III weapons.

The National Firearms Act covers the ownership of all assault rifles and machine guns; they are all registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

I have a friend who owns a 1940 and 1942 Thompson sub-machine gun, part of FDR’s Lend-Lease program to provide weapons to Great Britain during WWII. They were returned and given to the Iowa State Police who eventually upgraded their arsenal and put the weapons up for sale to those qualified to own one. He also owns a MP5K- 9mm machine gun. The tax on each weapon is $200, simply to own one of these classic weapons.

How does the ownership of these weapons affect taxpayers? Owners pay their fair share!

The increase in their value was better than the stock market. I wish I owned them; I could pay for my grandson’s college education. An M16, the type used in Vietnam, now costs anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000 depending on its condition.

How can someone of modest means ever think about owning one of these classic weapons, now collected by the very wealthy or elite gun clubs? Thanks, Uncle Sam, for interfering with supply and demand by restricting Class III weapons to only the wealthy among us.

Every time the federal government puts restrictions on law abiding citizens it is those who can least afford it who lose another inch of liberty.

The Sandy Hook and Columbine atrocities were committed by mentally unstable people, as well as the Aurora shooting and the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

A registered, legal Class III weapon has never been used in a crime; the state of Texas alone has over 16,000 registered machine guns.

Societal decay is the problem, not the simple possession of guns: shotguns, handguns, assault rifles or machine guns.

The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.

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