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Gun terminology

March 21. 2018 9:23PM

To the Editor: Regarding David Harsanyi’s column on the imprecision of certain language used by advocates of expanded gun-control measures, I hope those sharing Harsanyi’s call for honoring the “veracity of facts” could look beyond knee-jerk ideology to actually see them.

Harsanyi asks coyly, “How dare Second Amendment advocates expect that those passionately arguing to limit their constitutional rights have some rudimentary knowledge of the devices they want to ban?”

Do gun-control advocates want to infringe upon the right to bear arms, or is it more precise to say that gun-control advocates want specified limits placed upon the exercise of that right? Or is this a mere distinction without a difference? Many at least pretend they see no difference and proceed to take either the high road — exemplified by Harsanyi’s critique of gun-terminology ignorance or use of hyperbole — or the low road exemplified by the apocalyptic ads of the NRA.

The radiologist attending the Parkland victims knew a fact when she saw one, that a wound from an AR-15’s high-velocity round is uniquely injurious, like “a cigarette boat traveling at maximum speed up a tiny canal, leaving nearby organs looking like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer.” It is an opinion as to whether weapons capable of such carnage on a mass scale be reclassified under the National Firearms Act and registered with the AFT along with machine guns. But we’ll never evaluate that opinion through the smokescreen of political ideology.


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