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What About the Shooting Sports?

From: AJMD <>
Sent: Wednesday, October 17, 2001 10:36 PM
Subject: What about the shooting sports?

To the Editor, (permission given to print and include name).

Mark Cannizzaro's recent column <> castigating Damien Robinson's "distressing" possession of a semiautomatic rifle in the trunk of his car reflects a profound ignorance of life outside the city. New Jersey may be all about big-stadium sports, high crime, and stupid gun laws, but in the rest of the country, the various shooting sports collectively rival ball games in terms of revenue, and far exceed the ball games in terms of public participation (as opposed to just sitting and watching at the field or on television). 

Accidental injury and death rates are lower for the shooting sports than most "ordinary" contact sports, and there are never doped-up players and fans rioting, raping, or setting cars on fire afterwards. 

As far as the so-called "assault" type weapon, the MAJORITY of rifles used for sporting purposes are semiautomatic ones, and like the fully automatic "machine guns" they superficially resemble, were designed to fire relatively low-powered ammunition, for despite their menacing appearance, the goal for their military predecessors was to wound, rather than kill (so much for the mantra of assault rifles being designed to kill people!). 

Perhaps Mr. Cannizzaro is unaware that many families who lack his hoplophobic tendencies actually target shoot and hunt together, which might explain his shock at the presence of Damien's "wife and two daughters" being in the car. In fact, many children and petite women find the light semiautomatic rifle New Jersey calls "assault weapons" to be far more pleasant to shoot than heavy caliber "hunting" rifles. For others, they simply have the same allure versus single shot guns that a Corvette has over a Corvair; better aesthetics, stronger and more durable design, and...they are just more fun to shoot <urban folks may insert "gasp" here>.

Of course, I realize that to one who can't imagine why anyone would want to own or shoot such a gun, none of this information matters. Damien, on the other hand seems to reflect the thought process of mainstream America; why would anyone in their right mind imagine that New Jersey, or any other place, would pass a law BANNING possession of such a gun? Certainly he should not have forgotten and had it in the trunk of his car, but the fact that it was made into such an "issue" reflects something far more likely to harm our society than any mere type of firearm - the irrational fear born of prejudice and ignorance.

Andrew Johnstone, RPh/MD
Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws <>

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