Hague: Writer too focused on guns, rather than people using them


This letter is in response to Mr. Peter Graffagnino of Bridgeville (“What role does money play in mass shootings?” Nov. 3).

I won’t take up valuable space and time delving into campaign finance reform, especially on a national level.

Now, on to the more relevant aspects of Mr. Graffagnino’s letter. He is absolutely wrong in stating that the Supreme Court of the “era” — I guess he means 1791 — interpreted the Second Amendment as being for self-defense in the home. The court never ruled on any aspect of the Second Amendment in the early years. It was well over 60 years before any decisions were rendered by the Supreme Court concerning any aspect of the amendment. The Heller (2008), McDonald (2010) and Bruen (2022) decisions found, in various aspects, that the Second Amendment allowed the people to keep and bear arms in their homes and outside their homes for self-defense, and that it was an individual right, not a collective right. Bruen went on to say that the Second Amendment must be taken as written; it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms, period.

As I have stated many times previously, AR-style firearms are not “assault rifles.” “AR” stands for “ArmaLite Rifle,” the company that manufactured them. An “assault rifle” is, by definition, capable of fully automatic fire. The over 25 million AR-style rifles in the public domain are only capable of semi-automatic fire. That means it takes a pull of the trigger for each round that is fired.

SCOTUS has determined that AR-style firearms are not “dangerous and unusual” and are in common usage by the people. Therefore, they cannot be banned. More and more courts are finally making that determination, and “semi-auto” bans, like the one here in Delaware, are increasingly being found unconstitutional.

Semi-automatic firearms have been around for over 200 years; even Meriwether Lewis and William Clark used a semi-automatic air rifle, the Girardoni air rifle, invented around 1779. They are multifunctional, in that they are used for self-defense, hunting, competition and general sport shooting. They are not “weapons of war.”

While AR-style firearms have been used in mass shootings, I believe the facts will show that pistols are used much more frequently. The FBI reports that, in 2022, there were 15,047 homicide incidents reported in the U.S. Rifles accounted for 489, and knives accounted for 1,216. In Delaware, there have been five people killed with long guns (the statistics do not differentiate type of long gun) in the last 10 years. At least two of those were done by law enforcement in the line of duty.

Mr. Graffagnino mentions that there were or may still be high schools that have “Rifle Clubs.” He has not checked lately. One of the reasons for the Bruen case was because citizens could not take a legally owned firearm outside the home unless they had a permit and were going to an approved gun range in the city. At the time of the Bruen case, there were less than five public ranges in New York City.

As I previously stated, semi-automatic firearms have been used in competition for over 100 years, both rifles and pistols. I can say that I proudly competed for many years in national matches with semi-automatic rifles. A great many of the rifle matches required the use of “service rifles” and were sponsored by the U.S. government.

Mr. Graffagnino states that it is a “very bad thing when weapons of war are in the hands of individuals who have no or little regard for human life.” I would say that any weapon in the hands of someone who should not have one is a bad thing. As with most people who really don’t have much knowledge of firearms, Mr. Graffagnino is focusing on the object, not the person behind the object, whether it be a firearm, knife, golf club or motor vehicle.

Jeff Hague

President, Delaware State Sportsmen’s Association

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at civiltalk@iniusa.org.

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