October 10, 2011
NSSF Responds to New York Times Editorial
The following is a letter to the editor from NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti in response to a New York Times editorial:
October 10, 2011
The New York Times
Letters to the Editor
620 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10018
To the Editor:
In its response to the recent court ruling that the District of Columbia is allowed to ban the possession of certain semi-automatic rifles and magazines (“No Right to Bear Assault Weapons,” Oct. 10, 2011), the Times misstated some important facts.
By equating modern sporting rifles, based on the AR-15 platform, to the fully automatic military M-16 assault rifle because of cosmetic similarities is inaccurate. Unlike the military M-16, they are not fully automatic firearms — machine guns that, as long as the trigger is depressed, will continuously fire until the magazine is empty. Fully automatic firearms have been severely limited from civilian ownership since 1934.
Today’s modern sporting rifle, on the other hand, functions as a semi-automatic. It does not “spray” fire, as your editorial implies. It fires only one round with each pull of the trigger — just like countless other firearms that millions of law-abiding Americans have owned for hunting, target shooting and self-defense for more than a century. It is not “unusual.” Modern sporting rifles are among the most popular firearms selling today, with more people taking them to the range than those going skeet or trap shooting, according to a recent survey.
And the claim that semi-automatic firearms with detachable magazines “result in more shots fired, people wounded and wounds per person” is simply not true. Their popularity has grown phenomenally in the last decade, yet the same period has shown historic decreases in violent crime and accidents nationwide to levels not seen since the early 1960s.
It is unfortunate that the District of Columbia has denied its law-abiding residents the opportunity to own firearms of their choice in common use elsewhere based on cosmetic appearances.
NATIONAL SHOOTING SPORTS FOUNDATION
President & CEO