Firearms do not commit crimes


To the Editor:

In reading recent letters to the editor, I seem to get the impression that nearly every firearm that has lately been used in the commission of a crime somehow must have functioned completely on its own.

In a saner time, an Adam Lanza from Newtown would have been locked away in an asylum where he would not have been able to harm either himself or anyone else, and a William Spengler from upstate New York would have been swinging from a gallows after his first murder, instead of being released to earn yet another degree in homicide.

While the president of the NRA was on the right track in suggesting armed security in schools, a lone armed guard does not secure a building when the access points are neither locked nor under surveillance, and, in these aspects, Columbine High School was wide open.

In a past press conference, Senator Feinstein gave a demonstration to an audience in which she held an AK-47 style rifle, and, in so doing, had the muzzle pointed at the audience, the safety off, and her finger on the trigger. In that instance, what she most successfully demonstrated was her utter lack of competence to handle any firearm safely, and I would not trust her even with a single shot flintlock from the Revolutionary War, which, in its day, was also an “assault rifle.” Senator Feinstein inadvertently illustrated that there are no specifically dangerous firearms, there is only dangerous handling.

What type of firearm an individual chooses to legally own is not the point at issue. What matters is how responsibly they will own and handle it. Military style firearms are exactly that, and differ from actual military weapons in that the receivers, which are the core part of any firearm, are made entirely different from the military versions which are selective fire, meaning that the military weapons are capable of full automatic fire, and machine guns have been very tightly regulated since 1934. The receivers of semiautomatic firearms are required by the BATFE not to be easily made capable of automatic fire, and attempting to illegally alter them to do so is a violation of state and federal laws which have existed for decades.

Meanwhile, the media treats semiautomatic technology as if it is something new when it actually dates back to 1896, when most people were still loping around on horseback.

Our government, in its arrogance, recently violated its own federal laws, as well as state laws with Operation Fast and Furious, which placed firearms in the hands of vicious Mexican drug lords, and all we have to show for this program are two murdered law officers. One was Brian Terry, a US Border Patrol agent, and the other was Jaime Zapata, a US ICE agent, not to mention an estimated 200 innocent Mexican civilians who were all slaughtered with Fast and Furious guns.

Anyone who does not think that armed civilians can be formidable against a tyrannical government or a sophisticated heavily armed invader needs to take a second look at history, or even at the present day, where in Afghanistan a ragtag bunch of armed civilians known as the Taliban appear to be stubbornly resisting and fending off the airpower, armor and artillery of a superpower which possesses military weapons of the highest technology imaginable. In Vietnam as well, South Vietnamese rebels called Viet Cong proved to be a highly effective fighting force, and this was with antiquated weapons left behind by the French or supplied by China. Going back even further, during my tenure with NSA, I had the opportunity to speak with former members of the Third Reich war machine, and, to a man, what frightened each of them the most had been the threat of running afoul of partisans, or worse, being captured by them. They feared this more than anything else.

In the end, I trust the judgment of independent-minded individual American citizens and not their government that ignores and violates its own laws at will, and which has a lengthy and disgusting record of creating as many problems as it solves. Senator Feinstein and her ilk are not only interested in confiscatory new firearms laws in general, but also wish to apply such laws to all privately owned firearms and to eventually phase out hunting as well.

I am not deceived by Senator Feinstein, and I will make no groveling obeisance before the pagan altar of her precious government. States like Massachusetts have fogbound oceans of gun laws, and all that is needed is to enforce the laws that already exist.

Michael F. Fontes

West Tisbury