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Newsday letters to the editor for Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blumenthal show

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blumenthal show a photograph of a rifle with a bump stock on Oct. 4, 2017, while announcing a bill to ban devices that could make weapons fully automatic. Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Every mass shooting seems to trigger the lament that Congress has failed to pass adequate gun control legislation [“After Las Vegas, where to go on guns?” Letters, Oct. 13].

This is soon followed by the left’s perennial call for a national debate, which it immediately dooms to failure by conflating critical terms such as “automatic” versus “semiautomatic.”

Here are a few facts: Automatic, machine-gun-style weapons have been essentially banned by federal law; background checks, including mental health and domestic abuse histories, are required and performed by the FBI, local police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for sales through licensed dealers; the conversion of semiautomatic guns is illegal.

The National Rifle Association has long supported strict gun law prosecutions, which fell significantly during the Obama years, and favors eliminating the bump stock loophole created, ironically, under President Barack Obama.

Before we can debate any gun legislation we need to define our terms accurately and recognize at least one sad, fundamental truth: No legislation would have prevented the shootings in Las Vegas; Newtown, Connecticut; Orlando, Florida; or San Bernadino, California, etc.

In a society already corrupted by lapsed morals and the glorification of gun violence by Hollywood and the video game industry, evil will always surface.

John F. Picciano, Huntington

Enemies of the United States relax! Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, supporters of the National Rifle Association, haters of racial, religious and ethnic stereotypes, and science deniers are doing your job for you.

The White House and Congress are aiding and abetting in the destruction of our democracy. To paraphrase the words of a well-known cartoon character, Pogo, we have met the enemy, and it is us.

Fred Zuckerberg, East Hills

Reading so many ideas on how to regulate guns, or not, I’ve concluded that no one is looking at the most logical idea: Regulate the gun manufacturers.

If President Donald Trump can call on team owners to fire football players who take a knee or don’t stand for the flag, he can certainly make it clear to his fellow entrepreneurs that semiautomatic or more lethal guns should not be manufactured for sale to gun shops, retailers at gun shows or anywhere else. There are enough other types of guns to keep shops open and thriving.

The Second Amendment was not written to allow recreational fun and games, and hunters know better than to fire repeatedly because they only ruin the meat of the animal hunted. The semiautomatic rifle has one purpose: to kill or maim as many people as possible in the shortest time. It is a military weapon and should be made and sold only to the military.

Christin M. Veech, Commack

Bump stocks that make rifles into automatic rifles are not the problem. The problem is magazines that hold 30 to 60 rounds of ammunition. There is no reason for a civilian to have more than a three- or five-round clip or magazine. That is what’s needed for hunting.

Richard Tartaglia, Centerport

As a certified firearms instructor, I agree with most of what Newsday’s editorial board had to say in “America gunning for itself” [Editorial, Oct. 8].

As much as I know about firearms, I had never heard of a bump stock. Now that I know how it works, I can see no use for it. If this is used to create a machine-gun, it must be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to the National Firearms Act of 1934.

Banning certain guns is a brain-dead idea. Why not ban cars that can exceed 100 mph? We don’t blame the car for speeding, we blame the driver — so, why do we blame the gun?

Banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds is another idea that will not work. It reminds me of the term “cop-killer bullets.” Any bullet is a cop-killer bullet in the wrong hands.

Edward Morris, Hampton Bays

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the National Rifle Association.

My grandparents came to this country to escape persecution in Eastern Europe. I love this country. We are a generous, compassionate people who profess noble ideals.

Lately, however, my pride as an American is being tested. Among other things, a small but powerful group has hijacked the Second Amendment, interpreting it to the organization’s narrow, self-serving needs to make ownership of weapons of mass destruction seem like a human right.

Nothing on health care is getting done because too few see it as the human right it should be, and the strides that have been made to clean up the planet and save the environment for our children and grandchildren are being turned back.

My hope for the future is that people of integrity will step forward to lead our country in a better direction.

Kenneth Lang, Glen Head

Correction: An earlier version of these letters stated in an editor's note that reader John F. Picciano of Huntington was a member of the National Rifle Association. He said he is not.