To the Editor:
In his Jan. 9 letter, Robert Boyd directed some of his comments to me. He incorrectly indicated that I conceded that some weapons can be banned. I didn’t. I merely commented that the state of Illinois has banned the private possession of machine guns. The other 49 states allow the private ownership of machine guns in accordance with the National Firearms Act (NFA). Illinois should, in my opinion, also allow ownership under NFA rules.
It would be nice if people learned something about firearms before they commented on them. For instance, Mr. Boyd said that assault rifles are not machine guns. In fact, according to civil law, assault rifles are shoulder-fired machine guns.
Other characteristics of assault rifles are that they tend to be fairly compact (carbine instead of rifle length) for easier use in urban fighting, for which they were first developed (during World War II), and fire a relatively low-powered round. For example, Germany’s StG44 fires a 7.92 x 33 round, smaller and weaker than the 7.92 x 57 round used in their rifles. The USSR’s AK47 fires a 7.62 x 39 round, smaller and weaker than the 7.62 x 54R used in their rifles. Our own M16, and its M4 variant, fires a 5.56 x 45 round, smaller and weaker than the 7.62 x 51 round used in our M14.