Assault weapons go back to our Founding Fathers

To the editor:

In response to the June 16 editorial "Act before the next gun massacre, somber vigil," there has been a large massacre within the United States that hasn't had the extensive media coverage that it should actually get.

This year, 1,523 people have been shot in Chicago, 280 of those were killed, and for the month of June, 49 have been shot and killed. How did a large majority of people die? Was it because of assault weapons, otherwise known as semi-automatic rifles? No! A majority of these people were shot a killed with pistols, not semi-automatic rifles.

There were also assault weapons during the time of the Continental Congress. The Belton Flintlock, designed in 1777, was similar to the Puckle Gun but was designed for portable, one-man use. It was offered directly to the Continental Congress, so the early legislatures were most certainly aware of its existence. It was advertised as firing up to 20 shots in 16 seconds. In other words, it was both "rapid fire" and "military style."

The Continental Congress even commissioned a purchase of 100 of the Belton Flintlock arms, but they were considered to be too expensive and the order was eventually dismissed. ("Gun Control: The Puckle Gun, Belton Flintlock, Ignorance, and Fear.")


George Washington probably better understood better than anybody else our need for protection. As Washington said "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined, to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military, supplies." (Speech in the United States Congress, January 8, 1790; "George Washington: A Collection," compiled and edited by W.B. Allen.)

Our founders understood the purpose of the freedom to protect ourselves. and use military style supplies.

By outlawing semi-automatic firearms, you would be contradicting our founding fathers vision of America, and the rights of millions of law abiding citizens who this law would effect. If you want a decrease in gun violence get rid of gun free zones, and educate people about firearms.

Benjamin Misner-Elias, Pittsfield