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  1. Opinion

These rifles were built to be lethal in war

Wednesday’s letters to the editor

Banning assault weapons

Rifles were built to be lethal in war

What my military weapons training taught me years ago: The M-16 (the fully automatic-capable version of the AR-15) was created to help increase the effectiveness of American soldiers facing similarly armed enemies. The new U.S. rifles were lighter, could be loaded with more rounds of ammunition, were mechanically dependable and had a faster rate of fire and a higher muzzle velocity. The introduction of the M-16 was entirely necessary for soldiers slogging through hot and humid Southeast Asian jungles.

In the hands of the average soldier, the M-16 was not only more lethal but more forgiving of poor marksmanship. Firing range instructors pointed out that with an M-16, any hit on the human profile target was scored as a “kill.” The M-16’s small-caliber, high-velocity bullet would do more damage than the once standard, slower and larger 30-caliber projectile. A single M-16 bullet was designed to take off a hand at the wrist or ricochet inside a body to cause more medically untreatable damage. Though the M-16 could be fully automatic, we were taught to use it in semi-automatic mode — in other words, like an AR-15.

Killing with less necessary skill was the goal. A justifiable result in wartime, but clearly not desirable when such weapons are routinely and legally obtained to efficiently kill unarmed, peaceful people.

Roger Crescentini Sr., Tampa

Not designed for home use

How many people have carried an assault weapon for three years in the Army? How many people have been on the 38th parallel in Korea very close to North Korean soldiers for 13 months? How many have graduated from the Army noncommissioned office academy? How many have been a training sergeant, training new soldiers on assault weapons? I list these things only in humility to say you really don’t want your neighbors to have these military assault weapons in their homes. Rather than have a debate on this in your living room, I invite you to go to a local firing range and fire an assault weapon to see the awesome power of these weapons. You may say, wow, I don’t think this is a Second Amendment weapon.

Richard Miller, Bradenton

Administration proposes ban on non-tobacco vaping flavors | Sept. 12

More bold action, please

Praise to our president and other elected leaders who see an emerging threat to public health and safety for tackling the vape industry to prevent further spread of life-threatening illness. With all due respect to those affected and to their families, where is the bold action on bigger issues like companies that manufacture and distribute contaminated or highly addictive drugs? Bigger still, where is the bold action on gun violence? People sickened by vaping products have a choice to simply avoid them. Mass shooting victims are going about their lives shopping, attending school, working or enjoying social activities. It would seem the vape industry doesn’t have a strong political lobby like the pharma and gun industries.

John Kelley, Tampa

Showdown for the NRA? | Sept. 16

Donating prayers, not cash

An acquaintance who is a member of the Republican National Committee asked me if I would donate my time or money to “the cause.” I said I would offer “my thoughts and prayers” instead.

Michael Lang, Seminole