To the editor:
I recently visited some friends and relatives in Norway and found them to be very well-informed about the issues confronting the American public. One of those issues concerns gun control.
The average Norwegian considers the proposed ban on “assault rifles” to be the result of mass hysteria prompted by ignorance bordering on stupidity. They recognize that an “assault rifle” is just another form of a semi-automatic weapon identical in function to a myriad of other semi-automatic weapons.
There are many rifles and shotguns that are semi-automatic but differ only in certain cosmetic ways to their counterparts. Most modern handguns are also semi-automatic, firing one bullet every time the trigger is pulled.
Some of the people I talked to considered the present effort to ban “assault rifles” to be a very clever ploy on the part of the proponents for the ban. They felt it was a step toward banning all semi-automatic weapons when the general populace “discovered” that the weapons were identical in function.
It was interesting to note that they thought a ban on large capacity magazines was a credible one.
It is a well-known fact Norwegian law prohibits, with rare exception, it’s citizens from owning or possessing handguns. It also requires that anyone buying a rifle or shotgun, must first obtain permission to purchase the weapon, and after buying it they must register it with the government and personally carry a permit verifying ownership.
Permission to own a weapon is usually granted only for hunting purposes.
The Norwegians attribute the mass murder of 70 of their citizens, by an individual who casually strolled around an island with an illegally smuggled semi-automatic or fully automatic rifle, shooting people as they tried to hide under tables or behind trees, to a certain degree of complacency on their part. They noted that the gunman appeared to be fully aware of the fact that no one on the island had a weapon, so he was never in any danger of being confronted by a person capable of retaliating in kind. When finally confronted by armed police, he immediately dropped his weapon and surrendered.
I asked some, if they had a weapon in their possession and were confronted by the shooter, would they have killed him? They all answered in the affirmative.
CAPT. FRED M. MCGINNIS, USN-RETIRED