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If the AR-15 is the most lethal gun available to civilians, why not try to control it?

If the AR-15 is the most lethal gun available to civilians, why not try to control it?
An AR-15 rifle on display at a gun shop in North Carolina in 2012. (Chuck Liddy / TNS)

To the editor: Jon Stokes does not deny the AR-15 "is the most easy to use and the most lethal gun available to civilians." He also says that people like him "who defend the 2nd Amendment right to own guns must reckon with this technological reality." ("The assault weapons ban didn't work. A new version won't, either," Opinion, March 1)

Toward the end, he writes that "if a new ban passes and it's anything like the old one, millions of Americans will be able to legally obtain substantially the same guns we can buy today, but we'll just have to buy them in pieces."

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OK. So what would be the objection to discussing and negotiating out the technicalities and vagaries of the "functionally unenforceable original ban's feature-based approach" that would produce a better defined, more easily enforceable new law regulating assault weapons?

We need to stop creating excuses for why things can't be done. The status quo is not working.

Larry Slonim, Huntington Beach

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To the editor: Stokes plays with the numbers until he is able to conclude that they are "far too small for any sort of statistical inference" because only five mass shootings took place with "assault weapons" in 10 years of their legality versus only three when they were banned.

One mass shooting is too many. One life saved is enough to override gun owners' desire to play with their toys. Shame on them.

Stokes criticizes the generally respected work of University of Massachusetts at Boston professor Louis Klarevas. It is tragic that, due to federal law backed by the National Rifle Assn., we have no better statistics, as "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be used to advocate or promote gun control." That should change.

Frustrated gun owners get absolutely no sympathy from me. Parents burying their children do.

Martha S. Motia, La Cañada Flintridge

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To the editor: I know nothing about guns except as a heartsick spectator to the carnage these weapons have caused.

Stokes asserts that another assault weapons ban will not work. Fine then, let's make the new ban better and more inclusive of every nutty kind of AR-15-style weapon and any of their cousins. Let's ban all parts of these military weapons that no sane person would own.

When we discover more loopholes, let's promptly close them up. Then, let's make owning a gun more arduous and difficult than, say, getting a driver's license or opening a hair salon.

JJ Flowers, Laguna Beach

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