Those who use the term “assault weapons” are uninformed about firearms

The current debate on gun control has our nation and communities deeply divided. As a retired law enforcement officer and now a firearm business owner, you might expect me to be “all in” as a hardline gun rights “shall not be infringed” advocate.

But as I described in my previous opinion piece published in the Sun-Times on June 7, 2022, I am quite moderate and open to real solutions on this issue.

Though I support universal background checks, a well-administered Firearm Owners Identification Card system, red flag laws and even safe storage requirements, I am fiercely opposed to any so-called assault weapons ban. A ban would be not only unconstitutional because rifles such as the AR-15 are by far the most commonly owned and lawfully used rifle in the country, but because a ban seeks to prohibit firearms based on features that have nothing to do with “lethality” or any perceived unique suitability for criminal use.

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When the phrase “assault weapon” hits the ears of those of us who are actually firearm experts, we cringe in response to the ignorance that use of the term demonstrates. No matter how well-intentioned, if a person uses the term “assault weapon” to describe the AR-15 and similar firearms, they immediately lose all credibility in the minds of those who know the facts and understand the technical details critical to the conversation.

There is common ground to be found in many other measures identified above. But with regard to so-called assault weapons, there can be no common ground because there is no common knowledge. Knowledge and expertise matter.

As a political issue that seeks to define and categorize a firearm along legal and technical lines, expert opinions based on decades of professional training and experience have to carry more weight than the opinions of the uninformed and the less informed. If you are inclined to ban other people’s possessions and infringe upon their rights (even if you don’t agree with what those rights are), you have an obligation to your fellow citizens to take the time to learn about what you are talking about.

Seek out information from local firearm experts such as licensed dealers and experienced instructors. Don’t succumb to uninformed mob thinking such as that which permeates fear-based anti-gun groups and the politicians who cater to them. Get the knowledge yourself, think critically, and only then make a decision.

Benjamin D. Ferdinand, president, Benjamin Tactical Inc., Libertyville

Many residents oppose housing project

David Roeder is wrong in his recent reporting about a housing development in Lincoln Square when he wrote “the project drew broad support.”

Over 3,000 residents and shoppers signed petitions and called the city to save a city-owned parking lot near a CTA Brown Line station.

Why is the city in a rush to give millions of dollars to an out-of-town developer to build mostly studio and one-bedroom apartments? What families with children will be served by this insider deal negotiated mostly in secret?

Michael Sullivan, Avondale

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