On Sept. 13, three years and two days after the terrorist assault on the United States, the 10-year ban on assault weapons was allowed to sunset because of lack of interest.

An editorial in this paper used the words responsibility and accountability as suggested guidelines for civilian use of such weapons, which will now become available without any restrictions.

If the speed limit between Pendleton and Milton-Freewater were raised overnight to 90 mph, some people would drive that fast, or die trying. I suspect few people would consider their actions responsible. Of course, responsible people wouldn't raise the speed limit to 90 mph in the first place.

I realize this is rural America, where hunting is a way of life and gun ownership is held sacred, and I have no disagreement with either. However, military-style weapons with large magazines weren't designed for shooting ducks, rabbits, deer or other game animals.

Nor are they designed for target shooting, unless the "targets" are human beings.

I recall a weapons instructor saying, "If you can't blow their heads off, then lay down enough fire to keep their heads down so they can't shoot back at you."

And that was in reference to using a basic weapon of that period, the M1 rifle. High capacity, fully automatic arms are ideal for keeping heads down or blowing them off.

The debate on this subject has some gimmicky hyperbole on both sides; but one thing must surely be evident to almost anyone: Banning these types of weapons won't do any harm to us common, ordinary citizens.

Unlike the president, who likely would have lost some supporters if he had actually called upon the Congress to extend the ban.

Given the arm-twisting ability of the group in the White House and their propensity for using it, (note the highly touted, narrowly failed "energy bill" that John McCain dubbed "no lobbyist left behind," and the "prescription drug" bill that was passed only as a result of Herculean and unprecedented efforts, and which belongs in that same category).

Surely President Bush could have gotten cooperation from his part on an issue such as this.

The incident I mentioned regarding a lecture by the weapons instructor occurred a little more than 50 years ago during basic training. Isn't it remarkable that elements of one's military service are so easily remembered? I suppose it's because military service is a unique experience never to be forgotten.

Harvey Foreman


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