Bartly Matthews is correct that "military" assault weapons are capable of laying down a "field of fire" when operated in fully automatic mode, or machine gun style ("Gun ban needed" Jan. 24). However, military-style weapons sold to the American public are not — contrary to what Hollywood depicts and what the liberal media would have us believe.

Fully automatic weapons have been regulated in the U.S. since 1934. The only difference between a semi-automatic sporting rifle and alleged assault rifle is purely cosmetic: folding stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount and flash suppressor. They both require that the trigger be pulled once for every bullet fired. They both use magazines and they both fire the same type of ammunition. The exact same damage can be done by a semi-automatic handgun or sporting rifle.

Banning alleged assault rifles is strictly a symbolic move by liberal lawmakers and the next step in their agenda to abolish the Second Amendment. Instead of penalizing law-abiding American citizens by taking their guns, our lawmakers should spend their efforts on providing better care for the mentally ill instead of making it harder to hold and treat them.

Brad Merritt

Woodland Hills