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December 2, 1992

Assault Weapons as a Public Health Hazard

Author Affiliations

Apopka, Fla

JAMA. 1992;268(21):3072-3073. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490210054027

To the Editor.  —The Council Report entitled "Assault Weapons as a Public Health Hazard in the United States"1 must be rejected as being without scientific basis. It begins by asserting the "severity of the firearms problem" without supporting data. It continues with the false assertion that "assault weapons are meant to be spray-fired from the hip."2 The Council is well aware that its source, Handgun Control Incorporated, exists solely to ban private firearm ownership. Such a biased, political source should be anathema in scientific discourse.The Council asserts the statement of Sugermann and Rand3 that "assault weapons... can be distinguished by specific design characteristics." However, the Council concludes that "the single greatest barrier to... legislation... is a precise definition of the weapons." It can't be both ways! The fact is, the currently popular definitions, including the one used to ban importation of 49 models in 1989, rely