Free for All
-- John D. Van Gorp
Lexington Park, Md.
Weapons Ban Explained
Regarding your July 11 news story "Weapons Ban Set to Fade Into Sunset": In 1994, Congress defined "assault weapons" as those semiautomatic firearms with features resembling fully automatic machine guns. All semiautos manufactured today comply with the restrictions of this law, function mechanically the same way as "banned" firearms and even use the same ammunition. "Banned" firearms originally manufactured with "assault weapon" cosmetic features remain legal to buy and sell. Congress never forbade their ownership nor banned them for target shooting or hunting. Nothing about that will change in September when the law expires.
-- Gary G. Mehalik
The writer is director of communications for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
I enjoyed Peter Carlson's July 10 Style piece, "Those Good Old-Time Olympics," but he made a significant historical error. Carlson wrote that "in A.D. 312, Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire."
In A.D. 313 Constantine the Great and his co-emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan, which legalized all religions in the Roman Empire. After Constantine had been dead for about 43 years, Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the empire, banning all others.
-- Kenneth W. Collins
© 2004 The Washington Post Company