Courtland Milloy’s Jan. 16 Metro column, “A staunch defender of civil (and gun) rights,” definitely provides something to ponder for advocates of gun registration, but it is worth noting that Charles (Chuck) Hicks and his family members used a shotgun and rifle to fend off attacks by the Ku Klux Klan; they did not use an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, nor other civilian versions of military weapons that have been on the market only since the late 1970s — the era in which mass shootings have escalated dramatically. Many of the tragedies we see today are a direct result of the gun industry’s efforts to shore up their profits at the expense of public safety.

Speaking for myself alone, the issue is not shotguns, hunting rifles or even handguns; it is weapons of mass slaughter. Mr. Milloy’s underlying assumption is that restricting civilian access to military weapons equates to “infringing on Second Amendment rights.” I would not deny anyone the right to self-defense, but this argument does not hold up. You can’t buy a bazooka, you can’t drive a Sherman tank down the highway, and there is no reason why semiautomatic weapons ought to be widely available to civilians.

D.W. Gregory, Silver Spring

The writer is a volunteer to the steering committee for the March on Washington for Gun Control.