Letters for March 22, 2018

Maybe definition is nothing

Re “Definition is everything” (letters, Feb. 22):

What the heck was Michel Rottman talking about? He uses the terms single action and double action, which only apply to revolvers. A single action revolver must have the hammer manually pulled back prior to each shot. The trigger performs only a single action which is to release the hammer. In a double action revolver the trigger performs two actions, both cocking and releasing the hammer.

I imagine he was confusing these terms with the difference between a bolt-action rifle and a semi-auto rifle. In a bolt-action rifle, the bolt must be manually opened, pulled back and returned forward between each shot which limits the rate of fire. In a semi-auto, the action cycles automatically after each shot and will fire each time the trigger is pulled.

We need more restrictions on high power, high-capacity, rifles but let’s make sure we know what we are talking about.

William Micklish


I ran across the use (misuse/incorrect definition?) of the terms “single action” and “double action” that are defined and used incorrectly. As far as I know, and in current use, they apply to firearm action types where “single action” refers to an action where the hammer (or other striking device) must be manually cocked (and, by that motion/action, a new cartridge moved into position to be fired) by moving that “hammer” part and the trigger cannot do this. It can only release the hammer (fire the weapon) after it is manually cocked, whereas the term “double action” applies to an action that allows pulling the trigger to cock, move into firing position another cartridge and trip (“fire”), the weapon not requiring that the hammer (or striking device) be physically contacted and moved by the operator.

In modern usage, the terms “semi-automatic” and “automatic” mean, respectively, that one pull of the trigger will result only in one shot, but the action automatically reloads itself in preparation for the trigger being released and then pulled again to fire one more shot, after which the weapon reloads itself, etc. An “automatic” (sometimes called fully automatic), on the other hand, is defined as a weapon that requires only that the trigger be pulled and held back, resulting in said weapon continuing to fire until its attached ammunition supply is exhausted or until the trigger is released. This is “automatic” fire and is not considered to be related to either single action or double action. Some “assault” weapons and some military weapons have two separate and distinct automatic modes/selector positions, one being a short (usually about three-round) burst and the other position allowing true fully automatic fire.

I hope this clarification of these definitions prompts the letter’s author, the editor and anyone that happened to read that letter claiming to properly define the terms “single action” and “double action” to seek the correct definitions as used in the gun world and in the legal world. I believe that I am correct on this. If it so happens that I am not, I’d sure like to hear what authoritative source defines these terms in some other manner.

Don Johnson


Negotiated peace

Re “Cockamamie legal theories” (Let Freedom Ring, Jan. 25):

Besides the fact that few ranchers, anywhere, have gone as overboard as the Bundys (they are nutz), the original “beef” was over protections for the desert tortoise. Bundy used this as a convenient excuse to skip his grazing fees.

In a more perfect Union, both sides would have backed down and renegotiated terms, much as there should have been a judicial review in the Oregon ranchers’ case. It would be illogical to disarm in the face of trespassing, ragtag militia and alt-right types.

The law enforcement component of these agencies is an outcome of many factors—there were outside agents, as well. Most land managers are unarmed public servants. Apparently, it is “OK” to suggest employees be “blind-sided,” like Rand Paul was (?).

The bottom line is that most Americans want their public lands managed for all, for wildlife, and for natural resource protection. Science, managed policy, and transparency are preferable to dystopian takeovers.

Steev Klutter

Sun Valley