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A hole in Depp gun tale

July 05, 2009

I believe as talented an actor as he is, Johnny Depp was using some of his improvisational skills when he told Rachel Abramowitz that he fired a relative's Thompson machine gun when he was 5 or 6 years old ("The Outlaw," June 28).

Depp was born in 1963, and ever since the National Firearms Act of 1934, it has been illegal for civilians to own fully automatic weapons in this country without being specifically licensed by the U.S. Treasury Department, a complicated process in which permission is rarely given.

Movie studios may possess such weapons, but they have been specially altered with gas and spring devices that permit them to shoot only blanks.

RICK HACKER

Beverly Hills

In addition, another reader pointed out that the proper terminology is a Thompson submachine gun.

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