Monday, April 06, 2009

Gun Control - It's Never Too Late

Ever since I completed my military service 40 years ago I've been a big proponent of gun control.

I believe civilians should not be allowed to own pistols, or, if they do, those weapons should be housed at secure ranges and checked out/in whenever they are fired. Military-style short barrel semi-automatic firearms should be outlawed.

I believe semi-automatic long guns owned by civilians should have a maximum capacity of 4-5 rounds and be of a minimum overall length. Military-style long guns should be outlawed. Long guns capable of certain range/energy outputs should be outlawed as well. Hunters would be perfectly capable of doing their business under my rules.

It should be a crime for a private citizen to own a bulletproof vest or armor-piercing bullets.

I'd be happy if the government offered an amnesty period where guns now deemed illegal under my rules would be purchased by the government at the price paid by the owner. After that period expires, jail time starts.

I own three long guns and a hunting bow. I hunt, and many of my friends are shooters or hunters. I don't want to interfere with a pastime long entrenched in our culture. However, I do want to interfere with two ideas more recently brought into our culture: 1) that ownership of a super-powered or concealed weapon makes an individual personally powerful, and 2), that these types of guns are appropriate for self-defense.

I have been scared out of my wits at shooting ranges, watching guys and gals pretend to be something they are not - soldiers or law enforcement personnel. They act out fantasies where their weapons give them power they have not been able to achieve in other aspects of their lives. I have felt a lot of danger as these people played with their grownup "toys". Now, more and more often, my fears are becoming a reality.

Our gun culture has provided drug gangs with arsenals. It has allowed the arming of many people who now feel disenfranchised and angered by the economic downturn. It has given incredibly destructive power to those who, incited by right wing ideologues, feel that the government should be attacked if they disagree with its political decisions. In many instances, law enforcement personnel (often infatuated with weapons, themselves) have supported the right of citizens to own non-sporting weapons and such items as bulletproof vests. Now, the piper is being paid. Cops and innocent citizens are being murdered in cold blood.

It's sad that police are being killed by "average citizens". It's sad that police have to wait outside gun crime scenes because they fear they are outgunned by some fool who just killed a bunch of people inside. It's sad that in downtown Rochester, NY, there are likely far more unregistered, concealed pistols in the pockets of ordinary citizens than pistols in the holsters of the police. The answer to this ridiculous situation is not, as some would argue, everyone getting a gun for their own pocket. The answer is to get rid of the guns.

The NRA likes to pretend it's for the hunters. Baloney! The NRA is for the gun industry, an industry grown prosperous by arming citizens with types of weapons they have no good reason to own - with weapons that are often used in crimes and, increasingly, against law enforcement. The NRA is a menace to America. Are the profits of the gun industry worth the lives being lost due to the NRA's foolishness? Check back on this a year from now.

If people love guns, let them join the military, the reserves, or the police. Believe me, shooting a cannon or a rocket launcher is a lot more thrilling than shooting a puny little Glock9! Otherwise, let them find another way to assert whatever manhood they may have (or lack, I would surmise in many cases). I'm tired of all this nonsense with guns! Let's pull them back in and melt them down.


Dave said...

I'm on your side; but, good luck to us.

Anonymous said...

The NRA's logic is circular: "We have to have guns to protect ourselves from the people with guns."

On a side note, two of my neighbors have machine guns. When one neighbor bought one, the other wanted one, too. It turns out they're not difficult to get, all it really involves is filling out a form. They can each take out a whole herd of deer now.

Ron Davison said...

Machine guns are easy to get? Ouch.

I don't understand why anyone would need armor penetrating bullets or guns powerful enough to knock over a Volkswagen. (Okay - some of those little cars are annoying ...) Our guns laws are a place where the law is beholden to industry, not the interests of average people. Hmm. I guess that's true in most places - it is just that so few translate into so many deaths.