Nothing in my lifetime goes in the history books as such a horrible time as this past weekend. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut was a tragedy that will never be forgotten by the families and friends of those innocents who lost their lives. It will also never be forgotten by those who intend to hammer it into political agenda both for and against gun control. It is forever cemented in our memories and most likely will be cemented in policy as well. Arguments will be made by both sides for months to come, and it will be referred to as a “what if” by pundits for the next ten years. We will likely never hear the end of it, which is in itself a tragedy for the loved ones of those involved. They will likely never have true peace as long as it remains a tool for politicians and gun advocacy groups from both sides of the aisle to use. It will be mentioned in the news media for years to come, as a reference point for gauging the caliber of future disasters, much as Columbine was before it. Sandy Hook is the new Columbine. For that, my heart goes out to those families and I can only pray that something good can come out of it; some lesson can be learned that can save even one life. Nothing will ever make those sacrifices worthwhile; nothing.
As part of the preparation for this article, I’ve devoted a massive amount of time to fact-checking everything I’m going to say here. I realize I have a readership that for the most part takes my word on things, which is to be both appreciated and cautioned against. It raises the stakes for any article I write and I try hard to be incredibly sure of any “fact” I lay out for or against an argument. Having said that, feel free to check anything you read here. Feel free to recalculate any statistics you see me quote, and feel free to let me know if there is something I’ve either forgotten or misrepresented. I’m human, and therefore fallible.
According to ABC news, there have been 31 school shootings in the US since Columbine in 1999, when 13 people were killed. That got me thinking about shootings in general, which are too numerous to count, and massacres, which thankfully number much less. I’m going to borrow some information I read online at another site. If you’d like to see the source, it’s here. It specifically relates to massacres in the United States since our lives changed with Columbine.
These are most all of the the mass-shootings in the US since Columbine. I’ve taken a couple hours and done a little research that I think needs to be done EVERY time a shooting incident happens in the US. Specifically, pay attention to a few things in the following reports; what kind of guns were used? How were they stopped? Did local laws allow an armed defender to defend themselves or others at that particular location? If we are going to hold these instances up as reasons for or against a gun-control philosophy, I think it’s important that all aspects be revealed, for the sake of absolute clarity. All of these, in my opinion, play a serious part in thinking whether gun legislation, especially “assault-weapons” legislation is enacted, and if so, how.
The following is a harrowing list of American tragedy. They’re listed here in as brief a manner as possible, not out of disrespect or lack of compassion, but out of a need to make them easily comparable for analysis.
December 11, 2012. On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts killed 2 people and himself with a stolen rifle in Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. His motive is unknown.
Weapons Used: AR-15 semi-automatic rifle
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound after confronted with an armed defender.
Guns Allowed: Not on mall property, but the actual town; Yes.
August 5, 2012. Six Sikh temple members were killed when 40-year-old US Army veteran Wade Michael Page opened fire in a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Four others were injured, and Page killed himself.
Weapon Used: Springfield XD 9mm Pistol
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound to evade police.
Guns Allowed: No
July 20, 2012. During the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58. Holmes was arrested outside the theater.
Weapons Used: Pump action 12 gauge, .40 caliber pistol, Smith and Wesson M&P 15.
Method of Capture: Surrendered to police.
Guns Allowed: No (theatre’s charge admission to the public, so this means no carrying)
April 2, 2012. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA. The shooting was the sixth-deadliest school massacre in the US and the deadliest attack on a school since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
Weapon Used: .45 caliber pistol
Method of Capture: Arrested by police.
Guns Allowed: No
October 14, 2011. Eight people died in a shooting at Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach, CA. The gunman, 41-year-old Scott Evans Dekraai, killed six women and two men dead, while just one woman survived. It was Orange County’s deadliest mass killing.
Weapons Used: 9mm Springfield pistol, H&K .45 pistol, Smith and Wesson 44 magnum.
Method of Capture: Arrested by Police.
Guns Allowed: Varies. (Orange County is a “may issue” locale)
September 6, 2011. Eduardo Sencion, 32, entered an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, NV and shot 12 people. Five died, including three National Guard members.
Weapon Used: AK-47 (this actually IS an assault-rifle)
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Guns Allowed: Yes
January 8, 2011. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head when 22-year-old Jared Loughner opened fire on an event she was holding at a Safeway market in Tucson, AZ. Six people died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Giffords’ staffers, and a 9-year-old girl. 19 total were shot. Loughner has been sentenced to seven life terms plus 140 years, without parole.
Weapon Used: Glock 9mm pistol
Method of Capture: subdued by bystanders
Guns Allowed: In Tucson, Yes. In Safeway supermarkets: some yes and some no.
November 5, 2009. Forty-three people were shot by Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan at the Fort Hood army base in Texas. Hasan reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire, killing 13 and wounding 29 others.
Weapon Used: FN Five-Seven pistol
Method of Capture: Arrested by police.
Guns Allowed: Not really applicable – it’s a military base.
April 3, 2009. Jiverly Wong, 41, opened fire at an immigration center in Binghamton, New York before committing suicide. He killed 13 people and wounded 4.
Weapons Used: 9mm Beretta Vertec pistol, .45 Beretta Storm pistol
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: No
March 29, 2009. Eight people died in a shooting at the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, NC. The gunman, 45-year-old Robert Stewart, was targeting his estranged wife who worked at the home and survived. Stewart was sentenced to life in prison.
Weapons Used: Remington 597 .22 rifle, .357 revolver, .22 magnum pistol, 12 gauge Winchester 1300 shotgun.
Method of Capture: Arrested by police.
Guns Allowed: Not on the premises, prohibited by sign on the property.
February 14, 2008. Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University, killing 6 and wounding 21. The gunman shot and killed himself before police arrived. It was the fifth-deadliest university shooting in US history.
Weapons Used: 12 gauge Remington Sportsman shotgun, 9mm Glock 19 pistol, 9mm Sig Sauer P232 pistol, .380 pistol
Method of Capture: self-inflicted gunshot wound
Guns Allowed: No
February 7, 2008. Six people died and two were injured in a shooting spree at the City Hall in Kirkwood, Missouri. The gunman, Charles Lee Thornton, opened fire during a public meeting after being denied construction contracts he believed he deserved. Thornton was killed by police.
Weapons Used: Smith and Wesson model 29 44 Magnum revolver, Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol,
Method of Capture: Shot and killed by police.
Guns Allowed: Not in city hall.
December 5, 2007. A 19-year-old boy, Robert Hawkins, shot up a department store in the Westroads Mall in Omaha, NE. Hawkins killed 9 people and wounded 4 before killing himself. The semi-automatic rifle he used was stolen from his stepfather’s house.
Weapons Used: Century WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle.
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: Not on mall property.
April 16, 2007. Virginia Tech became the site of the deadliest school shooting in US history when a student, Seung-Hui Choi, gunned down 56 people. Thirty-two people died in the massacre.
Weapons Used: Glock 19 pistol, Walther P22 pistol.
Method of Capture: suicide
Guns Allowed: No
February 12, 2007. In Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square Mall, 5 people were shot to death and 4 others were wounded by 18-year-old gunman Sulejman Talović. One of the victims was a 16-year-old boy.
Weapons Used: Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun, 38 caliber pistol
Method of Capture: Shot by off-duty police office illegally carrying his weapon.
Guns Allowed: No, but you can NOW. They removed the on-premises signs.
October 2, 2006. An Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, PA was gunned down by 32-year-old Charles Carl Roberts, Roberts separated the boys from the girls, binding and shooting the girls. 5 young girls died, while 6 were injured. Roberts committed suicide afterward.
Weapons Used: Springfield XD 9mm pistol, Browning 12 gauge shotgun, Ruger .30-06 bolt-action rifle.
Method of Capture: Suicide
Guns Allowed: No
March 25, 2006. Seven died and 2 were injured by 28-year-old Kyle Aaron Huff in a shooting spree through Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA. The massacre was the worst killing in Seattle since 1983.
Weapons Used: Winchester 1300 12 gauge shotgun, Ruger P944 40 caliber pistol
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Guns Allowed: No (It’s a private residence, but alcohol was on-site, so it would be unlawful to carry regardless of the local law.)
March 21, 2005. Teenager Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend before opening fire on Red Lake Senior High School, killing 9 people on campus and injuring 5. Weise killed himself.
Weapons Used: .40 caliber Glock 23 pistol, .22 caliber Ruger pistol, Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun.
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: No
March 12, 2005. A Living Church of God meeting was gunned down by 44-year-old church member Terry Michael Ratzmann at a Sheraton hotel in Brookfield, WI. Ratzmann was thought to have had religious motivations, and killed himself after executing the pastor, the pastor’s 16-year-old son, and 7 others. Four were wounded.
Weapon Used: 9mm pistol
Method of Capture: self-inflicted gunshot wound
Guns Allowed: Yes, (I think)
July 8, 2003. Doug Williams, a Lockheed Martin employee, shot up his plant in Meridian, MI in a racially-motivated rampage. He shot 14 people, most of them African American, and killed 7.
Weapons Used: Winchester 12 gauge shotgun, Ruger Mini-14 .223 caliber rifle.
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: No
September 15, 1999. Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire on a Christian rock concert and teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX. He killed 7 people and wounded 7 others, almost all teenagers. Ashbrook committed suicide.
Weapons Used: Ruger 9mm Pistol, .380 ACP pistol
Method of Capture: Suicide
Guns Allowed: No
July 29, 1999. Mark Orrin Barton, 44, murdered his wife and two children with a hammer before shooting up two Atlanta day trading firms. Barton, a day trader, was believed to be motivated by huge monetary losses. He killed 12 including his family and injured 13 before killing himself.
Weapons Used: Colt .45 pistol, Glock 17 9mm pistol, .22 pistol revolver, .25 caliber pistol
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound
Guns Allowed: Too many various locations to determine all of them.
April 20, 1999. In the deadliest high school shooting in US history, teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Kiebold shot up Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. They killed 13 people and wounded 21 others. They killed themselves after the massacre.
Weapons Used: 12 gauge Savage shotgun, Hi-Point 9mm pistol, TEC-9 9mm pistol, 12 gauge Stevens shotgun, and 99 improvised explosives.
Method of Capture: Suicide
Guns Allowed: No
Let’s go through these numbers, because they are important. I hate the concept of reducing people’s lives to statistical figures for analysis, and that’s not what I’m doing. I’m looking at the truth of what happened to figure out what should be done, or at least to maybe help others decide what they think should be done.
- How many massacres are listed? 21
- Over how many years did they occur? 13
- How many people were killed in total? 183 people (including the killers)
- How many of them involved assault rifles? 1 (The AK-47)
- In how many of the 21 locations was a civilian allowed to carry a weapon to defend themselves or others? (Two, potentially three depending on the legality of one particular location in question.)
While atrocious in the extreme, and a fine example of some of our country’s worst human beings, pay attention to some of the aggregated figures revealed in these historical references.
Did you believe after hearing all these years that out of 21 massacres in our country’s recent history, a total of three of them happened in locations were people were allowed to carry guns? And of those 21 massacres, two of them were stopped by… wait for it… people carrying guns. What does this tell you? It tells you clearly that killers prefer places where people are defenseless. These aren’t men that commit these crimes. They aren’t even hunters. Hunting, by rule and design, is performed in such a way to provide a “sporting chance” for the prey to escape. These are killers, and by that clear divide are so far removed from the normal human being that it makes me wonder why we work so feverishly to legislate away the rights of normal people, when the killers among us aren’t going to follow those rules anyway.
In one instance above an off-duty cop broke the law by carrying a sidearm inside a mall that was clearly marked “No Firearms Allowed on Premises”, but thankfully he was able to take down the shooter and in the other instance more recently a mall patron drawing his weapon and aiming to return fire scared the murderer into a hallway where he shot himself rather than be captured. Everyone knows who the Clackamas town mall killer, but no one talks about Nick Meli… a twenty-two year old civilian with a concealed carry permit who did a few amazing things:
First, he checked to see if his friend and her baby were ok, getting them to cover.
Second, he pulled his concealed-carry piece in a mall with a crazed gunman, positioned himself behind cover and used a moment of distraction to draw down on a man who would likely blow his brains out if he had the chance.
Third; he didn’t fire. Because of another civilian behind the shooter in his potential line of fire, Nick never pulled the trigger.
Did that make the difference? People will argue that for a long time to come. Maybe seeing someone else with a gun was enough to make this guy think it was over. That seems to be a constant with these kinds of killers if you look at the facts. Almost 70% of them wind up putting a bullet into their own head as soon as they think capture is imminent. Maybe it just scared him long enough to make him stop shooting other people. Either way, less than a minute later, police were in the door and the shooter took his own life. People will judge Nick for a long time. He’ll be the butt of jokes, and some people will disbelieve his story. Regardless, the simple act of putting one’s own life between a crazed gun man and others, deserves a medal of honor in my book. Nick, the first beer is on me, buddy.
Sorry to digress - Without trying to resort to anything overly banal nor tacky, I’d like to analyze some of the pieces of information from the list of massacres. It seems fair to say that based on the 100% success rate in the two shootings where guns were involved, it seems mathematically possible that the other 90.4% of those fatalities could have been stopped mid-process by someone trained and permitted to carry a gun. Did someone with a gun stop the killing totally? No, only because they weren’t there at the perfect moment to do so. However they stopped MORE people from dying, and that counts a lot in my book. If not for those people, killings that left five or six dead could have instead left fifteen or twenty dead.
Let’s put that into mathematical figures one time – 90.4% of the the 183 deaths that happened as a result of gun-wielding lunatics happened in places where people aren’t allowed to carry guns to defend themselves. I don’t know about you but it seems to me that I’d rather have a pistol-packing third-grade teacher than a shotgun-wielding lunatic any day.
So What about Gun Control?
I know I’m going to disappoint every gun-toting Republican previously in my corner when I say this, but we DO need more gun control; much more. We just don’t need more prohibitions on firearms. They aren’t one in the same. We need proper enforcement of rules we already have.
And while I’m at it, all you people out there posting things like “Gun control is hitting them between the eyes” don’t make the conversation any easier for the rest of us who would actually like to discuss it like adults. People are dying and it’s our responsibility as human beings to stop it if we can. So, either say something constructive, or shut up.
Before I get on to gun control overall, let’s cover this stupid assault weapons crap that keeps coming up. Some people don’t know what it is, and others only think they do. Few actually bother to read the briefs instead of the headlines from the media, and fewer still read them more than once. (You can’t make sense of congressional briefs in a cliff-notes version read on the crapper. I’ve tried.)
So, on to the issue of assault weapons, just so we can get it out of the way.
What is an Assault Weapon?The “actual” definition of an assault weapon and the political definition are vastly different, which is why I have a problem with the term being hurled around the media by people who are too lazy to research their facts; this extends to includes the politicians voting on these by the way. Most of them don’t know the difference either. I’m going to focus on assault “rifles” since those are the issue at hand most of the time.
Which one of these below is an assault rifle?Let’s take a test: Which one of these rifles shown below is an assault rifle?
Do you know? Can you tell from the picture? I’m not going to tell you which one it is yet. Leave your comments below and see if you can figure it out.
Why does it matter? Well, to me personally it matters because as a gun-toting member of America, I will vigorously protect my right to bear arms, but within reason. Will anyone ever take my guns? Not unless they pry the trigger from my cold clammy fingers first. The first person to try will get them all, bullets first.
Does that mean I need an assault rifle, as per the actual definition of one? No! I have no need for an assault rifle, and personally I don’t think the average civilian does either. First off, no one can afford to shoot the danged things.. but we’ll get to that in a minute… or we won’t. Let’s leave it that bullets are expensive and few people have the money to really sit there and blow 50 bucks every three seconds. Let’s do a little more show and tell first.
Which is the more lethal rifle below? Based on ballistics?Which one of these guns below makes you want to wet your pants and hide in a corner?
You would be smart to assume that’s a trick question, because it is. The rifle on top is a typical Bushmaster .223, the weapon used by the killer in Connecticut. The second rifle, the one below, is a Winchester .308 hunting rifle, a rifle no one ever wants to throw a ban on.
Why is America scared of one more than the other? Because the first one “looks” mean. In all actuality, that second rifle shoots a lot further, hits a lot harder, and has a much meaner bullet. See below for yourself – I have both these kinds of ammo at home. These two bullets are lying side-by side. The top is the .223. The bottom is the .308.
Why is no one firing off political messages about banning Deer Hunting Rifles, because that’s what they both are by the way. Why? Because that .308 doesn’t look anywhere near as scary… I’d be lucky to hit a deer at 150 yards with a .223 and if I did it likely wouldn’t drop him unless it was a head shot. On the other hand I can put that .308 round through the chest-cavity of bambi at almost a mile, further away then she can even see it coming. Why are people scared of one over the other? The look of the gun…
Ok, let’s take that .308 and put a plastic housing on it, put a scope on it with a deflector, and a cool looking barrel, While I’m at it, I might as well make it black because that looks awesome, right?
Now we’ve made it into this:
Nah. I’m tired of that one. Now that I have some money I want to put one of those really cool-looking ACOG scopes on it so I can sight faster, and change out that smooth barrel for one with rails so maybe I can put a varmint-light on it for shooting coyotes at night. Since my whole family likes to shoot, let’s put on an adjustable stock so one gun will fit all of us, and change that barrel back to a factory one that’s longer so it’ s more accurate at long range. And just for kicks I’ll add a compensator to the barrel to make it look cool when it fires.
How’s that look? Hard to believe that’s almost the same rifle isn’t it? Ballistically, and with regard to its effect to do it’s job, it’s identical. Is it an assault rifle? No. It’s a hunting rifle, or a target rifle, that looks really awesome. That’s it.
Why do people like to build guns that look deadly? Because people like toys, and you can’t put a night-scope on my barrel without drilling holes in it, so you get one with rails, so you can just strap stuff to it. It’s cheaper and more effective to modify one rifle lots of different ways that it is to buy lots of rifles for different needs.
What it boils down to is that people are afraid of eye-glasses, kick-stands, and flashlights. Congratulations. That’s what most people think makes a gun an assault rifle: a kickstand, eyeglasses, and a flashlight.
What actually IS an assault rifle?What makes a rifle an “assault” rifle is a feature not available on most civilian rifles, and I don’t think it really should be. The technical definition is “a select-fire (either fully automatic or burst capable) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.” Sounds complicated; let’s break it down.
Fully Automatic or Burst-Capable
An Assault rifle has a selector switch that changes if from semi-automatic (one-shot), to burst-fire, to fully automatic. Your normal rifle, whatever it’s looks, is semi-automatic… well, let’s step back even further and cover most all of them.
Bolt-Action – You pull up the bolt, pull it back, push it forward, lock it down, squeeze the trigger, bang. Repeat.
Lever Action: You pull down the lever, push up the lever, squeeze the trigger, ban. Repeat.
Semi-Automatic Action: You engage the bolt (how depends on the rifle) pull the trigger, bang, pull the trigger, bang, pull the trigger, bang, etc.Repeat.
Burst-Action: You engage the bolt, pull the trigger, bang, bang, bang (three rounds fire one behind the other with ONE squeeze of the trigger.)
Fully Automatic-Action: You engage the bolt, pull the trigger, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, click when the magazine runs out.
Intermediate cartridge just means the bullet is more powerful than a pistol, but less powerful then a battle rifle. And detachable magazine just means you can remove or insert the bullets in some kind of case or magazine rather than one at a time into the gun’s action. None of these last two parts are really things people care about as much in my opinion, so I’ll leave off with that explanation.
Assault Weapons versus Assault WeaponsYou knew it was gonna get tricky didn’t you? Well now it just did. The Federal Government, in its traditional way of obfuscating things just to screw with people decided to label “Assault Weapons” differently for the political purpose of banning certain kinds of guns. They decided the word was scary enough to use, so in their push to ban certain kinds of weapons they decided their own definition of an assault weapon was the one to go with.
Their definition was specifically vague enough to confuse and anger most everyone in the gun world, myself included. Basically they decided that having a detachable magazine and any two of the following five characteristics makes a gun an assault weapon.
- folding or telescoping stock
- Pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action
- a bayonet mount
- a flash supressor or threaded barrel
- a grenade launcher.
Yes, apparently you could have a grenade launcher, but NOT if you had a pistol grip, because that’s just too much! (I’m making light here. Relax. I’ve gotta get my laughs where I can these days.)
So why are gun enthusiasts pissed about these rules? Well, we’re not pissed about ALL of them, but some of them are… well, stupid. Let’s cover them and their uses in detail.
Telescoping or Folding Stock – These are used to match a shooter to their weapon. For example I might shoot with the stock extended because I have long arms. My wife might shoot with it closer in for the same shooting position on her shorter arms. It’s sure as hell better than buying two guns because you don’t want to have to change stocks every time you change shooters. This is a stupid regulation.Pistol Grips – The addition of a pistol grip to some guns is designed to reduce the angle and the rotational strain of the wrist and to add more control of the rifle. They’re very popular with shooters with physical impairments that make it hard for them to hold a traditional grip,which CAN get tiring on the hand after a while, even for me. So, they want to ban a gun with this grip because it’s better for the shooter?? Put that in the category of stupid-ass rules that don’t belong and let’s move on to the next.
Bayonet Mounts – Ok, wait… really? I can have ten rounds to shoot someone with, but in the off chance I miss with all of them you’re gonna be pissy because I have a knife on the end of my gun? If I’m down to a bayonet (which I don’t even own) I’m more likely to use it as a club than a pointy instrument! On a more factual matter, I have a 1967 Enfield inherited from my father that I restored. It has both a detachable magazine and a bayonet mount. Is my antique family heirloom suddenly illegal?
Flash Suppressor – These do one thing. They make the bangy part less bright. Yup, all they do is make the barrel produce less fire, to reduce eye-strain on the shooter or anyone nearby. Why is this bad exactly?
Grenade Launcher – I’m not going to dignify this with a response…
So, now you know what the government considers an assault weapon, versus what everyone who’s ever made them considers them to be and what’s always been the definition of one since they were invented. -1 for politicians who can’t read dictionaries.
Back to Gun Control:
Do you know what gun control was in my house growing up? I was about eight years old when I decided to play “fort” under my grandparent’s bed, hiding from my brother or cousin; I can’t remember which one it was at the moment. Somewhere during my hiding I found what someone had previously thought a cool spot for concealment. It turned out not to be so. As I came out into the living room carrying my grandfathers loaded .38 police special revolver which I though was SOOO COOL, I was quickly apprehended (read as tackled to the floor) by my father, who preceded to beat my ass so hard I wouldn’t sit again for days! I was told in no uncertain terms I’d better NEVER go snooping again and I’d better NEVER pick up a gun again unless I was told to by an adult member of my family.
That was the one and ONLY time I ever picked up a gun again without permission. That was gun control in my house. Now, will that work for the rest of the world? Well, some of them need a swift kick in the ass, but probably not as a whole.
Let’s step back and examine something that I find to be of importance. If we revisit the twenty-one massacres listed above, what stands out in your mind when thinking of the people who committed these crimes? Of the twenty-two individuals mentioned above (Columbine had two shooters) sixteen of them (three out of four) were so mentally screwed up as to be able to take a gun, put the barrel to their own face, and pull the trigger. Do you know how absolutely whack-job crazy you have to be to actually put a gun to your head and THINK about pulling the trigger? It takes a certifiable sick individual to actually DO IT. These are NOT normal people. These are crazy-ass-nut-job-rubber-room people the world is a lot better off without. The kindest thing they COULD have done was save us taxpayers the money and shoot themselves. Let that sink in for a minute… these weren’t the kids next door that play with your little Suzy after school; regardless of what politicians and media want to promote to us. These were sociopathic/psychopathic individuals that are so separated from reality that they think it’s OK to pull the trigger and kill children, then have the immense about of cahones it takes to shoot themselves in the head!
Gun control ain’t helping these people, folks!
Let’s revisit the most horrendous disaster we all can think of. Connecticut is still way too fresh in my mind to be able to talk about easily, but let’s face some facts. This kid, who people say was autistic (personally I don’t care if he was or not – it’s not relevant) walked into his mom’s house, went and got her gun, shot her IN THE FACE at point blank range, then got the rest of them, stole her car, and drove to a school.
The media has been purporting that the “gun-loving mom” was at fault here. Let’s say this man’s mother didn’t have a gun at all to her name. Do you think it any less likely he’d have gone somewhere else and shot someone else and used their guns instead? I don’t.
Let me Digress a MomentOne particular piece of journalism caught my eye thanks to a Facebook follower and I have absolutely GOT to get this off my chest…
The New York Post, in a piece of editorial journalism I didn’t think the Huffington Post would even deign to write, composed this article yesterday- Mother Shared her gun obsession with shooter Adam Lanza. Take a moment to read that article and then come back here. Really, go on, I’ll wait. I need more coffee anyway.
I don’t make it a policy to follow the NY Post, but I certainly won’t from now on. Hell, Fox News couldn’t even make up this kind of reporting and they don’t even needs things like facts to get in the way of their stories. Sentences like “Adam Lanza’s mother taught her son how to become a killing machine who used what he learned from her about firing guns to commit one of the worst massacres in American history at a Connecticut elementary school” was one of multitudes of commentary designed simply to inflame the reader – not to disseminate the news. This wasn’t freedom of the press.
You are the NEWS, not the Enquirer! You people, and I’m speaking specifically to Frank Rosario, Pedro Oliveira, and Dan MacLeod, should have your asses kicked all the way to the hiring line. Did your editor think that was good journalism? Do you? You three ass-hats should be permanently banned from journalism for that kind of crap. For God’s sake I’ve already spent more time researching this blog post that might get 500 views than you did that entire article and you represent the institution of journalism for God’s sake. You think sensational crap like that is going to make the world stand up, take notice, and have a serious conversation? No. It’s going to incite anger, fear, and stupidity from the masses. Congratulations you idiots… you just made the problem worse, not better. I hope your editor appreciates the extra page views that piece surely received.
Even worse, your “lethal fascination” imagery found on page two is so woefully devoid of factual information that all you could come up with is sharing trigger pressure and fps statistics about the guns. Who cares? You should all be absolutely ashamed with yourselves…
End of rant – back to the topic at hand
Problems with Gun Control as it exists now:There are a variety of problems with gun control, but few to none of them exist with gun owners. Rather, I’d like to posit from personal experience, that they stem from the government’s inability to actually monitor the practices they created – practices such as background checks, waiting periods, and more. I’ll share my stories. These are only my own experiences but to have this many experiences as just one person, show you how much is lacking in the oversight of our already-existing policies.
Concealed Carry – Instructors are a Joke.
I took my concealed carry course earlier this year to get my CCP (concealed carry permit). The certification that allows people to become instructors for these courses should be much more heavily regulated. My class was a weekend class, taught in one day, by a man and his daughter. The class started at 8 AM on Saturday, and I left around 6 PM that afternoon, having successfully completed my course.
North Carolina requires 8 hours of class-time instruction. We had about six when the instructor had covered all the material she thought relevant, so rather than spend the remaining time learning or reinforcing safety or incident scenarios, I got to watch a sixty-year old man tell the room how he could kill someone with just his two fingers and then proceed to try to teach this tactic to the class at large.
(When he asked for a volunteer, so he could showcase these deadly brain pokes and kidney jabs, part of me really really wanted him to pick me… just so the next time he said “Ok, attack me” I could just throat punch him and see how he recovered from that. If we’re talking self defense, let’s teach useful stuff, like tearing out a windpipe. That’s much easier than gouging your fingers into an assailant’s brain pan and trying to make scrambled mincemeat out of it.)
After the class was completed (Thank GOD, because I was about to go nuts) we had to go to the range. North Carolina requires a certain amount of ammunition to be fired by each person qualifying for their concealed carry. It further requires a certain amount of accuracy to be represented by the shooter, and certain groupings on the paper target. None of these were checked. The instructor chose to use the minimum state allowance of 30 rounds, instead of 50 rounds each. I watched person after person, including myself and my wife, blow through 30 rounds, go to the back of the line, and get our “Congratulatory” certification for concealed carry. Did I hit the paper? Of course. Hell, we did so good my wife wanted to keep the targets, but that’s not the point. The point is no one checked to see if I hit the paper or if I missed the mound entirely and shot a round off into a neighboring house.
Personally, I’d LOVE to teach that class myself. It would be a fun-filled grueling day of serious knowledge and practical applications that might save your life. There was no one-on-one time spent with the applicants. I know for a fact a 67-year old woman received her permit and hardly had any idea what she’d just done.
The last step for the North Carolina concealed carry permit, before you file your application with the police department, is to take a written test. The instructor actually asked the class of thirty applicants “Do you guys want to take this on your own or should we do it out loud together?” Well hell, who is going to say no to the opportunity to a perfect score?
Yes, the entire class got perfect scores that day. No one missed a single question, because the instructor TOLD the class the answers as we went along. If by chance, any one DID miss a question, it’s only because someone doctored the answers so they wouldn’t all appear to be 100′s around the room.
Why does this happen? It happens because an instructor can take a class full of people, work them for about 9 hours, charge them $60 each, and make $1,500 profit on a Saturday afternoon. Then he can do it again every other weekend of the year. In years past it was hard to find a concealed-carry class in North Carolina because they were so spread out. Now, instructors will offer deals to get you to their class instead of another, so they can fill their seats faster. Almost every instructor condenses the class to the minimum one-day rather than two days. Fill as many seats as you can as fast as you can – that’s the philosophy.
The concealed carry instructor program needs serious oversight, a massive overhaul, and better enforcement. So, let’s start with that. If you don’t want idiots having concealed carry permits, don’t let idiots be responsible for teaching them the rules and then administering an open-book test that’s not able to be failed unless you happen to have left your prosthetic arm at home that morning… both of them!
Hunting Licenses – Also a joke.
I love hunting. I wanted to hunt. I walked into Wal-mart about a month ago and asked for a hunting license. I got one in five minutes. Sound too easy? It was. My wife even said right there at the cash register- “Oh, shoot. They’re probably going to want to see your paperwork from the hunter safety class.”
“What hunter safety class?” I quietly said out of the corner of my mouth as I stood there smiling… “I didn’t know anything about a hunter safety class. They gave me a concealed permit to potentially shoot people.. doesn’t that mean I’m OK to shoot deer?”
Nothing was said as I stood there in front of the department manager and the cashier. They just went about their paperwork and I was done in a few minutes, having no idea what just happened there, but glad that I didn’t have to do any more paperwork.
After getting my hunting license, a friend of mine wanted to go hunting with me, so I told him he needed to get a license. We went to do the research together and then, and only then, found out there IS a process you’re supposed to go through.
First – You go online to your state’s wildlife web site and take a state-test. It’s a six hour process that you can’t skip through and you can’t cheat on. It’s actually fairly informative and ridiculously detail-oriented. Too bad I only knew about it after I had my license.
Second – Field day. Before the state of North Carolina will let you go out in the woods with a high-powered rifle and fire at living creatures a mile in the distance, maybe surrounded by houses… you have to have passed a field day exam. This is where a trained professional works with you in the field for a day to be sure you know what you’re doing. They teach you the rules, how to hunt responsibly, how to hunt ethically, and how to hunt SAFELY. (I never got this test either.)
Then, after all that is completed, you will be presented with both a printed-off test score to prove you’ve taken your test AND proof that you’ve gone through your field day with the state-approved officer. When you walk into any hunting license location you are supposed to present these two items (or a previous hunting license as proof) before you can get your hunting license.
Me – I walked in, said “Hey, can I get a hunting license?” Then I passed her forty bucks and walked out, ready to kill something. Scary huh?
Am I a trained rifleman? Yes. I’ve been trained by the United States Marine Corps, trained by a few friends in law-enforcement at both local and federal levels, and had a lot of coaching by a US Army Ranger and sniper. So, yeah, I think I’m better than the average bear when it comes to gun safety… but what if I wasn’t?
To prove my point, I told my friend “Hell, they didn’t make me show any paperwork. Just walk into the store and see if they’ll give you one.”
He did. And they did. No test. No field practice. No proof of anything. Here’s your hunting license. Scary huh? More like “here’s your sign.” There’s another thing you can work on, government. Work on cleaning that up a little bit and correcting the $8.00 an hour employees who are passing out licenses to kill things with no hesitation to whomever walks into the store.
I like that we live in age of digital communications, where things can be done instantly. When I purchased my very first handgun permits in Pitt County, North Carolina ten years ago or more, I was familiar with the seven-day waiting period rule. I knew it existed because it provided a cooling off period, and because background checks take time. Not anymore they don’t.
I walked into the Pitt County Sheriff’s office years ago at about 9:00 AM and asked to purchase two handgun purchase permits. I filled out my fingerprint cards, entered my info on the paperwork, and passed the sheriff’s deputy my ten dollars. (they’re five dollars each in most counties here). I expected to have to come back the following week, which was OK with me, because I really wanted them for the gun-show that was coming to town soon.
The sheriff’s deputy said “Oh, that’s no problem. C’mon by after lunch and pick ‘em up.”
Huh? Excuse me? What? Were you talking to me?
She explained that background checks can now be done in only a matter of minutes, so right before her lunch break she’d enter them all into the computer, run all the checks, and have all the approved permits in a matter of minutes. Since I didn’t particularly WANT to wait the seven days if I could have them right then, I agreed and came back after lunch. Sure enough, I had two handgun purchase permits the same day.
My complaint is this – Sure, I’m a normal guy who’s never been in trouble. I happen to be the type that will never commit a gun crime. But for all they know I could have been a total sociopath who planned to…oh, I dunno, murder a school full of children that afternoon! I was in and out of there lickety-split, with the power in my hands to purchase two brand new shiny guns!
Half the point in the seven day waiting period is to have that time to cool off, to change your mind. Maybe you’re upset that day and you really don’t NEED to do what you’re thinking of doing. Being forced to wait a week will settle a lot of problems before they start. We should go back to that. There’s no reason, shy of poor planning, that you can’t wait a week before getting a handgun, no matter the circumstance. And you ARE in that circumstance then you DEFINITELY don’t need one.
Did you know the Sandy Hook killer went to a store three days before the killing to get his own gun? The management at the store refused him one because Adam Lanza didn’t want to do the background check. I’m sorry, but here’s a legislative idea that doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out. When a guy walks into a store and refuses to buy a gun because you have to run a background check.. THAT IS THE GUY YOU WANT TO BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR YOU IDIOTS!!!
Want to see me fix a national crisis? Watch.
New Rule: Every licensed gun dealer is required to have a way to communicate to the federal database, whether it be phone or website entry into the national federal database (Every Wal-mart has this for their rifle sales already. It takes ten minutes.) From now on, every customer that wants to even ASK about purchasing a gun has to register first. First name, Last name, address, Social, and a physical ID that matches that information.
Don’t go getting all pissed off. ALL OF THAT is required before you get one anyway, in every state, so it’s nothing you don’t have to do already. It’s just an effort to stop the freaks who slip through the cracks.
Further, every store is required to have a security camera system that has 30-day playback ability focused over that counter at all times. Failure to record that information AND capture that video is a ten-thousand dollar fine, and a potential revocation of your FFL license. If it happens twice, your store gets closed permanently!
What did I just do? I just voided all the FFL’s of the back-woods home-brew gun shops that don’t want to report to authorities. Now, if you want to sell a gun to someone, YOU at least have to be reputable.
You know what it takes for me to become a gun dealer that can transport across state lines? Two hundred bucks and an application. That’s it. I’ve been planning to get mine for awhile now, but just haven’t done it. Based on the luck I’ve had so far though, I’m pretty sure if I had a spare $200 I could open a gun shop in my garage in less than a month. (Anyone wanna send me $200 for a test of the national FFL system? lol. I wonder if I can write that off as an expense if I put it in a book later… book research?)
Should that be legal? In my opinion, no. Many professional industries have certain requirements that have to be met before someone can participate in them. Doctors have to have insurances and certain practice standards. Accountants have to have certain levels of service instituted by their industry. I don’t think slapping a few common-sense rules on gun dealers is too far a reach, do you?
If you want to stop guns from getting to the wrong people, stop trying to punish people who don’t do anything wrong. Instead, start punishing people who sell them to people we all know they shouldn’t.
What about the public paying for that? Is that too expensive a program to institute? Let’s make it self-funding. (I really should work in the Federal government. I can churn out these ideas all day long.) Give a reward of $2,000 to anyone who can go into a gun shop and purchase a firearm without following all the rules, dependent on that person notifying the FBI and turning over the weapon. The government gets to slap fines on a shit-load of gun dealers to make their money back and a few people make a few bucks. Within 30 days nationwide, the gun-dealers in America would get VERY damned picky about whom they sold guns to and no one would accidentally forget to double-check the paperwork again. After that, the Federal government can have a gun auction to LEGAL permit-holders and make ALL the money back and then some, considering the illegal guns were probably sold for less than street value anyway.
Gun Shows – Why?
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE gun and knife shows like you can’t imagine. Traditionally thought, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s a bunch of redneck dealers trying to hawk absolute crap knives and sub-par guns but you can always find a good deal on something somewhere if you look over the whole arena. Half the time I spend there is occupied looking at survivalist wannabe’s haggling over fake military gear. (Hint: if it says “Authentic Military Blah Blah Blah” on some product tag – it’s not. The military manufacturer’s don’t have to advertise. They have government contracts, dummy. Further, real Ka-Bar knives are all made in the USA, not China.) The other half of the time I’m looking for that rare deal on a specific gun I can’t find at my local gun stores. Sometimes I find it and sometimes I don’t. At the minimum what I get is a really neat chance to pick up and handle some gear I might one day want to buy but have been waffling on because I hadn’t had the chance to hold one yet.
In reality, none of us gun-nuts are going to lose out on anything if we have to buy from stores rather than gun-shows. We’d just have one less occasion to pack the family in the International Scout, polish up our Jungle Boots, toss on our military camo and say things like “copy that” and “roger Papa Bear” to each other one weekend every month. Truthfully, they’d probably still do it but they’d just go hunting or camping instead of congregating in one arena.
Would this hurt some economies? Almost certainly. There is a minority job market out there for people who want to sell guns and who only do it at gun shows. However, that economic niche was only created because of the lax regulations known for at gun and knife shows in the first place. But if you give Americans the choice to either regulate guns through less dealers with better management and oversight or stopping perfectly legal purchasers from getting guns because you’re too stupid to try it any other way, you’ll have a lot better support on a national level if you weed out the poor dealers first. An individual who purchases a gun only buys at most five or six, or even ten. One crooked gun dealer can sell THOUSANDS to people who legally shouldn’t have them.
How many guns are too many?
Truthfully, that’s none of anyone’s business. If I pass a background check to get the permit to purchase a gun, no one has any right to determine how many I can or can’t have. Why do you care? Hell, I only have one set of hands anyway, so at most I could only fire two at once and wouldn’t be accurate if I did. What am I gonna do with the other 67 that week? Ten percent of gun sales and five percent of ammo sales goes to wildlife programs to preserve animals and to help make hunting legislation. There’s no reason to mess with that. It already works and screwing with it messes up more than people think. Numbers of guns don’t matter. It’s my constitutional right to own them. I don’t tell you how many squeegees you can have at your janitor job, do I? Do I tell you how many import luxury cars some rich guy can own? No. Quantity is irrelevant to the problem. The only quantitative figure that’s important is the number of crazies out there, not the number of guns.
Ammunition Restrictions – Stop being ignorant.
When gun control comes up, it’s always followed closely by some sort of bill being introduced to regulate ammunition sales by quantity. Why do you care if I have 500 rounds of .45 ammunition or fifty-thousand? Has anyone ever had a massacre where they walked into a school with a M249 squad assault weapon and dumped 3,000 rounds of belt-fed ammo into the occupants? If so I missed that one. Go back to the stories above. Those are factual cases.
In what national headline did you see someone expend hundreds and hundreds of rounds? Almost every one of those crimes could have been committed for less than $100 in ammunition, usually with less than one small-quantity box. No one has ever unloaded ammunition cases full of bullets at other people.
People that know nothing about shooting are usually the ones that make stupid, uneducated comments about ammo sales. Do you know how many rounds it takes with a particular weapon to become familiar enough to call yourself “good?” 100? 500? 1,000?
Most gun experts will tell you that it takes almost 1,000 rounds going through the barrel before any handgun is even broke in well. It takes another nine thousand rounds of practice before any professional is considered “good” with a particular weapon. Shooters, real shooters, have to expend tens of thousands of rounds to acquire proficiency with a weapon, especially handguns, and like any skill it has to be maintained or it suffers from degradation over time.
So if I want to shoot well, shoot safely, and teach my kids to do the same, it would stand to reason to most people like you want me buying as much ammunition as I can afford and practicing as often as I can and making sure my kids practice safely and often as well. Otherwise, if we ever DO have to draw that weapon, we’re putting ourselves and others at risk by not being proficient with it.
In short, practice makes perfect and it’s my right to practice as often as I please.
Recent shootings captured in the news reports, such as the Colorado theater shooting, mentioned that James Holmes bought 6,000 bullets. As a shooter, practicing with something like a semi-automatic rifle, that’s nothing anyone who knows anything about guns would be surprised by. It’s like saying that today in news, a truck-driver bought 500 gallons of gas. Whoop-de-doo. Who cares?
Did he use 6,000 bullets? Nope. Can he even CARRY 6,000 bullets if he wanted to? Nope. Most standard rifle bullets weigh between 28-32 pounds per thousand rounds. Six thousand rounds for a rifle would weigh approximately 192 pounds. 12 gauge shotgun shells weigh about 1.25 ounces each, so a box of 25 weighs approximately 1.95 pounds. Six thousand rounds of shotgun shells, assuming steel shot, would weigh about 468 pounds. So, the more ammunition I have means… nothing. It’s irrelevant to anyone who doesn’t know anything about shooting, but people are up in arms about it anyway.
If you DO know something about shooting, you know you can burn through a heck of a lot of ammunition just trying to teach someone how to shoot safely. When I teach people to shoot, I don’t provide the ammo. I can’t afford to any more. The point is.. if I’m allowed to buy ammunition, then it shouldn’t matter how much I buy.
Now, having said that, if they wanted to put a law into place that says something like “any purchase of more than ten thousand rounds has to be reported,” well that’s fine, but let’s be honest; that would just encourage people to visit lots of different stores. It’s very similar to the law that says any deposit in excess of ten-thousand dollars has to be reported to the IRS. Because of that law, I purposefully always make my deposits smaller. It’s no one’s business how much I deposit or withdraw as long as I pay my taxes each year, right? The same goes with ammunition.
As a side note, I don’t see anyone reporting people who buy too much food, or too much rice, or who pay in cash… wait.. I forgot. They do that now.
What what about carrying guns in public?
I live in an open-carry state, a fact which I love and a right which I choose to utilize every single day of my life. Do you know what? Look up police reports or news reports. Have you ever seen me in the news for brandishing a weapon in Lowe’s or Wal-mart? Nope. Anyone who knows me knows there is always a loaded handgun within 24 inches of me twenty four hours a day. I wear my sidearm like I wear my cell phone. It’s habit. I’ve never been robbed, but nor have I ever had the cops called on me for “going armed to the terror of the public” or “waving a gun around.” I’m very conscious of my side-arm and I’m even more conscious never to touch it, nor even rest my hand on it, ever if I’m in a public establishment. I’ve never given anyone a reason to think I was threatening anyone with it, and because of that I’ve enjoyed over a decade of no one giving me grief about it.
The other day in Lowe’s a lady named Barbara who works in hardware asked me about it; what it was, what type, what I recommended, etc. She’s thinking of getting her first gun for herself. I explained to her that I’d love to let her see it sometime when we weren’t in Lowe’s but that honestly, I couldn’t exactly pull it out in the hardware store and show it to her. She seemed surprised to hear that. She asked me why not. I explained to her that wherever you see a man wearing a gun, you can almost always guarantee there’s another person with one keeping an eye on him. If I were to draw my sidearm in Lowe’s for ANY reason, even to lay it on the counter to give it to someone else – I could be convicted of a crime.
Having a gun and knowing how to properly use it, carry it, and conceal it when necessary, are all parts of responsible gun ownership – and they should all be taught to potential gun purchasers.
Most likely I will wear my sidearm the rest of my life and never have the need to pull it because nothing will ever happen when I’m around. That’s just the statistical odds of the matter. Second likely is the fact that someone may walk into a waffle-house or gas station where I’m standing at the counter with the intention to pull a gun and change his mind. Criminals with guns don’t like it when the odds are evened up. Least likely is the chance that someone will one day walk past me in a mall and pull his gun out to shoot someone and I’ll be forced to make the decision to use it or to surrender. The odds of that happening are probably less then 1 in a million. That number halves every time another person in that mall is wearing one in plain sight. If you’ve got a mall with where it’s not uncommon to see patrons armed, no one is going to pull a gun crime in that mall. No criminal ever thought to themselves, “Dude, it would be so cool to rob that place and then get shot in the face by grandma when I go running past Bed Bath and Beyond.”
In Colorado, had one of the off-duty patrons of that theater been a cop or military service member or even a civilian with a CCP, and they had been allowed to carry their sidearm, that story would have ended much differently. The news would have read “Two killed and three wounded before heroic citizen saved the day” rather than the word “massacre.”
Killers with guns will not stop because normal people can’t get guns. The ONLY thing in the world that can stop a madman with a gun is either stupid misfortune, or another man with a gun. That’s the brutal truth of it.
I went to Manteo High School, so did my dad and most of the rest of my family. When my dad was younger, he and the man that later became our state senator, spent most every morning hunting before school. They’d come into the high-school, toss their shotguns and dead geese in the locker, and head off to class. No one ever got shot in schools back in those days…. ever. (Yeah, those hooks in the lockers… they used to hand dead birds, not jackets. Neat huh?)
Thirty years later, we had to leave our guns locked in our gun racks in the parking lot. They weren’t allowed in the school building itself. No one got shot in those days either.
Today, you can’t have a gun at school. No one can – not teachers, not principals, not anyone. Today, kids die in schools.
You can argue it all you like. It’s a fact.Killers like targets of opportunity, or what professionals refer to as a “soft-target”. Hard targets are locations that are either fortified for defense or in which armed resistance is expected. If schools were hard targets, we’d have no school shootings. Bass Pro shop is a hard target. Gun shops are hard targets. No one is committing massacres in the gun section of Bass Pro shop… ever. All those bastards are armed, myself included when I shop there. You can argue it up and down all day. The facts borne throughout our history prove this philosophy is more likely than any psycho-babble the media or politicians want to spew.
I want my kids to be safe. If schools want to be safer, let the teachers and staff who ARE properly trained and who ARE properly licensed carry if they choose to. They’ve been through training. We could even do MORE training for them.
My kids go to a public school, but let me tell you right here and now – If I saw a memo come in the mail that North Stanly High School was asking for contributions to pay for handgun training for teachers who wanted to participate, I’ll buy the first 1,000 rounds, deliver them myself with a batch of cookies and a thank you letter, and I’ll do it proudly.
I’d rather have a caring, upstanding member of society who is willing to put his own life at risk to save my child’s carrying a gun to protect my kids, than I would have a security guard (which they don’t have) with a night-stick (which doesn’t work) defending them.
Here’s an idea for the Federal Government:
For every location in America in which you don’t allow citizens to defend themselves, you have to put someone there with a gun that CAN defend them. Any private institution (mall, store, restaurant, etc) that chooses to have a no-weapons policy can have one, no questions asked. Violators can be prosecuted. All I have to do is know what locations those are so I know not to go there. Signs should be large and prominent and required on every entry door to the facility. I’ll do business with people who choose to support my constitution and stay out of soft-target areas. Deal?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
So, do we need more gun control? Absolutely. What we DON’T need is some politician trying to step all over the second amendment to our Constitution. Personally, I really don’t see that being a likely scenario. I think those in Washington are very aware that trying to disarm American citizens would likely result in a civil war. I believe it should… our own second amendment right exists specifically to protect us from tyrannical government – and coming around to try to collect our guns would most likely fall within the realm of tyranny to anyone who considered it.
So, why don’t we all get together, ALL OF US, and stop screaming and yelling about gun rights and instead try to offer suggestions that work well within the laws we already have, or serve to improve them without stepping on the rights of lawful citizens? It can be done if we’d all just stop screaming from the rooftops and try to talk like adults. Politicians certainly can’t do it without our help. Those poor bastards can’t balance their own wallets. They need our help – real help – real advice that’s well thought-out and delivered in a calm and sensible voice and backed up by fact, not agenda or psychology.
Apologies and Condolences
I’d like to end this with some final strong message to government, or to at least politicians or individuals who have the power to speak up for change. In light of recent events, I can’t bring myself to do it. I’d like to instead extend my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School, and to the families and friends of every victim I’ve inadvertently brought into this conversation by mentioning them in this article. You all deserve a peace you’ll likely never have. To say I can imagine how you feel would be both disingenuous and completely and utterly untrue. I’ve never gone to bed with the horror of knowing that tomorrow I’ll wake up without my children’s sounds in the house. None of us who haven’t lost people to something like this can possibly know your pain. I will keep you in my prayers, as will countless hundreds of thousands of others and I pray once again that something for the lasting good can come out of what is truly the worst tragedy in my lifetime.
2nd Amendment ConsiderationsUpdated: December 20, 2012
I’m adding this for two reasons. First, a conversation I had with a friend of mine who inspired me to research the idea a little better, and secondly because it’s come up in various 2nd Amendment conversations surrounding this post and others like it.
So, let’s give the second amendment to the United States Constitution some serious consideration and examine a few facts of the period. The second amendment was ratified as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15th, 1791.
I’ve learned to assume nothing when it comes to readership, hence my obvious propensity to break things down to bite-sized pieces, consumable by all, even the those possessing the dimmest caliber of cognitive function. That being understood, what does the second amendment say, exactly?
There are a few versions, but the one passed by Congress states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Twenty-six words; and probably the most disagreed-over piece of ambiguous legislation ever to be penned to paper.
I’m going to skip the history lesson because it could go on for ages, but there are a few important things to know about the mind-set of the people who wrote, and agreed themselves to be bound by, those words. It requires no conjecture or guesswork because there are hundreds of penned pages by people of the time surrounding their thoughts on the matter, so I’ll just list the highlights.
The federal government wanted the second amendment to be sure that the states understood they were going to be responsible for maintaining their militias on a local and community level, in the event that the Crown tried to seize power again. It wasn’t likely but it was a thought that prevailed through the US Congress at the time.
Those thinking on behalf of the “people” (the normal citizenry like you and I) expressed strong concern to to the signing of the Constitution at all, and this bill was one of their aces in the hole. There was already a very strong dislike for the fact that the federal government had already, under the new constitution, moved the power for defense from the states and the people to federal control. It created a fear that the federal government could itself develop overwhelming military force through its power to maintain a standing army and navy, and this could lead to a confrontation with the states themselves, even so far as to try to attempt a military takeover of the states by the federal government. (Sound familiar?)
Article VI of the Constitution had already made it unlawful for anyone besides the federal government to maintain a standing army, or to maintain a standing force, unless that force was requested by Congress and then it had to be under their terms.
Whether people at the time were federalist or anti-federalist, they both agreed on one common thing on both sides of their aisles; they were afraid of tyrannical rule.
Posed against that fear, the framers of the Bill of Rights saw the Bill of Rights as a check against the power of the federal government.
Let me take that and put it in to modern day english that’s really simple, and is completely unarguable… because you can research the framer’s beliefs on the subject yourself and read it in your own words. The original framers of the Bill of Rights were scared of the Federal Government of the United States taking action against the citizenry and them being unable to defend themselves.
It’s an incontrovertible piece of historical record that any one of you can summon up with a Google search. So yes, the second amendment was ratified for TWO reasons.
- The Federal Government wanted the backing of the civilian population in case they were ever attacked.
- The citizenry was scared of the new government becoming as tyrannical as the old one they just fought and bled to flee.
Similarly, James Monroe fought to have the right to keep and bear arms listed in the original Constitution as a basic human right, not a right of states, but of people themselves.
Patrick Henry said similarly “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”
Everyone knows James Madison, one of the more influential framers of the Bill of Rights. He blatantly came out and compared the new America to tyrannical England and described them as “afraid to trust the people with arms.” He proposed to the people at large that they need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed themselves.
So, let’s agree (though some of you still won’t) that many of the fundamental founders of our country even feared the US getting too powerful over it’s citizenry and fought tooth and nail to be sure the citizens had their rights protected, through their right to bear arms. It’s not conjecture. It’s historical fact.
Ok, so now that we know WHY we as a People wanted the right to bear arms, let’s address the other conversation that keeps cropping up.
I’d like to first mention that I’m not a proponent of the argument I’m about to make, but rather I’d like to enlighten the idiots that think they know what “kind of guns” should and shouldn’t be allowed.
It’s true that our forefathers had no idea what their version of the modern rifle would someday become. They never envisioned a killing machine that could spit hundreds of rounds per minute, though had they, they would have been overjoyed to have them as opposed to the ones that spit three rounds per minute if they were lucky. ( A well trained soldier could get off about one round every sixty second if they were good.) That last part is conjecture, and not factual, but I believe it to be true nonetheless. Back to facts though…
The military of 1791 didn’t own crap. Uncle Sam at the time was a fledgling constitutional republic and the federal government couldn’t get rifles fast enough for their soldiers. As such many citizens of the time were asked to supply their own rifles to and pistols to help the cause. It was literally a cry of “Come fight the war! And oh yeah, bring your guns. We ain’t got any!”
So, what were the modern weapons of the day? There were two standard weapons that every soldier craved. They were the flintlock pistol and the flintlock musket. The variant of the musket we Americans most favored was the “Brown Bess,” a .75 caliber musket rifle designed in 1762.
The flintlock pistols varied in shape and style, but basically looked like the one below.
A lucky wartime veteran would have both. The rifle was to shoot as many enemy as they could as fast as they could. The pistol was a last defense when the enemy had run in too close for rifle combat. By the time you had to resort to firing your pistol, you sure as hell had better hit your target because you weren’t getting another twenty seconds to reload!
Well, that’s what the army had, but what did the people have?
Were you not paying attention? Hello! *knock knock*
That WAS what the civilian’s had! The army half the time made civilians use their own weapons in defense of the country. What’s important to understand here was the playing field was level. The average Joe at home had the same thing the military had at their disposal – the most lethal weapon ever invented in history for man-to-man armed combat; the musket.
They had ‘em, and we had ‘em.
What does that argument have to do with anything? Well it serves to put something into perspective from a historical standpoint. The people fought for the right, and succeeded, to have the same weapons as those that might someday oppress them, and won that right. If we’d had M249 Squad Assault Weapons, those would have been included in the right to keep and bear arms. Fact, not interpretative fiction… fact.
So how does this play out today? Let’s go back and consider the wording of the second amendment again: “a well regulated militia, being neccessary to the security of a free state…”
This phrase has caused hundreds of legal battles throughout history, both because of the use of the word “militia” (which we today use in a different meaning) and “free state,” which has been argued to apply to the state as a whole, and also to people as individuals composing themselves as a state.
These arguments were argued as the “States Rights” versus the “sophistican collective rights model,” and the “standard model” – the latter referring to a person as an individual having the right to keep and bear arms.
So, why don’t we take it to the Supreme Court then? Let them decide. We did. Three separate times it has been before the Supreme Court: in the 2001 fifth circuit ruling in the United States v. Emerson, in the 2008 case of DC versus Heller, and in the 2010 ruling of McDonald vs Chicago. Every time in history it has been brought before the Supreme Court, they have agreed that it was an individual human right, as applies to a person, not to an entity such as a state, government, or police department, etc. It is every American’s right to be able to bear arms, and the arms in question at the time of the ruling were whatever arms were in existence in 1791.
So we can agree that based on fact and legal precedent, we were originally given the right to bear arms because we were afraid of our government becoming tyrannical and trampling us as citizens, and that this right applies to every citizen of the United States.
Now, how about we add some common sense, ok?
We’ve already done that, to a large extent. We have rules already that say the following people cannot have guns:
- Persons under indictment for, or convicted of, any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding on year;
- Fugitives from justice;
- Persons who are unlawful users of, or addicted to, any controlled substance;
- Persons who have been declared by a court as mental defectives or have been committed to a mental institution;
- Illegal aliens, or aliens who were admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
- Persons who have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
- Persons who have renounced their United States citizenship;
- Persons subject to certain types of restraining orders; and
- Persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
- Persons under 18 can’t own handguns
- no one can own assault rifles without a Class III permit
Well hell, why didn’t you just say so! If we’d known that we’d have made sure all the criminals were aware. That must be the reason they still break those laws.. they just don’t know they’re doing it! Got ya!
Guns only exist to kill people, so they should be banned.
If you are asinine enough to believe that, then I can’t argue with you. Please go stick your head in a toilet and breathe deep… you can’t be reasoned with.
I’m not going to resort to the “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” phrase, but only because it’s overused. It makes perfect sense and it applies to everything else in the world except guns in some people’s minds.
- Someone gets stabbed – no one bans knives.
- Restaurant patrons get anaphylaxis from peanut oil – no one bans peanuts.
- Teen texting while driving kills someone – no one bans either phones OR cars.
- Drunks kill people driving all the time – no one ban’s public drinking. (This one amazes me)
- Obesity kills people – Yes, people are actually too stupid to stop eating and they die from it.. yet no one bans bad foods.
Gun’s are tools. Their only purpose IS to end life, I’ll grant you that, but the same extends to the sword, the spear, the javelin (yes, that’s why those were invented, specifically.)
Guns also provide a defense AGAINST killing people. You anti-gun people can whine all you want to the contrary but it’s backed up by completely irrefutable fact throughout history. With an overwhelming, disgustingly high percentage, bad guys don’t go after targets who can defend themselves.
Guns also exist to SAVE lives! Police don’t use guns to kill people unless they have to. They use them as deterrents, as do I in my house. Bad guy pulls knife. Cop pulls gun. Bad guy drops knife.
Let’s try it the other way around. Bad guy pulls gun. Cop pulls knife. Bad guy shoots cop. Bad guy now has gun AND knife. Bad guy continues onward being…well, bad.
I’m not sitting at home every night with my gun in my hand waiting for the chance to kill someone. If I ever had to do it, I’d probably puke my guts out after the adrenaline fled my bloodstream. I AM sitting near my gun at all times at night so someone else can’t break in and kill, rape, or endanger my children or my wife.
Guns provide food for people: Hunting has been a sport since guns have existed, and before. The only difference is that it’s safer now. Talk all you want about being unsportsmanlike, but a pig is one of the most deadly animals commonly found in nature. They are incredibly smart, fast, and mean as hell. They can kill you in seconds. Having my gun makes it a lot easier to hunt hog than a spear did four hundred years ago.
There’s nothing wrong with hunting, and there’s nothing wrong with defending yourself or your loved ones. It’s our basic human duty to look out for each other. Guns will never go away, ever, just like the nuclear weapon will never go away. We all agree that no one should use them, EVER, because innocent people are 100% guaranteed to get hurt. I don’t see the Federal Government disarming themselves lately. The mere idea of mutually assured destruction has been enough to hold us in nuclear limbo for decades. The same goes on within a smaller social construct with regards to human beings. If I have guns, and you KNOW I have guns, you rob my neighbor instead of me.
We all agree that murderings and massacres aren’t committed by sane people for the most part, right? Well hell, even the mentally deficient seem to be smart enough not to attack places where there is a likelihood of a firefight! Have you ever heard of a massacre at a Bass Pro shop? How about a pawn shop that sells guns? How about a walmart? Even considering the MASSIVE number of Walmart’s their are, there are still relatively VERY few gun incidents at them. Why? People can carry guns in Wal-mart. That’s why.
Remember a few years ago when people started shooting up churches in the middle of Sunday services? It was all over the South for awhile. You don’t think they stopped because they were tired of it, do you? Perhaps you mistakenly assume the police apprehended those folks. You’d be wrong.They stopped because a lot of church-goers, including myself, keep their tithe right next to their .45 in their pants pockets. All it took was a few churches where members opened fire on would-be assailants and that word spread quick. That mess stopped in a hurry.
Solutions Anyone?I’ve had a lot of people email or message me and say they’re sending this page to their congressman or senator. Well, that’s freaking awesome. Maybe someone will see it and find something constructive here to use. On the off chance they DO read it, maybe we should devote some time to actual ideas that don’t involve shredding the second amendment. Surely you rhetoric-spouting idiots out there can shut your mouth long enough to engage your brain and actually come up with something useful, can’t you?
I’ve had a few ideas offered by people on my Facebook wall and via instant message. A few of them have some good ideas if people would shut up long enough to listen. I know I already mentioned some previously, and the smart thing to do might be to list these ideas up there with them, but for the sake of those who are reading the addendums to the original post, I’m not editing the original content. They were kind enough to read 12,000 words the first time, so I’m not going to make them hunt through it twice for minor changes.
Mental Health IdeasI cant’ take credit it for this idea, but it’s been prevalent all over my wall these last forty eight hours. Apparently it’s been concluded (though I haven’t seen the research myself) that most criminals involved in gun crimes of a heinous nature (massacres, etc) all have one thing in common – a mental deficiency. Readers have suggested quite vehemently that there should be some sort of mental health screening. Here’s my take on that – maybe you’ll like the idea.
We have a database of drug users on a national level. Yes, if you have a prescription for a mind-altering drug, your name is in a database. Hell, if you buy Sudafed now your name is in a database.
If you legally purchase a gun, of any kind, through normal channels, your name is in a database.
Both these addresses contain your address.
Let’s do some thinking here…
OK, to buy a gun (at least in NC) your drivers license has to match the address you have on-file with your permit application. That information IS cross-referenced to be sure it’s accurate. I know that for a fact.
From now on, if you have a medical prescription, or a dependent with a medical prescription, your address on record has to match your drivers license as well.
When you fill out a pistol-purchase permit, or a concealed carry permit, or buy a rifle in a store, those two databases are cross-referenced on the federal level. It can’t be that hard. We already have both databases.
If your address shows that you, your dependent, or anyone else at that address, has a diagnosed medical condition that could be considered dangerous in any way, shape or form, and I’ll go so far as to include clinical depression, autism, aspergers, bi-polar, or any of the more obvious maladies that we can think of, such as anti-psychotics, psychotropics, etc… then you are automatically FLAGGED.
In short, if you share a current residence with someone who “could” be considered by a reasonable human being to be dangerous or unstable, then someone will come talk to you about the possibility of your permit being approved.
Flagged doesn’t mean denied. It means flagged, as in “this application requires human intervention and can not be approved electronically.” Whether you get the permit or not, the flag means a follow up visit by local police, or county mental-health, or whomever best suited to the task.
In the case of the Connecticut shooting, this may have helped save a life. Maybe not, but maybe so. When his mother applied to get a handgun, it would have triggered a visit. That visit might be just clerical in nature. “Oh, I see. Your son was on anti-depressants when he was eight years old but he’s fine now? And he’s what now, 15? Ok. And he’s been cleared of this condition for how long? Five years? I see. OK. And you have the medical paperwork to prove his condition is “cured?” (for lack of better word.)
In that instance, the processor would check the records, find out things were ok, and the person would receive their permit, though it would be delayed by a couple days. Is it inconvenient? Sure, but it might have saved a life.
Now, another scenario:
My alcoholic wife-beating convict uncle moves in with me from out of state and has his address changed to the same as mine when he renews his drivers license. I go apply for a pistol permit. The same investigation ensues except that the outcome is different. It would go something like “I’m sorry Mr. Jordan. You legally are entitled to own a firearm, and we can certainly approve your permit, but not as long as you have a registered felon living in your home. We can’t knowingly approve a fire-arm to be sold to someone sharing an address with a felon,” or a mental patient, or a drug-user, etc.. You get the idea, right?
Along the same vein, have an annual cross-check of all related databases for per-annum criteria. If I bought my gun in June, and my uncle moved in in August, the permit would have been OK at the time, but some kind of semi-monthly recheck of the database would have revealed that both a permit holder and a felon share the same address.
Now I’d be contacted by the police, just as before, but depending on the law it could go a couple of ways.
- I have to surrender my firearms until such time as the issue has been resolved and I’m no longer sharing an address with the person that makes me ineligible for a firearm, at which time I would retrieve my firearm from wherever they’re stored…. for up to two years, after which time any non-reclaimed firearms become government property and can be destroyed, etc.
- I have to show proof that I’m aware of the law, and proof that I keep my guns locked up VERY SECURELY (which normally isn’t a requirement), and that I understand that if a crime happens with any of my guns, I will be held liable as an accessory to that crime.
Basically, the point here is that YOU can still own a firearm if you’re legally allowed to do so, but if you live in a situation that puts a mentally deficient person (as defined by whatever law) in a position to be able to do grievous bodily harm to themselves or another individual, then you can’t own one on those premises until such time as you’ve moved, they’ve moved, or the situation has resolved itself to the satisfaction of the government.
Magazine RestrictionsI’ve held off on this one because I’ve been talking to a few gun owners, gun-shop owners, and enthusiasts to see how they felt. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome, and I do mean surprised indeed.
I asked a guy tonight, who is going to loan me his AR-15 for a video over the weekend, how he woudl feel about magazine restrictions on guns. He said “Are you kidding me? Who cares! You know the most annoying thing about deer hunting with this AR-15? The danged magazine is so long its uncomfortable to aim because the barrel rests on it in my blind when I’m hunting. I’ve been trying to get my gun-shop guy to find me five-round magazines for six months but they’re hard as hell to come by.”
REALLY? Whoda thunk it? An owner of an AR-15 who says it’s not efficient to have that many bullets at once in his gun. lol
While I personally don’t see the relevance in stipulating magazine sizes, if it makes the general public feel better, why not? My Ruger 10/22 Carbine has both a ten-round magazine and a 25-round magazine. What do I usually use? The 10… for the same reason. The 25 round one gets in the way, even with the bipod installed. It’s too tall.
They make 10-round and 5-round magazines for AR’s. Limit it at ten rounds. That’s enough to satisfy the mechanical requirements for most normal hunting rifles, and still makes the AR-15 fan boys happy.
If you don’t like the limitation, shut up and buy another 10-round mag or three. Besides, you can buy a ten-round magazine for less than the cost of the bullets that fill your 30-round magazine. Will I turn in my 25-round mags? Not unless you’re giving me two ten’s and a five, but then.. sure, why not?
Start a donation-funded program to trade in magazines for equal capacity in smaller magazines and you’d likely get a lot of owners to volunteer their magazines. Hell, you’re gonna give me three NEW ten-round mags for my five-year old 30-round mag? Ok. Sign me up.
It gets trickier when you start talking pistols, but set a realistic limitation. I think right now the average Glock can hold 15. Set a new rule to stop it there. No more than 15 rounds in a handgun for civilian use. Who’s that going to offend? The FEW people out there with 30 round magazines in their .45 pistols? Well, those guys looks like idiots with that thing on there anyway. You’d be doing them a favor!
Anyone else got any good ideas or thoughts?
And please.. if you’re not from America, and not covered under our nation’s constitution, please keep your mouth shut. Your vote doesn’t really count… really… seriously.. shut it. Shut. It. S H U T…. I T.
Have a good day y’all!