Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gun Control

I’ve been meaning to write this blog for days since the school massacre at Newtown happened. Those who know I’m an Air Force veteran will probably not be surprised that I own a gun and I favor people owning guns.

Friends, I have been shot at and I have shot at enemy troops. I do not expect that a full scale war requiring that response will occur in the United States. I’m sure my forefather farming a plot North of Gettysburg, PA in 1860 didn’t expect it either. We all know now that he was wrong and he was lucky. The war came knocking on his front steps, but it never entered his life.

I have been to Bergen-Belsen, and Dachau, and Anne Frank’s Hidden Annex. I have seen the results of tyranny taking over a peaceful people who did not have the power to resist its rule.

Our founding fathers following a war to overthrow an absent leader understood that the average man needed the means to reject authoritative rule. Yes, the 2nd Amendment says: A well trained militia being necessary to the preservation of freedom, congress shall make no laws abridging the people’s right to keep and bear arms. Please parse that sentence. It does not say Congress can’t stop people from being in a militia. It doesn’t require you to be in a well trained militia to own a gun. The beginning is a subordinate clause. It explains the reason for the sentence, but doesn’t modify it in any way. In short, the action in the sentence is “Congress shall make no law abridging the right”.

That is why I believe everyone should start with the right to keep & bear arms. However, like other rights, I do agree there are ways you might lose the right. Just as convicted felons can’t vote, I don’t want them to have guns either. I can easily see owning guns being registered and licensed just like owning a car and driving it are managed. I include testing, inspections, registering, liability insurance, and the means to revoke the right in that process. My wife had a stroke in 2006. Her Doctor submitted paperwork to the state and she was notified that she had lost her right to drive and what she needed to do to get that right back. I think we can enact the same rules regarding mental health and gun owners’ rights.

Is this change going to be easy? No. The idea for cars started when there were very few cars on the road and it was easy to enforce. The continued enforcement has been handled by requiring car dealers registering vehicles before they leave the dealership. I’ve no idea of a practical means to register already owned guns. There will be a certain percent that voluntarily do so, but will that even be 50%? I don’t think so, but I’m just guessing.

Now some of you are going to ask me, “All guns?” Do you all realize that 12% of the US population is Veterans? Want to guess what weapons we are most familiar with? Yeah.

I have a pistol and only a pistol. I’m too old and too fat to be in a situation needing an assault weapon, but if the worst comes about, you can be damned sure my fire team will have a few. I’m more likely to grab a shotgun to fire for effect because it’s point and shoot; no aiming really required.

Am I sad about the events at Newtown? Of course I am. How can any human with a beating heart not be upset over the massacre of innocent children?

Do I think that will be the last such massacre? No, but I don’t think removing all guns from circulation is the answer. That simply opens us up to more problems down the road.

Are there other steps that can be done? Yes.
a.      I’m in favor of trained staff carrying guns everywhere.
b.     I’m also in favor of limiting the size of magazines.
c.      I can also agree to limit the sales of semi-automatic weapons.

The first limits massacres by shooting the offender, the latter two by limiting the number of rounds that can be fired in a given time.

What will congress do? They are supposed to represent us, so I hope they create a registration & licensing system.

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