GUNS: IS A REAL DEBATE POSSIBLE?
What do you want to control? Let’s see. We could control or at least regulate, ammunition loads, weights, calibers, areas of use, range, and velocity measured at the barrel’s end. Then, there are different sizes and shapes of magazines. Not more than 10 rounds per magazine, or 12, maybe 32 or 200, and require awkward magazines shapes so inserting a new magazine when one was empty would be a slow, difficult process. Oh, and make sure two magazines could not be attached or taped together for fast reloading.(A common field practice.) Then, of course, we have the guns themselves. We could regulate calibers, rates of fire, trigger mechanisms to limit rapid semi automatic fire (one trigger pull per fired round followed by a delay), barrel length, number of rounds carried in the weapon, accuracy of the sighting optics, limiting blow back gas to reduce firing rates, gun storage places, ranges and the individual owner’s age, training, and background that would be required to buy, use or carry each weapon. Users could be required to equip each weapon with a GPS device so every shot fired could be assigned a time and a location.
As you can begin to see this is a complex subject. How about starting over? Why is the second amendment in our Constitution? It is there because our founders knew the State would always have access to weapons, sometimes used to control their citizens. They had all seen that. Slave owners, for example, had access to weapons, slaves did not. While under British rule many early colonists had weapons, they were no match for King George III’s uniformed, disciplined Redcoat occupation troops. Our founders were building in another check against the centralization of power under another King, real or pretend. Muskets weren’t canons or mortars but an aroused and armed citizenry could outlast the King’s or dictator’s regular army. Maybe that’s why all dictators make it illegal for the average citizen to own a weapon. The fire power of national armies today is immense. An armed citizenry is no match for the army. Unless they know modern weapons and somehow acquire them. But that is a different story. A match for the standing army or not, an armed population is still a force to be used to protect the freedom of the people. Protecting the freedom handed down to them and nourished with American blood since those early founding days is the duty of all of us. Can we have a debate yet?
Not quite, what’s to regulate? Let’s examine the types of weapons that are capable of enabling one person to kill several innocent unarmed people in a short time. I have been around weapons all my life. Not that it means much, but outside of a tour in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, I can’t remember ever sleeping under a roof without a gun somewhere in the house. In my nearly two years in Vietnam (1968 & 69) I could have had any weapon I wanted for personal defense of my sleeping space, usually a house or part of a house. Assault rifles from several nations, submachine guns (mostly 9mm), all of them of the infamous automatic variety were available. Yet the weapon I chose, along with many other professionals, was the militarized version of the old 12 gauge pump action shotgun with a full load of five double OO shotgun shells, known as a riot gun. Reloading is fast. In Vietnam, late one night, one of my Nung guards, who spoke no English, pounded on my door yelling VC! VC!. It was only minutes after an attack by 122mm rockets. Small arms fire coming from the street was loud and sustained. What’s to question? I ran outside with my 12 gauge shotgun and a bag of shells and grenades. Completely dressed except for boots and clothes. An old Celtic tradition. Anyway there was no ground attack. My four Nung guards had a big laugh over my nakedness, especially since I had locked myself out of the house. No retreat. But they respected my choice of weapons and willingness to come out without stopping to dress.
The reason I gave all that space to the shotgun is, because in close, it is a devastating weapon. Far more lethal than any assault rifle. I don’t know, but I’ll bet there are far more shotguns in private hands in the U.S. than any other weapon with the possible exception of .22 caliber guns. Stopping these terrible slaughters of innocent people, especially children, cannot be done by regulating assault rifles, large capacity magazines or handguns in general. Shotguns are part of middle America culture and history. They will not be made illegal. There are weapons no citizen needs or should have. But that’s not what the current uniformed debate centers on. The problem needs to be fixed. Children need to be protected. Our mental health system needs vast and costly improvement. People with mental problems or records of violence should not have access to deadly weapons. People who have guns should be held responsible for controlling access. If their weapons are used in a crime, aren’t they responsible? Now let’s have the debate that can lead to a solution.
http://www.factsandfictions.com By the author of the Jack Brandon Thriller Series