Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Gun control for tomorrow

As you read this blog I want everyone to understand that I am a gun owner.  I used to hunt as a kid and enjoyed my best days with my father and friends hunting upland game birds on Cape Cod and in other locals.  I would not trade those experiences for anything.  I raised hunting dogs, English Pointers and had either a pointer or Brittany Spaniel for most of my life.  My favorite Christmas gift was when I got a 410 shotgun when I was in 7th grade.  I still treasure that shotgun.  The last time I bought a gun was a few years ago when I purchased a 410 over and under shotgun.  A few years before that I purchased my first muzzle loading weapon with the intent to do some deer hunting.

With this as the background, I have to question; is this country nuts?  How and Why do we allow people to buy assault weapons, extended magazine clips and enough ammunition to supply the Syrian rebels.  There is absolutely no need for this.  The National Rifle Association is the enabler for much of the violence we see around us.  Don't tell me otherwise.  This organization needs to rethink its guiding principles and help this country address gun violence in the 21st century.

I received an opinion questionnaire from the NRA a year ago and I gave them hell.  They take the position that under no circumstances do they want government to know about their gun activities.  The funny thing here is that when I was a kid in the 1960s, I joined the NRA.  At that time, you could not gain membership unless your local police force approved.  That's right, you had to get permission from the local police force before you could join.  I think the police represent government.  Where and when did the NRA take  such a drastic turn against sanity?  I don't know!  I have not been a member for almost 50 years.

I am not blind to the fact that stronger gun control laws will not end gun violence and may not even end the tragedies that we have endured during the past decade.  I am confident that it time, with sensible gun regulation, some tragedies may be averted and the tragedies that we witness may not be so deadly.  We can only hope.

Gun advocates point to the 2nd amendment of the Constitution to claim their rights and the courts have always taken a broad view; "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"  Gun nuts even jump on the preface to this right by establishing their private militias thinking that they have a Constitutional right to do so.  I am referring to the "...well regulated militia...." here.  What the nuts don't seem to understand is that they have no Constitutional right to create a private militia.  If they read their Constitution, they would be well aware that only Congress can establish a state militia and only the President of the United States can command any such military body.  "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States......"

I personally believe that we should have a national firearm identification card, much like a credit card.  When we purchase a weapon or ammunition it could be swiped and yes, information tracked to ensure a safer society.  I would not have a problem applying for such a card and 99.9% of NRA members would not have a problem getting a card issued either.  Let's not forget this part of the Constitution; "....well regulated militia....."  I would emphasize the word "regulated" here.  It seems to me that the Commander and Chief has every right to move to regulate weapons.  Heads up to the private militia crowd: You have no right to provide a platform for possible insurrection in this country.  Clearly our founders did everything they could to ensure the continuity of government in the United States of America.

I'm a progressive and nobody is going to take my favorite Christmas gift away.



  1. Hello. This was an interesting read, thank you.
    I live in the UK but find myself to be an advocate of gun ownership. Yeah I've heard it all before, "what the government bans the people want", "oh, why because they're 'cool'?"... etc. Shockingly I have in fact thought a lot about the position. It is interesting to read an account of someone who is, seemingly, neither pro nor anti.
    I just want to start by saying that I do not claim to be a gun expert, and anything I am incorrect about please do enlighten me.

    With regard to the assault weapons, they're actually the least likely to be used to kill someone, and if there was to be a banning of any gun it should be the handgun as this leads to the most deaths.

    The only problem with gun regulation is that once the government takes some power from you, it keeps taking. The line is never drawn. You're identification card idea I have had many times in my midnight thoughts on how to make world the world a better place etc, but in the end it's only nice in theory. In practice it's just giving the government more information (and therefore more power).

    I do think it is every man and womans right to be able to defend and protect themselves, and as I live in the UK that right has been taken from us. Here, depending on the harm done, you will go to jail if you are attacked in the street and defend yourself. I find that very very scary. I believe in the phrase 'only a good person with a gun can stop a bad person with a gun'. I heard about a case in the US where a man tried a school shooting in a state that didn't have prohibited gun laws... he managed 2 shots I think before every person around him had their own guns pointed at him. He went to prison. There was no massacre, and apparently this was not widespread in the media (unlike school shootings where there is a massacre).
    An argument against this is, of course, "but 2 people still died THEREFORE NO GUNS!". I point out to those who say this that in the UK we have no guns and gun crime is still fairly high (I know you already mentioned this), and our knife crime is far higher than that of the USA's.

    I'm not overall too familiar with the NRA, this is the first time I've heard that they are insane though (by someone not anti-gun, of course ;)).

    I like the idea of your local police having to give you the 'ok' for owning guns.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful commentary. I guess the problem comes down to trust in government. I do trust the government of the US to maintain our freedoms. I do not envision government as an enemy. At least not now! I understand that in history, government can be an evil that stomps on humanity. Today, the government tells me if I can drive a car; it tells us if we can travel outside the country and gives us permission with our passports; it gives us permission to hunt and fish and it tracks those activities. I think those laws are necessary and benefit this country. Gun laws can be beneficial, and what has been proposed would never take away my rights to gun ownership. I don't care if the government knows I own a gun!! I am not a threat to society. Those that fear government, may well be a threat.