How about a Flash-Back to 2007?

[This is an Op Ed I wrote in 2007. It has been edited for Spelling Only. For more on the same subject, from this year, see Here and Here.]

To the Editor,

There is an issue in the news which everyone is decrying, yet not actually Facing: The issue is Gun Control. In the news today (Sunday, 30 December 2007) there were 2 shootings, with total casualties of 7 killed, 1 wounded. In the past three months there have been several mass (5 or more victims) shootings all over the nation.

To clear something up with those who would reply and rail against my motivations, I will say this: I am a reenactor, I own 2 firearms which I regularly shoot; and I hold a NH Concealed Carry Permit for pistols and revolvers. I am also a history major in my Junior year.

Please allow me to quote the news this morning: “A gunman killed one and injured another person at a Hooters restaurant when he was asked to leave for failure to pay his bill. He exited the store, turned and fired multiple shots through the front of the building. Also, in Phoenix AZ, 6 people were shot and killed by a gunman in what is being called a long-standing argument between neighbors. Police are looking for the gunman who fled the scene. A new sports record for the Patriots today…” Why did the deaths of 7 people not raise more Questions? How did the the gunmen get these weapons? Why was the man in the Hooters carrying a weapon at all? Was there a significant threat he was concerned about? Were police informed of it?

The argument for lack of gun control reads approximately as follows: “If everyone carried a gun, no one would be dumb enough to try anything, and if they did, everyone could shoot back. Look at Switzerland, they require everyone to have their assault rifle at home with them, and they have almost no gun crime; Hong Kong has outlawed guns, and it’s one of the easiest places in the world to get one…” The detail left out about Switzerland is that their population with the rifles has had 2 years of Active Duty Military Service, and is in the national reserve. Therefore, if they had the type of problems these shooters had, they were found out in the army, and they are thereafter not allowed to use firearms, they are given the help they need. I have found no evidence in any of these recent shootings the people involved had ever served, in any capacity. The OK Corral and most of the murders in the Wild West were caused by a lack of gun control: A drunk who was loosing at cards could buy a gun, kill everyone who he lost to and that was the end of it. Also, several people who would now be documented sociopaths were able to buy guns at will and shoot up anything and anyone they wanted.

Now, there are 3 General types of firearms: Those designed for hunting and sport (target shooting and the like), those which were designed solely to kill people, and Antique arms and reproductions there of, which span both sides of the other two types. Both weapons I own are of the last type, civilian hunting weapons of the 18th century.

The types of weapons meant for hunting and sport (most shotguns, bolt-actions, lever-actions, small-bore revolvers, etc) are deadly, but for the most part have small magazines holding less than 6 cartridges. Therefore, you could kill someone with them, but they would need to reload more often, and would have an inherently lower rate of fire due to the way they work and how they are made. These are reasonable weapons for someone to possess and be able to purchase, and own without undue licensing and specific reason for having them. Federal Laws now trace almost all legal firearms and records the owner of each, and its sale history.

The guns in the mall shootings however, were not of the above type. They were weapons designed solely to kill humans in a situation where they would be shooting back. In other words, military hardware. These should be made unavailable to those who would commit mass murder. Pistols with more than 8 rounds, most semi-automatic (term for a weapon that fires one bullet each time the trigger is pulled and automatically readies another round) rifles, and anything that can be made to fire as a machine-gun should be available (Legally) only to Law Enforcement and Military, and only in very few specific circumstances be allowed to Historians with a legitimate reason to have them for Historical interpretation and research. If laws along this line were passed, the supply of Illegal weapons would dwindle quickly, and could be taken legally if found, thereby killing the major source of the weapons to illegal dealers. I really doubt a police officer is going to sell a weapon illegally, or to someone he didn’t trust, as there is a significant risk he will have to face it further down the road.

In the last category, there is a wide variety of weapons encompassed, ranging from the first firearms ever made to World War II surplus. This fact makes it hard to judge, and are from both types mentioned above. However, with proper licensing and common sense, it would be reasonable to allow their possession for weapons even as recent as WWII. If someone wished to purchase a Thompson Sub-Machinegun with no evidence of being a member of a historical weapons’ shooting club, Reenactment group or museum, the police chief of the town or their deputy should be the judge if the sale should go through, for each individual case.

As an example in numbers of my case I will give the results of the following scenario with each of the classes of weapons mentioned above: A three minute shooting spree with 120 bullets brought by the gunman. 50% of rounds will be hits, 50% of those hit are killed, the rest wounded. The weapons chosen are: for human-killer weapon class: AK-47(30 round magazine, full auto action); for Hunting weapons, a Remington 700 rifle (5 rounds, bolt action); for antique, a Reproduction Brown Bess of the revolutionary war era (1 round, muzzle-loaded). For the Remington, I am basing rate of fire off the German Army First World War standard of 10 rounds per minute with a similar rifle; for the Brown Bess, 4 rounds per minute, which is the sustained rate of fire I can achieve with the same weapon after 2 years of continual practice. Police response is to kill the gunman after 3 minutes.

AK-47 results: 120 rounds fired(4 reloads); 60 casualties, 30 dead and the same wounded. This fight is over in less than a minute and a half, as the effective rate of fire for a weapon of this sort is about 300 rounds per minute for a skilled hand, reload time inclusive.

Remington results: 30 rounds fired(6 reloads); 15 casualties, 7.5 dead, same wounded.

Brown Bess: 12 rounds fired(12 reloads); 6 casualties, 3 killed, same wounded.

If these numbers cannot get the point across, I am not certain what will.

I will leave the legal side of this to Lawyers and legislators, as that is their job. However, it is our responsibility as citizens to DEMAND that they face the issue now, not later. Call or write to your reps. and Demand they address the issue, before more innocent people are killed by the firearm laws now in place.

Debate Starter:

To the Right Wing:

Saying the second amendment is so you can have comparable firepower to the Military is absurd at this point in history. Do you have nukes, air power, rocket launchers and cruise missiles? No, you dont, and most of you dont have the training to use them. If you were to rebel, the army and police would crush you in days, because you also dont have training, electronic countermeasures, endless supplies of munitions, or manpower like they do.

Therefore, please be quiet.

To the left wing:

If you are not familiar with weaponry, please dont spout off on it. Learn the skills and knowledge needed to handle the things. Find out first hand what they are and are not, then come to the table.

To everyone else:

Lets widen this debate a little. lets look at not only gun laws, but violence as a whole. That includes not only guns, but knives, bombs, garrote, etc. Also, lets see some research into commonalities in these events, for an idea of what we can do on the social, economic, psychological sides of this. Let’s look at any number of other factors, such as Training Requirements for carrying weapons, and anything else that could come into play.

Ok, go.

Mass Shootings and Regulations.

If I may Chime in on the whole Gun-Control and Firearms Rights:

I’m Military, and currently on Active Duty. When the Recruiting-Station shooting happened a few months ago, there was a big push among my comrades to have everybody armed. Rifles issued to every uniformed member on base.

That’s a horrible Idea.

First, I now have to carry around that weight all day, and maintain the weapon.

Second, Because everyone can see I am armed, I become the first Target.

Third, I could snap, and then the impulse isn’t controlled by the fact that all I’m carrying is a knife. Anyone could snap and not even have the cool-off time of having to go arm themselves.

Fourth, and most important: I DO NOT TRUST THESE PEOPLE WITH FIREARMS.

I used to work with guns daily, alongside dozens of other types of weapons. Firearms are the most deadly type I have ever used, and I’ve trained with every classification of weaponry Humans have invented. As far as I know, these people I serve with have fired 60 bullets, at paper, under absolutely no stress, in their entire life.

Dealing with someone who might be shooting back, while bullets are flying, and dozens of other elements are in play, is NOTHING like what we did in Basic Training, or our Qualification training. There is no reason to believe that the average service member will perform under stress while being attacked.

The deal I struck with the shop was, I will trust them if they can pass the USMC Infantry Combat School. Fire thousands of rounds of ammunition under extreme levels of stress, in all types of conditions, even with real bullets are coming back at you. If you can do that, I will trust you with a firearm.

Some people argued they didn’t need to, because they had training. I told them they would simply have an easy time at the course, then. They need that certificate to tell me they are qualified.

If you are going to have a Handgun,, you should have to annually pass a Law-Enforcement level Firearms Qualification Course, complete with a shoot-house. The same one the police use for their training, including the legal requirements so you know what is and is not lawful use of force.

If you want a rifle or shotgun, I see no reason you would want a military weapon. As far as I’m concerned, Repeating arms are about where things flatten out sports wise. Outside of Combat-Oriented shooting Sports, no one uses semi-auto or automatic weapons. Those are designed for use against an opposing force intent on killing you. There’s no need for them in the civilian market (Aside from Historical interest, but then you can get certifications as a Collector or Museum) for the vast majority of people. These weapons are, for the most part, less accurate, less well built, and lower quality than many commercial arms meant for target shooting and sports such as hunting (With a few notable exceptions).

Long Story Short, You should have to be Qualified by a Competent Authority to carry firearms. You don’t generally need military-type weapons for civilian use. You shouldn’t Open-Carry, because it just makes you the first one Targeted.

 

Further things to consider in this debate, and will potentially have follow-up articles:

Physical Fitness requirements to carry firearms.

2ND Amendment protections only applying to service in the Militia.

2ND Amendment Rights not a Preemption of State or Local Regulations.

2ND Amendment as basis for Mandatory National Service Requirement.

2ND Amendment does not allow possession of all types of weapons.

Futility of Armed Rebellion against first and second world states.