Straight from the Source – Me

It’s sad to think that nowadays, when someone asks me about the mass shooting at the school, my reply is “Which one?” This cartoon from “This Modern World” sums it up nicely:

The truly sad aspect of this is that the cartoon was published August 31, weeks before the shooting in Oregon.

As the cartoon suggests, whenever a shooting like this occurs, a great debate on Facebook ensues. Despite my efforts to explain myself to the contrary, many people lump me in with other liberals when it comes to gun control and why we want it.

Here, then, is my position on gun control. I hope it opens your eyes in a number of ways. Feel free to copy and reference it as you will.

  • I do not think gun control measures will eliminate crime, or even gun crime. If someone wants to get his hands on a gun, even if more stringent regulations were put in place, he could get one. What gun control measures will do is reduce the number of gun-related injuries, the number of domestic disputes that end in death, and the number of school massacres. Note again that I said reduce, not eliminate. Even just a reduction in these kinds of gun injuries is a big step.
  • I do not want to take everyone’s gun away. There are many responsible and safe gun owners. Taking their guns would deprive them of a sense of enjoyment and satisfaction.
  • I do not want to put restrictions on every kind of gun. People have shotguns and rifles for sport, and handguns of all types for protection. However, I don’t see a need for any citizen to own a semi-automatic gun, like an AK-47 or an Uzi. It’s not sporting to shoot a deer with an M16, and it would be more difficult to use one for self-defense.
  • I do think licensing and training requirements will help reduce gun violence. It is not a big stretch to require a person to show that he has passed a gun safety course before being able to purchase a gun. That will also limit (again, not eliminate) gun violence in the heat of passion; given time to think about it, I believe many people would not resort to guns to solve their problems.
  • I think licensing and training requirements would pass constitutional muster. Here is the full text of the Second Amendment. It is only one sentence. (Feel free to check to make sure I didn’t add anything or leave anything out:

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.

The key part, to me, is “a well regulated Militia.” A militia is, according to Merriam-Webster,

a :  a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency

b :  a body of citizens organized for military service

“Organized” implies a level of discipline above that of ordinary citizens. I know not everyone interprets the amendment that way. Maybe in the future they will.

So, that’s it. That’s my stance on gun control. It is not as extreme as the stance of some, which means some of the ideas I support are more likely to become law some day.

There are also a lot of falsehoods being spread that I would like to address. Maybe another time.


4 thoughts on “Straight from the Source – Me

  1. Hello Jim. I would like to address your points. Point 1: First, I think you are contradicting yourself up front. You say if someone wants to get a gun, they can, even if the gun control laws are strict. You are absolutely right about that. The cities with the strictest gun control have the highest gun crime rates. But then you say gun control will reduce accidents, domestic violence, school shootings,etc. If you say a person who really wants a gun can get one, how are these other areas reduced? If that were true, you would see that In those cities with strict gun control, and you don’t. Their gun crimes are higher than those cities with less gun control as I said. So, I don’t see the reduction you speak of.

    Point 2: I do not want to take everyone’s gun away. Thank you for sound reasoning here.

    Point 3: Restricting certain types of guns. You are ok with sporting rifles but against what folks wrongly label assault rifles. You say you are against semi auto rifles. There are several types and calibers of hunting rifles that are semi auto that don’t have the assault rifle appearance. Are you against those too? What’s wrong with semi auto rifles? There are also hunting rifles that are in .223 caliber. The same caliber as the AR 15. Civilians don’t but M16 rifles. The AR 15 is the civilian version. And by the way, it is in a .223 caliber, just like the semi auto hunting rifle version. Appearance is the only difference. You are ok with hunting with the hunting style.223 and not the poorly labeled”assault” style? What is the difference? No one is shooting deer with an M16. To say that is not being truthful. There’s simply no difference between hunting deer with a Remington .223 and an AR 15 .223. Every kind of “assault” style rifle is a semi auto rifle. It may look like the military version, but in fact, these rifles are no different than that Remington .223. Appearance is the only difference. They don’t shoot any faster than the Remington. They may hold more rounds and their appearance is different, but they function in the same way. Do you want to ban that Remington hunting rifle and other semi auto rifles that don’t look like an assault rifle? And either the Remington or the AR 15 can be easily used for self defense in the right situation. You use different types of weapons for different types of self defense situations.

    Point 4: Licensing and training. I agree that anyone who purchases any kind of firearm should train with it. You want state trainers of some type? How much training are you going to require? How often? Will I have to go somewhere twice a year to prove I can shoot? I own around 20 different firearms. Do I have to bring them all? Pretty impractical. Official training required by the state seems impractical. Now, if someone has never had a gun in his life, yes, he needs to get training. There’s a lot of ways he can do that. Alot of major gun stores offer training and various gun ranges do too. What kind of official training do you think I need? Training will not reduce domestic violence with a gun or crimes of passion. Training will not make someone in the heat of passion stop to think about what they are doing. They aren’t thinking clearly in a heat of passion crime.

    Point 5: Licensing and training and the Constitution.

    “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.”

    Where is licensing and training mentioned here? I don’t see it. The error people make when reading the 2d Amendment is they read it from a modern perspective instead of how and why it was written during the timeframe it was written. Every able bodied man at the time of the revolutionary war owned firearms. They all came forward to fight the British. That “well regulated militia” was the common man and his neighbors who came out to fight. “The right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms…” It was the PEOPLE that this amendment was written for, in case we ever need to do to any future US government what we did to the British. We can easily become “organized” if needed. That’s where that “body of citizens” comes from in that second definition. During the revolutionary war, there were regular army soldiers and then there were organized bodies of citizens that fought alongside the regular army. Read the second amendment in the context it was written as well as for the reason it was written. No other country has this in their Constitutions because they don’t want the average citizen to own firearms in order to prevent any possibility of one day needing to overthrow their governments. Nothing in the 2d amendment about licensing and training. Back then, every man taught himself and his family how to shoot. No license needed.

    So that’s my 2 cents on this blog on gun control. I appreciate your views, but you may want to do a little more research on some of your points. I hope I have been respectful of your views.

  2. Tim, let me address your points on my points one by one:

    1. I don’t think I’m being contradictory, because I’m making a distinction between career criminals and people who are angry in the moment and wanting to buy a gun, or people who buy one for protection. Gun control measures will probably not change the first group significantly, but it will reduce gun injuries in the second group. It’s old data, but I remember reading once that half of all gun injuries are due to domestic incidents and accidents, not gun crime.

    2. I made sure I didn’t have a “but…” in this point, because for me this is an absolute.

    3. The comment about hunting a deer with an M16 was meant to be a joke. My misuse of the term was not intentional.

    “Assault weapon” is a legal term as opposed to a technical one. Whether a gun is a semi-automatic or not, I think we can agree that there are certain types of guns whose sole function is to kill people. It is a small subset of all guns, and is the only group I would like to see controls on.

    4. I wouldn’t expect a gun owner to be licensed on every type of gun he owns, any more than I would expect a driver to be licensed on every type of car he owns. And you’re right, training will not reduce domestic incidents, but it will help newbies who are buying a gun for protection. It will help prevent accidents. The one thing that will help reduce domestic violence incidents is a waiting period.

    5. My point here is that “militia” implies training (not necessarily licensing). As I also pointed out, many people do not agree with this interpretation. Many others do agree, however.

    Finally, you have been very respectful of my positions. I hope you see my response in the same light.

  3. Jim, thanks for your response. Let’s do it again. 😊

    1. What kind of gun control measures do you think would reduce Gunn injuries? You would like a waiting period. What happens to a victim of domestic violence when she has to wait to obtain a firearm to protect herself from the next time she gets beaten? What other measures would stop gun injuries? Based on the number of gun deaths in Chicago alone recently, I doubt half of the gun injuries are from accidents or just domestic incidents.

    2. Nuff said.😋

    3. I had a picture of two semi auto rifles, one looking like a regular hunting rifle and the other an “assault rifle”. Couldn’t put it here, so I put it on your FB page. Both are the same caliber, same capabilities, same functions. The only difference between the two is looks. One LOOKS like an M16. It isn’t, but it looks like it. So why should this gun be banned and the one that looks like a traditional hunting rifle not be? Either can kill a deer or a man.

    Your premise that there are a certain amount of guns who’s only function is to kill people. Technically, you can say that about all guns. But the function of any gun depends on the person using it. A person can kill other people with a traditional semi auto hunting rifle as easily as with the”assault rifle. Granted, magazine capacity is greater with the assault style rifle, but it is a straw man argument to say the only purpose of an assault rifle is to kill people. The purpose of any firearm is to kill. What it kills is up to the human being behind the trigger.

    The other purpose of the assault rifle types is for personal protection. People have different firearms for different purposes. I might not use my AR15 against someone breaking into my house, although I could, but it would be used against someone from a distance. Will a situation where that would be necessary happen? I don’t know. But I would like to have the weapon necessary if I ever did. The intent of any weapon is only the intent of the person using it.

    4. Training for a new gun owner is not a bad idea. I don’t know about state required training, although if there was one area that I could compromise on, I suppose that could be it.

    Not sure licensing is necessary for anything but concealed carry. Again, that might slow down a woman’s ability to buy a weapon for her own protection in a domestic abuse situation.

    5. No, “militia” does not imply training. It implies and refers only to an “organized” group of citizens. At the time of the writing of the 2nd Amendment, the organized militia of citizens were assumed to be self trained already on an individual basis.

    I enjoy debating with you Jim, and have tried to be very respectful of you and your ideas. I hope I have done that. It’s never my intention to belittle to be belligerent. You have been very respectful of my positions as well, and I appreciate It. You are a great debater! Thanks.

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