On Gun Control

This month I would like to chime in with my two cents on the topic of gun control. I realize that this issue may elicit heated debate between those who are on opposing sides of the fence, so I will try to be rational while still expressing my own strongly held views.

Background checks
Allow me to begin by getting a few things out of the way right off the bat. First, I personally am not necessarily opposed to background checks, considering the fact that we must already pass through them for most gun purchases, anyhow. Secondly, as far as mental health is concerned, if our public servants want to cross-reference a database of persons with known mental health problems in conjunction with the background checks, then I am not totally opposed to that either.

gun control of the ban or confiscation variety would ironically need to be enforced at gunpoint

Now, with the above-mentioned matters out of the way, please know that I am, however, opposed to legislation that would ban certain types of semi-auto weapons as well as accessories for said weapons. The tragic events that occurred in Connecticut in December are not a result of the firearm or accessories used. No, the person who committed the acts is the sole individual responsible, and removing these implements from innocent law-abiding people will not prevent a criminal from obtaining one illegally, nor would additional laws necessarily prevent said criminal from building a bomb or maybe even something worse. The key here is intent: someone intent on aggressing upon another will somehow acquire the necessary tools to enable or assist that aggression.

Second Amendment intent
I am one of those who believes the US Constitution’s Second Amendment was not added with a view to hunting. I also believe strongly that gun control of the ban or confiscation variety would ironically need to be enforced at gunpoint. When anything is enforced at gunpoint it doesn’t matter if it’s a legally binding law, an executive order or a criminal telling you what to do, because at that point you are left with only two options: cooperate, or suffer the consequences.

For those who advocate the extreme position that firearms should be banned altogether as has been enacted in England and Australia, for example, my simple point is this: yes, gun crime decreased (but did not disappear entirely) as a result of removing firearms completely from the law-abiding segment of the population. What is to be expected to happen when you take away all the guns? What most people refuse to acknowledge, however, is the fact that other types of crime rose significantly, such as murder by knife, which brings us right back to the matter of criminal intent.

Just one more observation: those who continue calling AR15s “military-style assault weapons” are confused. Unless you have gone through the process with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (commonly known as the ATF) to obtain a Class III license, you cannot legally own the same rifles our military uses, such as the M16A2 upon which the AR15 is modeled. One should also note that Class III licenses are by no means easy to obtain. What’s the difference between the rifles that everyone is incorrectly calling “assault rifles” and those our armed services field? Well, I’m glad you asked. Yes, they do look very similar, don’t they? There is, however, one significant distinction. The infantry rifles that our armed services employ — in the case of the Marine Corps, every Marine is a rifleman — possess a selector switch which allows them to be operated in one of three modes: semi-auto (or, single shot), three-round burst fire, or full auto. These weapons also come with a hefty price tag of around $18,000 each. The AR15 which an average consumer can buy, which costs a mere $1,500 by contrast, only fires a single round per pull of the trigger and lacks the burst and full auto modes of fire. What this means is that one cannot simply keep firing a continuous stream of bullets by means of a single trigger pull. A semi-auto gun merely feeds the next round into the chamber — the same action one would normally perform manually after firing a bolt-action rifle. So, one still must squeeze the trigger for each round sent flying.

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