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GUNS AND AMMO

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Seems like time to weigh in on the gun argument. First, a quick look at my bona fides. I haven’t owned a personal weapon since 1973, or fired one since 1993. People don’t ask you to the range after you’ve outshot them with their own weapon.

But, I do have some expertise. I learned to shoot when I was eleven, and was always good at it. For a time, as an infantry lieutenant I ran a range complex for basic trainees at Ft Dix NJ, and for a few years in the ‘80s I edited a gun magazine in New York. To edit those articles you have to read them, and I learned a lot. Oh, and I got shot several times in Vietnam. So, yeah, I know a lot about guns.

I’ve chosen to weigh in because I watch the arguments about guns on television, and read many many forwarded articles about this debate in my email, from both sides. What bothers me is that the three factors that I consider the most significant don’t even seem to be on the table. They are: 1) Population density, 2) ammunition, and 3) mind-altering drugs.

Most commentators on television are city people. When they acknowledge that there is a culture of guns in rural areas they talk about it as though it was a strange foible, a holdover from a bygone era. But a device that is a scourge in a densely populated city, where a drive by can easily kill a child on the far side of a distant brick wall, is a necessary tool out in the boondocks where the response time on a 911 call is maybe Thursday if the snow melts. Disarm those people and they will soon be victims of a series of home invasion robberies ending in bloodbaths. And it’s not that unusual, in mountain homes, for a bear to stroll into the kitchen.

So, in my view, one size fits all gun legislation is not even possible.

As to ammo, it’s important to remember that a gun is a bullet launcher. Without ammo a gun is merely a poorly designed and expensive club. So, if you’re going to ban something in a city I’d recommend banning ammo that can shoot long distances and through walls. There is a kind of ammo called frangible. It breaks up 25 feet from the muzzle of the weapon. There is no reason why anybody in a city but cops should have any other kind of ammo.

But the other thing that nobody on television talks about is that virtually every gunner with psychological problems who has done a mass shooting was on one or another psychotropic drug. All of them have suicide as a possible side effect, and it does not strain one’s credulity to presume that someone with suicidal tendencies might be moved to take a lot of people with him. This is probably also true of mothers who drown their kids in the bathtub. The fact that this is not even on the table is a pretty good indicator that our free press is not as free as we’d like to think. What we do have is a media with no prior government censorship. But it’s still subject to economic strictures. If you’re on tv you don’t want your pharmaceutical advertising pulled, because if it is you won’t be on tv anymore.

So far the conversation has been principally about so-called semi-automatic assault rifles. To a retired army officer like myself the term “semi-automatic assault rifle” is an oxymoron. If you rifle does not have a full-auto capability it is not an assault rifle. It is merely a scary looking version of a squirrel gun. I don’t have a rifle, but if I did I’d want a mini-14, because it’s light, accurate, and I’m familiar with it. The panic over 30-round magazines seems to me overblown. I think this entire issue is a red herring.

What I do think is that everyone who is forbidden by law to have a firearm, because they’re a convicted felon, because they’re crazy, and most especially if they’re on psychotropic drugs, should have a small tattoo on their hand, one that only shows up under a cheap black light projector that can be purchased for next to nothing at Radio Shak, or pretty much anywhere else. Then anyone who sells such a person a firearm should be considered an accomplice in any gun crime that that person commits. If it’s robbery they’re as guilty as the robber. If it’s murder they’re a guilty as the murderer.

If that doesn’t make the problem go away then we’ll talk about other measures.

Article by Jim Morris