I’m not an anti-gun guy. I’m an anti-stupidity guy.
With some refresher work, the geezer probably could hold his own as a shooter, at least among other fully mature adults. In the distant past, the U.S. Army declared me qualified with standard infantry rifles, carbine “grease guns,” and .45-caliber pistols. Once upon a time, I competed (didn’t win) in a skeet tourney using 12 different Browning shotgun models at the company’s testing range near Morgan, Utah.
Much earlier, my air rifle shots knocked icicles off the eaves of numerous northern Wisconsin roofs. Many other somewhat strange targets came into my sights. A bit later, I learned how to fire the family shotgun and deer rifle.
Fortunately, no one has been killed or seriously hurt by my gun play. The only injury was a purplish welt caused by a well-aimed BB shot to the buttocks of one of my childhood pals. He shot first, I claimed at the time. His father abruptly stopped the mini-war between us, and confiscated our weapons for a while as punishment for stupidity.
From my experience with guns and acquaintances with many people who own and use them, I’ve reached three conclusions:
1. Responsible use of standard rifles and shotguns during hunting seasons not only provides enjoyable outdoor recreation but is useful to society. Because we have removed most large predators from the environment and it probably never will be practical to restore them completely, hunting is necessary to maintain healthy wildlife populations, and hunting with firearms is the best way to do that.
2. Some people in some places feel a compelling need to own a handgun to protect their homes or themselves from real or imagined serious threats, and they should be allowed to do so after careful screening and licensing. Screening should be rigorous. Needs should be firmly established before any carries outside the home are permitted.
3. AR 15 assault rifles, .50-caliber guns effective at a thousand yards, and other high-powered weapons intended for military use are absolutely unnecessary in the hands of civilians and should be banned. That’s banned as in everywhere. Gun collectors shouldn’t have them. Hobbyists shouldn’t have them. Target shooters shouldn’t have them. No civilians should be allowed to possess them.
|Smith and Wesson is a NRA favorite|
Members of the first militias in the 1700s were required by their leaders to own and use only certain types of muskets. Those western sheriffs depicted in movies demanding that cowboys surrender their guns when they came to town really did that. Similar requirements were in effect in other places to promote law and order. At one time, the National Rifle Association was among the leading advocates of gun controls. Many controls were installed by major cities in the 1960s following riots and protests. The intent was to get weapons out of the hands of the Black Panthers and other militant groups
Gun control is nothing new in the U.S. Decontrol is. Decontrol was encouraged by Supreme Court rulings in 2008 and 2010 (both by 5-4 votes) that liberally interpreted the constitutional provision allowing citizens to keep and bear arms so the country would have “a well-regulated militia.” The National Guard might be considered today’s equivalent of our 18th century militias. The Guard keeps its weapons controlled by locking them up when they are not needed for training or active duty purposes. The Guard is well-regulated, and civilian help in that area seems unnecessary.
Despite flying in the face of common sense, deregulation is sweeping the land. Chicago’s ordinance controlling handguns was repealed. Several states now permit “open carries,” taking us back to Wild West days. Macho Men and Wonder Women once again are seen packing pistols in public. At least we know who these gunnies are. The latest compilation shows 319,900 men and women (one in 22 adults) in Michigan have permits to carry concealed weapons, and the number is growing weekly. That’s scary.
Who has those permits to secretly pack heat? They are people at least 21 years of age who are not known to have mental illnesses and do not have serious criminal histories. They must complete a certified pistol course before applying for a permit from a county concealed-weapon licensing board. If approved, they pay a $105 fee. The permit is good for four years, and then may be renewed.
The pistol courses vary by state. In Wisconsin, a concealed-carry safety course takes four hours and can cost as little as $40. Retired law enforcement officers can get permits without the training in some states, including Michigan.
Michigan’s law lists “gun free zones” where permitted carriers are not allowed to bring their weapons. That seems reasonable and sensible.
What is unreasonable is a measure being considered by the Michigan Legislature to drop all the gun-free area provisions. People with permits would be allowed to carry their weapons in churches, bars, schools, sports arenas, and hospitals. This goes way too far. The legislation deserves a bipartisan speedy death. While it is being killed, the legislature should add public libraries to the gun-free list.
Would sensible people condone allowing guns into bars where liquid courage is known to frequently provoke shouting, shoving, and punching over even minor disagreements? This is ridiculous. Wyatt Earp would be aghast.
There is no test of intelligence in Michigan’s concealed weapons licensing process. Some such control seems justified. A recent Detroit Free Press story indicates that at least one concealed carrier wasn’t too bright.
A 45-year-old man working in a Detroit suburb on an air conditioning installation was carrying a .40-caliber Glock pistol in his pants pocket. He moved the pistol. It went off. The man shot himself in the penis.
One reader commented, “At least he won’t be producing any offspring who might want to carry a concealed weapon.”