Culture / Politics · April 18, 2007

Virgina Tech and Gun Control whores

I warned about those who would use the Virginia Tech tragedy to push their own agenda. It’s happening again now with gun control. Each side of the gun control issue is pushing their position, and they have both warned about the “dire consequences” of the other side’s position. The only few that are making any sense whatsoever are those who have said that we can’t allow this tragedy to influence our decisions with raw emotion.

This country needs a “time out” before we decide what to do about guns. I personally believe that a few changes to gun laws are required, but I believe my readers might be surprised at how few changes I think we need.

I’m a strong defender of our nation’s Constitution, and I defend it in the Jeffersonian / Addams sense. Both of these men believed in a nation ruled by “We the People”, not by tyrants. Individually, each of us have very little power to control our government, but together we can threaten revolution if needs must. This isn’t the whole story of course, but I won’t get into the difference between well-armed individuals and a “well armed militia” here. I will be content with saying that times were different then than now, but that I still think it necessary for individuals to own guns because I believe the benefits still outweigh the risks.

But I believe we should limit a few of those risks.

My father is an avid hunter who gave me my first .410 double barrel shotgun as a gift for my first birthday! So when I say that I grew up with guns, I am not kidding! By the age of six I was well informed about gun safety, and by the age of ten I was pretty good shot. In the Air Force I won the “Expert” ribbon in both M16 and 9mm – and that was with the crappy training guns that were handed out to us electronics specialists who were required to only meet minimum qualifications in a three-hour period. (It’s difficult to win a “Marksman” ribbon with a gun that isn’t sighted in that you are not familiar with. It’s especially difficult if the sights move slightly during recoil! Air Force training rifles are really trashy.)

I never took a NRA safety course, I never entered into any shooting competitions. I did some target shooting and some skeet shooting on my own. Dad trained me how to handle a gun, and Dad is a very cautious man. From the expertise demonstrated to me by my NRA friends I’ve come to the conclusion that NRA training tends to increase a shooter’s ignorance. I’ve had more guns accidentally pointed at me by those with NRA training than I find comfortable. My sister, also trained by our father, had quite a lot to say about one particular NRA trained boob who claimed expertise that he clearly didn’t have.

Dad grew up hunting for food for the table during the tail end of the Depression. If he didn’t bring something home the family didn’t eat. Dad was very conservative with his bullets. He disapproves of semi-automatic weapons and thinks that fully automatic weapons are worse than useless. As he has said before, “If you can’t hit your target with one shot, what makes you think you can hit it with 20?” I tend to agree.

And that’s what I mean about limiting our risks. Civilians don’t need fully automatic weapons – they only need to be able to hit what they’re shooting at. I think that most people should be more concerned with being able to hit a target than being able to put a large number of projectiles downrange.

As for background checks for gun ownership, the registration of all new and existing guns, right to carry permits and all the rest – I don’t have any firm opinions on these positions, other than my belief that our nation needs further discussion on these topics.

I think that discussion needs to wait until after the emotions of Virginia Tech have cooled.