Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

On Gun Control in the USA

Gun control is a hot button item with liberal democrats and conservative republicans. The desire of the most rabid of the gun control crowd is to remove all guns from everyone except the police and military (and some would take the guns from the police as well!) The conservatives want almost no limits on gun ownership. I believe the reality of the matter should be somewhere in between.

Coming from a long line of hunters (going back to the first Alt’s in America in 1738 or so) I own a rifle and a shotgun. The rifle is an old converted Mauser and the shotgun is a semi-automatic plugged to only allow 5 shells to be loaded at any one time. At this time I don’t own any handguns but have no negative feelings towards them. In fact, when finances allow I plan on purchasing a hand gun for home defense. Of course I will be sure both my wife and I take a class on its safe use from a local gun range or police station.

Now, to the meat of the matter, I am a card carrying member of the NRA, does that mean I stand for everything they do? No, of course not. I believe that Americans have the right to keep and bear arms, both for home defense and just in case politicians get too uppity and decide to try to take more power than they need to govern. And I believe that is the reason that the framers of the constitution put the right to arms clause in there, to remind politicians that they aren’t all powerful. Do I think the average citizen should own fully automatic weapons, flame throwers, grenade launchers or Abrams tanks? No, definitely not.

Currently there are some half baked proposals before the Congress and Senate proposing bans on semiautomatic weapons with some fairly liberal definitions of exactly what is a semiautomatic weapon, unfortunately, that definition would not only ban a semi-automatic AK47 with an extended banana clip holding hundreds of rounds, but my son-in-laws 30-06 semiautomatic hunting rifle. Thus, it is a bad bill and should not be passed.

I am all for limits based on cyclic rate of fire and clip size, but not so loosely specified that it can produce a cascade effect onto sporting rifles. In fact, the very weapons that the bill is designed to restrict are already restricted by existing laws. Most of the crimes that the liberals are saying would be curtailed by this new ban were not committed with the semi-automatic rifles they are trying to ban! The one thing that the liberals who propose these bans forget is that criminals don’t follow the law, that is implicit in their being criminals. As countries such as England and Australia have found, once you make it impossible for a law abiding citizen to own guns, crime rates increase.

Why is it that liberals can’t read statistics? The states and cities with the most restrictive bans on guns have the highest crime rates, the ones with the least restrictive tend to have the lowest. When a criminal (who could care less that he is using an illegal hand gun) knows that a home owner or car driver probably won’t be armed because the law forbids it, it makes them an easy target for that criminal. Some states have already made it illegal to defend yourself, allowing criminals injured by homeowners to sue the homeowner for damages! Talk about legal insanity! More people where killed by bad Doctors last year than by guns in the USA, should we ban all Doctors? More children were killed by bicycles than by guns, should we ban bicycles?

Remember, it is already illegal to own or sell fully automatic weapons, grenades, rocket launchers and generally illegal for anyone to own anything other than a rifle or handgun that can be used for hunting or sport shooting. By law the guns must be registered. Most states require a permit and a safety course.

I agree that before a person can own a gun they should have to take a gun safety course, not be a felon and be at a responsible age. However, beyond restrictions on fully automatic weapons, ridiculous calibers (bullet sizes) and rocket launchers, if Granny wants a semiautomatic AK47 with a case of ammo, the more power to her!

If gun laws will make us safe then why are the states and cities with the most restrictive gun laws the most unsafe? If laws make us safe then we should have nothing to fear since it is illegal to commit a crime with a gun, it is illegal for felons to own guns and the most dangerous fully-automatic guns are already illegal. Face it, the reason most politicians want guns banned is they are afraid that if they really screw up we will hold them accountable for it, an unarmed population is much easier to control than an armed one.