Thursday, July 26, 2012

More gun control, anyone?

In a recent post over at Bag of Nothing, the blog's host, Keith, linked to a tweet by actor Jason Alexander, commenting on the Aurora tragedy.  While I don't agree with Mr. Alexander's reasoning or conclusions, I did find it refreshing that he articulated a fairly civil discourse, rather than the typical vitriolic rant one tends to see from those in the entertainment industry.

In today's, is an essay "Why I own an assault rifle", which runs more in line with my point of view.  Sidebar: The designation AR-15 is often thought to mean "assault rifle" - it's actually ArmaLite Rifle, for the Fairchild ArmaLite Corporation, the company that originated the Eugene Stoner design (scaled down from the AR-10), and later sold the manufacturing rights to Colt.

I was going to comment on Keith's post, but, uh, the length of the comment exceeded the character count allowed in WordPress.  So I guess I don't speak/write in soundbites.  Maybe that's why Todd the Blogger is always asking "Is this going to be a long story?"  Go figure.

Anyway, here's the response I was going to post:

Keith, I agree that Jason Alexander presented his thoughts reasonably well (and not as condescendingly or snarkily like a Jon Stewart, Michael Moore, or Bill Maher), but, in the main, I disagree with his conclusions.  Here are a few reasons: 

• The 2nd Amendment was not written to preserve hunting rights, nor is it about limiting arms possession or use to a select few.  The prefatory phrase today might be better understood as "We need to make sure people are well-practiced in the use of guns."  At the time, the fledgling Republic had a deep-rooted mistrust of a standing army to protect the borders, and no money to afford one anyway.  So basically, they were saying: "Let's all amongst ourselves stay in good practice (well regulated), and we'll enshrine/enumerate this right (shall not be infringed) so that future government(s) don't try to take it away."
  The bazooka/tank/napalm/nuke argument is a canard/red herring.  It does not in any way represent gun ownership in America, and I think fairly compelling evidence of this is that the often vilified NRA has never lobbied for private possession of any of those.

  The AR-15/.223/5.56NATO rifle does not fire farther or with greater lethality than a typical hunting rifle, and it's not just for killing/mayhem.  AR15 variants today are widely used in competitive and recreational shooting.  Because it's made with modern materials (aluminum/plastic) and methods, it's lighter - allowing more ammunition to be carried.  Among the states that don't disallow centerfire rifle hunting (many northeast states limit to shotguns with slugs or buckshot) prohibit the .223/5.56 caliber as lacking sufficient power for deer hunting.  Lastly, the explosion of AR manufacturers in the past 20 years or so has nearly every manufacturer producing some AR variant - and they sell like hotcakes (but not to me - I'm more Old West).  But there has been no commensurate increase in crime committed with this type of firearm.
"...if someone wants these weapons, they intend to use them...[possibly] on people."  That's a conjecture, and he's welcome to his opinion.  I buy insurance, but hope I don't have to use it.  Basically, there's just not a valid cause-effect relationship here.

• I agree with Mr. Alexander on a couple of points: In the context in which the shooting occurred, I don't know that a CHL licensee could've done much, if anything, to mitigate the carnage.  Also, I'm sure many will excoriate and belittle the actor as a result of his articulation of his views.  I may mostly disagree with him, but his right to express his views is equal to mine, and as noted earlier, I appreciate that he didn't try to dismiss all gun owners as hillbilly crackpot knuckledragging wifebeating morons.  Maybe if others who believe as he does, behaved as he does, there might be more dialogue.

I don't own an "assault" rifle, AR-15, AK-47, SKS, or otherwise.  But I know people who do, and those I know are responsible citizens and shooters.  Demonizing gun owners, or certain classes of firearms because they look "intimidating", does nothing to address or prevent the pure evil that a determined deranged person is intent on delivering to innocent people.


Dave Hoekstra said...

Funny you should mention that article...I used to work with the guy that wrote it. He posted it on his blog, and it caught fire, enough for Fox News to grab a hold of it. He has become a minor celebrity because of it. :)

Dewey Taliaferro said...

I read Jason Alexanders tweet/post also. but it had a glaring error so I dismissed it all together.
He said " So basically, the purpose of an assault style weapon is to kill more stuff, more fully, faster and from further away. To achieve maximum lethality."

His assumption that a gun is designed to kill is false. A gun is designed to shoot a projectile at a high rate of speed in a specific direction. Motive has and always will be in the human head.