I was 8 years old when I received my first gun, a Mossberg 20-gauge bolt action shotgun with a three-shot clip, and four years later a Browning Sweet 16. Along the way I acquired a .22 rifle and a .22 pistol. When I headed to the university I took all of them with me, and when I checked into Razorback Hall, carrying my guns with a pistol tucked in my belt, a faculty member opened the dorm door for me.
So don’t try to paint me as a liberal anti-gun activist. That won’t fly. I’ve spent more time in the woods and on Arkansas lakes and rivers than 95 percent of the folks who are whining about someone trying to take away their guns and Second Amendment rights. OK?
Now let’s look at a key part of the problem. It’s not Richard carrying guns into Razorback Hall. It’s allowing guns that are designed strictly for the purpose of killing as many people as possible in the shortest period of time to be in the hands of someone who wants to terrorize a school, concert, or city street. That deranged person’s goal is to create havoc and kill as many people as possible. That’s the problem, and certain guns are a key part of the problem.
If you are in a Special Forces Squad trapped in a Middle Eastern remote village and are about to be attacked by 50 ISIS fighters, a gun that will kill as many of the terrorists as possible in the shortest amount of time is the weapon you want to have in your hands. However, that same weapon in the hands of a school terrorist almost guarantees a huge number of casualties.
When a gun is capable of firing astounding numbers of high-caliber rounds in a very short period of time and the person using the gun is intent upon killing as many people as possible, you can insert the name of all the U.S. school massacres, and that weapon is 90 percent of the problem. Remove that weapon from the mix, and you reduce the number of deaths.
All guns are designed with a purpose in mind. Shotguns and other weapons of that nature are designed to kill small game. Rifles for deer hunting are made with that in mind. Weapons that are made to kill people have two identifying characteristics. They are automatic rapid-fire, enabling the shooter to inflict as much damage as possible on the target or targets, and the ammunition is of sufficient caliber to do as much physical damage to that target as possible. That’s why there are so many casualties. The high-caliber specially designed rounds are meant to rip into the human body, and what would be a minor flesh wound with a .22 caliber bullet becomes a fatal shot when the round comes from a military weapon.
If we are honest with our evaluation of the problem, we will realize that even with the toughest gun laws imaginable, we can never completely eliminate gun-related deaths. However, we can reduce them. I know you can hunt deer with an AR-15, but you can also hunt deer with hand grenades.
I am proposing we eliminate the ownership of weapons specifically designed to kill humans. Those weapons belong in the military, not in the hands of a mentally ill shooter. And don’t give me the old guns-don’t-kill-people, people-kill-people crap, because that’s the biggest lie in the Second Amendment argument.
Hunting rifles that haven’t been modified and other weapons used for hunting and sports can kill, but because of the time it takes to reload, and, if the weapon is not a modified for automatic firing, the deaths in any encounter with a person who is intent upon killing innocent people will drop. No, the killing of children won’t stop, but the number of deaths will drop significantly.
After the horrific Sandy Hook School killing of first- and second-graders in Connecticut, the state enacted some strict gun ownership laws. The gun-related deaths dropped dramatically. So that blows the idea that gun control doesn’t work.
Now, a few words to our congressmen and senators: If you can vote against removing military weapons from the hands of the terrorists who kill children, then you have sold your soul to the NRA, have the spine of a jellyfish, and have the blood of hundreds of innocent victims on your hands.
We can’t realistically stop all the school shootings, but we can reduce the number of deaths. Does the Second Amendment give you the unrestricted right to have any weapon? Can you carry a bazooka or ring your vest with hand grenades, or put howitzers in your front yard, or drive a tank through your downtown? No! Those weapons are restricted to the military, thank God. Are your Second Amendment rights more important than the deaths of hundreds of innocent individuals? What if one of those students were your child?
Richard Mason is a registered professional geologist, downtown developer, former chairman of the Department of Environmental Quality Board of Commissioners, past president of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation, and syndicated columnist. Email richard@ gibraltarenergy.com .
Print Headline: Common-sense gun control