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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@ .

Print Headline: Common-sense gun control


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Archived Comments

    February 25, 2018 at 1:35 p.m.

    If you want to hear a Trumpster/ Foxainista sing, pull his string. They are full of pre-recorded messages. And their heads bobble on springs when Rush and Sean and Donald open their weird little mouths.

    Their sick excuses (to speak of it as rhetoric is to shame the concept of mindful thought) have already been bought and paid for by the oligarchical forces bent on destroying our democratic republic for their own greedy gain.

    We don't need to waste our time trying to change the intractable, conscious-absent, prostituted-minds of Republicans. Our efforts are best spent sweeping them from power.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    February 25, 2018 at 3:09 p.m.

    Our Constitution has a bill of rights.

  • RBear
    February 25, 2018 at 3:48 p.m.

    DDDK I see you finally did a bit of research. Hmm, the problem is the Second Amendment is just a part of a framework for laws, much like the laws passed in those countries. You see, the only real difference between a law and an amendment is how they are enacted and how they are changed. There is nothing else different between them. But I'm guessing you flunked that part of civics. So what's your point?

  • hah406
    February 25, 2018 at 4:35 p.m.

    All rights, including those enumerated in the second amendment, have limits. Only the right to life is absolute. The suggestions in this editorial are quite reasonable. Same views I have espoused numerous times. The congressional whores bought and paid for by the NRA have blood all over their hands, and should resign in shame for the deaths they have enabled.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    February 25, 2018 at 5:39 p.m.

    No RBear, I allowed you to walk into it. The first ten amendments to our Constitution are bills of attainer. Think on that.
    hah406, death is the only absolute, just ask any aborted child.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    February 25, 2018 at 5:45 p.m.

    "So don’t try to paint me as a liberal anti-gun activist." Don't have to, you did that all by your self.

  • RBear
    February 25, 2018 at 6:05 p.m.

    DDDK what the hell is a "bill of attainer?" So let's be clear. I did a Google search on said term and found "bill of attainder" which has NOTHING to do with the Bill of Rights. Care to expound on your bizarre position? Granted, I'll cede IF you provide a valid reference and argument. But it requires both because NOTHING I find even remotely follows your logic.
    Nonetheless, the Bill of Rights are NOT bills of attainder as defined by Article I Section 9 of the Constitution. In fact, it is difficult to establish the correlation you are trying to draw based on this bizarre reading of the Constitution. So I didn't "walk into anything" unless you can provide better context. I call BS on your claim.

  • RBear
    February 25, 2018 at 6:19 p.m.

    DDDK let's get back to the original debate. You said our Constitution has a Bill of Rights. With regards to the Second Amendment, SCOTUS has opined that you may own firearms. But SCOTUS in Heller v. DC also said that right can come with restrictions and requirements. So how is that any different than other countries? Based on your bizarre logic, you believe the Second Amendment grants you full rights to firearms which it does not as decided by SCOTUS.
    Getting past your flawed detour, help me understand how the Second Amendment conflicts with the AWB? It didn't in 1994 and it still will not. You are getting so many things wrong I would suggest you sit this out.

  • RBear
    February 25, 2018 at 6:42 p.m.

    DDDK ah, I found where your twisted logic comes from. It is in obscure reasoning by gun nuts who believe the Second Amendment does grant unabridged rights to gun owners as granted by the Dick Act of 1903. It follows the logic that the citizenry should be "well armed" to be, as one of the gun nut blogs states,the "ultimate defense in the event the federal government oversteps its bounds."
    So just state it. You believe you have a right to an AR-15 because you need to defend yourself against the federal government. You are one of those gun fetish nuts who likes to feel you can play army in case you need to act against the federal government. The truth comes out regarding your "bill of ATTAINDER" claim. It's all just a bunch of gun nut hooey.
    Now, it's time to get back to rational discussion sans DDDK.

  • carpenterretired
    February 25, 2018 at 9:56 p.m.

    Folks there is a reason the military developed the modern assault rifle and that was to kill as many people as fast as possible in combat, so that makes it the ideal weapon for mass shootings in schools, church ,music fests , Wal- Marts in the brave new world of the NRA.