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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 10:32 p.m.

    DK has a history of relying on sites like InfoWars and Zerohedge for his "information."

    Just saying.

  • RBear
    February 26, 2018 at 3:48 a.m.

    I see that Armnar. I'm surprised I gave that "point" that much research time, but it's always good to expose those alt-right theories to the public so the cockroaches can have light shed on them. The primary promoter of the "position" is the wife of a white supremacist. She's a real nut case.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    February 26, 2018 at 7:38 a.m.

    The Constitution was written to limit Government, but the people and individual states had no guarantees of Liberty and self governance. There were over twenty Bills submitted to complete the ratification of the Constitution. The Constitution with the Bill of Rights was finally inked and signed. Long story short, if there was no Bill of Rights, to attain the required signatures, there would have been no Constitution. That's the history on that.
    The SCOTUS of nine where it only takes five to change the Constitution. Then the Dick Act of 1903. (Which YOU brought into this discussion.) Think on that. As for “other countries” that you desire to talk about is no more than a distraction on your part, and not addressable, in this scope.
    “Getting past your flawed detour, help me understand how the Second Amendment conflicts with the AWB?” All I said, that it was a failure. YOUR “flawed” presumption is on YOU.
    I don't believe I have a right to an AR-15, I know I have a right to an AR-15. However, I don't own a AR-15. The only semi auto that I have, is a Rugar 10/22.
    MotherJones, Vogue, Salon web pages are no better. That is why I don't entertain them either

  • RBear
    February 26, 2018 at 8:04 a.m.

    DDDK there is no such thing as a “bill of attainer.” If you meant “bill of attainder,” then you have a valid legal term but it has nothing to do with the Bill of Rights except through the. BSC lady in TN’s reasoning. With regards to the effectiveness of the AWB, the facts prove that it DID significantly drop the number of deaths from mass shootings. That is the weapon of choice for the past 6 mass shootings where 175 people have been killed. Had it been in effect, a significant number of them would still be alive.
    The simple fact is you have no clue on issues and are a prime example of the Trump demographic.

  • LR1955
    February 26, 2018 at 10:22 a.m.

    Unfortunately the article writer isn’t really as knowledgeable about guns as he thinks, but he achieved his goal of getting some others (even less knowledgeable) to rah-rah-rah.

    Someone answer this, how/why did the AWB end/time out?

  • 3WorldState1
    February 26, 2018 at 11:24 a.m.

    1955/DDK - why can I not buy a grenade?

  • RBear
    February 26, 2018 at 11:26 a.m.

    LR1955 a time limit was placed on it as a compromise to Republicans for passage. History is now proving that was a mistake, but it provided excellent data in showing how effective it was at helping curb deaths from mass shootings. In the period following its expiration, deaths from mass shootings rose significantly and have been rising ever since. It is time to reinstate it with no expiration date.

  • LR1955
    February 26, 2018 at 12:25 p.m.

    Thanks RBear.

  • Packman
    February 27, 2018 at 2:09 p.m.

    Nobody has to paint Richard Mason as a liberal anti-gun activist. He just did a self-portrait. The evidence is in the numerous lies and falsehoods in this article. Alas, where to begin:
    ".....guns that are designed strictly for the purpose of killing as many people as possible...." Sporting rifles are designed for many purposes. Hunters confined to wheelchairs hunting from ground blinds prefer the design and power of sporting rifles.
    "If you are in a Special Forces Squad trapped in a Middle Eastern remote village..." You are not using a sporting rifle. You are using a fully automatic assault rifle. Mason lies.
    "Weapons that are made to kill people have two identifying characteristics. They are automatic rapid-fire...." This is a indisputable lie. AR-15's are not automatic fire.
    "...and the ammunition is of sufficient caliber to do as much physical damage to that target as possible." Another falsehood. A .45 round, as one of many examples, will do much more damage than a .223.
    "....a minor flesh wound with a .22 caliber bullet..." Literally tens of thousands of people have died from .22 caliber bullet wounds.
    "....but you can also hunt deer with hand grenades." Yet another indisputable lie. Game and Fish rules specifically note calibers and methods allowed to hunt deer.
    "....if the weapon is not a modified for automatic firing..." The sporting rifle the insane kid used in Florida was not modified for automatic firing. Mason implicitly lies again.
    "If we are honest with our evaluation of the problem..." If we were being honest, our named would be something other than Richard Mason.

  • DontDrinkDatKoolAid
    February 28, 2018 at 9:18 p.m.

    And the biggest pie in the eye that Richard Mason, is a liberal anti-gun activist is just by the title "Common-sense gun control", go figure.