I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the incidents in Aurura, Colorado (I’ve seen both Aurora and Aurura, CNN spelled it with two ‘u’s so that’s what I’m doing for now). I won’t talk in length about it, but I will say a few things. Firstly, what happened was horrible.
Secondly, I am a gun-owner, I have a carry permit and I carry a multitude of weapons, including a Bersalite (cheap, but strangely more reliable version of a Walther P99) with hollow-point .380 ACP ammunition. It is designed to kill, and that is what I would use it for should I be forced to draw it in a non-practice scenario. A gun is a tool and it’s intended purpose is to kill or maim; if you carry a gun for any other reason, you are misusing a tool and that is always dangerous. I’ll get more into my thoughts on gun ownership and gun control a little later.
I own a Philippine model AK-47, chambered in .22 caliber (an Armstech AK-22); it is semi-automatic and I bought it for the pure novelty of having an AK-47 with affordable rounds (actual AK-47s use 7.62mm ammunition which is expensive as hell). I also own a vintage paratrooper-model of the American WWII workhorse M-1 Garand (paratrooper carbine version) chambered in .30 cal carbine (which is also slightly expensive) and I own a scoped .22 Savage Arms target rifle (this one was a birthday gift from my father). I own a usable replica .40 caliber Kentucky Arms muzzleloader pistol; not to mention my Bersalite that I spoke of earlier. All of my guns are legally purchased and those that require registration are registered in my name. As I said, I also have a concealed carry permit, issued by the county Sheriff. I also live in a state that permits Open-Carry and I do so in the warmer months when I go for late-night walks through the relatively poor district I live around.
So I’m a gun owner, I’ve spent over about a thousand dollars on gun in my life, more if you include ammunition. I do not hunt, although not for any moral implication I just don’t have the time to expend on coordinating or executing a hunting operation (which sucks because I like Venison). When I did hunt, I hunted for Venison, not for trophies. And I’ve never fired a shot in the pursuit of hunting. My only hunting experiences (with weapon, my first year I went as an unarmed observer) were in aiming at a doe, dead to rights, and not pulling the trigger. It was the first day of buck and doe was out of season. But to be honest, I was more concerned with logistics…it was heavily forested, I was using a low-power shotgun with slugs, and I was concerned about the possible ricochet of my bullet on one of the trees; especially considering my radio had malfunctioned and I’d lost contact with the rest of my hunting party (they might have advanced passed me and been in my line of fire in the heavy brush).
Needless to say, as much as I enjoy my guns, as much as I depend on my pistol for protection. I am slightly hypocritical, because I do support some measure of gun control. I believe the second amendment is clearly worded to imply that only the military, and maybe the police, should have the constitutional right to carry firearms.
Here’s my problem with gun control proposals: I’m not worried about assault weapons. With the exception of a select few ‘massacre’ style shootings, such as Columbine or Aurura, Colorado, very few gun crimes or murders occur with assault weapons. The majority of gun crimes occur with handguns such as semi-automatic pistols and revolvers. Of the top-ten most used guns for gun crimes you see mostly: .38 and .357 caliber revolvers, .25 caliber and .380 ACP semi-automatic pistols (Saturday Night Specials), a .22 caliber Ruger semi-auto pistol, 12 gauge shotguns, and the TEC-9 high-capacity semi-automatic pistol.
Of all the guns in the top-ten…only the lowest ranking one is actually illegal with an assault weapons ban, and even so only because it was used in a massacre and is usually specifically listed on bans because they’re not actually assault weapons and wouldn’t otherwise be covered by the ban.
You see, herein lies the problem with an assault rifle…
You can’t hide one!
If you’re going to try to rob someone or murder them, you don’t want them to see you coming and be ready for you. Any simpleton knows that a surprise attack is the best strategy. Ambush and overwhelm!
So if your goal is to hide a weapon until the very last moment, what kind of weapon do you want? Easily concealable handguns, maybe backed up by a shotgun if you need extra fire-power. And what do assault weapon bans not cover?
That’s right…easily concealable handguns and shotguns. They’d both still be legal with even the strictest assault weapon ban. As a matter of fact, a lot of gang members have admitted in the past that they liked revolvers better than automatics. Revolvers are smaller and easier to conceal and they’re more reliable; revolvers don’t jam as easily or as often as an automatic. And generally gang members don’t engage in huge knock-down, drag-out gunfights. They pull the gun out, robe the clerk, and if the clerk grabs a shotgun they put two rounds in his chest and run away. Or if they’re murdering a competitor…they drive past his house, unload what the gun holds, then drive away to reload. Neither of these tactics require more than 6 rounds; plus low-caliber weapons are easier to use, lighter to carry, and more accurate. Not to mention revolvers will work with minimal maintenance and an assault rifle needs constant care and attention because of all of the tiny mechanical parts in the huge thing.
Compare that to a revolver’s parts…
See my point? So go ahead and ban assault weapons…it won’t do any good. Especially since all the guns the Colorado gunman used would still be legal in an assault rifle ban, too. His glock pistol was legal, his shotgun was legal, and he had the civilian-model AR-15 semi-automatic rifle…also legal.
So good luck with putting an end to gun violence by banning the most underused and unwanted guns in the country.
I think all guns should be illegal for anyone except active-duty military personnel and police officers, and a good step toward that is making all handguns illegal. Until that time, though, I will continue to carry my pistol (and I intend to purchase an easier-to-conceal revolver to wear on my ankle so restaurants and shops don’t give me nervous looks when I patronize them).
As for gun ownership, as I promised to talk about a little earlier. I believe that every student should have to go through a gun ownership course in High School. Just a 6-9 week course to go over anything gun related and give them a chance to hold one and actually take them to a firing range to shoot a few of them.
With that in mind, when teaching anything about guns I always tell people the same thing in about the same wording as I’m about to say to you all. I know that a lot of organizations say that you should ‘fear the gun’ in order to use it properly. I strongly disagree with this. You should never fear a gun. It is a tool and tools are to be used for their intended purposes by their user, i.e. you.
Like any other tool there are three things you should not fear when using a gun: The gun, yourself, and the other person. A gun is a tool who’s intended purpose is to kill or maim. If that frightens you in any way, shape, or form…you should not carry a gun.
1. If you are afraid of the gun, you’ll be nervous when you use it and you will either hesitate and be useless or you will misuse the gun. This endangers yourself and other surrounding innocent people. You should not have a gun.
2. Yourself. My boss tells me that he doesn’t carry a gun because he knows that if push came to shove, he’d use the gun instead of using a more diplomatic or less deadly route. So he doesn’t use a gun. This is the correct philosophy of gun handling. If you are afraid of what you might do with a gun or if you are afraid you won’t use the gun correctly, you shouldn’t carry a gun.
3. The other person. If you are afraid of the person robbing you, assaulting you, or trying to harm you in any way…you shouldn’t have a gun. A gun is a very dangerous tool when you’re panicking, just like any other tool. If you’re afraid of hitting your thumb with a hammer…I gaurantee you’ll smack your thumb with almost every swing. If you have no fear…you’ve got a much better chance of calmly using the tool correctly and striking the nail. If you’re afraid of shooting through your assailant and hitting someone else, or you’re afraid of escalating the situation when you pull out your gun (which is a distinct possibility, mind you) then you shouldn’t have a gun.
If you fear any of these three things, you should not be using a firearm in any way, shape, or form. Simple as that. Gun control starts with the gun owner, long before the government or law enforcement gets involved. If you’re afraid of the tool, don’t use it; if you’re afraid of what you might do with the tool, don’t use it; if you’re afraid of what another person might do with your tool or cause you to do with your tool, don’t use it.
I have full faith in myself that I can handle a situation involving a firearm. I’m not afraid of the gun, I know what can happen if things go wrong: I could suffer a chamber-fire, igniting all the rounds and causing my hand to explode, I could have a dud round in the chamber that won’t fire is misfires, I could have a mechanical malfunction that jams the weapon and makes it useless. I know the odds and I’ve planned and practiced for their occurrence.
I’m not afraid of the other person, because when I draw my gun on them I fully intend to kill or maim them. They can’t make me nervous or panicked, because I bought this tool to do just that, they are not in control of the situation. If they have their bare hands, a knife, or even a gun of their own…I know that I am more than likely better trained and more capable of using my firearm tool than they are. I know how to disable my own gun if they manage to get the better of me and take my gun away, and I know the best ways to fight against an armed attacker while unarmed. I have trained in each scenario and I am as prepared as humanly possible given my circumstances.
I’m certainly not afraid of myself. I have no qualms with killing to defend myself and I have absolutely no qualms with killing to protect my fiance. You’d be surprised at the horrible things I would be willing to do to protect my fiance.
That being said, and now that I sound like a complete psychopath, I’ll leave you with one final point.
My condolences to those who lost family members and friends in the shooting. Good health to those who are injured and I hope you can recover, at least physically, even if the emotional toll can never be healed.