Except for the part where it is. Don Campbell puts up an Op-Ed in USA Today which includes the usual “I’m a gun owner/hunter but we need to ban some damn guns” line.
This is not an anti-gun diatribe. I’ve owned guns since I got my first Red Ryder air rifle at the age of 8. As a teenager, I spent more time in the woods and fields with a gun than I did doing homework.
So the issue for me is not about gun ownership. It’s about too much firepower in the wrong hands, and too-easy access to guns by criminals and the mentally unstable through loopholes, such as gun shows where background checks are not required.
So, it’s not an anti-gun diatribe, but we need to get rid of those assault weapons and make sure that we close the imaginary gun show loophole. Don also covers the usual ground of smearing the NRA and attempting to paint them as a group of extremists looking to arm insane people and mass murderers.
The laws we need are blocked by a powerful lobby led by the National Rifle Association, whose idea of reasonable gun regulation is a prohibition on gun shows within the grounds of an insane asylum.
That’s one of those statements that when I hear or read it, all I can do is shake my head. It’s so unbelievably ignorant of what NRA actually stands for that it’s pretty much not worth addressing. It shows that author has already made up his or her mind about the issue and isn’t interested in actually hearing different positions.
The article goes on to suggest we pass laws to prevent “psychopaths and self-styled superpatriots” from getting their hands on assault weapons; nevermind the fact that “psychopaths” and “super-patriots” are generally already prohibited from owning firearms. The author suggests the following measures:
It’s a complex subject, granted, because modern-day handguns and long guns can be modified and accessorized in countless ways. But if Congress had the guts to take the lead, it would appoint a commission of reasonable people who I believe would agree on:
* The optimum firepower and configuration needed in a weapon to defend your home, bring down any critter from a quail to a moose or shred a paper target.
* Banning civilian ownership of all automatic weapons and all semiautomatic weapons that hold more than six rounds of ammunition. Six rounds is enough for any serious hunter, let alone a gangbanger.
* Tougher background checks on the mental history of all gun purchasers and requiring gun-show vendors to follow the same rules as federally licensed dealers.
* A ban with no loopholes or grandfather clauses on any gun that doesn’t meet these standards or isn’t brought into compliance within two years, with the penalty thereafter of a hefty prison term for anyone found with such weapons.
I’ll go over these one by one.
- I most certainly would not want a Congressional committee to decide what constitutes “optimum firepower” for anything since quite a few members of Congress don’t even know what a handguard is. Besides, optimum firepower would be different for every single task, a semi-automatic .223 AR is pretty “optimum” for defending your home or shredding a paper target.
- Essentially, his second provision would ban every single magazine fed firearm on the planet, as well as the M1 Garand and a few internal magazine guns as well. It’s also foolish in light of the “optimum firepower” Rule 1, because “optimum weapons” are a pretty subjective concept. Essentially, he wants us all to go back to revolvers and pump-action shotguns, because no one has ever committed a crime with a revolver.
- His third provision is just ignorant. Dealers at gun shows have to follow federal law, no matter where they are. They have to run a background check. And the loophole which allowed the VA Tech shooter to purchase his guns has been closed, and you probably didn’t support the bill.
- And finally, the coup de grace, a total ban on semi-automatic firearms with no grandfather clause, and a harsh prison sentence for anyone who doesn’t turn their weapons in to the state. Because remember, it’s not like the ATF has lost hundreds of firearms records; who’s to say that they wouldn’t forget they had taken your guns? Next thing you know, you’re in the slammer for two years because the ATF screwed up paperwork.
He closes with this statement:
An improvised explosive device is a weapon of terror; so is a military-style assault rifle in a civilian’s hands.
Now, I want you to clearly understand that comparison. What he is saying is that there is no difference between a law-abiding civilian owning an AR15 and a terrorist with an IED. Do I need to repeat that? To Don Campbell, a law abiding civilian with an AR-15 is functionally equivalent to a terrorist.
But it’s okay, because it’s not an anti-gun diatribe. Could have fooled me.