Saturday, December 5, 2015

Maybe Some Common Sense Gun Laws

With the number of shootings lately, there is lots and lots of talk about gun laws and reform.  These range from no laws and registration to no guns of any type. Seems to be a lot of saber rattling, lots of rhetoric and lots and lots and lots of stats being thrown around. In reality, we have a lot of mass shootings lately so maybe we need to talk common sense and figure out something that can be done. Maybe we need to talk apart from the election cycle and political maneuvering.

First, let's state the obvious. If someone wants a gun and they are willing to break the law, they are going to get it. You can quote the reality of England and Australia, but they don't have the illegal immigration problem that we do and the Mexican Drug Cartel as a neighbor. There are some ways we can't compare us to the UK, because we have a different set of issues.  Illegal guns come into this country. The 17 year old gang kids aren't buying their guns legally now are they. The guns are smuggled with the drugs. Making them illegal will make them bigger business for the cartels.

Criminals can still get guns, but at least we should make it more difficult, right? What about the law abiding citizen, should they be able to get guns? If they do, what kinds of guns?  Let's start with sports rifles, should hunting remain legal? As a hunter and as a wildlife tech, I can tell you that hunting is critical to conservation and needs to remain as part of our society for many reasons. Rifles are occasionally used in crimes, but most mass shootings don't involve a 30-06 or a .308. Perhaps registration for these weapons is needed, but for the most part, it's not called for. What about shotguns? Pump action shotguns are illegal in UK, but they are used by most bird hunters. I myself use a 12 gauge pump for duck and goose and pheasant and dove and turkey. Perhaps the length requirement that already exists is wiser, since sawed off shotguns are not really used for hunting.

This is where things get tricky is the non-sporting weapons. Handguns, semi auto, assault rifle and the like. There is a major conflict over these weapons and for good reason. They are not used so much in the taking of game, but in the taking of human life. Some of that is for protection and defense against those who would use it for destruction. What are we to do? If you take away the right of free citizens to carry and own guns, you are opening a can of worms that can have serious consequences, but not guaranteed. The 2nd amendment gives us the ability to defend ourselves from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Remember, this country has already had one Civil War, there is nothing to say there will not be a second. Invasion is a reality, we can have a foreign enemy invade, the reason that Japan didn't invade the US, allegedly is the fear of the number of weapons held by the American people.

Where is the line drawn? When it comes to hand guns, there is background checks and waiting periods. To go further, permits are required for most states to concealed carry, and some to open carry. To get a fully auto, you must have a dealer's license or be part of the US Armed Forces. Many states require a hunter's safety class to carry a fire arm for hunting, and everyone has age limits. So what more can be done?

I honestly don't know, and I think we can put the focus on the guns but that won't change much. We live in a hostile world and things are getting worse. There are not more guns today than there use to be, and the price of things goes up. Ammunition has more restrictions and the price is rising quickly. Outright banning of certain guns may help in the short term, and we can see stats that may support that, but things will change. As our enemy continues to come into our borders, we are going to see more of this issue. We are having problems these days with police shootings on top of everything, and I'm not sure taking guns away from police is going to do much to help the situation.

It seems clear to me that we have less of a gun issue and more of a conflict issue. Maybe we need to deal with the root of the issue instead of trying to take the guns away. I wish I knew the answer, but I don't think it's going to be a quick and simple fix.

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