Few topics have the ability to divide people as gun control.
We have found ways to compromise on all kinds of topics, but when it comes to firearms, the two sides seem miles apart with no desire to find middle ground.
On one side you have the people who want to ban guns altogether. Their idea of compromise is to put heavy restrictions on who can buy guns, outlaw concealed carry, and allow single-shot rifles, but ban handguns and semiautomatic rifles.
On the other side is the National Rifle Association and its most-rabid members. Their idea of compromise is … well, I’m struggling to think of examples. But we’ll come back to that.
Everyone has their own opinions and agendas, which color their arguments. For the sake of clarity, here are my views.
I grew up around guns. I joined the National Guard and learned about more weapons. I own a couple of firearms.
I firmly believe that people should have the ability to defend themselves against thieves and other criminals who might come on their property.
Some believe the only justifiable shooting is when someone breaks into your home, but I say if a person is on your property and refuses to leave, then you fire one warning shot before you take aim.
Now, do I have a concealed-carry permit? Heck no. I know myself and my road rage. If some jerk cut me off in traffic, I might reach for a gun.
Do I agree with concealed carry? Yes I do. If a person has a thorough background check and attends a firearm safety course, then I am okay with this. Why? Because if a person really wants to carry a gun, then there will be a gun – legally or not.
You have no idea how many people around you in any given day might be packing heat. At least concealed carry has some hoops to jump through that your average criminal won’t surpass.
The issue of illegal carry is why I dislike snub-nosed pistols. As someone who has done a lot of target shooting, I can tell you that anything shorter than a four-inch barrel is inaccurate. A two-inch barrel won’t be reliable at 15-20 yards.
As far as maneuvering a gun in your home for protection, a four-inch or five-inch barrel isn’t cumbersome. That extra two inches isn’t the difference between life and death.
No, a snub nose is good for one thing: hiding a pistol on your person. It is a gun designed for walking up to someone and shooting them at point-blank range. And it should be banned.
Even if a person with a permit were carrying this type of pistol, in an emergency the inaccuracy means that innocent bystanders are at risk of stray bullets.
What about assault rifles? First, I hate this term. It is too wide a catch-all phrase and is based on such nonsense as what the rifle looks like as much as how it functions.
I believe that it is a horrible idea for the American public to have access to any weapon that can fire a hundred rounds in 10-15 seconds. And yes, this is actually possible with an AR-15 and other military-styled rifles.
There is a product called Slide Fire that is perfectly legal to sell in this country. It is a type of stock with a recoil motion that allows the AR-15 to fire as fast as a fully automatic M-16. Even without such a product, semi-automatic military-styled rifles can be modified to shoot as fully auto.
Then there are the magazines. Some contain 20 rounds, 30 rounds and even a 100-round drum is available to purchase.
Do I dislike these weapons? Honestly, no. I enjoyed my time in basic training, blowing away targets. I even started a grass fire at Fort Bragg by destroying a small motor with an M-60. Good times.
But civilians shouldn’t have access to these weapons.
So why is the NRA so unwilling to compromise on things like the AR-15 and snub-nosed pistols? Because the leaders are right – with lawmakers, give them an inch and they will take a foot.
Decide that two-inch barrels should be banned, and next year someone will want to bump that up to three inches and then four inches. In a decade or so the only legal handgun would have a barrel as long as the Colt Peacemaker Wyatt Earp carried.
If the NRA compromised on the AR-15 and the AK-47, then before long it would be illegal to have any semiautomatic rifle, even my little .22-caliber groundhog getter.
Think I’m wrong?
Car seats used to be for infants, then the law kept bumping up the age another year and another year. My daughter was right on the cutoff every time they changed the law, so one month it was okay for her to sit in a regular seat. Then the new law would pass, and she wasn’t legal anymore.
If lawmakers keep going, kids will be in boosters until they are old enough for driver’s ed.
When it was first passed, the seatbelt law was only supposed to be enforced if the cop already had you pulled over for another reason. Now cops can stop you over your seatbelt alone.
We need compromise, but I just don’t know how to make that happen.
Jeff is the associate editor and can be reached at 415-4692.