I have a certain affinity for firearms. I served in the military as an infantryman in the 10th Mountain Division, based out of Fort Drum, New York. I saw combat with that same unit in Somalia. These experiences taught me the value of firearms, and I came to really enjoy shooting as both a hobby and a sport. So when people start talking about banning firearms, I get a little concerned.
I have owned firearms ever since coming out of the military. I own a handgun for home defense and also own several other guns, one of which was covered in the recently sunsetted assault weapons ban. One of the major reasons I voted as I did in the last election was to ensure that no more legislation like the ban went into effect again.
People never really understood what the assault weapons ban was all about. The idea behind it was to remove weapons from the general public that were designed solely for military use. Those are weapons that have no applicable purpose in the hunting or sport-shooting world. Guns like the MP5, or the AK-47 are prime examples of the type of firearm it was supposed to curtail. Unfortunately the legislation did nothing. It just made people feel better.
You see, assault weapons were never banned. The law addressed only cosmetic design elements on firearms. If the gun looked scary then it was supposedly banned. The law never banned the scary gun, just the scary accoutrements to it. Things that do nothing to the gun itself, like flash suppressors or collapsible stocks were banned. It also banned high-capacity magazines. It restricted the number of bullets a gun could hold to 10.
There were, however, millions of high-cap mags still available. The law did nothing to stop people from buying the ones that were already in circulation. This was a stupid way to write legislation, and it never saved a single life. It was do-nothing legislation from a do-nothing government terrified of the NRA.
What we need is real common-sense gun control. There’s no need to ban all guns. That’s as absurd as saying anyone can buy any gun they want, but the whole song and dance of buying a firearm is turned into a tedious ritual that only the law-abiding citizen need go through.
There are too many loopholes in the system for buying firearms. We need to start closing them. The closing of the gun show loophole was one step in the right direction, but nothing has stopped people from selling firearms out of the back of their car. If a private citizen sells a gun no background checks are necessary. All a criminal needs to do is scan the classifieds for anyone selling a gun, and buy it.
We need to have some sort of national registration, not on the owner of the gun, but on the gun itself. A national registration that follows the gun around from owner to owner, requiring everyone to sign the registration over to the new owner in the sight of a legally bound official, such as the state police, would be a good start. We do much the same thing with cars. Shouldn’t we do something at least as thorough on guns?
Coming from someone who defends the Second Amendment whenever he can, this may sound strange, but we really do need to ban some guns completely. There are guns that we have no need or any right to own. Fifty caliber sniper rifles and machine guns can be bought at your local gun store. Why does anyone need a gun like this?
I don’t want the government telling me I can’t own a gun, but I wouldn’t mind the government telling me that I can’t own an Uzi. That’s fine with me. I don’t need an automatic weapon, and you know what? Neither does anyone else.