Friday, February 23, 2018

My thoughts on guns and those who fight for the right to own AR-15s

Frequent Turner Report commenter Harvey Hutchinson asked me this morning if I had ever bought a gun.

While Harvey did not say so and his question was asked politely, this is something I have heard before.

Some who do not brook anything critical being written about guns believe that anyone who does not own a gun has no business writing about a gun.

As I noted in my response to Harvey, I have never owned a gun. While some of my friends were into hunting as I grew up, the minute I had a bat in my hands, baseball was it for me and hitting a baseball was something that, on occasion, I did well.

When baseball season was not in session, I was likely to be in the back yard or behind the Newtonia Baptist Church playing basketball (poorly).

When I was not involved in those sports, or an occasional game of touch football or the shortlived Newtonia ultimate sport- bicycle soccer (we had to stop because everyone was injured and because Herb Troxel did not appreciate us playing on the street in front of his house and Carroll Gum's store, my time was spent reading books and newspapers, writing and listening to my records.

At one point, I owned a BB gun, but hunting birds and target shooting were never ways that I preferred to spend my time. Time spent with a BB gun, to me, was time better spent doing the other things I loved doing.

I grew up in a small town and in a culture that believed that people had the right to own guns to protect themselves and for hunting and I firmly share that belief.

I do not know where all of these people come from who think that a sensible discussion about whether people should own guns that have the firepower of an AR-15 is violating their Second Amendment rights. These are not the people I remember from growing up in this area of southwest Missouri. Those people appreciated their guns- some had them in racks in their pickups and I hung around from time to time with those people and never once felt I was in any kind of danger. For that matter, I never really gave it any thought.

The people I grew up with were happy to have their photos taken with whatever game they managed to shoot, with their gun crooked in their other arm.

They were never the kind of people who seem to dot our landscape today who post Facebook photos carrying AR-15s (some of them even have their photos taken with a gun in each hand, which I suppose is an indication they are twice as masculine as those of us who do not have any AR-15s).

The people I grew up with would have fought to keep their guns, but they would never have been afraid to come to the table and even discuss the issue.

Back in those days, gun owners did not spend their time ridiculing those who did not own guns. Maybe they could not understand why people did not want guns in their homes, but they respected their choice.

And that brings me back to Harvey Hutchinson's comment.

It is a particular conceit of the most vocal of those who think the Second Amendment means you can own any weapon you want and no one can do anything about it to claim that those who do not own guns have no right to write anything about them.

While it is true that I have never owned a gun and have no plans to get one, to say that I cannot write about guns makes as little sense as to say that I have no business writing about politicians because I have never served in an elective office.

Or that I should never pen a word about sexual harassment because I don't go around sexually harassing women.

Or that I have no business writing about topics like immigration, court cases, or master developers because I have always lived in this country, I am not a lawyer and I have never taken Joplin city officials on a ride.

So I will continue to write about guns and all of those other topics.

As much as those who believe they should be able to own AR-15s proclaim their belief in the Second Amendment, and I have no reason to doubt their sincerity, my faith remains with the First Amendment.

I would appreciate your comments.


Anonymous said...

I attached this to another conversation; however, it illustrated for me the difference between being armed for self-protection and military armament.

Heather Sher, Radiologist at the Trauma Center treating Parkland victims:
"Routine handgun injuries leave entry and exit wounds and linear tracks through the victim's body that are roughly the size of the bullet. If the bullet does not directly hit something crucial like the heart or the aorta, and they do not bleed to death before being transported to our care at a trauma center, chances are, we can save the victim. The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different; they travel at higher velocity and are far more lethal. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than, and imparting more than three times the energy of, a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun. An AR-15 rifle outfitted with a magazine cartridge with 50 rounds allows many more lethal bullets to be delivered quickly without reloading."
(Excerpt from article:

Anonymous said...

What is interesting is that this theory surrounding guns (one needs to have owned a gun to be allowed a voice in the gun-control debate) seems to never apply to uteri. People without a uterus should never be able to comment on birth control, pregnancy, or abortion as they haven't the equipment necessary to be able to have an informed opinion.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately there are some people, no matter what the experts say such as the ER doc above, that refuse to listen to reason. Also unfortunately we have a president and a very powerful (possible money laundering) organization in the NRA that are telling people that "They" want to take away your second amendment rights. As a result I believe people feel threatened and aren't even willing to listen to reason. The good news is there's movement in the right direction. The NRA is losing sponsors and I think we'll see that continue. This shouldn't be a left vs right issue, it's just common sense.
I appreciate your blog. I appreciate a thoughtful conversation such as the one we're having now. I'm afraid we have let our younger generation down and I for one hope to be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

I am a patriot. I believe in the 2nd Amendment. I also believe that we need to take many more steps to prevent weapons from getting in the hands of criminals. I believe that President Trump will get things headed in the right direction. While I believe in the right to bear arms, and I am a responsible gun owner, I cannot find any reason that someone needs to own an AR-15. I am a Republican and a conservative. But first and foremost I am a human being and I have common sense. There are radical supporters on both sides of this issue. There needs to be a happy medium found. I think that we need to post armed security at the high school's if that's what's necessary. I do not believe that our teachers need to be armed. They did not become teachers so that they can carry weapons and act as military personnel.
All threats against our schools and children should be met with swift & harsh consequences. For those who actually do harm, they should receive automatic death sentence to be carried out within 90 days. Zero tolerance or leniency, no appeal process. That might be a deterrent after we execute the first two or three offenders.
They have no compassion, we shouldn't have to show them any either.

Paul Richardson said...

Randy, you and I grew up at least from the sixth grade together. Our parents homes were 2 blocks apart. Unlike you, as you well know, I am a gun owner. Virtually every point you made in your well written article, I agree with. The only point of contention that I would have would be your statements regarding the AR-15. The AR-15 (ArmorLite 15) has no greater firepower than many other weapons that are readily available. The perception of this weapon is based almost solely on cosmetics. There are many weapons of similar capabilities that are set in a wood stock which has a more traditional appearance as opposed to the synthetic stock, pistol grip and the other cosmetics that give this a military style appearance.
I believe and understand, and this is just an opinion, that the appeal of this weapon is the fact that it has a military appearance or resembles the weapons depicted in many of the movies and other areas of entertainment such as video games.
As you stated, the "machismo effect" seems to kick in with some people who like to associate themselves with the weapon whether in pictures or videos.
I didn't ever have the desire to own an AR-15, but ended up owning one due to a little trading. I have never fired this weapon, don't know if I ever will. I actually like to collect old military weapons or historical weapons, so this one didn't actually fit the bill.
Now down to the crux of the problem: it is evident there has been a cultural change that has evolved over the years from the days you and I recall where guns in our area hung in the rear windows of unlocked pickups. So what is the real problem? You can verify this point that you personally have been in my home numerous times and never once has one of my guns ran rampant through the house, firing at anyone and everyone. The gun is a tool and like any tool can be used for evil reasons. I don't know if you recall this, but when we were in the 6th grade, a man over by Fairview beat his wife to death with a ball-peen hammer and then threw her body down a hand dug well. Ever since that date around 50 years ago I think of that every time I look at a ball-peen hammer. I understand the anything can be used as a weapon and that guns are manufactured for a very specific purpose, but that purpose is not necessarily to kill humans. Guns have been a very practical tool for myself and millions of others over the years.
I don't know the real root of the problem, nor do I have a ready answer about a solution. I do believe that the solution will be quite complex and not as simple as just introducing a few new laws.
As a gun owner and supporter, I do believe in a practical and comprehensive testing for conceal carry owners. It should be a system in which the vetting would give reasonable clearance for the carrier of such a permit could go anywhere in the US. I believe that a real implementation of background checks should exist for each and every purchase.
If we were to totally end all production immediately, it would not solve the problem. The current number of guns in existence far exceeds the estimation of most. Those who have a proclivity for the very actions that we abhor would still be able to satisfy their twisted desire for this moment of notoriety and attention. A closer look at that desire may give us insight as to why they pursue this path.
The one thing that I am most disturbed by is the vast amount of "prejudice" that comes out at these times. This applies to both sides of the issue. For general information, Randy and I are probably polar opposites, yet we can have this civil discussion and will always be friends. But I am seeing extreme prejudices expounded in a blanket format. Throw these comments at everyone in the region and watch it stick. Then in return, people respond emotionally and the prejudice comes out on the other side.
I do believe that we must focus and find the real problems and issues in order to insure that this doesn't continue to be a repetitive event. Surely we can do that!

Anonymous said...

Saying that an AR-15 is just another rifle is plain wrong. I carried an M-16 for years in the Air Force and also owned a mini-14. To compare these guns to a rifle that has to be cocked after each round or uses a bolt after each round is false. An AR type weapon can use 30 round magazines and can be fired as quickly as the operators fingers can pull the trigger. To shoot 30 rounds in 20 seconds is not unreasonable. You cannot do that with a bolt or lever type weapon. The.223 round of an M-16 is not meant for home protection. The rounds is small and travels at a very high rate of speed and inflicts damage inside of a body because it has a tumble effect. It was designed for war, period. I am not calling for an all out ban, but common sense is needed here. Training, license, waiting period, and how about we require insurance for owners of these weapons? We need those to drive a car, why not certain weapons?

Anonymous said...

In addition to the high firing rate built into the AR-15 there are several modifications which significantly increase the rate of fire. These have been allowed to be sold and installed and possessed by the general public.

These include "bump stocks","binary triggers", and the "GAT Crank".

Again, as 6:53 points out, certainly not a weapon which out to be allowed to be possessed by the average person -especially in any of these modified forms- in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I posted yesterday at 10:44 and while I'm certainly no expert on guns I do, unfortunately, have experience with mental illness. My father was mentally ill and while he was medicated and was not a violent person my mother removed his gun from our home when I was very young. He was never adjudicated incompetent and while looking back I don't think he would have ever committed a violent act, there's no guarantees. This was back in the 60's and 70's. You may or may not know but when the mentally ill are medicated their medication is constantly being adjusted or changed because what may have worked previously has lost it's effect and needs to be changed. As I listen to our president and others talk about the "mentally ill" I don't think they realize what a mountain they're up against. It takes A LOT to have someone adjudicated mentally ill.
I definitely agree that this issue will have to be looked at from many angles - I guess it's just a little frustrating when I hear people speak about the mental illness angle and somehow getting it under control as a panacea for the problem at hand.
I learned recently that Justice Scalia issued some sort of opinion that the 2nd amendment wasn't intended for us to have access to any type of weapon so I am hopeful that we'll rethink the type of guns available to the public.
Thanks again Randy for the blog. This has been a particularly thoughtful post.

Anonymous said...

10:16 - Appreciate the way you think! Seriously, a great observation about who's driving decisions on issues! "People without a uterus should never be able to comment on birth control, pregnancy, or abortion as they haven't the equipment necessary to be able to have an informed opinion." Well said.

Anonymous said...

Interesting observation about this post Randy. There are some thoughtful post with reason and common sense and sadly there's hardly any replies. Try as they might, when it comes down to it there's no defending the general public owning weapons like the AR 15.

Anonymous said...

What exactly would the insurance cover 6:53? That’s an interesting thought, but not sure of the relevance?

Anonymous said...

The insurance could cover all the costs of medical treatment for the victims shot by the covered weapons?

Unknown said...

I bought a handgun several months ago, and my background check was 1-1/4 hours. The store associate said he had never done one in less than 1 hour; so I don’t understand all the talk about background checks; they are here.
Maybe the FBI database needs modernizing,
BTW, I would not have minded 3 days or a week waiting period, I also favor females when purchasing firearms they be required to undergo professional training and proper use. I had an an employee s wife be killed with her on weapon during a liquor store holdup.

One more thing I disagree with the notion( President Trump’s I think) that 18 olds be restricted.
Nobody’s said anything about raising the draft age.
So the yong man goes to North Africa or Korea, and gets his Ass shot off, comes home, and someone tells him he’s a second class citizen . Very unfair!!

Harvey HUTCHINSON 303-522-6622 voice&text

PS: it’s now clear that the FBzi and the incompetent Browsrd Sheriff bungled the Sutton Parkland

Anonymous said...

Your post speaks volumes Harvey, I pity you and your closed minded, antiquated thoughts. Do you honestly believe that women are the only ones that would benefit from extended training? You seem very backwards in your thinking. I bet you think these outspoken teens should just keep their mouths shut. Guess what, they're our future leaders.

Anonymous said...

444 When these massacres happen, how is a family supposed to get full justice and be made whole? Insurance would give the owner the ultimate responsibility for possession of that weapon. If it causes injury or death, whether intentional or accidental, the owner/insurer is responsible for the victims medical costs, property damage, and any other costs of a law suit. As of now, the wrong parties are sometimes being held responsible for any legal claims of a mass shooting. The shooter and owner of the weapons bear no financial responsibility, that needs to change. People will think twice and most likely secure their weapons more responsibly.

Unknown said...

Women are more compromised by these intruders, as my employed wife was.
Everyone can benefi from range shooting; I love to go
As most men do, and they typically have a legacy of weapons via their fathers.
BTW, my friend left 3 small children while trying to defend against a larger stronger male

Harvey HUTCHINSON 303-522-6622