Friday, February 8, 2013

A More Personal View of Firearms

I read most of what I see on line lately about firearms. It generally falls into one of two categories.  It is either “If we save only one life” or “Here is the real definition of an assault rifle”. It is all redundant will never persuade anyone on the  opposite side of the debate. 

The first time I shot a real firearm I was ten years old. We had just moved to Rhode Island and my parents took me to an amusement park called Rocky Point. They had a shooting gallery there with old tube fed Marlin rifles that used .22 short. My father let me shoot. I thought it was the most fun I ever had. I wanted a rifle of my own. I could never get that one by my mother.

However, when I was fifteen I had a new friend that had a little single shot  .22. The great thing about this gun is that it took about thirty seconds to take it apart. Bear in mind, in those days a boy could walk into the local Western Auto Store and by a box of fifty rounds of ammo for fifty cents. No questions asked. We would dismantle his gun, stick the barrel down one pant leg, the stock down another, the bolt in a back pocket and head down to a large wooded area near my friends house. We’d shoot all afternoon and have more fun than should be allowed. It was a Tom Sawyer boyhood.

Then came high school, girls, and college. Guns took a back seat for a few years. In the sixties I started to accumulate a few guns including a target pistol. Some like minded friends and I tried to start a gun club. As the say in the business community we were radically underfunded. But we were fortunate. Some good people in another, more established club, offered to absorb us into their club.

I really enjoyed competitive pistol shooting. Once a week we would travel to another club for competition. I was never even close to the top shooters, but everybody got a chance. We had World Cup quality shooters in that club but they treated the rest of us as equals. 

In my life I have belonged to three gun club and shot at many more. I have shot with police, military, and  civilians. I have never seen a display of ego or temper at any time. All I ever saw was support and friendship. And I will tell you the membership in these clubs goes right across the socio-economic strata. The universal emphasis in the shooting fraternity is training and safety. New members are observed in how they handle their weapons and errors are quietly pointed out. You don’t see whack jobs at the clubs.

The problems that we face today are not problems brought on by the legitimate shooters. They are not brought on by the size shape or color of the gun. Some of these situations are brought about by mental issues. If all guns disappeared from Earth at once, those with mental problems would still find a way to do harm. Other problems are brought on by a criminal element that either steal guns or get them from those that do. Gangs will smuggle them in and get whatever they want. We really don’t need more gun laws. In some locations we’d be better off with fewer. But let slow down and not rush into the wrong solution thinking the problem is solved.

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