Wednesday, August 8, 2007

You Pick The Topic: Gun Control

Fourier Analyst chose the issue of gun control for a topic, and since I already had material prepared, you can have this right now. This was the first post for my blog. I posted it on April 18th, 2006. It has been slightly amended. How is this for instant gratification???

"Gun Control" is one of the most loaded (pardon the pun) terms in American English. Say “gun control” to some people, and you’ll start hearing that they aren't worried so much about control, as they are worried about gun confiscation.

When we talk about gun control in America, it conjures up all sorts of strange images. Depending on where you stand on the issue, the images could be something like this:

Black-clad federal agents (guys like me) kicking in the doors of the homes of law-abiding, peaceful citizens in order to confiscate their guns at the behest of the United Nations and, destroying American sovereignty, which, as we all know, is guaranteed by suburbanite soccer dads/moms with huntin’ rifles.

If you are on the other side of the fence, politically, the image that may be conjured up is of the government banning all firearms including hunting and target weapons, thereby ending violent crime, after which, all of us will be happy, and safe while we sing Kumbayah, and burn patchouli incense.

Take either one of those scenarios and it will probably have you running for the hills… or to the nearest telephone to call your member of Congress to tell him/her how you think s/he should vote.

The thing is, friends, is that “gun control” isn’t all that scary… at least it shouldn’t be, and I’ll tell you why.

I’m a professional firearms instructor, you know that. I teach other officers and agents how to fight with pistols, rifles, shotguns and submachine guns for a federal law enforcement agency headquartered in Washington, DC. I love my job (most days). I really do. I get to shoot a lot, I get to teach on a subject that I am very passionate about, and I think I make a real and lasting impact on people’s lives.

One of the best things about what I do is the interaction that I get with a group of people that much of the public finds scary or intimidating: The Federal Law Enforcement Officer. Yeah, that’s right, The Feds! The scary people you see in movies that spend all of their time violating your civil rights and making a mockery of The Constitution. Those people that are alternatively imprisoning people for no reason, searching for extraterrestrials, framing O.J. Simpson, planning to take away your guns, and wearing windbreakers and Oakley sunglasses while they do it.

I have news for you, friends: Most of those people spend most of their time, trying to make cases and arrest bad guys. Bad guys like bank robbers; people that would sell our national security to the highest bidder; drug traffickers that poison our youth; inside traders; child molesters; environmental polluters and spies. These things, among others, are what your federal law enforcement people spend their time doing… and believe me, it takes a lot of time, which is both the blessing and curse of our legal system.

Now, I don’t want to make this a diatribe about how great cops are. I am trying to make a point about how silly it is to get ratcheted up about gun confiscation. Whether you are a liberal that longs for the day “when the guns go away”, or a conservative that will give up his gun “when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers”, is really moot, because gun confiscation will never happen here.

Let me repeat that for the slow folks: Gun confiscation will never happen in America.

Here is the thing… most of the people on my side of the badge feel like you do. They have opinions on “gun control” and confiscations, and those opinions come down on both sides of the issue (not everybody with a badge is a gun queer) At the end of the day they realize, and so should you, that there isn’t any agency or group of people that would actually try and make it happen. Oh sure, an assault weapons ban here, a ban on fully automatic weapons there… but at the end of the day, no one is going to do it. Many of my brethren would actually refuse to participate if so ordered. Who does that leave? The Army? Fat chance! Our soldiers (and more importantly, their officers) come from too wide a cross section of society to participate in that kind of activity.

You want my personal view of "gun control"? Here it is: There is absolutely no valid reason for the public at large to own automatic weapons. Left up to me, any adult citizen would be allowed to own and carry concealed handguns... but you'd have to have a license, and you would have to demonstrate proficiency on an annual basis... some bullshit, NRA safety course isn't sufficient.

So, in the end, what does that leave us with? A tempest in a teapot, much ado about nothing, all smoke no fire, etc…

The arguments about gun control mean nothing. The Gun control issue is nothing more than noise... a wedge issue to distract voters from important things and mobilize hard-core political activists on either side during an election cycle.



Lawyer Mama said...

I have to agree with you on the automatic weapons. I know some would disagree, but it's not like you use it for hunting deer. (Or maybe some people do, I don't know.)

I'm not sure about allowing everyone to carry though. I guess you'd have to tell me more about the sort of class and certification you have in mind. My hesitancy here is because people I know and love have done some very stupid things with guns, even full well knowing better.

Then there's the issue of guns not being adequately secured. I mean, my husband can't keep his cell phone away from the baby. I have little faith that everyone will employ proper trigger locks or what not.

Then there's an issue you raised after VT. (And this is where the training comes in.) Will we end up with vigilante situations where someone honestly trying to help interprets a situation incorrectly and uses deadly force. Law enforcement officers are trained extensively on this and even they, on some occasions, make errors in judgment.

(Somewhat unrelated side topic - Have you read the book Blink, Bill? There's a whole section talking about this and I wondered what your take on it was. The theory was that in high stress situations, we filter out unnecessary information automatically and the nuances that usually assist us in making snap decisions properly are impaired or lost. So only with experience and lots and lots of training can people overcome this impairment.)

Great topic, by the way. Clearly I have nothing to say on the issue.

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

I am with ya on this one.... ;-)

Real Life Drama Queen said...

Clapping! Great job. Though I wish there was a way to keep them out of stupid peoples hands. Great post.

Fourier Analyst said...

Ah GF, you are definitely an officer after my own heart! Thanks for the instant gratification! Agree totally on the ban on automatic weapons. wish there was some reasonable way of eliminating/limiting the sale of handguns but know that this is likely a genie that has been out of the bottle for too long. As for shotguns, my family still lives in areas where snakes and other varmints (not the 2-legged kind)are in abundance, though there's not much real huntin' done these days.

But isn't there more we could do to stop the sale of automatic weapons? That seems to me to be the biggest threat on our(the US) streets today.

Flower Child said...

Very reasonable review of the topic. Have to say that I have some of the same questions that Lawyer Mama does but I appreciate your points.

Grimm said...

Alas, there is yet another reason I enjoy your posts, GF. I learn so many big words.

I am but a simple man with simple vocabulary and yet I feel smarter after reading.

I am one of those people that while I have no problem if my father has 20 rifles and shotguns in his home - I prefer not to have any in mine.

m249equalizer said...

Gun bans can only be enforced on law abiding citizens. Crimminals will always have guns no matter what laws are written. And more than likely be better armed than the good guys; because they operate outside the boundaries of the law. Whereas law enforcement and the public alike follow the rules. Therefore, I choose to protect my wife and kids (and those around me) with a colt 1911 45 acp everyday. I am not going to place my life in the hands of some guy with a badge that may or may not be around in a pinch. Let alone he (the officer) may not know which end of his weapon to point at the bad guy. This is especially true of the renta cop.

Gunfighter said...


I hope you know what you are doing with the aforementioned .45...

Many people say that they do... most people, including cops and particularly soldiers, are trained just well enough to be a danger to themselves.

I suspect the M-249 that you refer to, is the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon piece of shit the was sold to the U.S. armed forces in the late 80's.

m249equalizer said...

Why the slander and arrogance? I do not know you. And you certainly do not know me. Nor do you know of my capabilities with a firearm or as you implied lack there of. I made an addition to the intellectual discussion and I am rather surprised that such a well minded conversationalist as your self would resort to adding insult to injury

Gunfighter said...

I didn't slander you. I made some very specific statements about two groups of people who think they know how to fight with guns, and usually don't know much.
Most cops get enough training to safely and efficiently operate their firearms, and qualify with them on a regular basis.

Let me be clear: qualification, whether annual, bi-annual, quarterly, or monthly, doesn't mean that an individual knows how to FIGHT with a handgun.

On the subject of soldiers, most soldiers never learn how to fight with pistols. Some do, true. Most don't.

m249equalizer said...

Neither does training at the school house everyday fully provide one with enough training for combat. But it’s a good start. Real life experience (however unforgiving it maybe) is still the best instruction for combat. Only the seasoned combat veteran is truly prepared for the horrors and stark realities one may face. Knowledge, wisdom, and alertness is essential to ones survival. And for the record the pistol is a weapon that when "used properly" can suppress the enemy till cavalry arrives (think Utah mall shootings), neutralizes the threat or threats and provides a means to retrieve ones rifle or the most heavy casualty producing weapon at disposal. A weapon is only as effective as its user. So, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about pistols or pitch forks, because for some (as you mentioned) close is good enough. As for the common man’s shooting and target acquisition abilities, I’d trust a gentleman farmer far above that of a government bureaucrat to state what a threat is and what is not.

Gunfighter said...

Thanks for your input!