Sunday, October 08, 2017

Gun ownership

I have been thinking about this for some time and feel that I have come to some conclusions I would like to share with you about gun control.

First, I must tell you some personal information that I usually am loath to detail because of the negative use that personal information gets subjected to on the internet. I am among the percentage Americans that own many guns. Like many American gun owners, I am a Veteran and a (former) hunter. I used to belong to the NRA back in the day that I also had a membership at a gun range where I practiced marksmanship and enjoyed shooting trap. In those times the NRA was all about gun safety and responsibility which are sentiments I still hold. I lapsed my membership when they became what appeared to me to be an active arm of the gun manufacturing lobby and abandoned, for all intents and purposes, to support the all important issues of gun safety and responsibility.

I own an assault rifle which I bought (although in the semi-automatic form) because I liked the way that gun was able to fire.  I have also shot and enjoyed fully automatic weapons although I have never owned one.  While I was in the Navy I never fired a gun that I remember.  This is in spite of the fact that, although I served during the Viet Nam era I was never stationed in that country.  I still enjoy the now very occasional use of that and many of the other guns I own.  In recent years I have confined my shooting to mainly pistols at a local range.  As of 2017 I will turn 73 in a couple of months and I suffer from a back injury that now prevents me from working as either a chef or an English and Film Studies teacher as I much enjoyed doing while I was in my 40's, 50's and 60's.

I have been thinking of the Swiss model for gun safety and, if you are curious about things like this, I encourage you to study that for yourself.  The result of their form of gun ownership is very interestingly close to the ideals stated in the Second Amendment.  The comparison of size between the USA and Switzerland is something that seems to me to impede the usefulness of trying to adapt ourselves to such a model.  The emphasis of their system seems to be on safety and responsibility, of which I am much in favor.  What I most like about this system is that local citizens would be very unlikely, both culturally and in terms of physical facts, for the possibility of engaging in mass shootings.  In light of the epidemic of these horrible events in modern America, changes that would staunch that modern wound and all that hurt it causes would be most welcome.

What has occurred to me in light of our dilemma is that we should look to those twenty seven words in the Second Amendment and see if our actual Constitution provides us with the kind of solution we need.  I think the first four words may, in fact, hold the key.  It states that "A well regulated Militia" is what should be maintained  by citizens in order to maintain "the security of a free State;" that was because the writers of it had just been through a painful and bloody revolutionary war and most certainly did not want such a thing to have to happen again.   We now recognize that this responsibility falls to the armed services and the need for an armed militia has been well supplanted by them.  So it occurred to me that, following the idea of the founding fathers, what we need is to perhaps band gun owners into some kind of a "well regulated Militia" that (although really redundant) could be the less amorphous group that could receive instruction, recognition and regulation from our government.

I have no illusion that I could fight in a war or even march in a parade but I do believe such an organization would be something in which I would be willing to be a member.  My guns are all legal and registered (mostly for hunting and hobby, with a few military style arms) and I am confident that they would be acceptable to most reasonable gun oriented types.  What would end up being scrutinized would be gun collections (and explosives) that seem out of the ordinary for one reason or another.  More importantly, having more contact between the government and this proposed militia would promote a better sense of citizenship, re-emphasize gun safety and responsibility, as well as giving the government an active overview of the gun owners today.

I believe that we are turning our gun owners loose, the responsible and the dangerous ones alike, and that they could feel more like good and respectable citizens would be a great benefit to the country for generations to come.

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