Friday, October 20, 2006

Firearms

I am a gun nut.

I usually say this whenever firearms are brought up in conversation. This prevents hoplophobes from dismissing me when I attempt to espouse anything even vaguely pro-gun or anti-"sensible" gun legislation.

I have a number of firearms in my possession and a few I'd like to acquire. I have the following in my collection:

Long guns
1. Mossberg 385 (12ga.) - I love guns that look mean, but this one looks mean and sounds mean. There is nothing in this world that sounds like the pump action on a large bore shotgun. I'm not much of a shotgun guy (not into trap or skeet shooting) so this is mostly there for home defense.

2. Ithica (.22lr) - This one holds particular sentimental value to me. This was my Dad's first rifle. Its a short, single shot rifle that you can literally shoot all day.

3. Chinese Type 52 SKS (7.62x39mm) - Not exactly the most patriotic gun. The SKS is a fun gun to shoot and monumentally reliable. This is the only rifle I own with a scope. However, I need a better scope mounting. This is another gun I can shoot all day while shooting long range.

4. M1 Garand (.308) - The venerable WWII main battle rifle (except with a different chambering). I have a much greater respect for those who lugged this heavy piece of wood and metal onto the beaches of Normandy and the South Pacific. I'm hoping to do a little research on this rifle if I can to see what kind of history it has.

Hand guns

1. Walther P22 (.22lr) - This gun is just fun to shoot. It is a little particular about the ammo you feed through it (the really cheap stuff is prone to misfires and feeding problems), and like all rimfire guns, its a major pain to keep clean. However, I really enjoy this gun and it is always in my range bag.

2. Ruger P89DC (9mm) - This gun is also fun to shoot. I'd like to get into defensive handgun shooting and this gun would be fantastic to take into a competition.

While I do have a few guns, there are a couple I'd really like to get yet. First, I'd like to get a carry piece. I don't mind getting a revolver (so a little .38 isn't out of the question), but I'm left handed and rapid reloading has been a little problematic for me. Its also a little more difficult to conceal a spare speedloader for a revolver than it is to conceal a spare magazine for an automatic. I'm thinking one of the smaller Glocks might be a good choice for me for concealed carry. I'm looking at .40 at least in terms of caliber.

Since I'm interested in defensive pistol shooting, I'm thinking that ultimately I'm going to want a 1911 (in .45 ACP) or something over .40 since that is the cut off for "major caliber". From my understanding the main difference is that major calibers get a way with a double tap where minor calibers (below .40) require a triple tap. More taps means more ammo consumed and more reloads required. More reloads means more time.

My politics surrounding guns is simple. Denying private citizens from owning a firearm is unconsitutional. No part of the Bill of Rights is negotiable. Not now. Not ever. I am not one of those "the Constitution is a living document" idiots and I hold their views in open contempt. I do draw the line with weapons requiring a crew to service (e.g. military aircraft). To me, these weapons should be part of a larger militia or the standing armed forces of the US (my non-US readers may apply this logic to your own country's controlling documents).

The meaning of the Second Amendment is simple: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged." The survival of our free state depends on it. The notion that Americans are armed fills our enemies with dread. Admiral Yamamoto (the commander of the Japanese fleet tasked to the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941) knew this and refused to invade the US mainland (specifically California). His rationale? "There is a rifleman behind every blade of grass." The hijackers on 9/11 knew that the civilians on the airplanes would be disarmed (yes, I do believe that citizens should be able to carry firearms on commercial airline flights). Thugs in every American city with draconian firearms laws (Chicago, New York, Washington DC, etc.) attack people freely, knowing they need not fear immediate reprisal. Again, our free state depends on the private citizen's right to keep and bear arms. Where we see strict gun control, we see tyranny. Tyranny is tyranny regardless of where it comes from, the legislator, executive, judge, or thug on the street.

Gun control people give us dozens of reasons for why we need to restrict the sale of guns and ammunition. In my opinion, the gun control people want to see people become victims because it serves their purposes (more victims means more statstical data points). What they don't tell us is that in more than 80% of the 20 million times guns are used to defend private citizens merely brandishing the weapon is sufficient. This means the implicit threat of the use of force deters most criminals from pursuing their selected course of action.

Finally, and I need to be careful here, the right of private citizens to keep and bear arms is the ultimate check against the full disregard of the US Constitution by its elected members. The Constitution itself contains many checks and balances between the three branches of government. However, the final check lies with the people. If the government of the United States is in complete and blatant violation of the Constitution, the people are left with a final means of enforcing the contract between We The People and the government. I must emphasize that I do not think that our current political situation even vaugely resembles a situation where violent uprising should even be a consideration of We The People (I feel I need to be very clear on that). An example I am thinking of here is a President who refuses to relenquish his/her power after an election or the end of their second term and receives the backing of Congress and the Supreme Court to retain power. At that point, perhaps enacting this last check becomes a possibility. I'll say this again, the current socio/political situation in the United States of America today *does not* rise anywhere near to the level I consider sufficient for this option to even be considered.

In the end, I am a gun nut. They are important artifacts that give important clues into how our culture views itself (we trust each other in a fairly significant way), and the way we will allow ourselves to be governed. They're also fun to shoot.

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