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Facts, reality lost in gun control argument

Two Views: Common sense solutions? Stricter laws? Firearms in political crosshairs


In the ongoing debate about restricting Constitutional liberties, there are a number of things we can rest assured we will hear.

Every opponent of gun rights will start their discussion by claiming to be a “supporter of the Second Amendment” and promise that they are “not trying to take anyone’s guns away.” They will say they have talked to “thousands of gun owners.” They will then follow this by describing what they intend to take away.

The bullet points and rhetoric will be boilerplate. We will be warned about “assault weapons,” “high-capacity clips” and “weapons of war.” We’ll be told that these firearms are good for nothing except “killing many people as quickly as possible.” Then we will be reminded that “no one needs an AK-47 to kill a deer.”

(These very firearms are carried by most police. Are they determined to kill lots of people as quickly as possible?)

One major East Coast newspaper even reported that the most popular AR-15 rifles are the ones that come with “grenade launchers.” Throw in some drivel about “heat-seeking bullets” and how pistol grips on rifles make them easier to “fire accurately from the hip like they do in the military” and you have the basic false line from those who think your right to defend yourself and your family is a license to murder.

Whatever your position on gun ownership, you should deal with facts, which, in the current atmosphere, are in short supply. So in the short space allotted here, let’s address reality:

n Hunting. Every device used to hunt is a “weapon of war,” even if you hunt with a bow and arrow. (Hunting has nothing to do with any of this.)

n “Assault weapons.” There is no such thing as an “assault weapon,” no matter how often ignorant reporters and politicians tell you there is. The firearms available today are not machine guns (even though Obama’s child props tell you they are) and are entirely conventional in every way. The fact that they look like “military” firearms makes them no different from every “hunting rifle” that looks like the “military firearms” of the past. Every popular hunting rifle is based on a firearm our brave young men used to kill “many people as quickly as possible” as they shed their blood around the globe to protect people who had voluntarily disarmed themselves.

n “High-Capacity Clips.” OK, they are not “clips,” but that’s a point I give up on making. But let’s talk about these things. State Sen. Ginny Burdick has repeatedly stated (along with saying most gun owners agree with her, which you would not conclude if you have seen the increase in our membership) that by limiting the number of rounds a firearm’s magazine could hold, you could mitigate the damage that a mass killer could do because during a magazine change people could “rush” the killer.

I don’t care if you want to ban everything. Is that even rational? Would the babies murdered in Newtown have “rushed” the shooter in the half-second to one second it would have taken him to reload? In fact, guns can still shoot a round while a magazine is being reloaded. So Burdick’s proposal is that, although she would like to limit magazines to five rounds, she’ll take 10. That’s the acceptable level of carnage in Burdick’s world. If you really want to affect the behavior of mass killers, shouldn’t they be limited to NO rounds?

While we are writing laws to restrict or limit the behavior of madmen (who complete no background checks and register no guns and obey no signs saying “gun-free zone”), what about the rest of us who have committed no crime ... ever? While politicians like Burdick are determined to punish the law-abiding, what would she say to the Georgia mother who hid in her closet with her 9-year-old twins while a dangerous criminal broke into her home?

Before the police could arrive, he broke down several doors until he found the closet they were hiding in. Armed with only a six-shot revolver, she shot him five times and he was still able to leave and drive away.

What if he had not been the only intruder? Does Burdick really think that mom should have sacrificed herself and her babies on the altar of her gun control obsessions? Does Burdick really believe that that mother, or the teachers at Newtown, would not have hocked their cars, homes and their favorite watch for a good rifle and a “high-capacity” magazine when the monsters came calling? In the case of the teachers, we can’t ask. They were forbidden from defending themselves and the babies.

I think I know what the Georgia mom’s answer would be.

Kevin Starrett, a Canby resident, is executive director of Oregon Firearms Federation.