I’ve always admired guns as finely honed tools; that is, as precisely engineered systems of smoothly operating metal fittings and locks. The fact that “Dirty Harry’s” .44 magnum is the most powerful hand-gun in the world doesn’t impress me. I simply appreciate the working unit itself.
If you ask me even the most basic questions about caliber, makes, or models, you’d discover I know next to nothing about them. I’d refer you to Ralph Tuttle, owner of the local gun shop. It’s a safe bet he knows more about guns than most anyone else in town.
If you’re a collector, a real first-class enthusiast, or simply plan to purchase a gun, you should check out his inventory. I mean, what’s your inclination? An $8,000 Remington Trap shotgun with gold inlays or a Red Ryder BB gun, model 1940?
Given my liberal political leanings, you may be surprised to learn that I staunchly defend a person’s right to bear arms, whether pistols, rifles, or shotguns. I support most popular tenets of the National Rifle Association (NRA), simplistic as they may be:
“If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.”
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
Yep, that’s right. I wouldn’t argue with either one.
However, before you think I’ve completely abandoned my liberal principles, I’d point out that I have reservations about the AK-47 assault rifle. The semi-automatic variety doesn’t bother me much, though I can’t understand what the appeal is. (Perhaps it simply has something to do with its lethal, metallic look.) I only have problems with the fully-automatic variety.
My friends, the fully-automatic AK-47 was designed for use by frontline infantry troops in a full-scale war to slaughter hundreds upon hundreds — indeed, even thousands — of charging enemy combatants. I can’t imagine any situation in which civilians would need such a weapon.
I know gun owners who are convinced the “thin veneer” of civilization is about to collapse and thousands of people will be running amok in city streets and across the rural countryside, and you’ll need fully-automatic assault rifles to defend your family. But alas, I don’t buy such dire predictions. (Of course, some of you would argue: “Better safe than sorry.”)
Others believe you’ll need such weapons because civilians may have to take up arms against the government; that is, the state may turn into a dictatorship and we’ll have to declare civil war. Well, if it came to that, an AK-47 wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans against the U.S. Army, tanks, artillery, jets, super bombs, and nuclear bombs. I mean, if you’re contemplating war with the U.S. government, you better think again.
The federal government banned private citizens having fully automatic weapons on 1968, though bans on semi-automatic weapons are determined by individual states.
Noble and progressive as this may seem, it doesn’t make much sense because enforcing such a ban is difficult, if not impossible. After all, converting a semi-automatic AK-47 to fully-automatic is relatively easy. (That’s what the celebrated bump-stock does.)
Then too, as noted above, outlawing certain weapons doesn’t stop the bad guys from getting them.
Like it or not, the assault rifle is here to stay. Let’s face it: the NRA’s logic seems sound which, if pushed to it’s ultimate conclusion, means everyone will be allowed to openly carry a gun everywhere. You may find certain aspects of this situation a bit disturbing. For instance, since people drive and drink, there’s no reason to think they won’t “carry” and drink. So, if you find yourself in a lounge in Texas, that fellow standing next to you at the bar — the one throwing down tequila shots — might have an AK-47 slung across his shoulder.
Yeah, I know. That’s scary.
The original version of this column incorrectly stated Washington state has a ban on fully automatic weapons and assault weapons.
Washington state does not have a ban on fully automatic weapons, although the federal 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act made it illegal for any private citizens to own a fully automatic weapon made after 1986.
Additionally, Washington state does not have a ban on either “assault weapons” or semi-automatic weapons.
The article has been updated.