Common Sense And Gun Control

In much of the recent discussion about gun control, the phrase ‘common sense’ has been used quite often. This is one of those phrases that doesn’t really mean much, as who is really against common sense? Nobody will claim they favor dumb ass gun control. But this term, when used in politics, means ‘only go as far as I like, and no further.’ So, I want to lay out what my ‘common sense’ gun control measures would be.

Here’s my plan: ban all semi-automatic long barrel weapons, and all handguns–and this is retroactive, with a mandatory buy back policy (as Australia did). If you want to hunt or shoot target practice, you can load the rounds individually or pump/lever the action. That dramatically slows down the rate of fire, without significantly inhibiting hunting or target shooting. Regarding handguns, they are, far and away, responsible for most of gun-related killings (murders and suicides). To the extent I worry about evildoers (I typically don’t), I worry about some chucklehead with a concealed handgun, not someone with a long-barrel weapon. We should also modernize our gun registration system. There would be exemptions for government personal and bonded private security.

For me, that is common sense. But I’m willing to compromise: I’ll allow revolvers too (i.e., no semi-automatic pistols). The rate of fire is lower, and the number of rounds before reloading is smaller (and revolvers are harder to reload). I never thought returning to the era of the ‘Saturday Night Special‘ would be an improvement, but here we are. I realize some people, even though I think it’s a bad idea, want a handgun for personal protection. So compromise and common sense it is, then.

This isn’t to say that smaller clip sizes, banning bump stocks, and the like aren’t worth enacting on their own: they will reduce the carnage, though probably only by a small amount. And the Parkland activists are doing good work: banning semi-automatic rifles will save some lives–and, as importantly, show that the NRA and ALEC can be beaten.

That seems like common sense to me.

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6 Responses to Common Sense And Gun Control

  1. Gingerbaker says:

    “That seems like common sense to me.”

    That seems like blatantly unconstitutional to me. WTF? Common sense tells us that if lefties propose unconstitutional broad brush bans that penalize 99.99% of responsible gun owners for the sins of the 0.001%, we will virtually guarantee Republican dominance for years to come.

    This stuff is hard, not simple. And there ARE two sides to this story.

  2. James Emerson says:

    I’ve owned guns since I was seven years of age. I’m probably one of the 3% that owns half the guns in the country. I was taught gun safety and shooting skills by a local NRA guy in South Texas (back when the NRA was a gun safety group.) I hunted for duck, geese, pigeon, dove by the time I was eight. I hunted deer and elk in the Pacific NW (where I now live) when I got older. My father was a career military man who grew up hunting and thought it a good idea to teach me those skills. It was fun. I remember having a full gun rack in my bedroom. Friends would come over and would want to handle the guns, but I was under strict orders from Dad not to touch the guns unless I was going hunting or they needed cleaning. We had the cleanest guns in South Texas. I could take them apart and reassemble them in minutes or less. That was a long time ago in a time when the guns available were designed strictly for hunting…

    Now-a-days things are different…

    I spent some time in the Marine Corps, and became quite familiar with the weapons of war and the damage they can inflict on the human body. Many people don’t know that the AR-15’s .223 caliber bullet was designed to explode when hitting flesh and bone. This is due in part to the extreme speed it reaches as it leaves the gun barrel, and due in part to bullet wobble. It was discovered that kinetic energy(speed) and bullet wobble magnifies the damage done, hence the horrendous injuries it causes. The point of these weapons is to quickly kill and/or disable another country’s soldier on the battle field. They are not for hunting because they can severely damage the meat. They are strictly designed to kill human beings…

    After my father died, I inherited his gun collection which included weapons found on the WWII battlefields (no .223 variants), as well as his hunting guns. I keep them locked up, but would like to responsibly get rid of them someday. I wouldn’t sell them because I could never be sure how they would be used. But a buy back is something I would take advantage of in a second…

    I’m not sure when the NRA shifted from gun and hunters safety organization, and went whole hog into lobbying for the gun manufacturers. You would think they would care about the young people facing death by an armed-for-war yahoo showing up at the local school, but the sad reality is they make millions off the sale of the very weapons that are used to murder children in their safe places. They spend millions more in lobbying for easier access to battle field variants. The cycle of viciousness has got to stop. Why should America put it children at risk? Because a few rich guys can make more money?

    I fully support the young people from Douglas HS and elsewhere who are motivated by but see beyond the immediate heartbreak and ongoing tragedy of gun violence to advocate for a better country. A country without the weapons of war so easily found on the streets of America…

  3. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    As a scientist, my respect for “common sense” is limited. An object being so massive that it warps space itself? Particles in different locations being inextricably coupled? What is true in nature is not constricted by what appeals to human imagination.

  4. Gingerbaker says:

    ” Many people don’t know that the AR-15’s .223 caliber bullet was designed to explode when hitting flesh and bone. ”

    Exploding bullets are outlawed for war by the Geneva Convention. And .223 caliber has more than one bullet – it has a lot of them. Here is a list, and not one of them is designed to wobble:

    Wobble was reported in very early Colt AR-15’s whose barrel twist did not match the ammunition because of antiquated equipment at the Colt factory. This was corrected.

    It also makes very little sense to “design” a bullet that wobbles or tumbles, as it means such a round would have much less range and accuracy. Today, shooters choose barrels and bullets so the twist rates match. I suppose it would be possible that some deranged person might deliberately choose a mismatch, but this is the first I have ever heard of such an issue with regard to mass shootings.

    Remington .223’s have muzzle velocities from 2788 to 3550, which is very fast, but there are faster: The .17 Remington has MV of 4250, the .22-250 has 4000.

    That fastest .223 round has 1259 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle, paltry compared to many other hunting and target rounds which can get up >5000 foot pounds. Since today’s ammo is designed not to wobble, this would seem a valid consideration.

    I agree with you about the NRA, although I wonder if their affiliation is more to the Republican party than to gun manufacturers. They have had a loud and incessant Gish gallop about Democrats taking your guns away for thirty years now. And it gets rednecks into the voting booths more reliably than perhaps any other issue.

    • James Emerson says:

      Nice response. I am by no means an expert on the modern firearms in public use today. Most of the guns I own are fairly or even greatly dated. I gathered most of my info from experience with the M-16 when I was in the Marines. The 1:14 barrel twist did cause the military bullets to more or less shoot without much wobble in flight, but to wobble and turn sideways once impacting human flesh, or tree leaves or just about anything. That together with high speed was blamed for the horrific wounds. As you say exploding bullets are banned by convention (so was torture), but the truth about the M-16 is that the bullets literally explode once they hit human flesh…

      Scroll down to the fragmentation chart…

  5. Fred says:

    I might ban guns outright; the 2nd amendment covers the military. Not private citizens. Not cops. It is about protecting the US from foreign invasion.

    But, on a shorter, maybe more practical time horizon, maybe just 1) ban on assault rifles 2) national registration for ALL firearms (we do it for cars, houses, aliens, and citizens—why not weapons? Jail for owning an unregistered weapon) 3) annual registration fee 4) mandatory liability insurance. 5) of course, all sales would require transfer of Title. Like cars.

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