We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Well, I think the Heller case sort of settled it. As I say, the only problem is criminals with illegal guns. America doesn't have too many guns, it has too many crims. When we figure out how to effectively control criminals and the violent insane...
Here's my proposal: First, the government removes all illegal weapons from all of the criminals and from the violent insane. This would require a major, nation-wide undertaking. Second step, as a sign of faith in their effort, the government removes all weapons from their own bodyguards and the bodyguards of the wealthy and celebs. Then we can talk about reasonable rules for civil society and for us ordinary, rule-following citizens. Historically, only aristocrats could be armed with swords or whatever. God forbid the humble, honest peasants like us have access to weapons too.
I saw at Drudge that WalMart is almost sold out of firearms this Christmas. Guys and gals both enjoy a fun new firearm to play with. So do kids. Many if not most American boys remember their first .22 under the Christmas tree. I sure do. My Dad, a US Army vet, university professor, opera- and ballet-lover, taught me everything about it, safety, assembly, cleaning, everything. Good stuff. The smell of that Hoppe's cleaning fluid always takes me back to the farm's kitchen table covered with newspaper with gun-oil stains, just like Proust's madeleine brought him back. I destroyed countless beer bottles and coke cans with that rifle.
He also got us a powerful clay target-thrower when we moved into shotguns. Since then, I have enjoyed the challenge of shotgunning more than rifles but I still have a few rifles in the closet. Not sure how many because we never use them. Farm tradition always had a loaded 12 ga. leaning against the kitchen wall like any other farm tool, and a loaded revolver in the kitchen drawer with the pliers and scissors and balls of string. Country-style, I guess. My Mom is/was a champion with skeet and trap, better than me because of her relaxed, serene focus.
I love hunting, but only hunters know that shooting guns is only a small part of it. That's why it's not called "shooting." Self-protection? I don't really need it now but we have had problems at the farm where, in a very isolated place far from government control, a firearm would be handy for justice purposes or to civilize an insane Black Bear.
Handguns? Well, I figger my concealed carry permit should be enough to deter bad guys because I have never actually carried except in the trunk of the car. Might be amusing for people to wear the carry permit on their Brooks Brothers sports jacket as a deterrent to trouble.
Well done my friend. My first long gun was a breach load, single shot Remington 12 guage shotgun given to me by my Grandfather - it was his since like forever. I almost wore that shotgun out shooting clay pigeons (and real ones) and learned to love bird hunting. It also bagged me my first deer. Sadly I don't have that shotgun anymore - I gave it to my brother who promptly broke the breach hinge. Wasn't worth repairing.
My second long gun again came courtesy of my Grandfather - his Springfield 1873 carbine. That was his issue weapon (7th Calvary - Cuba. He served with Edgar Rice Burroughs in fact) before the change over in 1899 to the Winchester lever action repeating rifle - which I also have.
My Grandfather spent a lot of time with me and gun training. I don't think there was a weekend during hunting season that I didn't get instruction in shooting, safety and practice. He used to pick me up and we drove out to my Uncle Dave's farm to shoot the rats in the corn bin. Right before he passed on (he must have known it was coming at 98), i was the sole beneficiary of his guns - his Winchester repeating rifle, the Springfield, his Colt SA revolver and a couple of civilian rifles (a .308, .22 over/under and 30-06). He was awful good to me, but then again, I shared his love for hunting and fishing unlike my cousins and brother.
Side Note: I'm a revolver guy - I don't own a semi-automatic pistol. I have four - a hammerless SA .357 on a .38 frame that is my carry weapon, a .44 magnum, .45 and a DA .38 that I occasionally shoot to keep firing time off the SA .357.
Anyway, I was discussing (as many did) gun control issues with some friends, when one made the statement that semi-automatic weapons should also be banned. I pointed out to her that a revolver is a semi-automatic weapon - she owns a revolver. Kind of ended that discussion quickly. :>)
I've noticed that a lot of the folks supporting a ban on semi-autos don't realize how long they've been around. Point out they've been around in significant numbers since the turn of the 20th century and they are genuinely surprised.* They often seem to have a vague impression that they didn't start to appear in numbers until after WWII. By the 1930s they were a major part of the handgun market in the U.S., though certainly not a larger part than revolvers. Heck, even staggered high capacity magazines have been around since the '30s; Browning's 9mm "Hi-Power"** was called that because it carried more ammo in the clip.
But then, I notice that a lot of people who want to control guns, including most politicians and media figures who take up the cause, have a deep, obvious, and crippling technical ignorance about the subject. I don't know how you're supposed to arrive at "common sense" gun control measures if you don't know much about guns. Unless you just like the control part. It's like guns are all icky and they just don't want to know.
*If you really want to blow their minds, point out that World War I started with a bang from a semi-auto: Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated with the semi-auto Fabrique Nationale Model 1910, a John Browning designed pistol that FN sold in tremendous numbers to the civilian market throughout Europe. I think FN kept making that thing until the '70s.
An excellent essay, thank you - a snapshot of how so many Americans grew up, and how we now live. Firearm ownership has always been about personal responsibility - not onerous, ever increasing government control.
Here in the south I to grew up with a 22 cal appendeg. Father carried my brother and I to a bridge close by when we were begging to shoot a shotgun. He took an old LC Smith trap gun and blew a pretty good limb in half to show us the power in 12 ga. shells. Kids now days never understood the utility of firearms in the country. If I've got a snake on the patio? Use the 22. If a skunk is getting in the carport or trying to get under the house, same weapon. Dove season opening, shotgun. Deer season a 270. Bad guy drives up the dog raises all mighty hell. I guess next they'll want to outlaw yard dogs.