An opinion: My take on gun control
I fired my first automatic weapon in basic training a long time ago and it was thrilling.
The M-14 battle rifle is a single-shot weapon with a full-automatic selector switch. At the range one day, we got the chance to go “full automatic” with a few rounds. It was hard to control on full automatic because it fired the 7.62 caliber round and the barrel rose off target pretty rapidly. The awesome power of full-automatic, though, was spectacularly thrilling for a 19 year-old soldier in preparation for war.
A few months later, in Viet Nam, my experience with automatic weapons expanded to include the .30 machine gun which was the front-door gun on the H-21. The thrill quickly turned into fear and respect because it meant survival, suppression, neutralization and protection.
Over several tours in Viet Nam and a longer experience in the U.S. military, my “hands-on” experience with automatic weapons included the AR-15, which transitioned into the M-16; the M-2 carbine; the Thompson submachine gun; the M-60 machine gun and the .50 caliber machine gun.
Following Viet Nam in a peacetime military, I watched younger soldiers’ excitement as they “burned off” rounds during “rock and roll” time at the end of a day at the firing range, wondering why they didn’t foresee the tedium that would follow during weapons cleaning before returning their weapons to the armory. For the young soldier, full automatic is thrilling.
It’s been some time since I have fired an automatic weapon, or any weapon, and I admit I’d like to feel the “thrill” again. Maybe, I will – one day – go to a gun range and do that.
Now, a bunch of years later, and in the wake of yet another sickening instance of a mass shooting involving, not a fully automatic weapon, but an “assault-type” weapon, I know that this nation needs to know who has weapons.
I don’t want to take away the right to possess weapons. However, I do, want to have:
- Military-type firearm and weapon registration.
- Background checks for all persons seeking to buy these kinds of weapons … anywhere.
- Enforced, strong penalties for anyone in possession of an unregistered weapon.
These are scary premises that skirt compromising the liberties of the Constitution’s rights for citizens.
I know that, but we cannot allow people to keep killing unarmed citizens … kids, shoppers, anybody!
– by Brian Long