no more thrills – an opinion

An opinion: My take on gun control

I fired my first automatic weapon in basic training a long time ago and it was thrilling.

m-14 comp

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


  1. Dear Mr. Long,

    People do have background checks to obtain a gun. If you get a gun at a gun show, from a dealer, you are supposed to have a background check.

    As tragic as the horrid mass killings have been, guns did not do this – psychotic, evil people did. People are the ones who should be monitored, not guns. People who suffer from mental illness, PTSD, or criminal behavior should not be allowed to fall through the cracks or from getting the help that they need. Bad guys will still get the guns, even with gun registration.

    As for evil, only God or a higher power can truly show mercy protect us.

  2. Dear lillk … Thank you for your insight – I fully agree with your comment; problem is, we resist monitoring people in a free society. As this statement from the 2007 Virginia Tech report stated: “All agreed that in a country of more than 300 million people, it is impossible to eliminate all risks. We can not maintain a free and open society and eliminate the possibility that violence in schools, offices, or malls will happen again.”

    Tragedies happen almost daily; it just seems logical that we ought to practice the same kind of controls that the military does in peacetime. Weapons are secured in an arms room until they’re signed out for assigned use.

    You so correctly state that guns did not do the deed. Other weapons have been used to inflict horrible pain and suffering. This is a tough issue; we just need to begin the conversation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s