Guest Column: Gun control of the 'assault'
By BOB MARTIN
"It is inevitable that this issue surfaces again after the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Gun control is the 'third rail' of conservative politics, and I am just silly enough to grab it with both hands.
I am very familiar with firearms. Like most men who grew up in the country, I am a gun owner and have been a hunter since my pre-teens. I am also conservative, and I support the military and the police. In my view, our public policy toward guns borders on the insane.
I do not want to ban guns because I want to continue hunting and target shooting. On the other hand, there is no legitimate reason why private citizens should own assault weapons. Furthermore, the problem created by assault weapons will increase as the technology of those weapons makes them more effective.
I fear we have not seen the worst that can happen unless we do something about assault weapons in private hands.
An assault weapon differs from a sporting arm by its rate of fire. A sporting arm has a very slow rate of fire and a limited magazine capacity. An assault weapon has a very high rate of fire and a large magazine capacity. High rates of fire have one purpose, to overcome or match your opponent's rate of fire in combat.
Clearly, assault weapons were created to kill people. The weapon used by the Virginia Tech killer has a very high rate of fire, and that rate of fire kept him from being stopped by those he was killing.
There is no place for assault weapons in hunting. A high rate of fire makes the hunter a danger to anything and anyone around him. I will not hunt with anyone who wants to use such a weapon. First, I do not want to be shot by such a foolish person. Second, if you cannot take an animal with one shot, you should not be hunting. If you have to "spray and pray" to hit something, you are a slob hunter and should not be in the woods.
There is no place for assault weapons in marksmanship or target shooting. Marksmanship and target shooting are about precision. An expert shooter is a person who can hit a very small target at long range. There is nothing precise about high rates of fire.
Gun extremists argue that owning assault weapons preserves our freedom.
They usually do not explain what the connection between assault weapons and freedom might be. It is clear that private ownership of assault weapons cannot protect us from an external threat. Since we have the world's best military, why do we need anything else to protect us from an external threat?
Do extremists mean assault weapons preserve freedom from an internal threat? Surely that cannot be the case because that is what the police are supposed to do. By allowing private ownership of assault weapons, we put our police at greater risk.
It follows that the only kind of internal threat that might justify that kind of firepower in the hands of private citizens would be a situation where the military and the police conspire with those who would do us harm.
In other words, the extremist argument for assault weapons boils down to defense against our own government.
I do not fear my government. I do not see anything in its history or present constitution that is a threat to my civil liberties. It is ironic that all the carping about civil liberties is feeding the paranoia of those who want to own assault weapons.
Alternatively, we do have something to fear from people who fear the government. They are more likely to be a threat than is the government, and I would strongly prefer they not own assault weapons."
Bob Martin is the Ewing T Boles Professor of Economics at Centre College.
There is so very much wrong about this mans distorted opinion of everything from "assault-weapons" to government control of our daily lives, that I'll let you decide which to attack first. Just remember; this is what the Fudds feel to be the honest truth. Then be, if not afraid, then at the very least AWARE.
HE knows how many rounds you'll need if worst comes to worst.
Remarkable in it's hubris and stupidity.