A few weeks back, I wrote an article concerning America’s dysfunctional position concerning guns. I talked of liberals on one side wanting full control and conservatives on the other wanting to remove any semblance of obstruction. I did not take sides, or at least I did not think I took sides.
I received an e-mail from “Eric,” who appears to be the primary owner and writer for LearnAboutGuns.com. Eric wrote a commentary concerning my commentary. You know you hit the big time when others are writing about your work.
Why “Eric” in quotes? I spent an hour on his Web site and failed to find his full name. He is an American of African descent, a registered Democrat, a conditional Libertarian, a law student and a passionate gun owner. In short, he doesn't fit the “inaccurate stereotype of gun owners that is portrayed with depressing regularity.”
Eric dissected my article, arguing his position. Not too bad for a law student, I might say. He obviously did some research noting that my biography (I am not sure which one), does not indicate that I have a law background. Does seven years as administrative hearing officer for the state of Colorado qualify?
Eric claims, “so-called assault weapons… are defined only by a rather arbitrary set of cosmetic and safety features, none of which make the gun any more deadly.” Not so arbitrary, my friend. Calls to the ATF lead me to Title 27, CFR, Chapter II, Part 478, Subpart B, Section 478.11.
There, in black and white, are the definitions of an assault weapon. It is obvious that Eric has not read the law. A number of weapons or manufacturers are specifically named and definitions given. A semi-automatic assault rifle cannot have two or more of the following: “(1) A folding or telescoping stock, (2) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon, (3) A bayonet mount, (4) A flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor, and (5) A grenade launcher.”
In fact, many of the definitions Eric uses as illegal attachments are permitted, such as a folding stock, if it were the only modification. I don’t need a grenade launcher.
Eric is correct in claiming the Second Amendment is not about hunting. It was not about home-defense either. If one reads the amendment, you will note that it begins with “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” In the late 1700s, every able-bodied man was a member of the state militia, and therefore needed to own appropriate weaponry legally. The argument is really about two commas.
However, through interpretation, the courts have extended this “right” to self-defense. An interpretation, by the way, with which I agree.
Eric also argues that cars, knives, explosives and airliners have been used to kill. He continues, “…the reason that Seung-Hui Cho was able to kill so many people at Virginia Tech is because the law abiding victims were disarmed…” and if students were allowed to carry guns, the Virginia Tech shooting would not have been so costly. It is obvious that Eric has never shot someone breaking into his home (I have) and never saw ABC’s “If I only had a gun.”
I know police officers who have been involved in gun battles. In many cases, the officer had to reload his weapon two or three times and still did not hit his target with the deciding shot. What makes Eric or anyone else think they are better?
Finally, Eric’s response to “the lethality and technology incorporated in the modern handgun, shotgun or rifle could not have been imagined 300 years ago,” is a nonresponse. He did not take on the statement. Of course, the technology and lethality has improved since the muzzle-loading, smooth-bored rifles and handguns of the 18th century.
I have written about “hoax” Web sites and e-mails. Now it is about conspiracy sites with bad research. I can’t wait until “Eric” enters the real world.
David Rosman is a business and political communications consultant, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. Besides the Missourian, David is also a featured columnist for MissouriTribune.com and TRCB.com. He welcomes your comments at ProfDave1011@netscape.net.