Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

"Snipers Are People, Too"

An article in the New York Times today puts into perspective the debate over gun control in the U. S.. It discusses legislation in California to ban the purchase of a gun known as a ".50 caliber BMG, where the BMG stands for Browning Machine Gun. To be fair, the rifle is not a machine gun, but rather a semi-automatic. However, I'm sure that owners love the sound of "machine gun." It's got to be part of this weapon's lethal cache. The gun was developed for use by the military and police, not as a hunting rifle that blaze orange buddies heft out into the north woods. In other words, there is absolutely no reason in the world why anyone, other than a soldier or a cop should ever have one of these massive, armor-piercing killing machines. But want them, they do.

Now, the most enlightening part of this article is the quote from a gentleman who sells guns. I had to read it three or four times, just to make sure I got it straight...

"We all think it's the first step toward banning sniper rifles," said Michael Fournier, owner of the Gun Exchange, a shop in San Jose. "They keep chipping away a little at a time. Eventually they'll try to get them all."

Okay, call me crazy, but why exactly would a ban on sniper rifles be a bad thing? Remember, this guy was are his fanatical friends in the "guns are fun" lobby. One of their arguments in favor of the gun is that "it has never been used in the commission of a crime in the United States." Swell, neither was anthrax until three years ago.

One more note. I grew up using guns. I had a pellet gun when I was 14 and went on to hunt with rifles and shotguns for years. I mention this only as background, because so many "gun nuts" claim that those of us in favor of gun control are all wussy suburban geeks who've never stalked the ever-elusive Bambi.

Whether we can ever get a handle on the millions of guns already the US is debatable. The genie may be so far out of the bottle, that we will never poke it back in. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to try to hold back the night.