When I was six years old I had my tonsils taken out. As a present for being such a “big boy” during the surgery I got a BB gun, my first gun of many. I was extremely proud of that gun and it was my constant companion for the next two years, carrying it almost everywhere I went. It was a great way to learn gun safety and prove to my parents I could handle a gun responsibly.
During the next two years I got my second gun, a semiautomatic Remington .22. That rifle had a tubular magazine that held 16 high power Long Rifle bullets. The boxes those bullets came in had the warning “Danger, range one mile” printed on them.
I was not allowed to take that gun out of the house unless an adult was with me. Daddy took me out to shoot it fairly often, and I killed my first squirrel with it when, at eight years old, I saw one in the woods across the road from the house after school one day and got Gladys, our housekeeper, to go out with me since nobody else was at home.
My parents accepted that I had learned gun safety at that point and I was allowed to go out with my gun, only if alone or with an adult, for two more years. At ten years old I was finally allowed to go out with my friends. For years we hunted together during season and carried our rifles every where we went, even when no season was open.
No one gave a second look to three 12 year olds walking into town with our rifles, propping them by the door of Mr. John Harry’s store and going in to buy a coke and pack of crackers for a nickel each and a box of bullets for our rifles. A box of 50 Long Rifle bullets was 62 cents, if I remember right.
The summer I turned 18 I graduated from high school, was accepted at the University of Georgia for that fall, registered for the draft and got a job making roof trusses for a pre fab construction company. One day that summer a few weeks before my 18th birthday I went to buy some .22 bullets at Mr. John Harry’s store and he told me he could not sell them to me since I was not 18 yet.
Although I knew automatic guns and sawed off shot guns were illegal, that was my first run in with so called “common sense gun control laws.” It took five years after President Kennedy was killed with a mail order rifle for congress to “do something” and pass a law that banned mail order sales of guns, as well as sale of rifle ammunition to anyone younger than 18.
That gun control law was supported by the NRA, because it was just the start of the long history of “doing something” that always ended up restricting gun owners rights while doing nothing to have any impact on crime. It sounded somewhat reasonable and didn’t restrict gun owners rights much so it was not opposed. The NRA and I have learned the camel in the tent proverb now and oppose such silly laws since we know if you let a camel get his nose in the tent you will soon be sleeping with a camel.
In the 48 years since that law was passed every time someone uses a gun illegally and makes the news the knee jerk reaction is to “do something” that involves restricting gun owners rights. So now I and many other gun owners oppose all such silly “do something” bills.
Right now the big push is to renew a 1994 law banning some guns because of the way they look. The “assault weapons” ban lasted ten years and was allowed to expire in 2004 because facts showed it had absolutely no effect on gun crime. But now gun banners are trying to bring back such a totally ineffective law.
Rifles of all kinds are hardly ever used in crime. And the way they look had no impact on the way they work. For example, the 1994 law banned the sale of a common gun called an AK 47. So the foreign manufacturers of the AK 47 took the working metal parts of the gun, put them on a different looking wooden stock, and sold it as a MAK 90.
I bought one, mostly out of protest for the stupidity of a law banning guns because of fear. It is fun to shoot, bullets are cheap, and even with a 30 round magazine it has never committed mass murder. I also own an AR 15. It sits quietly in my gun cabinet with its 30 round magazine loaded and attached, and has never jumped out to go shoot somebody. It only comes out to go out to the farm and the only thing it has shot is some paper and a couple of deer.
Another big push is to close a myth, the “gun show loophole.” Since it is a federal felony to sell guns without a FFL unless it is your personal firearm, and any FFL seller must run a background check, there is no loophole.
Expect to hear calls and see childish actions like a sit in shutting down the government because you don’t get your way. Just remember any new law will be as effective in lowering gun crime as the law that stopped me from buying .22 bullets, bullets I had been buying for six or seven years, when I was 17 years old.