Pro and Con: 'Does the United States need more gun regulation?'
By ROBERT MASON
I do not own a firearm, but when I was 14 years old, I purchased a Remington Savage single-shot .22 caliber rifle.
My Boy Scout troop had use of the Sheriff Department’s firing range in San Mateo County, Calif. We were taught gun safety, how to care for our weapons and techniques of target shooting. This experience gave me a great appreciation of just how dangerous firearms can be if they are not handled properly.
I support a ban on assault weapons. They have one purpose and one purpose only: to kill as many people as quickly as possible. Assault weapons were designed for the military, and that is where they belong — in the hands of soldiers who have been trained to use them, not in private collections where they are available to turn our streets and schools into killing fields.
I also support a ban on high-capacity clips. Where is the sport in bringing down a buck with a burst of 12 or more bullets? In my opinion, true sportsmen hunt with a bow and arrow.
These two bans do not infringe on our Second Amendment right to bear arms for the purpose of hunting (a bow and arrow is classified as an arm) nor for target practice — a single-shot .22 does the job very nicely.
I do not think it is a good idea to arm teachers or other school staffers. Consider: an armed intruder has a plan to gun down people. An armed teacher will confront a chaotic situation that includes screaming kids running helter-skelter. In an attempt to neutralize the intruder, the teacher could very well shoot one or more kids. To arm school employees would serve to escalate the scale of violence.
The best way to stop the slaughter of our children is to ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips. This is not a perfect solution; the deranged will always find a way to wreak violence on us. When I was a school kid 60 years ago, the weapons of choice were knives and chains. More than one kid walking the halls between classes was stabbed.
Opposing the ban on assault weapons on the grounds that it will not stop the killing of children would be rejecting a good proposal because it doesn’t solve every problem. More regulation will save lives.
Guest writer Robert Mason moved to McMinnville in May 2008. His career included higher educational administration at Columbia, Adelphi and New York universities and teaching graduate courses in social welfare policy. He enjoys volunteering for the SMART program at Newby Elementary School and giving humanities seminars to high school students at Sheridan Japanese School.
By HENRY EVERS
When the U.S. Constitution was signed, the people had the same weapon as the military — a muzzle-loading firearm, which was one of the most lethal weapons of the day. Our founders, who enacted the second most important amendment to the Constitution, believed the old saying, “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.”
The Second Amendment was created so that politicians and dictators could not enslave the people and to ensure that people could protect themselves against others who threatened their lives.
Proponents of eliminating firearms obviously failed to study the problem in China with stabbings in schools. There were 22 elementary students stabbed in one of the latest incidents in December, and this is only one of many school attacks in China with no gun required. A national ban on assault weapons will not change things. A deranged shooter can use a wide variety of handguns with magazines carrying up to 15 rounds. Even smaller-quantity clips can be ejected with the push of a button, allowing a shooter to reload quickly.
The National Rifle Association’s idea about armed guards in schools might be good, except that someone wanting to create havoc will identify and take out the armed police officer first. A better idea, I believe, is to allow (not demand) staff to be trained and armed. The brave teachers at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook would have had a much better chance if some of them had been armed.
The Oregon shooting at Clackamas Town Center was thwarted by another individual with a gun. But at Virginia Tech, the kids waited helplessly, locked in their classrooms. What if a teacher and a couple of students had been carrying weapons?
These shooters want to shoot others, not be shot. Even the Aurora, Colo., shooter picked the theater that banned firearms — there were several other nearby theaters without firearm restrictions showing the same film.
The passenger jets hijacked on 9/11 could have been saved by armed pilots. The best protection for our students will come from having armed staff in our schools and training them to use weapons that can protect those young lives.
Guest writer Henry Evers was born in a McMinnville home and has lived here all his life, with the exception of his service in the Air Force. He graduated from McMinnville High School and from Oregon State University with a degree in poultry science, which he applied to turkey farming for many years.