I'm Right Again Dot Com

                             A new commentary every Wednesday — June 22, 2016 


    Here's what I see as an almost insurmountable challenge to enforcement of most Gun Control laws: According to Mark Overstreet, a Research Coordinator for the National Rifle Association, no less, there are an estimated 3,261,725 (more than three and a quarter million) automatic and semi-automatic rifles in the United States.

    John T. Thompson invented the "Tommy-gun" in 1918. Due to it's portability and fire-power—1,200 bullets a minute—it became the weapon of choice of criminals and police officers during the prohibition era. It was subsequently issued to many officers in Allied forces worldwide during WWII.

   In 1944, for one hour, more or less, I was given instruction in its use, during Army Basic Training. Once we learned how to keep the end of the barrel from rising during a long burst, it soon became apparent that the "spray-gun" effect was very effective at comparatively close range, even in the hands of a neophyte. The Garand semi automatic rifle was much more reliable when firing at a target hundreds of yards away.

    In 1934, the Federal Government passed a "Gun Control" act that required registration by owners of certain firearms with the Treasury Department, and a $200 (stamp) tax was imposed on fully automatic weapons—at that time, specifically related to the Tommy Gun.

    However, in 1968, an amendment to an act passed in response to the assassination of President Kennedy changed things dramatically. The Supreme Court nullified the legislation due to the imposition of a registration requirement. The Court ruled that requiring a purchaser to register a yet unregistered firearm violates the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution; the one that forbids self-incrimination. I'll wait until you've absorbed this...

    An "assault rifle" refers to a rifle with fully automatic firing capability. The NRA defines A semi-automatic rifle that requires a trigger pull to discharge one bullet at a time, a "sports rifle." A bullet from either is just as deadly. 

    I am a shot-gunner (there is nothing more delicious than quail or a bunny rabbit.) Federal law forbids manufacturers of producing a shotgun capable of containing more than three shells at a time. Why not do the same for all firearms, with a provision exempting law enforcement?    

    Yes, there will always be a black market for criminals to exploit, but we will have given law enforcement a powerful tool, accepting that this first step will not be a panacea.

    According to Slate (a reputable blog), last year, people on the "Watch List," successfully completed gun purchases 91 percent of the time when they attempted to do so. Like the Airport Security bog-down, this needs fixing.

     I can only reach the conclusion that the Democrats in the U.S. Senate wasted 14 hours filibustering for something that was not the best "first step."   

   -Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken


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