By January 29, 2013

Fighting Further Gun Control: Week Four

This week the article is personal — Minnesota is about to have a “firearm safety committee” by well-known anti-gun politician House Public Safety Committee Chairman Michael Paymar. As usual, any time firearms are brought up as a public safety, public health, or “save the children” initiative it is usually bullshit. Many anti-gun advocates will hide behind these phrases, because who doesn’t want to keep people safe? The fact is, however, that existing firearm control laws are very effective at keeping people safe. Per capita, firearms cause fewer deaths in the United States than many common things, such as cars, alcohol, or falling. I doubt that Paymar is going to have anything to say about restricting the number of beers someone could buy at once, but he has plenty to say about “high capacity” magazines.

Here are some of the items on the chairman’s agenda:

  • Expanding background checks for purchases of pistols and semi-automatic weapons to gun shows and private purchases, which are now exempt from such checks. (Hunting rifles would not be affected by the proposal.)

    It is very common for people who hate guns to focus on cosmetic aspects of firearms when they try to take them away. This is mostly due to ignorance; we see by the talk and behavior of politicians like Senator Feinstein and Joseph Morrissey that they are unable to identify common parts of a firearm, whether or not they are dangerous, or fail to follow even basic firearms safety I learned as an eight year old child.

    Anyway, this clause is a good example of not understanding how something works before trying to regulate it. The salient point here is: why are “hunting rifles” not affected by the need to have a background check on pistols or “semi-automatic weapons?” What happens if a rifle is both a hunting rifle and a semi-automatic one, such as this one:

    browning bar lightweight stalker semi automatic hunting rifle

    The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR, not to be confused with the fully automatic weapon of the same name) is one of the most prolific hunting rifles in the world, and is that spooky “semi-automatic” anti-gun people talk about.

    And look at this picture of an AR-pattern rifle chambered in .308, used for hunting:


    See? It gets murky.

  • A state ban on selling or purchasing assault weapons.

    This seems “okay” to certain people on the fence about gun control. The theory behind such legislation is that people can continue to own the guns they have. On the other hand, they are not allowed to sell them. What happens if they don’t want the gun in their home any more? What happens if the gun owner dies? I have friends who sold their firearms when they had children. I have friends who inherited very large (and expensive) collections of firearms after their relatives died. I have a firearms trust with explicit directions on what to do with my guns when I die or become incapacitated.

    The idea of limited the sale (or “transfer,” to use the technical term) is terrible.

  • A state limit on the capacity of ammunition magazines.

    Magazine capacity restrictions are illogical, and the capacity limit that’s “okay” is arbitrary. New York recently passed a ban on any magazine that holds more than seven rounds. Why seven? Is an eighth round more deadly? Is six even more safe? That’s a fool’s line of thinking.

  • Proposals to tighten up current background checks so disqualified people, including violent felons and people with severe mental health problems, are not allowed to purchase guns.

    A very good idea — except we’re already doing it within the limit of the law. This is a feel-good point.

  • A suggestion from police officers that there be a minimum penalty for someone who commits a crime while carrying a weapon, even if the weapon wasn’t used.

    I like this idea but we need more clarity. What level of crime would “qualify” for this extra penalty? For example, if someone with a legally owned handgun and a valid concealed carry permit jaywalks downtown and gets a citation … does that mean they now get a tacked-on sentence for carrying a gun?

  • A proposal from gun-rights activist Tony Cornish, R-Vernon Center, to allow more teachers and school workers with permits and training to carry loaded weapons in schools.

    Not a bad start, but a much better stance would be to not allow any location to preempt the Constitution of the United States. We need to get rid of gun free zones. Would you accept a law that states minorities can work anywhere except for a school?

We need to get ahead of this meeting. Contact your state representatives and tell them that you don’t support any initiative or law that restricts the possession or transfer of any type of small arm or any accessory for any firearm, and any new penalties for illegal gun use or possession requirements need to be clearly defined.

Now, I’ve been writing my representatives every week for the last month. You may have been doing the same thing. Here’s the additional charge this week:

Make sure your friends contact their representatives, too

I train with about two dozen men and women on a regular basis. I know some of them are very active right now, writing their city, state and federal representatives, talking to non-gun owners, etc. I know some are staying quiet.

We all need to do our part.

For some, this might mean being vocal and public. Others who are uncomfortable with doing that (or may be discriminated against at work or within their peer groups) can still help by writing emails or calling representatives.

Here’s this week’s template to get you started:

Dear [Senator Klobuchar | Franken / Representative Kline],

I read that House Public Safety Committee Chairman Michael Paymar plans to hold a committee on gun safety in the next coming days. Some of the items on his agenda are regarding magazine capacity restrictions, limiting the sale (transfer) of handguns and semi-automatic rifles but not “hunting” rifles, or adding additional penalties to those who possess firearms during the commission of a crime.

I urge you oppose such measures, especially those that seek to judge firearms by caliber (ammunition type) or cosmetic feature, such as a “pistol grip stock.” Laws focusing on these attributes are made based on emotional decisions and have nothing to do with public safety.

Setting any limit on the transfer of weapons, especially the idea of banning the transfer of an “assault weapon” is also very dangerous, and may put families in legal jeopardy should a law-abiding gun owner die and leave weapons to his descendants.



If you don’t do anything, you can’t cry about it if something bad happens. If you do everything you can and the storm still comes, at least you know in your heart that you tried.

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