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MCCULLOUGH: Being prepared in a dangerous world

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

I tried really hard not to write about guns this week, but the subject seems to beg for my attention.

Don't worry though. I'm going to try to take a little different tack.

I'm not going to even attempt to persuade anyone to come over to the pro-Second Amendment side. People who are for gun control are the same people who trade liberty for the perception of security. Despite the clear language of the Constitution and the Supreme Court's ruling that the right to bear arms is an individual right, they're always going to assume that access to firearms should only be for the military, and that letting individuals have them is the avenue to a massacre.

And you can't convince them that these nuts would find another way -- James Holmes' apartment was full of homemade bombs and booby traps -- so why try? You could ask them, as Archie Bunker so eloquently asked when confronted by Gloria about the number of gun deaths, "Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed outta windows?" And the answer in many of their minds, of course, would be to ban windows. So having an argument with these folks about the merits of a legally armed public is pointless.

The people I want to talk to are the ones who are already in the gun-toting boat. And the ones who soon will be.

I know that in the wake of the theater massacre, a lot of folks are going to be buying firearms and getting permits to carry them. For those of you who are new to guns, here are some things you need to know:

Owning a gun is a huge responsibility, and carrying it in public even moreso. I've been around guns all my life, and I was taught from a very young age how deadly they are and how to handle them safely. ("What comes out of the end of the barrel?" my daddy would ask. "Instant death," was the appropriate answer.) If you're walking around with a gun in your coat pocket and no idea how to use it or how deadly it is, guess what? I'm more scared of you shooting me accidentally than I am of the possibility of some nut going on a spree.

If you're going to buy one and carry it, learn how to handle it safely. ALWAYS treat it as if it were loaded, even when you think it's not. Getting in that habit is essential. Never point it at anything you don't want dead. There are no takebacks with bullets. (See the "instant death" paragraph.) Keep it clean, so it operates properly. Always keep the safety on until you're ready to pull the trigger.

And learn how to use the doggone thing. Just buying a gun and walking out into the world does not make you armed and ready. It makes you an idiot. Take a gun safety class. Go to the range. Practice shooting at a target until you're good. Then practice drawing from concealment until you're good at that. Then practice as often as you can.

Finally, realize this: most self-defense situations arise in a second or two. Most gunfights are over in three or four. Most of the time, the criminal will have the drop on you, because he's already got his gun in his hand and pointed at you by the time you think about drawing yours. And in a rare and chaotic situation like Aurora, all your Dirty Harry talk -- "Boy, if I'd been there with my gun, I woulda ... " -- is just talk. If you'd been in a dark, loud movie theater filled with tear gas, a screaming stampede and a lunatic, well, unless you're a Navy SEAL, I'm guessing you might've lost composure.

The point is, realize that carrying a gun means also shouldering the responsibility. And just because carrying a gun is a right, it is not a guarantee of defense against evil, but in this unpredictable, dangerous world, I certainly won't try to talk you out of it.

I'll only try to talk you into doing it correctly.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.

Comments

Jan 1 year, 9 months ago

Let me begin by giving you the second amendment. it reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

and frequently quoted as: (note different punctuation)

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

First, not that it begins with "well regulated militia...free state" which gives states the broad ability to regulate gun ownership and limit it to national guard and police if desired by the state. Then note that it is the right to bear arms, an all inclusive term that would include shoulder fired rockets, missiles and even atomic bombs. I think even the most extreme NRA radical would agree that these weapons should not be allowed to be possessed by any individual or group that declares themselves to be a militia. Now comes the question of where does one draw the line. It could be argued that this was written when such weapons were not even in the imagination of the founding fathers who only had single shot muzzle loading weapons. Since the original bill was concerned only with this group, should we now limit this right to this group? This would limit the effectiveness of such weapons to little more than the power to use a knife or push someone out the window. For personal protection, if you miss on the first shot, you probably will not get a second chance so no real need of more capacity. This leaves some room for compromise and adding automatic weapons and large clip capacities, even limiting the quantity of bullets purchasable, is not a stretch nor can be considered an infringement on the rights of the hunter or person feeling the need for personal protection. Plugging the gun show loophole to background checks and limiting the number of weapons a single individual can purchase in a year is also reasonable. Reasonable limitations are all that gun control advocates are pushing for.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

The "miltia" was every able bodied man in the area. The government was too poor to arm all these men so they had to supply their own arms at their own expense. Libs try to warp the 2nd Amendments words around in many artful ways in order to come up with a meaning that has nothing to do with what the framers intended.

The libs always seem to miss the meaning of "...shall not be infringed." A pretty hard statement to misunderstand.

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FordGalaxy 1 year, 8 months ago

"For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security." -Thomas Jefferson

The fact is that some liberals would have us completely unarmed. In that case, only the government (police and armed force) would have guns. That scares me more than an armed populace.

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

I like your quote, especially the "...well organized..." demonstrating that Thomas Jefferson believed it is an organized militia that should be armed, not a bunch of individual fanatics fighting their independent battles. I'm sure that you might find a few extremists that believe no one should be allowed to carry any weapon, just as you can find extremists the other way that believe they should be allowed to possess and fire shoulder fired missiles. I am not surprised by notblind's thoughtless remarks but I would think that you would agree to room for compromise. Do you honestly believe that anyone should be allowed to buy assault weapons and extended round clips? Do you really believe that the gun shows should remain an open loophole that allows felons to buy weapons legally or mail order gun sales should continue on the internet? To get a drivers license, one is required to pass a test. Shouldn't their be a gun safety test that you must pass to buy a gun?

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FordGalaxy 1 year, 8 months ago

I'm all for gun safety, and I believe that anyone purchasing a gun should also be properly trained to use the gun. And no, I don't see the need for shoulder-fired-rockets as a means of individual protection. But our problem is that the extremists are the ones who find themselves on the news or in print, making it look like either side is completely polarized.

Michael Bloomberg recently said that police nationwide should go strike until the population disarms. (He dialed back from the comment, but not before it was distributed throughout the media.) He seems to have adopted the idea that the police are there to protect us, which is not true. Even though the police responded very rapidly in Aurora, they didn't respond until 70 people had been injured, or which 12 died. If you think the police are there to protect us, then you must assume a policeman is always with a person and always watching out.

As I said, I agree that a gun purchaser/owner should be trained. And yes some weapons are over-the-top and really belong in military applications. Concerning ammo purchases, if you want to spend a day at the range with some friends, you can easily go through 250 to 500 rounds, just to keep in practice. Like certain food purchases, it is cheaper to buy things in bulk.

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

When I suggested possibly limiting the number of bullets, I thought about the firing range and did not name a number because you are right, consideration for this should be made. If one carries a gun, they should practice and be accurate. I do not want to get shot by someone trying to take out a bad guy. I do think that the six thousand rounds reported to have been found in the shooters apartment might be a little overboard. Could go another route and have all large bulk sales reported so local authorities are notified about someone amassing ammunition. But the ammunition isn't the main problem, its hard to use without the weapon.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

Jan, the thoughtless one would like to hear your convoluted ideas about what " the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" means. It doesn't say the people in the militia. It says "THE PEOPLE" and "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED".

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

Do you not believe in any limitations. Note that by ignoring the first part of the second amendment, which is a qualifying statement easily understood if you read early court rulings and the federalist papers, you would come to the conclusion that all people must be allowed to bear any weapon, including shoulder fire missiles capable of taking down airplanes and that "people" would include convicted felons, mentally unstable and even aliens. Where would you draw the line and how could you possibly justify such restrictions without an understanding of "well regulated militia" not just any militia, by it must be well regulated. An earlier response seemed to acknowledge the militia with a partial understanding by saying "The "miltia" was every able bodied man in the area." This is almost correct but the Federalist Papers qualifies this to be persons capable of using their weapons in an organized militia which limits it to weapons that an individual can bring to the militia as an effective military weapon. I find it strange how people are so adamant deny any restriction on guns and yet accept the numerous laws, including Federal, that put restrictions on switchblade knives and some limiting length. If James had been only armed with switchblades, the damage he rendered would have been much less.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

Hang Mr. James on public TV and REQUIRE every resident of the country to watch it. Leave him hanging for a week and require every tv, cable and satelite provider to show the scene once every hour.

The problem is that you libs want to introduce laws that will in no way negatively impact the problem people. Your misguided laws will severely impact millions of law abiding citizens. All the laws like the Brady bill, the Clinton assault rifle ban, magazine capacity restrictions, etc have been proven to have no effect on the real crime problems in this country. Letting the actions of a single psychopath be the impetus to sanctions against the many millions of law abiding gun owners is a slap in the face to those citizens.

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

There you go again, making false statements. First, millions of people do not want assault weapons, second the the crime problem is so great in this country, the slight improvement by such measures do not cause enough deviation to mathematically show a trend. To put that in layman terms, the predictions are that we will see between 32000 to 35000 gun related deaths in 2012. A variation of 100 deaths would probably still leave the total within the predicted range and so one would be unable to assert that the variation was a result of the laws. To be statistically significant, it should have been able to show about 10% improvement or at least a 3000 reduction in gun related deaths. I believe that saving the lives of 1 is significant and warrants such laws. How many people do you think should die so you can have an assault rifle? One thing should be abundantly clear to any idiot. If James had not been able to purchase an assault rifle and his clip capacity had been limited, the devastation would definitely have been better contained.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

How many of those deaths were suicide ? How many were criminal on criminal crime ?? Those deaths can't be stopped by any law you could come up with.

I also want to know where you get your "facts" that millions of people don't want "assault weapons". I am absolutely sure that millions already own "assault weapons". The way anti-gunners and newscasters [ sorry about the redundancy there ] use the term the are millions of semi-automatic 22's that would suddenly be classified as "assault weapons".

Come up with solutions to address the real problems which are destroying the minds of too many young Americans. Guns are part of their symptoms, not the actual disease.

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

I am still awaiting an answer. Where would you draw the line and under what rational? Do you believe that anyone should be able to own shoulder fired missiles? What about ICBMs? Why aren't you "up in arms" against the laws restricting switchblades? How many lives are you willing to sacrifice in needless slaughters for you to have the right to own an assault weapon. Let me add two more. If you believe that over a million people own assault weapons, what is your source and how many of these are owned by anti-government militia groups that threaten our way of life?

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

There are more than adequate laws on the books right now to address every possible situation. The psychopath Holmes LIED to be able to buy his guns. Like all criminals, he doesn't pay any attention to any law some lib might come up with. Gun owners are completely aware of the libs incremental approach to the elimination of gun ownership in the US. You can FORGET any further accommodation from our side. Fix the real problem, the mental health of far too many young people in America.

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Say_that_again 1 year, 8 months ago

Hilarious! You can't answer a few simple questions from Jan so you start a rant about how easy it is to lie and get guns. Don't you realize that you are admitting the need for more laws relating to background checks? Seems like you are supporting a single payer health care system that includes mental health for that is the only way to even come close to fixing the mental health problem.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

You and Jan wouldn't know facts if they were dropped on your toes. Anybody actually wanting the facts can find them in about 30 seconds via google. The liberal agenda is not to address the real problem it is to screw conservatives every chance they get no matter what damage it does to the country at the end of the day.

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

So you hold a no compromise position. But you still haven't answered my questions. I am beginning to wonder if you fear is so great that you want to buy mines and plant them in your yard. Paranoia is one of those mental illnesses that should prevent one from buying weapons.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

You've ranted on for so long I can't see where you've asked a reasonable question. Shoulder fired rockets ??? ICBMs ??? You need to be screened for early onset Alzheimer's.

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Jan 1 year, 8 months ago

I think you see my point and are too stubborn to admit it. I just cannot decide why you prefer some thinking you might be a paranoid fanatic. Yes, these are unreasonable for individuals to own but that does not make it unreasonable for me too try to learn exactly what compromise position your are willing to accept and how you can justify, with your premise that we should ignore the "regulated militia" part that such arms as ICBMs and Shoulder fired rockets can be outlawed but assault weapons cannot. What about hand grenades and grenade launches? You stated that you need protection against the government but how can you reasonably defend yourself against tanks and rockets with only rifles? David Koresh and his Branch Davidians weren't successful in Waco. I am trying to get you to think instead of regurgitating NRA propaganda. When you mentioned partial facts about the early militia, I thought you might be capable of some reasoning. Until you can answer my questions, I will decide that my first inclination to ignore your saber rattling was the right one.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

How many lives will be saved by the lawful gun owners of America compromising even the smallest amount ???

How many lives would be saved by locking up the dangerously insane ?

How many innocent lives would be saved by executing rapists and murderers ?

How many lives would be saved by making prison truly harsh instead just another expensive entitlement program ???

Another few hundred words of artful doubletalk is what I expect from you ? You have no real solution to put forward so instead you attack the law abiding that happen to have a different political and philosophical outlook which makes them more of an enemy in your mind than the element in our society that would actually like to do you harm.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

Here you go bonehead. And remember that AR15's are just one type of what you purposely mislabel as an "assault rifle". These numbers don't include the semi-automatic versions of the AK47; the countless numbers of SKS semi-autos; Ruger's Mini 14 semi-auto; etc etc etc. And when you contemplate the numbers below know that the AR15 was introduced in 1964, 20 years before the BATFE started keeping up with useless stats.

NRA-ILA's response is here:

Friday, March 12, 2010

The BATFE recently released U.S. firearm manufacturer production data showing that during 2008, AR-15s accounted for eight percent of all firearms and 22 percent of all rifles made in the U.S. and not exported. The number of AR-15s in 2008 -- over 337,000 -- is staggering, but may have been topped in 2009. And, at the current rate of production, the total number of AR-15s in the U.S. will exceed 2.5 million some time this year, and that doesn't even count production before 1986, the figures for which are not available.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

Jan, where's your rant in response to this answer ????? When you have no response attack the messenger.

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A_Gwinnett_Atheist 1 year, 8 months ago

And whats your point? You demonstrate a problem and seem to think it supports your theory of doing nothing will make it better. According to the stats, this works out to 1 AR-15 for each 126 people, including children. That means that their are about 6500 AR-15 owners in Gwinnett County. Considering that 1 in 7 have a serious mental illness, then 380 mentally ill people in Gwinnett have AR-15s. Seems like a serious problem that we should have a discussion about controlling before another decides a school or theater massacre would be fun. How high should the number go before you admit it is a problem?

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

The problem is mental illness. But for a lib to admit this would be a repudation of everything they stand for.

How many lives would be saved by a magazine capacity limit ?

How many lives would be saved by locking up the dangerously insane ?

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Say_that_again 1 year, 8 months ago

Yes, I admit it. One of the problems is mental illness. Now, waiting for it. Waiting...waiting...waiting! Just as I suspected, admitting that mental illness is a problem has not repudiated anything liberal. Now don't you feel ridiculous! Limiting magazine capacity, shotguns used for hunting are limited to 3 rounds. That seems appropriate for any hunter, If you miss three times, you don't deserve the game. To have a high capacity magazine and semi automatic weapon just isn't sporting.If you miss a burglar 3 times, your probably dead already so no need for extras. In the Arora theater shooting, a limit of three per gun, three guns, would have limited him to wounding or killing no more than 9. The dangerously insane are not as big of a problem as the religious zealots, whether Jewish, Muslim, Christian or other, that believe they have an obligation to force others to abide by their religious laws by killing those that disagree.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

So you are saying that killing 9 people is OK ???

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Say_that_again 1 year, 8 months ago

You are so negative! Since he had a fatality rate of about 20%, probably two would die and 7 injured. I am pointing out that this is better than 12 dead. Its called compromise. We compromise all the time. We know that highway deaths went down when the maximum speed was 55 and highway deaths went up when that limit was removed. Most highways keep it 70 or under, with very few exceptions. This is a compromise for their are some that want to drive 90, which would kill more people. If you are take an all or nothing position, you will never reach a reasonable compromise and so your opinions will be ignored.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

Libs are always willing to compromise when it doesn't impact them in any way. Past compromises have shown that to be the path to incremental loss of conservative values resulting in many of the current ills afflicting our country. Rampant out of wedlock births, huge numbers of abortions, entitlement programs for people quite capable of working for a living....

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

@FordGalaxy, You wrote " In that case, only the government (police and armed force) would have guns." This is only partly correct. The lawless segment of our society would also have guns. This should scare the heck out of anyone with an imagination [ which pretty much eliminates liberals ]. It's strange that libs want to eliminate the only way for a 110 pound woman to protect herself from a 250 lb unarmed rapist.

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notblind 1 year, 8 months ago

Here is a "gun control" law I would endorse. If a person uses a firearm as his means of coercion in a crime he is put to death. The way I am wording this means that the perp doesn't have to shoot someone, just the act of brandishing a gun in a robbery or other crime gets him a meeting with a lethal injection.

The problem really and truly isn't the inanimate object. It's our society's refusal to say NO to the criminal element. These people don't have any legal or moral right to exist in our society while flouting the laws of said society. Quick and sure extremely harsh punishment for criminals would go a long way towards creating a society where guns are no longer in the news constantly like they are now. All this without enacting another gun law ever.

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R 1 year, 8 months ago

@ Nate

Excellent column on point

Its one of your top ten imho

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Stogie_Warrior 1 year, 8 months ago

By requiring that all citizens which at that time meant free men 17-50, be a member of the militia the Constitution defined "citizen" not the National Guard which is the modern day descendent of the States "organized" militias. The intent was to give the citizens the "right" to resist and throw off the yoke of a federal government if it were to become "oppressive" and indifferent to the rights of it's citizens. The ability to understand the Constitution relies on the readers ability to understand the context of the times and to do that the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and many others of the times should be read so that the citizen of today understands the minds of those who framed the Constitution, not nitwits of today who interpret it with their own narrow mindsets. Once one is aware of the intent of the framers they have the broad understanding that the framers wanted the citizens to have a way to stand up to and if necessary remove a trynanical government. This is their viewpoint based upon their experiences with the governments of England and other European countries who had colonized North America. So in essance the AR-15, AK-47,and other popular firearms are the modern muskets that give the people the ability to not only provide for their own safety from criminals but also provide for their protection from a federal government that becomes unresponsive to the desires of the citizens. How often has this occurred? One need only look at Germany, most of Eastern Europe under the Communists, and many of the countries of South America to see governments which became oppressive to their citizens. The Federal government has restricted the possession of destructive devices and ownership of armored vehicles and aircraft that have not been de-militarized, as they should. It is the Federal Government's job to protect citizens from foreign powers, but the ability to own modern firearms with high capacity magazines and ammunition gives the citizens the ability to reign in the Federal Government should it turn on it's citizens. One might argue that the State's National Guard stands as a defence against a Federal Government that grows oppressive; however the Federal Government's ability to "Federalize" the Guard limit's it's ability to be a defender of the citizens of a state. The ownership of the modern musket is conerstone to protecting the Liberty and Rights of the citizens and is incumbant on their acceptance of the "responsibilities" of training and maintaining properly their firearms and ammunition. If anything, the state and federal government should insure only those citizens who are legal citizens who are not convicted felons or illegal aliens have the right to possess or aquire firearms and that training is provided for citizens in the safe and legal use of their firearms.

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