I generally try to stay away from politics, but sometimes I just need to say something.
I enjoy guns. The wall of my office is a collection of antique firearms–most too old to safely fire, but interesting pieces nevertheless. I have other firearms I enjoy taking to the shooting range at a nearby USMC Base to blow holes in paper targets.
In the past, when deployed, I’ve carried a .45 caliber M1911, a 9mm Beretta, and an M-16. In each case, I was in a combat zone.
Nevertheless, there are rules relating to firearms and they are basic and sensible rules. These are true whether in combat, when you hear a noise in the middle of the night, and any other context.
- Treat every gun as loaded
- Never point a gun at anything you don’t intend to kill.
- Identify your target.
- Always be aware of where the muzzle of the weapon is pointed (see above).
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
Here is the most important one:
- You only fire your weapon when there is no other option. Unless you’re in combat in a legal war zone, this means that you can only fire when your life is in danger and you have no other option. That means that your back is to the wall.
- Someone running away is not a threat to your life.
As I said, I have been armed with an M-16. However, to all the people who insist that they need an AR-15 (the civilian version of an M-16), I have the following advice.
- If you need a high capacity magazine, you must be planning on killing many people.
- If not, it means you’re a truly lousy shot who needs 30 rounds to ensure that you hit the broad side of a barn.
Either way, you should not have an assault rifle with a high capacity magazine.
Thank you, Steve, for your military service to our country and citizens, and also for your wise and experienced words of counsel on guns. I’d bet “one of my girlfriend’s money” that ALL of your readers are not only highly intelligent, emotionally healthy, and professionally fulfilled, but also persons who enjoy trusting relationships–and stop at red lights, and stop for pedestrians to walk across when there are no red lights or signs of any kind.
My point is the great majority of the 340 million Americans in the country are good, decent, law-abiding citizens who wish to live well with others in peace by doing what’s right. There are also the anti-social criminal types, who wish not to work and have learned to forcefully take for themselves what others have–and they do it with weapons, guns. Thus there’s a distinction: A gun in the hands of a hunter is a tool. The same gun in the hands of a criminal is a weapon.
And it doesn’t matter if it’s a gun, a tank, or a AR-15.