Yesterday, while looking at gun stories from across the nation, I came across this one. It was supposed to be a snapshot of gun owners throughout South Florida, an attempt to put a human face on the people who own firearms, an effort to show gun owners as everyday people.
However, there was one gun owner who, as being pro-gun control, really got under my skin.
Estero resident Bruce Castka, a 71-year-old retired junior high principal, spent 30 years in the U.S. Army reserves and retired as a colonel. He owns several rifles for hunting and target shooting and favors more gun control.
“I have always felt that anyone with a testosterone urge to own an AR should join the military. … Handguns should not be carried by civilians. They are not a legitimate means of self-defense, which would require years of training to be effective,” wrote Castka.
“It is an embarrassment to me that most of the civilized world has reasonable gun control laws but we must remain a nation of cowboys governed by the tyranny of the NRA. It is time for our country to grow up and act like responsible adults and gun owners.”
Now, let’s not get into the demented delusion of the NRA being the tyrants, but focus on the phrase we’ve all heard. Let’s focus on the claim about how all these countries have “reasonable gun control.”
The question is, what’s reasonable?
To Mr. Castka, the idea of me owning an AR-15 is unreasonable. He thinks people shouldn’t be allowed to carry handguns, and somehow thinks that none of the 2.5 million self-defense uses of said handguns simply don’t happen because it shatters his worldview. In other words, his definition of “reasonable gun control” basically strips a significant portion of an individual’s means of self-defense.
I’m sorry, but there’s absolutely nothing reasonable about that, nothing at all.
Then again, in all fairness to Mr. Castka, no gun control is reasonable at this point. Just because other countries do it, it’s no reason why we should embrace their lunacy.
While trying to debate gun control, we’re constantly bombarded with the claims that some only want some “reasonable” and “common sense” gun control. The thing is, gun control is neither and claiming otherwise isn’t going to sway anyone.
Let’s take Mr. Castka’s arguments for a moment and see how quickly they fall apart under a little bit of “reasonable” and “common sense” examination.
First, I did. I served, as did countless others. So what?
Second, my desire to own an AR-15 has nothing to do with testosterone. It has everything to do with it being a lightweight rifle that can be used indoors to deal with home invaders while also being ideal for dealing with threats outside of the home. It also serves as a varmint hunting weapon when I may need a fair bit of ammo and semi-auto capability.
In other words, I want the weapon for what it actually is, not because of a hormone that I have no control over.
Mr. Castka’s entire argument is hinged on an assumption of my decision-making process. The thing is, most of the people I know with AR-15s have similar reasons for buying AR-15s.
Castka’s arguments are against a strawman gun owner, which is completely unreasonable.
Mr. Castka’s argument, one shared by numerous other gun grabbers, is that civilians carrying handguns lack the necessary training to use one effectively. These should be relegated exclusively to the police.
He explicitly says that they require “years of training to be effective.”
Which is amusing because Vox noted that law enforcement spends 110 hours on firearm training. That’s less than three weeks of training. That’s hardly “years of training.” Even if broken up to only a few hours per week, that’s still less than a year.
In other words, the police don’t necessarily have years of training and they’re trusted with guns. Further, a lot of that training isn’t really applicable to the average citizen. The police face situations that most of us never will so that training would be extraneous.
Further, his comments are completely untrue in the face of observation. As noted previously, firearms are used to defend human life an estimated 2.5 million times each year. Even if you reject that and accept a more conservative estimate like 100, 000 or so defensive gun uses, it still gives the lie to Castka’s arguments. People effectively use guns for self-defense every year. A lot of people.
Now, I don’t mean to be beating up a retired school principal here, but considering his actual understanding of the subject at hand, I doubt he or anyone else who espouses that nonsense can be trusted to be the judge of what is reasonable.
Is it reasonable to make it more difficult for me to protect my family? No.
Is it reasonable to focus on guns when there are deeper factors at play when it comes to violence, but we ignore them? No.
Is it reasonable to ignore our basic right as humans simply because some other places don’t seem to mind? No.
When it comes to calls for “reasonable” gun control, one has to carefully consider the source and their definition of reasonable. After all, it rarely is all that reasonable when you do.