I’m constantly amazed at the so-called clever people who are convinced they have found a solution to the “gun problem” but who typically know jack about firearms in general, much less the people who use them. They’ve got their preconceived notions and don’t really want to be bothered with the facts.
However, sometimes you have some that look like they’re almost grasping reality, only to watch it slip away.
Take this op-ed, for example.
Walmart got it right when it announced early September, following the mass murder of 22 people at one of its El Paso stores, that it would cease selling ammunition for all handguns and military-style weapons. It was the corporation’s way of saying getting the guns is not the answer.
The truth is, the guns can’t be gotten. I’ve seen that in Connecticut, a state known for stringent gun laws. Several months before the 2012 tragedy in Newtown, I happened to be in Stamford, Conn., police headquarters. Taped to a wall was a flier announcing the city’s latest antigun campaign, requesting that citizens voluntarily turn in their firearms.
The writer is correct. Guns aren’t going anywhere and Connecticut, with its strict gun control, isn’t any closer to ridding their streets of illegal guns than anywhere else in the nation.
But the first paragraph betrayed where the author is going to go, and they do.
They also betray just how little they understand about firearms.
A better solution would be to render illicit firearms useless — not as insurmountable as it might appear.
Today, one can walk into a gun shop and purchase, for instance, a .22, .38, or .44-caliber handgun. Most firearms are built to accommodate one size round only. So here’s what would happen if the manufacture of today’s standard-size rounds were outlawed, and .23, .39 and .46-caliber rounds took their place: Eventually, gun owners would run out of the old ammo, and their weapons would become paperweights.
Oh boy. Now that’s weapons-grade stupid right there, ladies and gentlemen.
Now, let’s be clear. Yes, all of those first three calibers are common enough as it is and if ammunition suddenly dried up tomorrow, those weapons would be useless…until someone rechambered those weapons to accommodate the new rounds. You’re talking about a thousandth of an inch here. It’s not an insurmountable hurdle.
However, for the sake of argument, let’s say that wouldn’t do the trick. Let’s say the new rounds were just too different and we actually had to get new guns. What then?
Oh, this genius has it all figured out.
We’d have the opportunity for a national gun policy do-over. New, tougher gun registration and ownership policies, some already favored by NRA membership, would be enacted in line with the changeover in rounds calibration. Attention could be paid to newer, research-vetted strategies, such as the universal adoption of smart-gun technology and limiting the size of rounds available to civilians. (Police and military would keep their current firearms and ammunition, manufactured and distributed under strictest control.)
To use the recalibrated rounds, people would have to purchase new weapons to fire them. Many would object. Why should a law-abiding citizen spend hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars to replace one’s gun collection?
One answer: Gun manufacturers could offer a six-month window for any person eligible to turn in their old weapons and receive a partial rebate toward the purchase of new ones. For manufacturers and retailers, these sales would amount to a windfall of epic proportions.
First, all these new policies would have to be passed before the ammunitions changed. Otherwise, people would be buying the new guns as soon as they hit the market, and they’d hit it well before the law went into effect. After all, there would have to be some kind of lead time before such a law kicked into gear so ammunition manufacturers could make adjustments in tooling and whatnot.
As it stands, there’s not enough backing legislatively for even universal background checks, so how in the hell are you going to pass registration policies and smart gun requirements?
Plus, I love how the writer just assumes gun companies will be on board with cooperating with this nonsense. Believe it or not, they won’t be. While it’s easy to think that they would–after all, they’d stand to sell millions more in guns–the truth is that gun manufacturers tend to be fairly pro-gun overall. They don’t like being dictated to any more than the rest of us.
Of course, none of this takes into consideration just how many gun owners reload ammunition. As it stands, there are some rounds they don’t bother reloading because it’s not cost-effective, but I promise you that they’d start in a heartbeat if they needed to.
Frankly, any effort to curtail certain calibers of ammunition would either be laughed out of Congress outright or would simply spur creative ways for gun owners to bypass the attempt.
We’re not going to play well with this kind of nonsense. Throw up hurdles and we’ll look at them and say, “Challenge accepted.” We’ll gripe about needing to dodge the stupid, but someone will.
So, instead of that, maybe it’s time to start addressing the root causes of violence and leaving us innocent gun owners the hell alone.
After all, of all the proposals out there, this one goes further toward trying to hurt the law-abiding citizens than anything else I’ve heard lately, and considering what I’ve heard, that’s saying something.