Guns and control

This will not make me popular with the NRA. I have been around guns of one kind or another for about twenty years of my life. This was the period of time that I served in the Israel Defense Forces and in my civilian capacity when I traveled in and out of the Gaza Strip.

I know about weapons, and about ammunition and I know about the respect both are due. In the “right” hands, be they the hands of women or men, guns and ammunition are simply tools to be used for a specific purpose: defense.

I am not naive. Laws made to keep guns out of the hands of the so-called “good guys” will serve just that purpose, but will not keep them out of the hands of the “bad guys”.

In the USA the Second Amendment of the Constitution states: “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.”

Agreed. Although vague in what does and what does not constitute a ‘well regulated Militia’ (the USA has the most powerful military on the planet and that military is well regulated) I believe that anyone who would like to purchase a weapon to ‘bear Arms’ can do so.

Herein however lies the tricky part. While I might want to have a rifle to go hunting, either as a sport or to supply fresh venison for the dinner table, do I really need an AR-15 (ArmaLite is the company that developed this weapon, later refined by Colt) with a magazine of some 30 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, ammunition used by the US military, NATO, Israel and other armed forces around the world? Do I really need an AK-47? Will Winchester, Remington, Smith & Wesson, Marlin and Ruger to mention a few names NOT DO to hunt? Will not a box of cartridges do when you go hunting for sport or food?

And now, what about hand guns? I have carried a Beretta hand gun and fired it at the range. I kept up in making sure I fired it regularly, cleaned it, and kept it out of the hands of my children. I had a small box of 9mm ammunition for it, and a clip (or magazine) with 10 bullets in that clip. Today there are clips that hold 15 bullets.

Let’s say then that I would like to have in my possession two hunting rifles and two hand guns. The former for sport or food, the latter to defend my family. DO I NEED TO HAVE COUNTLESS WEAPONS with THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of rounds? Do I even need AK-47s or AR-15’s or M-16’s if I am an avid hunter, sport shooter, gun collector and whatnot?

I would argue that the short answer is NO. Let us then ask the question of how we keep assault weapons used in the military out of the hands of the public. Let us find out how to keep these weapons out of the hands of everyone. Let us provide safeguards for the manufacturers and the public to make sure that assault weapons reach the military and the military only. Let us provide safeguards to protect merchants selling ammunition to prevent sales of ammunition in excess of a box. Bring in the casings and you might be able to purchase another box. Or, something to that effect.

We had to collect all of our spent round casings when we served, with one exception: COMBAT.

Let’s keep that 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. BUT, let’s keep our public safe.

Hotels? Will you now have to provide security checks just as airports do? Perhaps. As much as I dislike having to go through any security check I submit for the greater good of public safety. Movie theaters? Shopping malls? Just take a trip to Israel and see how EVERYONE is scrutinized before entering a mall, shopping center, supermarket and movie theater. Never mind the scrutiny you are guaranteed to get when traveling to and from Israel.

In a recent statement the NRA called upon Congress “To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.” Other than the sheer bravery and humanity of so many of the unarmed heroes who saved countless lives on Sunday, October 1 2017, what possible good would have come from citizens armed with hand guns at that Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival?

Again, I argue that BANNING assault weapons and ammunition, keeping them from reaching anyone other than people in the military, will reduce murder and tragedy caused by maniacs intent on causing harm.

In the public interest we have laws that mandate insurance for drivers and their vehicles. In the public interest we have laws that prevent intoxicated drivers from operating vehicles. In the public interest there are laws that mandate the wearing of seat belts. In the public interest we have (finally) mandated laws to prevent those who smoke tobacco from doing so in public places and spaces. In the public interest we must submit to security checks prior to boarding aircraft.

Countless such measures, mandated by law, can be interpreted as “infringing upon personal freedoms” but in the interest of public safety and guaranteeing individual well-being, we submit.


About the Author
Born in Israel, Yuval emigrated as a baby to Austria and then Canada. He returned to live in Israel in '71 until '91. His military service was in Golani Brigade's 13th Battalion (including Yom Kippur War) with reserve duty as a tank commander and later a liaison officer in the IDF Liaison Unit. He now resides both in the US and Israel, Maryland and Zichron Yaakov respectively.