Home Editorials The Debate Over Gun Safety is a Joke Missing a Punchline

The Debate Over Gun Safety is a Joke Missing a Punchline


The debate on firearms in America is a caricature of an actual debate.

“Treat. Never. Keep. Keep.”

May I never forget those words drilled into my brain during boot camp:

  • Treat every weapon as if it were loaded.
  • Never point your weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  • Keep your weapon on safe until you are ready to fire.
  • Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you intend to fire.

In the Marine Corps, we had this thing called an armory, where we kept all our firearms (even personal ones). The only person who could get those weapons was this dude we called the “armorer.” The only time we had our firearms was for cleaning, training, or in a war zone. They stayed in there when we were not using them, under lock and key, for a good reason. I love the Marine Corps, and they were correct in locking that shit up from us because when we are armed, we do what Marines do best.
We took our weapons safety very seriously, as all persons who own firearms should. The weapons safety I learned while in the Marine Corps is important to the ongoing conversation about firearms we are having in America. If you own a firearm and do not follow weapons safety procedures around me, you may end up on the business end of my firearm.
If you shoot me by accident, you can be as sorry as you want, but I’m still dead. I try not to fuck around with my life anymore. Every time I think about accidental shooting I think about a guy I served with who shot his daughter in the face while “practicing his draw.” He got a pretty lenient sentence. As far as I’m concerned, that was not an accident. That was negligence.
What is an Assault Weapon?
This guy here is an excellent shot, and I am in no way implying that he would ever kill anyone. But, give this man any rifle or any handgun and I guarantee you he can get the job done:

I’m only using this video as an example of why it isn’t really “assault weapons” that you need to be worried about. Let people have their toys. How many of those firearms were “assault weapons?” Don’t be scared of the big, black guns.
I also want to address full automatic weapons, most of you have probably never fired one. Full-auto fire is used for suppression, keeping the enemy’s head down. Nothing beats controlled single shots, or double taps if you are actually trying to kill someone. Firing on fully-auto is affectionately called “spray and pray” because you probably won’t hit your intended target. Missing your shot is a lot easier than you think it is, something I learned on a CQB  (Close Quarters Combat) range where I missed a human sized target seven yards away from me.
So, really, what is an assault weapon? All weapons are potentially assault weapons. I grant that some of those toys make the job of killing people easier but all firearms have great potential to end your life if you find yourself at the business end of it.  If you think I can’t kill you anymore dead with my mini-14 than with an AR-15, I suppose we could test that, probably wouldn’t end well for you.  Now I admit some weapons are more useful for getting the job done. The accuracy of the new AR’s vs an old mini-14 is helpful. May the debate between 5.56 and 7.62 never die (lol, 7.62 hands down noobs.) But in the context of the current debate I don’t find any of the arguments very compelling. A firearm makes the job a lot easier.
Why do we have guns?
Firearms are used for sport, but then again as we reported on before – so are explosives. They are not toys, nor should they be treated like one. The reason we took weapons safety so seriously was because firearms are really good at what they are made for: killing things.
I can’t believe how many times people trot out the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
I understand the statement, but I also understand that firearms make killing things so much easier. That’s why we use them in warfare, and why, in Alaska, we use them for hunting.
Firearms, in general, are better than anything else available on the civilian market to kill people.
I want an AR-10, and I will buy one as soon as I can afford it; assuming the price relaxes a bit. Why do I want an AR-10? To kill people. Not zombie apocalypse bullshit, either. If a big quake happens in Alaska, or an asteroid hits the earth, then there will probably be Reavers. I want to be able to protect my family and I think the AR-10 will be a fine multi-purpose tool for that. I can shoot the Reaver who wants to eat my kid, and still use the same weapon for moose hunting this fall.
Is that crazy? Maybe. But it’s not as crazy as people who actually think President Obama is coming for their guns. You should be more afraid of him drone-striking your sorry ass. How does an AR help you in that scenario?
If you were fighting a war against Obama and his imaginary “brown shirts,” IED’s and snipers would be much more effective than whatever you think you are going to do with your sexy gun collection. He’s not scared of you, nor should he be. To be honest, you shouldn’t be scared of him either.
I often see the “quote” by Yamamoto: “You cannot invade mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” Which is a load of horseshit. He never said it and I’m sorry to say that the reason no one wants to invade the mainland U.S. probably has more to do with our bad-ass military and logistics than you and your AR.
The Ruger 10/22 is a popular rifle. You can buy 25 round magazines for it at Fred Meyer, at least before Obama got re-elected and everyone hysterically began hoarding supplies. I use my .22 for small game hunting and it does a fine job. Kids these days have access to air rifles that put the BB guns I used to use to SHAME, and are more than capable of handling small game and even varmints.
Speaking of kids: I love my boys. I love every inch of their tiny little bodies, especially their cute little feet. But because of my training and experience with weapons, I also understand that it doesn’t take a big gun to destroy a tiny life. I realize this may sound strange, but children are about the size of small game. A 10/22 is more than enough to take them from me. They have tiny little bodies. So when you fools debate about AR-15’s and other “scary assault rifles” I feel like facepalming, because you don’t need an AR-15 to do what a 10/22 will do. If you get rid of assault rifles Sandy Hook could still happen, 2013 will not pass without another mass shooting at the rate we are going. Hell, we almost already had one.
The sad reality is that it won’t be long before something like this happens again. I don’t have the answers on how to to address all of the concerns about firearms, access, and safety. None of the stuff I talked about above will necessarily stop one from happening. But, you know, most of the people who die firearm related deaths don’t die in mass shootings. Those just happen to be the only ones we pay attention to.
If you get rid of assault rifles, another Sandy Hook could still happen. And if you think it couldn’t happen here in Alaska, let me remind you that news isn’t just something that happens to other people.


  1. Though I tend to be on the left side of issues – this one is different. I think it really a community issue – and if a community is willing to let people own and carry firearms that’s fine by me. One-size-fits-all federal regulations aren’t really the best way to deal with this, communities are different and it’s the community a person lives in that will be most affected by his or her acts.

    • Yeah if given the choice between everyone with guns, and no one with guns I would choose the latter. Since neither of those are an option I’ll go with a gun culture that is focused on safety.

      • “Since neither of those are an option I’ll go with a gun culture that is focused on safety.”
        I don’t think that is an option either. It may sound rational, hell it may even be the rational solution, but the motivations on both side of this debate are based on fear. One side has a proactive response to this fear, get rid of all the guns before this happens again. The other side responds reactively to the fear, shoot the threat before it shoots you.
        And thus the caricature, the joke with no punchline. 360 million little chicken littles running around, they all know the sky is falling and something needs to be done RIGHT NOW!
        Great piece Warren. Maybe I’m to cynical, but I don’t think any of the chicken littles can hear you. But that is ok, gives something for us billy goats and old plow mules to grumble about.

  2. Gun safety awareness is essential for those with firearms and even beneficial for those without. However, the mass shooting calamities are more about mental health issues than guns.
    Until our society takes effective steps to provide extensive mental/emotional support instead of ignoring the need, these events will continue to occur. Alcohol/drug related violations resulting in prison incarceration don’t do anything about causative issues when the incarceration is over. Some of our returning military veterans are in need of support that they are not getting and their unmet needs represent a simmering safety threat, needlessly.
    This country needs to commit more of it resources of care and well being to all levels of our society instead of chasing the profits of the military/prison/industrial complex.