The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Hunting Wild Boar

Rich Galen

Thursday February 22, 2017

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  • I got a guy. Let's call him Frank.

  • Oh, wait. His name is Frank. Never mind let's pretend his name is something else and, like a big time columnist, I'm protecting his identity even though his identity needs no protecting.

  • Frank and I see each other about every other Friday at Landini's, a restaurant in Old Town Alexandria. We don't have an appointment to see each other, we have lunch at the bar there and more often than not, we're there are the same time.

  • Frank is a retired Marine. A retired bodyguard. He carries at least one handgun at all times and sort of winks and nods that he's got at least one more hidden on her person.

  • Las Friday we, like just about everyone else in America, were talking about the horrors of Parkland.

  • Frank is a big Second Amendment guy, but he knows I am too.

  • We got to talking about AR-15s.

  • According to a CNBC piece written after the Orlando massacre, there are about 5 million AR-15s in the hands of civilians in America. USA Today's estimate is higher: About 8 million.

  • Not every state lists every gun sale by type, so those are educated guesses.

  • AR-15s and their cousins, again according to USA Today, are responsible for no fewer than 13 mass murders going back to 1984.

  • It is dangerous to use statistics to make your case in gun discussions. I might say that 13 mass murders have been committed in the past 34 four years using AR-15s; you might come back and say, "If there are eight million AR-15s in circulation, and 13 have been involved in criminal activities that's a very, very small percentage.

  • Well, yes, but

  • Assault-type weapons do not fall under the protection of the 2nd Amendment. As recently as this past November the Supreme Court (in Kolbe v. Hogan) declined to disagree with a lower court ruling making it Constitutional for Maryland - in a 2012 law - to make possession of an AR-15 illegal.

  • From the Washington Post:
    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond upheld the ban in a 10-to-4 vote stating that "assault weapons and large-capacity magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment."

  • I watched clips from President Donald Trump's "listening session" at the White House with parents and friends of children killed in mass shootings.

  • Unlike some cable new hosts I was moved, as he appeared to be, by the emotions expressed by the people in the State Dining Room.

  • One of the ideas presented - and apparently endorsed by the President - is arming teachers and allowing them to carry weapons on their person.

  • I think that's a bad idea.

  • SWAT teams train constantly. It's not just having a gun, and knowing which way the bullets come out. It's knowing what the other members of your team are going to do in any scenario.

  • We train teachers to teach. We don't train teachers to be members of an elite armed squad.

  • Speaking of carry permits, I looked at the requirements to get one in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This is for a handgun, not a long gun.

  • Unlike the requirement to operate a car, which involves showing a trained agent you can start, stop, turn, and - the bain of 18-year-olds throughout the nation - parallel park, there is no requirement to prove you can hit what you are aiming at with a gun.

  • Of the nine methods available to earn a carry permit, this is #7:
    "Completing any firearms training or safety course or class, including an electronic, video, or on-line course, conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor."

  • I raise this only because having untrained (or lightly trained) people, with the best of intentions, shooting at a bad guy has a very high probably of unintended consequences.

  • So, Frank and I are talking about AR-15s and why anyone needs to own one.

  • Frank allows how some people just like to hear the sound of a semi-automatic weapon being fired, like into the woods.

  • "Ok," I said. "I'll grant you that there is a bit of Mythbusters in all of us who like to hear things go 'BOOM' but no one needs a assault-type weapon."

  • On a roll, I added, "You wouldn't use an AR-15 to go hunting."

  • "Ah hah," Frank said. "They are a great weapon to use if you're hunting wild boar."

  • "FRANK! Wild boar? That's the best you've got?"

  • He shrugged and we went back to our respective lunches.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the CNBC piece, the USA Today listing of three decades of mass shootings, the Washington Post's coverage of Kolbe v. Hogan, and to the Virginia Conceal Carry rules.

    The Mullfoto is of another food truck parked along L Street in downtown Our Nation's Capital.

-- END --

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