The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Rich Galen

Thursday October 5, 2017

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  • I am a member of the National Rifle Association. I don't remember when I joined, but it's been a while.

  • I own a 9mm Beretta. It is locked in a box separate from its ammunition which is also separated from the key that opens the box.

  • In the days when I spent some significant amount of time in places like Afghanistan or Sub-Saharan Africa, I would take my pistol to the NRA range and polish up my skills before I left.

  • Just in case.

  • I never needed to fire a weapon on any of those trips, but that's part of the point: I don't need a 9mm Beretta, but I like to have it, I like to be able to fire it, and I like to increase the odds that I will hit whatever or, God forbid, whomever I might have to aim at.

  • Do I need 40+ pistols or long guns? No. Nor do I want any more. But some people do. Gun collecting is a legal and, for those who are into it, an enjoyable activity.

  • As to assault-style weapons, I am not so sure. An AR-15 is the civilian form of the standard military rifle, the M-16. An M-16 is selectable - this is, it can fire one round at a time (semi-automatic) or in a burst (automatic) mode with a flip of a selector switch.

  • The civilian version has no selection for automatic fire, but I believe someone moderately skilled with working on guns might be able to do that.

  • I say that because when I was on active duty I was trained as a "Unit Armorer" at the Quartermaster School in Ft. Lee, Virginia.

  • I fixed everything from a .38 pistol (still a fairly common sidearm in the 1960s) to a .50 caliber machine gun.


    There is nothing - no part of a .50 caliber machine gun - including the ammunition, that is not heavy.


  • M-16s were still relatively new as the standard-issue rifle, having replaced the M-14 shortly before I went into the National Guard. In fact, when I first joined, my unit - part of the 50th Armored Division in New Jersey - was issued M-1 rifles - just like the ones the Band of Brothers used in World War II.

  • There were some problems with those early M-16s. The part that allowed it to fire in semi-automatic mode would occasionally wear out, or break, and the rifle would ONLY fire in automatic mode. In fact, it would keep firing until the ammunition was exhausted.

  • It would not, I think, be impossible to reverse engineer that process.

  • I am not an expert in gun laws. I think that gun shows or other private sellers should have enough computer (or smart phone) capability to do an "instant background check" on a potential buyer. If I sell you my car, I have to let the Commonwealth of Virginia know that I no longer own my car and you have to let your state know you now do.

  • If I want to sell you my Nine, I should have to show that I ran your name through a website to prove to me you are allowed to own that weapon - or, at least, there is nothing to show you can't own that weapon.

  • I can own any number of vehicles, but if I want to drive them on a public road they each have to be registered.

  • I know there is no Constitutional right to Keep and Bear Cars, but you understand what I'm saying.

  • I absolutely believe that being a 2nd Amendment guy does not mean I can't argue for some changes in the law.

  • Would they have prevented the Las Vegas massacre? Probably not, but we'll never know.

  • Gun ownership is a Constitutionally protected right. But, just as falsely shouting "Fire" in a crowded movie theater isn't protected by the 1st Amendment, it is not a protected right without limit.

    LAD LINK: The Lad has a slightly different take on this. In a column that ran in he wrote that We're Beyond Thoughts and Prayers.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Subscription Page, to the AR-15 and to the 9mm Beretta pistol.

    The Mullfoto is with Miss American 2018, Cara Mund who had been Miss North Dakota.

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