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home : opinions : opinions September 24, 2016

1/12/2013 1:03:00 PM
My Turn: Gun Rights: Compromise is nothing but theft of a right
Doug Melton
Camp Verde Resident

I think you need a little history lesson. In your editorial, “Common sense must prevail....”, you use the phrase “Irresponsible gun availability,” as if guns are just so much more available, as compared to the past etc.

Did you know that prior to 1968, guns were advertised in the back of comic books, and various magazine, and sold in every hardware store and many department stores, and could be purchased by anybody, of any age, all you needed was money and a postage stamp, and a gun would be delivered to your door by the postman. Licensed gun dealers didn’t exist, anybody could simply order guns from a distributor and resell them.

Now, the press implies that Internet sales are doing the exact same thing, but that is not true, every Internet sale of a firearm must be shipped to a licensed FFL gun dealer, and that dealer must do a NICS background check on the buyer, before delivering that Internet purchased gun to its buyer.

Prior to 1934, it was very common, and almost expected, that soldiers fighting overseas would ship fully functional, machine guns back home to their families as a war trophy, no questions asked, after 1934, you had to pay a $200 tax to legally bring a machine gun back, but many thousands were illegally shipped back anyway. That practice was stopped by the military in the early 1950s, to my recollection.

They even had so called assault weapons, the AR-15, often erroneously referred to as the “Bushmaster” by the press, back in the 1960s, and other semi automatic rifles even earlier, but we didn’t seem to have mass shootings perpetrated with semi automatic guns, or any of those thousands of machine guns in civilian hands back then. As a side note, auto theft and burglary and assault in general was rare back in the 1950s, and early 1960s; I can open a locked 1964 car and have it running, without a key in about 30 seconds, two practiced people could do it in 2 or 3 seconds, but it didn’t happen very much. Now, cars come automatically with alarms and anti theft ignition systems because of skyrocketing auto theft rates starting in the 1970s.

Something has changed in 50 years, and it isn’t the “irresponsible gun availability.”

What has changed in the rise of the welfare state and the rise of irresponsible parenthood and child raising, and single parent families, where children are not supervised, have no father figure or any type of discipline, at home or at school. I remember school corporal punishment, up until the early 1970s, until lawsuits about violating the students rights made that go away.

Children used to be taught that you shouldn’t steal, children used to be taught you shouldn’t kill, now the entitlement generation thinks they can have whatever they want, and they will kill if they can’t have it. Now that the individual right to do whatever you want, at the governments expense, have become ingrained in our society, we have raised a generation of vipers.

I, and millions of other law abiding gun-owners are singled out for vilification because some parents allow their children to spend countless hours, unsupervised, playing ultra violent and ultra realistic video games, and in the process, turn into well trained potential and sometimes actual, murderers. Hand wringing about Hollywood violence, and violent video games will get some lip service, as well as mental illness, but I don’t see any legislation being rushed to the table about those problems, only legislation attempting to further restrict firearms is being proposed.

You used to be able to involuntarily commit the mentally ill, until lawsuits about the rights of the insane made that go away, unleashing tens of thousands of people onto our streets and into society, that need to be locked up for their protection as well as ours.

In the 1950s, if little Johnny smeared paste in the hair of the girl in front of him, he was sent to the principal’s office for a paddling. Now, the whole class is group punished by taking everybody’s paste away because little Johnny is a sociopath, who shouldn’t be singled out for punishment because it is unfair. Just treat everybody equally, pandering to the lowest common denominator.

That philosophy is what your editorial is obliquely espousing: treat everybody equally by taking everybody’s gun owning options away because some can’t play nice. But heaven forbid we change the entitlement, welfare, and anti-discrimination society that is producing these monsters, instead the proposed solution is take everybody’s paste away.

And I must add, getting away from society’s degeneration, to head off the usual gun control arguments:

Regarding the argument “We register cars and license drivers, why don’t we register guns and license gun owners?” I say: There is no legal requirement to register a car, you can buy and own as many and as many types of cars you want, you just can’t legally drive them unregistered on a public highway, ditto on the drivers license, you don’t need a drivers license to drive on private property. And, the penalties for unregistered cars on the highway and unlicensed driving is a civil infraction, not a felony punishable by years of imprisonment, that the gun registration crowd wants.

The gun control crowd says: “Rights are not absolute, you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. You shouldn’t have the right to own a gun that is self loading, or magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.” I say: That is true, your freedom of speech doesn’t include being able to cause death with impunity, but, your tongue is not cut out, or your mouth wired shut before you enter the theater to keep you from possibly yelling fire. The gun control crowd wants prior restraint, so it is impossible for someone to commit the equivalent of yelling fire, with their gun. I should be able to own any gun I want, just like I was able to until 1934, but with that right comes the responsibility to know the difference from right and wrong, and be punished for doing wrong. We no longer teach right and wrong; everything is “relative,” or experience-based upbringing, or some other claptrap. As a responsible adult, I should not be punished or told what I cannot have, based on the actions of others.

But, we don’t punish the lawbreakers. I know personally of three instances where convicted felons were caught illegally in possession of firearms (another felony), and no charges were filed on the illegal gun possession, the county didn’t file charges and the Feds weren’t interested. There is no interest in punishing criminals, only ultimate disarmament of the citizenry.

I will not compromise away something because of the misdeeds of others, as once one compromise is made, another one is demanded.

When rights are concerned, compromise is nothing but theft of a right. It is no different than a burglar showing up on your doorstep and telling you that he will break into your house while you are gone and steal everything you own if he can get in without getting caught, but if you just give him your TV now, he will leave you alone. But a month later he comes back, and this time he wants your stereo in exchange for not breaking into your house, then a month later he comes back again, etc., and eventually, you have nothing and he has everything he wanted, without the risks of trying to take it all at once.

Doug Melton is a resident of Camp Verde.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

@ David x 3

I haven't seen this much Latin since my Junior year in High School at the seminary.

Final: Non est censea ad gustum vel credulatis.

Do you believe it isn't the fall that will kill you?

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Article comment by: David G

Phil, Phil, Phil, now you're just being obtuse.

"the proliferation of guns in this country that results in 8,500 murders" is a faulty assumption/statement set within your 'question', and I've already pointed out the informal logical fallacy it represents. Your statement treds close to representing an 'argument from ignorance' as well (argumentum ad ignorantiam) though you really hadn't taken your argument that far yet. If it's your intention to ignore the obvious then debating with you is fruitless.

It's not a matter of 'evidence I will accept', evidence is a word with specific meaning, what you are offering is not evidence, sorry.

And just because the Supreme Court has to spell something out for people doesn't mean it's 'vague'. People will chose to believe what they wish, and as you have pointed out, that doesn't make them correct. ^)

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Article comment by: Miss Understanding

"Bush signed the assault rifle ban..."
The previous assault weapons ban was enacted in 1994 during the Clinton administration. It expired in 2004. It had no measurable effect on gun violence.

"every black person in the USA should flood the gun stores and stock up on weapons like the white folks have"
How do you know they're not?

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Article comment by: Phil F

@ David G

Proliferation: to increase in number as if by proliferating : multiply.

Me using that word to describe gun ownership in the US is no 'faulty assumption.'

Fact: US citizens are among the most heavily armed in the world: http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/08/28/us-world-firearms-idUSL2834893820070828

Besides, I was asking you a question, not making an 'entirely false' statement.

You did not answer the question.

Fact: The US is a world leader in gun related deaths:

Note stats for Japan: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/14/the-japan-lesson-can-americans-learn-from-the-country-that-has-almost-zero-gun-deaths/

No evidence?

You mean, of course, no evidence you will accept.

You say, "... the 2nd Amendment is only 'vague' if you wish it to be vague."


Then, please explain past and current public debates on the meaning of the 2nd Amendment.

Oh, and, please, hurry to share your judicial expertise with the US Supreme Court who has had to hear several cases interpreting the 2nd Amendment. The last in 2008 when they clarified the meaning of 'militia.'

Just because you are cock-sure doesn't make you right.

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013
Article comment by: What I don't Understand

is why no one yelled this loud when Bush signed the assault rifle ban, yet are screaming at Obama about the right to bear assualt rifles. I think every black person in the USA should flood the gun stores and stock up on weapons like the white folks have. Then something would be done to ban assault rifles.

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

@ Phil Falbo:

Do you recall the massacre in Killeen, Texas, on October 16, 1991, when a disturbed individual crashed his truck through the front window of a cafeteria and proceeded to shoot 50 people, 23 fatally?

Former Texas Assemblywoman Suzanna Gratia-Hupp survived the incident, but her mother and father did not. Here is her testimony before Congress as they debated the 'assault weapons ban' passed in 1994:

It obviously didn't have much effect on the legislators (not until subsequent elections anyway). How does it affect you?

Posted: Monday, January 21, 2013
Article comment by: itsy bitsy Spider

Thanks for the lead, Country Boy. But it seems to be a hoax. The newspaper that broke the story has deleted all reference to the alleged "uncle" without printing a formal retraction. Other sources say this was because he's really a parolee who does this kind of thing regularly. I couldn't find any reason to believe otherwise. Those wondering about psychotropic medications will have to wait for the toxicology report.

Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2013
Article comment by: Who's promoting proliferation?

The threat to impose restrictions in knee-jerk response to the Sandy Hook incident resulted in the predictable knee-jerk purchase of tens of thousands of guns. Are the proponents of gun restrictions working for the arms industry?

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Kent State?

You're absolutely correct. I thought I remembered the Kent State Massacre quite well. But apparently I only retained the headlines,and like Goliath, the facts grew a couple feet each year. That's an excellent link, by the way. Obviously, more than my Media memory needed correction.

Posted: Saturday, January 19, 2013
Article comment by: David G

@ Phil F

You are attempting to frame the debate with an argument that is basically an informal logical fallacy.

cum hoc ergo propter hoc, "a faulty assumption that correlation between two variables implies that one causes the other"

You ask me "do you contend that the proliferation of guns in this country that results in 8,500 murders annually is a good thing?"

The fallacy is the assumption that the murders are a result of the proliferation of firearms, there is absolutely no evidence that that is the case, so the statement is entirely false.

Your attempt at the car wreck analogy is also a logical fallacy. Explaining why would take more time than I really want to invest, it's enough for me that I know you are incorrect, if other folks here care enough to want to know more about it, they can read up on logical fallacies and deductive reasoning. Your arguments in this paper are often rife with logical errors, it's your ilks favorite tactic when attempting to sway the less literate readers who are more inclined to act with their heart than think with their head.

And the 2nd Amendment is only 'vague' if you wish it to be vague. Personally I think it is perfectly clear. None the less, if you want it changed, initiate a movement to start a constitutional convention and do it right, I would totally support your right to do that. But quit supporting the undermining of our system in the name of political expediency.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: David G

And I can't let this pass. For crying out loud people, true rights are not 'given'!! Look up the philosophical foundations for the concept of 'rights' especially as they pertain to our Constitution.

Our Constitution doesn't confer any rights at all, rather it recognizes we are all BORN with them and then endeavors to set the limits to which our Federal Government may endeavor to infringe upon them for the good or ill of the individual, and the good or ill of the Republic.

Whether or not those rights are 'God given' or naturally enjoyed is a matter for some speculation, but whether or not we are born with them, unencumbered by human meddling, is not. I believe they are natural rights, no 'God' required. Their existence can be substantiated and supported on the basis of pure logical deduction and empirical evidence, no supreme being needed.

Come on people, THINK.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

@ David G

I had referred to the CDC site previously and just misquoted the numbers.

My bad.

Otherwise, do you contend that the proliferation of guns in this country that results in 8,500 murders annually is a good thing?

We are among the most heavily armed citizenry in the world with a murder rate to match.

Do you really believe that useless 'statistics' such as the 'estimated' number of crimes prevented by the presence of weapons means anything to the 8,500 murdered?

I say, "That guy didn't run over me today because I was in my car. Therefore, that proves cars prevent car wrecks!"

Wow, what a great way to skew auto-death statistics!

Nowhere have I stated that the right to own a gun should be taken away. That just seems to be an immediate assumption by your ilk when you misinterpret what someone says about guns.

And, yes, I wish the 2nd Amendment would be modified to the degree that any vagueness of wording or punctuation placement will not allow such broad interpretation as we have seen.

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Falbo

@ Nutso

Hey, Tonto, conversely, the editorial 'we", by making weapons more easily available has "...not reduced gun violence," either.

Unless you read David G's stats below...

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Kent State?

@ Ms. Heartman: "...as many unarmed students were shot point blank at Kent State as at Sandy Hook."

Not quite. Thirteen students were shot by National Guardsmen, none point blank.


Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Danny Smith

Another interesting tidbit from a DOJ study says that the incidents of mass shootings has remained around the same % for the last 25 years. They have not been increasing as our nutty mainstream media likes to point out. In fact with population increases you could say they have actually decreased per capita. With instant news from around the country and the liberal biased medias anti gun fear mongering agenda it is just made to seem worse. Every shooting is bad and no one on the right or left wants them to happen. Nothing Barry the Destroyer is trying to do will stop gun incidents. It will only create more criminals.

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