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home : opinions : commentary May 26, 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: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: seems that 'right or privilege' proved... .

proved their point well... not once did they say anything about taking anything away... only spoke about how un-hinged folks get when even the hint of discussion is mentioned.. and lo' and behold folks proved them correct...

and somehow attempted to use scripture to justify it... etc...

at a certain point you all are your own worst enemies and you are managing to do so without a single shot from a gun...

besides... with god on your side why do you need a gun in the first place? did they have guns in the bible? perhaps you should consider swords, spears and maybe a sling and stone?

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Country Boy

@ "right or privilege?"
the 2nd amendment was in fact a right given to us by men, great honorable men, men that made your wonderful way of life as an American the way it is today!
So it is in fact a GOD given right to protect my self and I chose to use a firearm in which to do that GOD given right.
Exodus 22:2-3
Luke 22:36
Nehemiah 4:17-18
Romans 13:4
Psalm 144:1
Timothy 5:8

Those who oppose guns, god, or question our rights etc I say,
What is the first thing you will do when in the face of grave danger by a criminal that wishes to impose harm on you?
Answer = you will call for help and Pray to God that someone with a GUN gets there quick enough to save your LIFE!!!!

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013
Article comment by: Brian Carlson

Phil, I think we are almost in agreement on some things. I do not want to censor movies or video games, but I think we should keep them from being used and viewed by children. I don't think that is a violation of the 1st amendment. It's just good to keep some things away from young children.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: David G

@ Phil F.
Your numbers are a bit skewed. You are throwing the number ’12,000’ out into the discussion without even explaining what that number represents.

According to the CDC, there were 32,000 firearms related deaths in the US in 2011, according to the FBI 8,500 were actual murders committed with (not by) some sort of firearm, the remainder were suicides, accidents, or some sort of recorded justifiable homicide, for example, self-defense or shootings by police etc. And I want to draw your attention to the word ‘recorded’ because the way crimes are reported and recorded plays a huge role in the final analysis.

Of the 8,500 murders attributed to firearms, only 323 were committed with a rifle of any kind, yes any kind of rifle, and it is rifles, specifically ‘assault rifles’ (something that is exceedingly rare in the civilian world since a true assault rifle is fully automatic), that are currently being railed against. During that same period of time 1,694 murders were committed with an edged weapon of some sort, and 1,659 murders were committed with weapons of immediate convenience like baseball bats, hammers, etc.. Way more murders were committed with alternative weapons than with rifles, yet it is rifles that are being excoriated? Heck, more murders were committed using just hands and feet in 2011, 728 to be exact. Your knee jerk reaction against an inanimate object is entirely illogical and indefensible.

Now it’s your contention that the proliferation of guns in our society is a bad thing, and contributes in a lopsided way to the dangers we all face. Guess what, you’re wrong. Based on a multitude of data, and both private and government studies, it is comfortably estimated that the use of, or the mere presence of a firearm, results in the prevention of approximately 1.5 million violent crimes each year. The most recent study shows that the number may very well be closer to 2.5 million. According to the FBI, approximately 1 in every 100 violent crimes is a murder, so 1% of those 2.5 million violent crimes may have resulted in a fatality, these numbers would indicate about 25,000 lives saved by the lawful use of a firearm. Wanna talk about women who are the target of an attempted rape? A woman without a firearm has a 1 in 3 chance of actually being raped, while an armed woman in the same situation has a less than 1 in 33 chance.

Frankly Phil, making firearms harder for law abiding citizens to acquire actually puts them at a higher risk for being a victim of a violent crime, it doesn’t make them safer. And for someone like yourself and your ilk, who enjoy playing the class warfare card, your continued push to make firearms harder to obtain is pushing the price of firearms through the roof, making it harder for the financially disadvantaged to protect themselves. You’re doing a good job of hurting those you claim to champion.

Ultimately though, I am fully aware that you have no real interest in anyone’s safety, you only have an interest in control. If you really have a problem with the Second Amendment, at least have enough respect for our established system of government and try to do things the proper way. Attempt to amend the Constitution through the established and correct Constitutional procedure don’t support weakening it by piecemeal legislation and judicial maneuvering.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

"...the 'right' to guns was given by a fallible human."

In which case it would be a privilege, not a right. So who was that autocratic ruler who so generously gave our ancestors the means to forcibly dissolve their political connection to Great Britain and create our constitutional republic? Certainly not King George III.

Speaking of no-longer-Great Britain, the history of gun control there is instructive:
How many folks know that at the beginning of the 20th century there was no gun control in Britain, and the gun murder rate was similar to today? How many folks know that the reason British Bobbies weren't armed was because the populace feared an armed police force?

And then there's Switzerland's history of a fully armed citizenry:
As far back as Roman times, the Swiss were known for their ability to defend their Cantons. At a time when Machiavelli was writing about the constant power struggles among Italian principalities and Spanish and French monarchies, he tells us: "The Swiss are well armed and enjoy great freedom." Currently, the Swiss murder rate is considerably lower than the United Kingdom's.

For a bit of contrast, consider Mexico, where carrying a gun can get you 30 years in prison. The murder rate there is more than 32 times the rate in Switzerland and almost 5 times the rate in the USA.

The authors of our Constitution knew their history. Those who crave power will restrict the rights of others in order to gain special privileges for themselves. Restriction of rights leads to tyranny. And the best defense against tyranny is an armed citizenry.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

Phil: "It is not as if what we have done has solved any problem…"

What do you mean "we," Kee-mo Sah-bee? Except for our mutual membership in the human race, those "we" who respond with a pre-planned legislative response to every manufactured crisis are not a group to which I claim membership.

Gun control measures have not reduced gun violence. Gun violence in cities did not decline in response to strict restrictions on gun ownership. Rates of gun violence did not change significantly in response to federal restrictions. So what's the point in ginning up fear in a large segment of the general population who already recognize an increasingly rapid erosion of their constitutionally-guaranteed rights as free citizens?

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Ryan Jensen


Take it easy for a moment...no one is coming to "take all your guns," or diminish your 2nd amendment rights.

But are assault-style weapons and extended clips really necessary for home protection or hunting?

Look at it this way: sedans, minivans, and pickup trucks are fine and dandy on I-17. They get the job done. Formula 1 race cars on I-17? Not so much. That'd be overkill (pun intended).

See the similarity?

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Registration of a weapon allows the Gov to track the weapon.If the Gov passes a law(very doubtful) to buy back all registered weapons
or do 3yrs in jail as some rumors have said.
I think I'll get a few bill of sales of the illegals
who bought them from said seller.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@Grannie Smith

Phil Falbo's right about one thing. You can't defend the Second Amendment by attacking First Amendment guarantees. You were around. You know as many unarmed students were shot point blank at Kent State as at Sandy Hook.

He's simply ignoring the fact the converse is also true...and skewing his recollection of interpersonal violence in this country to fit his argument. In the last century, the greatest spike in violence of all kinds was caused by Prohibition. They banned Tommy guns, but the killing and maiming just went right on until something a majority of people wanted to do became legal again.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: right or privilege? .

funny how 'rights' are sacred when it comes to the 2nd amendment... treated as if it was a 'god given right'..even though it was a right given by the hand of a human... and if folks who study the bible know anything it's that humans are indeed fallible and can be wrong... unless you think only humans never make mistakes or errors in judgement? if so then you might want to consider atheism.

so then if we know the 'right' to guns was given by a fallible human... should you also consider that you might be wrong is defending it with such religious zealotry?

its just a gun folks... unless it's the new 'golden calf' model 25 with select fire 3 round burst, tactical stock, fore grip, acog site and 'never been wrong about anything ever ever' 100 round magazine.

Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013
Article comment by: Ronald Smith

I assume that all of the people buying guns can afford to do that. Guns are fairly expensive and people buying them have jobs and are not requiring public assistance, nor going to pick up food at a food bank.
I have no problem with people buying guns as long as they have the resources to do so and not having to get assistance for their living expenses.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: Granny Smith

Doug, You hit the nail on the head. I am past
80 and I have seen all these changes. Parents are afraid of their children these days. They might take them to court and/or divorce them.
I raised 5 and with a strict hand. They all grew up
to be good citizens,and still love me. Thank you
for your letter.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: Phil Falbo


I am not for restricting any Constitutional right.

There have been many saying that you don't see proposals being put forward to limit Hollywood/video game violence, as if that would be an alternative way to curb shootings.

I did write, "Not me," recognizing the threat to our 1st Amendment rights.


You say, "...whatever restrictions our current political class contrives could someday be used against them."

"Someday" is long past..

Fact: the restrictions/freedoms on guns our current political class have so far contrived have been used against all Americans in the form of multiple mass murders and about 12,000 gun deaths annually.

It is not as if what we have done has solved any problem other than how to get a higher death rate from guns.

That is inarguable.

Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Article comment by: Country Boy

There have been a few releases on Lanza's meds. Per his uncle he was prescribed several meds however the main one was an Antipsychotic Fanapt.
Fanapt is a very powerful drug with noted
Psychiatric side effects including restlessness, aggression, and delusion have been reported frequently. Hostility, decreased libido, paranoia, anorgasmia, confusional state, mania, catatonia, mood swings, panic attack, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, delirium, polydipsia psychogenic, impulse-control disorder, and major depression have been reported infrequently.

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Article comment by: Concerned about our

I am concerned about the freedoms we have (and had) as Americans. Why are the innocent Americans forced to give up something they have (guns) and have to defend why they have them, or the type of gun, etc. IF INNOCENT and having done nothing wrong? Innocent Americans did not cause any deaths, or gun violence, etc. so why are they being punished for a crime they did not commit, have anything to do with, nor agree with? Why must innocent Americans lose freedoms because of the few criminals that happen to use something millions also have and use? Shall we continue to lose freedoms to have what we want (hammers used in murder cars used in murder knives used in murder pillows used in murder etc)???

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