Subscribe for 33¢ / day

I am an NRA member and 2nd Amendment supporter and I believe there is a sound reason for the Founding Fathers to have included it in the original Constitution. However, I don't believe Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton ever envisioned a world with AK-47s and AR-15s when they were discussing the "Right to Bear Arms".

I am a combat veteran, having served in combat in Vietnam. I have exchanged fire with the enemy in hostile environments. I know very well what it is like to be shot at, and even after they miss the experience stays with you for years. Those things happen in a war zone, but should not be happening in high schools, grade schools and kindergartens.

The mission of soldier is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or to repel the enemy's assault by fire and close combat. To do this he is armed with an M16A4 (the AR-15 platform is the civilian version of the M16) service rifle. The M16 rifle, also called AR-15 assault rifle, was developed as the AR-15 by American engineer Eugene Stoner of ArmaLite Inc. in the late 1950s. The rifle uses the 5.56mm NATO (.223) caliber cartridge, with a muzzle velocity (the speed of bullet leaving the rifle) of over 900 meters per second (over 3,000 feet per second), and has a maximum effective range (the maximum distance that the bullet is deadly) of 550 meters, with a rate of fire (how fast the gun shoots) of approximately 800 rounds per minute. A standard AR-15 magazine holds 30 rounds. But in most states, the rifles can be legally outfitted with high-capacity magazines that can hold 60 or even 100 rounds. These rifles are designed to kill as efficiently as possible.

It is my belief that the general public in the United States has no need for military weapons designed to inflict maximum casualties. We have law enforcement and a ready military to protect this country from an invasion by a foreign country or armed force. We do not need to have armed civilians with military weapons to protect this country. We have an armed civilian militia with the State National Guard Units and the Reserve Forces.

Individuals have a constitutional right to bear arms, and it is and should remain legal to own handguns and sporting rifles. The AR-15, AK-47 and similar weapons were designed for the military specifically for combat, not for sports shooting. Some will say that the general public has a right to have those kinds of weapons for sporting activities. If AR-15s are OK, then we should legalize machine guns, cannons and rocket propelled grenades for sport shooting. We do not allow them because it would be ridiculous and it is just as inane to make ARs and the like legal.

A true hunter only needs one round. Most really good hunters I know only take 3 rounds with them. It only takes one well-placed shot to kill an animal like a deer or elk. I have a good friend who hunts deer with a flintlock with only one round in the gun. It has no 20-round (or more) magazine. It only holds one round and takes a minute or two to reload. I think that is true sportsmanship and gives the animal a little better chance of winning a round now and then.

We have gun-carrying law enforcement and taxpayer funded security forces to protect our politicians and private bodyguards protecting celebrities, we let judges have guns in the court room, we let people conceal carry for personal protection. We have a responsibility to provide such security to protect our children.

There needs to be a much better job done of vetting those who try to obtain a firearm legally. We need to do a much better job of not letting people with mental dysfunctions get their hands on weapons of any kind. Every person who wants a gun should have to go through training to use guns. 

Folks, this country was founded on the principle of a free society which inherently creates risk, and individual freedom carries with it individual responsibility. Freedom is not free. You have to fight for it or lose it. Our kids are up to fighting for it. Are you?

Elton W. “Mick” Ringsak is a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve. He served in Vietnam, 1967-68.


Load comments