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Guest opinion

Holmes: Giving up some guns may be necessary to avoid total bans

Thirty seconds; 36 people shot; nine of them dead.

That is all the time it took, and that is the physical damage that was done.

There were six "good guys with guns," trained police professionals, who were present and engaged the shooter within about 20 seconds… an excellent response for anyone. But it didn't matter, because the shooter's weapon did exactly what it was designed to do: kill and wound as many targets as possible in the shortest amount of time.

As a lifelong gun-owner myself, and as someone who likely has more depth and breadth of both fully-automatic and semi-automatic firearms experience than at least a few of you reading this, I know a little about assault rifles and "assault-style" weapons. I carried one and trained on how to use it effectively for three decades. I took one to war three times and have seen what they can do, and now so have all of us: 30 seconds; 36 people shot; nine of them dead, in Dayton, Ohio.

Accordingly, I have a little political advice for those of you out there who own these weapons, YOU are rapidly becoming a political minority.

With every mass shooting, with every mother or child that is killed at random while just going about their legal business, your gun ownership becomes less tenable. There will come a point - and every day that point comes closer - when the political mass of our population will finally say "ENOUGH".

When that happens, all bets will be off. The political momentum will easily flow from "ban SOME guns," to "ban ALL guns."

I have never "owned" anything that most people would term an "assault weapon." I didn't need to. For 30 years the government issued me one. Accordingly, they never held much mystery for me and just seemed too expensive and impractical for anything I needed to do at home.

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Oh, sure! Shooting them is great fun! But so is driving a race car at over 100 mph. However, both shooting a weapon capable of such efficient destruction and driving at high speeds on public roads are inherently dangerous to society, which is why most race cars are not "street legal."
I can accomplish pretty much any legal shooting task I want to accomplish without owning or accessing a semi-automatic weapon fed from a detachable magazine - from target shooting, hunting, varmint control, home defense, to zombie apocalypse... and so can you.

As I write this, I can see any number of readers out there starting to reference their well-thumbed copies of the 2nd Amendment and looking up the definition of "infringe" in their haste to take yet another opportunity to show off their deep constitutional knowledge and comprehension… well, save your effort. In 1934 the United States Congress passed the National Firearms Act specifically to "infringe" on the ability of the general public to own dangerous weapons and explosives. In the past 85 years that law has been tested multiple times by various courts and it still stands as the main reason why you cannot just go down to your local gun show and buy a fully automatic weapon… a "machine gun." Including semi-automatic weapons that can be fed from detachable magazines could easily be included into an expansion of this already existing law, and there would not be much that you could do about it. The sale of new firearms of that type was outlawed under the "assault weapons ban," and that was upheld by the courts.

Y'all need (yes NEED) to start getting used to the idea that unless you give up SOME of your guns willingly, you might just lose ALL of your guns, UNwillingly.

If that means that I must turn in my 1911-A1, I'm happy to do it. Hell, I'll even turn in my M-1 Garand if it means I get to keep my shotgun, my lever action, my revolver, and my .22's... because those are pretty much the only things I really use.

Go ahead and be angry. Vent and fume, cuss and stomp. Your anger will be nothing compared to the righteous anger of the mothers and young voters when they finally reach their breaking point.

Mike Holmes is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, whose deployments as a Military Intelligence and Information Operations officer included service in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. Holmes is a former Democratic candidate for the Arizona Legislature.


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Aug 8, 2019, 7:19 am
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I couldn’t disagree with you more.  Of course each of these situations is tragic, however to infringe (yes I’ll use that word) on the rights of law abiding citizens is just not the answer. 

Since we are all different human beings, perhaps a shotgun, lever action, revolver, and 22 aren’t adequate for me to defend my family against a home invasion.  And I certainly won’t be able to tell the perp who breaks into my home what he can or cannot use.  And upon turning my AR and semi-auto pistols in, that still doesn’t limit the criminals ability to obtain these now illegal guns. It puts me, the innocent law abiding citizen at a disadvantage for doing nothing wrong.

Again, mass shootings are terrible.  Any loss of life is terrible, whether that be texting while driving, being killed by a drunk driver, drug overdose. Each of those scenarios also could have been avoided. But there are also laws against each of those things. No matter what legislation would be passed, people who are always going to break the law. Sadly that leads to death in these cases. Evil people do evil things, that’s what they do.

And I’ll end with this: I find it very hypocritical to those who are so concerned about telling me my right to own firearms, saying they are so concerned with children and innocent life, yet could care less about the FACT that millions of innocent children each year are murdered, butchered, and that it’s called ‘healthcare’. Of course these mass shootings are terrible, the people who commit them monsters, but there is a much broader form of death, committed against those who are the most vulnerable, and who cannot stand up for themselves and their right to life.  That’s a much bigger issue than what kind of guns I can own and why. Let’s get our priorities straight America, protecting the innocent babies, keeping families together, because I believe that is a huge proponent of the criminal/mass shooter, the breakdown of the nuclear family.

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Dayton Police

The gun and 100-round magazine used in a massacre in Dayton, Ohio, this weekend.