One of the reasons I live in Virginia is the state’s common sense approach to firearms and the 2d Amendment. Unfortunately, the supervisors in the County where my daughters have lived most of their lives (Loudoun County) have recently taken to 2d Amendment infringement and gun range engineering.
This past Tuesday I delivered five copies of “A Citizen’s Guide to Marksmanship” and pictures of Sitting Bull, Annie Oakley and Audie Murphy to the Loudoun County supervisors meeting. Unfortunately I had to leave early (before my slot to speak arrived). Evidently the meeting went until well after 1am… reportedly the longest Supervisors’ deliberation in the County’s history.
Evidently one of four men fired a machine gun recently, resulting in bullet strikes on several homes. Certainly cause for concern… and no one was charged in the incident. I am passionate about responsible gun ownership and handling. I expect a lot of an American citizen in general.
Two Supervisor responses are an issue: 1) “training” to insure gun owners are familiar with the law; and 2) restrictions which specify gun handling and ranges on private property.
Ignorance of the law is never an excuse in court. Ignorance of the ballistics of your firearm is no excuse either… Without more information regarding the incidents cited above, we can’t comment on whether Loudoun County law enforcement couldn’t confiscate said “machine gun” or otherwise charge one or all persons associated with said firearm with some federal, state or local infraction.
Perhaps I will be able to attend the entire meeting next time. My first comment, regarding Sitting Bull: in the event a Loudoun County supervisor wants to place him or herself on the Reservation, so be it, but don’t bring the rest of the county with you. Regarding little Annie and little Audie: shooting practice on private lands and, indeed, learning to shoot at an early age, are fundamental to attaining expertise. Be safe, be responsible. But let’s not micromanage that process.
Policy recommendation: The Secretary of Education implement an Executive Order whereby qualified teachers with Gulf War Veteran status are hired above tenured teachers with maximum five veterans hired per school (ie. they may replace tenured teachers in school systems to which they apply). Such teachers are permitted to secure a personally (or National Guard) owned pistol in a desk safe for use during attack.
Discussion: A friend posted an article stating that firing a pistol in a real situation “is not like TV.” I’ve deployed to combat zone twice: first as an unarmed contractor; second as a battalion commander with M4 “assault rifle” and 9mm pistol. I opted to leave my “unarmed” contract after six months, in part due to a preference to face an armed terrorist with some sort of firearm, rather than without.
I didn’t receive a Combat Action Badge (pictured above), although I was probably close enough to exploding ordinance to receive one, and never discharged a firearm in the direction of an armed assailant. That said, I participated in (and ran) innumerable training ranges (including “live fire” tactical exercises) where fire control and avoiding engaging “friendly participants” was integral to success.
Gulf War veterans are trained to handle firearms as a matter of course. While different units provide different levels of weapons training (unsure Airmen or Sailors receive the same level of firearms training as Marines and Army Soldiers), a teacher who was honorably discharged after serving in Afghanistan or Iraq might prefer to have access to a firearm in the classroom, vice without.
Random firing into a crowd of students (aka Callahan in Dirty Harry movies) is a bad idea minus incredible marksmanship skills. I credit a Gulf War vet with the judgment not to do this, and simply suggest an armed teacher pointing a firearm at a kid (all shooters I can think of were untrained and mentally unstable) and commanding him (usually a “him”) to put the gun down, will stop or slow additional shootings.
I will leave the conversation about replacing tenured teachers with qualified Gulf War vets to the education professionals, going so far as to say there are tenured teachers in the system that school leadership might be delighted to have retire or leave, and acknowledging the our population of 7 million Gulf War era vets are frequently un- or under-employed… and not because they aren’t qualified. Let’s get a few of those vets in the classroom!
We are almost half way through 2017 and shootings are up, most prominently one targeting a Congressional Republican baseball practice. Many of these, like the baseball practice, were visible suicides. Shooters didn’t study tactical options, select weapons in an attempt to maximize casualties or even determine in advance who was targeted.
Guns were the tools, but something else appears to be going on here. Cries for help, without the option of life after the event. The vitriol of the 2016 Presidential election, or a culture of violence in this country might take the blame, but a general economic malaise along with a new nastiness for the person you are passing in the street…
Smile at someone today. Bring some cookies to a neighbor. Provide some employment advice. Let’s turn this around. In any event, the game goes on!
Congress has been working on a law to prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from adding a veteran to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system without involving a judge or other “due process” step. A group of senior officers from all services (united in an organization called “Veterans Coalition for Common Sense”) oppose the bill.
Officers like the ones testifying thought it was too risky for many contractors to carry a firearm in Iraq in the mid-2000’s. DOD hadn’t done a good job of establishing a status of forces agreement, so there was no legal response for a contractor misusing a firearm. Rather than fix the status of forces agreement, many contracts simply denied employees access to a weapon. Problem solved, except for the contractors who were seized and beheaded due to this policy. I worked under such a contract and chose to return to the US after spending six months “at risk.”
The generals and admirals are asserting that a concerned mental health professional or VA bureaucrat should have the authority to revoke a veteran’s 2d Amendment rights, in the event the bureaucrat thinks the veteran can’t manage his own finances or is otherwise mentally unstable. The argument: such issue reveals a veteran is “mentally defective” and shouldn’t be allowed a firearm.
I have been witness to senior officers talk about “priviledges,” not “rights,” in many cases addressing activities that private citizens cannot be denied without due process. While I agree a health professional who believes a patient is at risk to him/herself or others, should be able to initiate an efficient process to remove such risk, revocation of a right isn’t a trivial step. A magistrate MUST be involved, whether the patient is a veteran or not, whether care is received from VA or not.
I’d argue the reason for our high suicide rates among service and former service members isn’t ready access to firearms. What is the reason, you ask? The existing law (called Uniform Code of Military Justice) gives too much authority to the military bureaucracy, much as these officers are suggesting for the Veterans Affairs here. Due process means people are treated with an objective of fairness under the law, not bureaucratic convenience or “needs of the unit.” Common sense does not cavalierly disregard hard earned freedoms for the very men and women who gave up many of those freedoms to defend us.