Category Archives: Local news

Do Something

Do something … helpful.  Some leaders are advised to “do something” to address a crisis… or address a trend adversely affecting the organization they lead (below, or even around).  I agree analysis paralysis is real, but suggest the gap between someone with a leadership title and responsibility… and someone effective at the job is … they do something helpful, not just… do something.

In the debate between the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution (the right of the individual to keep and bear arms) and gun control, precedent and history require our leadership to do something helpful, not just “do something.”  Revoking an individual’s 2d Amendment right, without due process (and ensuring such due process includes evidence, not some, perhaps irrational, fear) is “doing something,” but not “doing something helpful.”

The primary issue dominating the gun control debate is “protecting our kids.”  The best logical response to this problem is arming appropriate staff/teachers on every campus (three people, perhaps more depending on the size of said campus).   I’ve heard many objections to this solution and I agree:  we ought not arm every teaching professional or even some without care.  But there are plenty of educators… teachers and school administrators… who are highly proficient in the safe handling of a firearm, either from military experience (some 7 million Americans are Gulf War era veterans, to get a snapshot of the scope of American firearms proficiency) or a serious firearm hobby.

Although I’m not going to argue against a training regimen for armed staff, established at the local level, I’m largely against adding substantial training requirements to a teacher or administrator’s already jammed schedule.   I’m not suggesting teachers or staff be allowed to wear a pistol on the hip or lay a rifle on a table:  discretely stored and secured firearm within easy access for each authorized staff is what I recommend.  Firearms aren’t for confronting a belligerent  student… even a student with a knife or swinging a chair.  A firearm is for confronting an active shooter, and each school requires a tactical analysis and communication system for ensuring armed staff can respond quickly and effectively to an active shooter situation.

The latest uproar regarding gun legislation was triggered in Virginia Beach, where a government employee using a suppressed 45 caliber pistol and rifle with high capacity magazine to kill 12 (at this writing) and wound several others in a spree that led to an extended firefight with police.  Arming staff at a school won’t protect all government employees across the United States of America, and the renewed conversation regarding suppression devices and high capacity magazines serves to educate the larger public regarding existing (rather stringent) regulation.

I once owned a 45 caliber pistol that came “off the shelf” with threading at the end of the barrel for a suppressor.  Always liked the idea of adding to my comfort when shooting my pistol with a suppressor, but never had discretionary cash to complete a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms application to obtain one.  I’ve since sold that pistol… miss it, but imagine at some point I will replace it with a semi-auto pistol to enjoy modern enhancements on a newer model … and perhaps a suppressor.  We’ll see. 

I also once owned a 6.5 Creedmoor semi-auto rifle that I purchased so my daughter might enjoy hunting with me—lower recoil of a semi-auto weapon in this caliber was the draw.  The rifle came with a 20-round magazine… I bought several 10-round magazines (probably don’t need higher capacity for hunting deer) and another 20-round magazine.  I was offered a “hi-capacity” 40 round magazine (generally anything over 20 rounds is considered “hi-capacity”) but laughed with the gun store staff about the response of police in some places I’ve lived (“lay the magazine on the ground and put your hands on your head!!!”), when opting out of that purchase.  In my assessment, such magazine laws are silly, even stupid.  The Virginia beach shooter had a 45 pistol (at least 7 round magazine, probably 10) to go with his rifle… a thirty round magazine for the rifle didn’t materially affect the outcome there, and I’d suggest rarely affects the outcome in these kinds of shootings.

How can we endorse more stringent restrictions on suppressors, or magazines, than already exist?  Just as I can’t endorse much of the legislation under consideration in Virginia that just “do something.”  We need to do something helpful—and arming staff and teachers is that something. 

See my blog here (or my book here) for more about my recommendations.

Loudoun Firearms Restrictions

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.

Loudoun County Supervisors BR: LeTourneau, Higgins, Saines, Meyer, Buffington. FR: Volpe, Buona, Randall, Umstattd

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.

You can find existing regulation here.

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.