Archived Story

Do we need to rethink gun laws?

Published 12:25pm Saturday, December 15, 2012

I’m a hunter.

I hunt birds, deer and, infrequently, other game animals like rabbits, squirrels and wild hogs.

I personally own a number of hunting weapons.

None of them holds more than four shots at any one time.

Most of my shotguns are double-barrels, which only hold two shells at a time. My deer rifles hold four bullets.

In the 35 years I’ve been hunting, it’s been a rare occurrence that I needed more rounds in short order.

Sometimes, when the ducks or dove are coming in fast, I’ve needed to reload quickly. But I do not see any reason that I would ever need more than two shotgun shells at a time and don’t plan on shooting anything but double-barrels – either side-by-sides or over-unders – for the rest of my life.

Deer hunting is a slightly different situation.

All my deer rifles have bolt action and clips that hold three bullets. Including one in the chamber, that’s a total of four shots before reloading.

The vast majority of the time, I’ve harvested deer with a single shot. Several times, it has taken two shots. I’ve never shot more than twice at one deer, mostly because if I hit a tree limb the first time, the deer would disappear into the thick Alabama forest in a blink of an eye. So deer hunting, I’m carrying twice the number of bullets I’d likely need when I have four with me.

I also own four pistols, which hold up to seven shots at a time with the clips I use.

So far, I’ve only shot the pistols at a practice range and at a couple of pests – one copperhead snake and several armadillos.

That’s my experience with guns.

I voted Republican this last election.

I do not pay any attention to the National Rifle Association’s political stances.

I do believe in American’s constitutional right to bear arms.

And, although it will probably cause me some gruff at the hunting camp, I think our country has reached a point where it needs to make some changes in our gun laws.

Yesterday Adam Lanza killed 26 people in Newtown, Conn. He walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School, opened fire with two pistols and an assault rifle, killing 20 children ages 5-10 and six adults before killing himself.

It’s the sixth mass killing in America this year.

On April 2, One L. Goh opened fire in a classroom in Oakland, Calif., killing 7 and injuring 3.

On July 20, James Holmes opened fire in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 and injuring 58.

On Aug. 5, Wade Michael Page opened fire in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., killing 6 and injuring 3.

On Sept. 28, Andrew Engeldinger opened fire in a sign company in Minneapolis, Minn., killing 4 and injuring 4.

On Oct. 21, a shooter in Brookfield Wis., started shooting inside Azana Salon and Spa, killing 3 and injuring 4.

I personally don’t see any reason for the general public to own assault weapons that could hold high numbers of bullets. A ban on assault weapons would not in any way curtail the way that I hunt or the hunting ability of anybody I know. I don’t think it infringes on our rights to bear arms any more than the current restrictions against fully automatic weapons.

I also know that anybody could shove several pistols like those I own into their pockets and do about as much damage as was done in any of those mass killings. So banning assault weapons would not prevent these tragedies.

But it would make a massacre more difficult to accomplish.

That should be America’s response.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.