For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. – Newton’s Third Law of Motion
Newton’s Third Law
Isaac Newton was a physicist, not much devoted to the study of human behavior, but I find his Third Law of Motion to be more and more applicable to my social and political “opposite reactions.” To wit: Every time I encounter a “gun rights” action by the National Rifle Association, I react by moving farther into the “gun control” camp.
The most recent action-reaction incident was precipitated by a posting – a re-posting, actually – of an illustration that I believe came from the bowels of the NRA political lobbying division. To my dismay, this re-posting was by a former student of mine who had several gun safety and shooting lessons under my tutelage with the Luther College Shooting Sports Club a few years ago.
The illustration, at top, is a representation of a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic hunting rifle in .22 Long Rifle caliber. A common and reliable rifle for small game hunting, this illustrated 10/22 was in “factory” configuration with a standard wooden stock, open sights, and a 10-round magazine. Immediately below it was an illustration of a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic with numerous post-market devices to convert it to assault rifle appearance: pistol grip, folding butt stock, 50-round magazine, barrel shroud, laser sight, quick-release magazine lever – all in the familiar matte black color that has given the “black guns” segment of the arms industry its nickname.
The illustration has a caption: “It’s the same gun!” It then goes on to say that in both squirrel rifle and assault rifle configurations this gun is exactly the same, so of course if there are any restrictions placed on ownership of assault rifles, why your old squirrel rifle will be illegal too!
This is a frequent and disingenuous claim of the NRA, people who allege to be small arms experts and yet insist there is no way to distinguish between, say, a Remington 1100 semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun and an FAL semi-automatic 7.62mm military rifle. That is a blatant falsehood, but the NRA is not interested in accurate and honest discourse about responsible gun ownership and use, it is only interested in political lobbying and advocacy for firearms manufactures, who donate a lot of money to the NRA for these services.
(Actually, the NRA is interested in only one thing: the NRA. That is not my observation; it is that of Aaron Zelman, founder of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership, a zealous “gun rights” organization.)
For those naïve enough to accept the “it’s the same gun” deceit, let me point out one significant difference (at least to me) between these two rifles:
If you come to my farm and ask to hunt, and you have a Ruger 10/22 squirrel rifle, you will be given permission to hunt.
If you come to my farm and ask to hunt, and you are carrying the assault rifle version of a 10/22, you will not be given permission to hunt. In fact, you will be immediately ordered to leave the property and not return.
That is because someone’s choice of an assault-style rifle tells me something about his values and his character. I know immediately that this person is not a hunter, he is a shooter. Hunting is an honorable and noble venture that should be pursued with gear and guns that evidence knowledge of and respect for the sport’s history, traditions and ethic. Black guns make a mockery of the essence and ethos of hunting.
So, in my experience, do the owners of black guns, especially the one who, having failed to shoot a deer with his “home defense” shotgun, decided to use it to pulverize one of my wooden fence posts. Until that incident I was somewhat ambivalent about black gun owners. I offer him a hearty “well done!” for resolving my doubts. That equal-and-opposite-reaction law again.
I perceive that I am not alone in my loathing of black guns, weapons that have but one true purpose: to terrify and/or kill people. Despite rambling and pernicious statements by “gun rights” advocates, these guns are not appropriate for hunting or target shooting. The sole function of a black gun is to kill people; “gun rights” advocates like to refer to this as “home defense” and “self-defense.”
The tragedy for us hunters is that, thanks to the NRA, a growing majority of people are fearful of and opposed to all guns. Kudos to the black guns industry and its advocates, I suppose, for their success in convincing Americans that there is no real difference between a squirrel rifle and an assault rifle. The reaction they hoped for has gone astray, however. Their ludicrous promotion of assault rifles and handguns has not made people accept the legitimacy of ALL guns, it has made people oppose the legitimacy of ANY gun.
As a consequence, when hunters ask permission for access to land, we more frequently hear the response “We don’t allow guns on our property.” This is not much of an issue for me in my senior years. The misfortune is that my grandchildren will be denied this honorable and noble sport that has been important in my life.
Don’t bother to express your concern about this to the NRA. If you investigate, you will learn the NRA does not give a bucket of cold spit about hunting. Or even about shooting, really. Check out the number of NRA-sponsored shooting ranges in your area. You can find none? No surprise.
The NRA is only interested in promoting the interests of gun manufacturers – the sale of guns. If you have a gun safe full of them, especially black guns, they have succeeded. If you have no place to hunt or shoot, that’s not their problem.
Another thing that is not their problem? The increase in firearm homicides, virtually the only violent crime statistic that is going up every year. If you, like me, have a wife and son who teach in public schools, you live every day with the fear they and their students could be killed by someone who is an apostle of the black gun culture. Twenty-two first grade students murdered in five minutes with an assault rifle is small collateral damage, in the eyes of the “gun rights” advocates.
To convince me, someone who has owned and hunted with guns his entire adult life, to call for a ban on the sale of black guns, that reaction has required an incredible (and incredibly wrong-headed) series of actions by the NRA.
Congratulations, NRA! You have proved Mr. Newton’s theorem.