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story.lead_photo.caption Richard Mason

Well, yeah, I’m going to dive into the gun control deep water, and here’s a heads up: I was 8 when I received my first gun, a Mossberg .20 gauge bolt action, three shot clip, and, four years later, a Browning Sweet 16.

Along the way, toward college, I acquired a .22 rifle and a .22 pistol. When I headed to the university, I took them with me, and when I checked into Razorback Hall, carrying my guns, with a pistol tucked in my belt, a faculty member opened the dorm door for me.

So don’t try to paint me as a liberal, anti-gun activist. That won’t fly.

I’ve spent more time in the woods and on Arkansas lakes and rivers than 95 percent of the folks who are whining about someone trying to take away their guns and Second Amendment rights.

Okay?

Now, let’s look at a key part of the problem, and the problem is not Richard carrying guns into Razorback Hall.

It’s really very simple: It is allowing guns that are designed strictly for the purpose of killing as many people as possible in the shortest period of time to be in the hands of someone who wants to terrorize a school, concert or a city street. That deranged person’s goal is to create havoc and kill as many people as possible.

That’s the problem, and certain guns are a key part of the problem.

Of course, if you are in a Special Forces Squad trapped in a Middle Eastern remote village and are about to be overrun by 50 ISIS fighters, a gun that will kill as many of the terrorists as possible in the shortest amount of time is the weapon you want to have in your hands.

However, that same weapon in the hands of a school terrorist almost guarantees a huge number of innocent causalities. When a gun is capable of firing an astounding number of high caliber rounds in a very short period of time and the person using the gun is intent upon killing as many people as possible, you can insert the name of all the school massacres and that weapon is 90 percent of the problem.

Remove that weapon from the mix and you reduce the number of deaths.

All guns are designed with a use in mind, and shotguns and other weapons of that nature are designed to kill small game. Of course, rifles that are used for deer hunting are made with that in mind.

Weapons that are made to kill people have two different identifying characteristics. They are automatic, rapid fire, enabling the shooter to inflict has much damage as possible on the human target or targets, and the ammunition is of sufficient caliber to do as much physical damage to that target as possible. That’s why there are so many causalities. The high caliber, specially designed rounds to kill, rip into the human body, and what would be a minor flesh wound with a .22 caliber bullet becomes a fatal shot when the round comes from a military weapon.

If we are honest with our evaluation of the problem, we will realize that even with the toughest gun laws imaginable, we can never completely eliminate gun related deaths.

However, we can reduce them.

I know you can hunt deer with an AR-15, but you can also hunt deer with hand grenades.

Yes, I am proposing we eliminate the ownership of weapons specifically designed to kill humans. Those weapons belong in the military, and not in the hand of a mentally ill shooter, and don’t give me the old “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” crap, because that’s the biggest lie in the Second Amendment argument.

Guns that are made with the premise that they will be used to kill humans should be in the hands of the military, and unless we make that a mandate, we will never stop the massacres of our school children. Hunting rifles that haven’t been modified and other weapons used for hunting and sports of that nature can kill, but because of the time it takes to reload, and, if the weapon is not a modified, automatic firing weapon, the deaths in any encounter with a person who is intent upon killing innocent people will drop.

No, the killing of school children won’t stop, but the number of deaths will significantly drop.

After the horrific Sandy Hook School killing of first and second graders in Connecticut, the state enacted some strict gun ownership laws. The gun related deaths dropped dramatically. So that blows the idea that gun control doesn’t work.

Now, a few words to our congressmen and senators: If you can vote against removing military weapons from the hands of the terrorists who kill school children, then you have sold your soul to the NRA, have the spine of a jellyfish and have the blood of hundreds of innocent victims on your hands.

We can’t realistically stop the school shooting, but we can reduce the number of deaths.

Does the Second Amendment give you the unrestricted right to have any weapon?

Can you carry a bazooka or ring your vest with hand grenades, or put howitzers in your front yard or drive a tank through your downtown?

Of course you can’t!

Yes, those weapons are restricted to the military, thank God!

Are your Second Amendment rights more important than the deaths of hundreds of innocent individuals?

What if one of those students were your child?

Richard H. Mason of El Dorado is a syndicated columnist and author and former president of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation and the state Pollution Control & Ecology Commission. He may be reached by email at richard@gibraltarenergy.com.

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