An Open Letter to John P. Hansel

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In response to this:

Dear Editor:

The response to my recent Letter to the Editor has been overwhelming. It proves that there is a growing sentiment to ban the manufacture of repeating arms of all types – rifles or pistols.

People don’t care whether we call them “assault”, “automatic”, or “semi-automatic”. They want to see the manufacture of repeating arms stopped and we ought to get that message to the NRA.

There is no question that some target shooters would like to have the convenience of repeating arms but that convenience is far outweighed by the potential destruction those weapons can cause. After all, our young people see it on TV every day.

NRA has claimed, since it’s founding, that we need this personal armament to protect ourselves against our government. I believe the last time that need arose was the rebellion by the army shortly after the Revolution in 1776 when they threatened to march on Washington if they did not receive their back pay.

Isn’t it time to tell NRA this claim is an embarrassment to the average gun owner?

Thanks again for your letter.

John P. Hansel – Keene, NH

Dear Mr. John P. Hansel:
I saw this letter, and your previous one, and I thought I’d take the time as a gun owner to respond. Think of it as another letter from one gun owner to another.
To be honest, I really don’t know what to make of what you’ve said in this letter — or, for that matter, the first letter you sent out. First it was the banning of all semi-auto rifles and now the banning of all semi-auto handguns too? It would seem to me from what you say, it’s a safe bet you don’t even see self-defense as a viable reason to own a gun — unless, of course, you would prefer we carry single-shot rifles instead of, say, Kimber .45s. Surely you’re fully aware that at least one gun manufacturer — Smith & Wesson — makes a seven-shot revolver chambered for the .357 Magnum, which as you may be aware is one of the most effective cartridges out there for defensive purposes; arguably its only equal in autoloading pistol cartridges in terms of ballistics is the 10mm Auto. And as for the seven rounds the revolver in question will hold, that is exactly how many rounds that the Government Model 1911 — probably the most famous autoloading pistol ever made — will hold. As far as the lethality of a semiautomatic pistol versus a revolver, that would seem to me to be a moot issue, all things considered. You don’t have to be a Jerry Miculek to do some serious damage with a revolver. With all due respect, it seems to me you’re willing to sell out the entire gun-owning community to save your own guns, which to me is incredibly short-sighted, not to mention disgustingly selfish. Do you honestly think those who would disarm the people are going to stop with the revolvers, autoloading pistols and autoloading rifles? You really believe they’re going to let you keep that long-range sniper rifle you take deer with?
As for taking up arms against the government — it’s not a pleasant prospect by any means, but it’s one that should always be kept in mind. Governments of men are made up of men. There are those who argue that man’s natural state is one of violence, and the actions of governments against the governed prove this — right up to the turn of the 21st century. Few of us gun owners argue that the presence of arms in the hands of citizens is all that is needed to deter tyranny — but on the other hand, how comfortable would YOU feel going into the woods to hunt down a bunch of good ole boys from Texas or Tennessee with bolt-action Remington 700s in .30-06 who have, in addition to an ironclad determination to retain their freedom and control of their destiny, plenty of experience taking their four-legged critter of choice from hundreds of yards away and a much better knowledge of the terrain than you? They might not be able to stop a government bent on tyranny, but the smart money says they would surely be able to make it a fat lot more costly to the agents of said tyranny. You might think such a position is an embarrassment to average gun owners, but I read something not long ago that makes me think otherwise

“I have spent a lot of time since the early days of the Clinton Administration considering the Founders’ concepts of the deterrence of tyranny by the armed citizenry from the perspectives of philosophy, history, strategy and tactics. The catalyst for all this reflection was, of course, the twin menaces of the increasing Clintonista proscriptions of firearms rights (Brady and the Assault Weapons Ban) and the massacre of the Branch Davidians at Waco. The subsequent failure of the Republican congress and the courts to do anything substantive about either threat– legislative tyranny or rogue bureaucracy– led many of us to conclude that we had now entered a time when we could only count on ourselves to maintain our liberties.
“The Law of Unintended Consequences decreed that there would be two unexpected results of this Clintonista constitutional misbehavior. The first was the importation and sale within a few months of several millions of semi-auto rifles (principally SKS and AK-variants) into the U.S. This was in anticipation of, and defiance of, the so-called ‘Assault Weapons Ban.’ Indeed, this was more rifles of these types than had been sold in the previous TWENTY YEARS. And it was in a political climate where it was fully expected that the next law would call for the confiscation of such weapons. Why, then, did this massive arming take place? Were we buying these rifles merely to turn them over later? When the Clintonistas realized that we were not buying these rifles to turn them in, but to turn ON THEM if they became even more threatening to our liberties, it gave them considerable pause. I am told the analysts in the bowels of the J. Edgar Hoover building were particularly impressed.”

Say what you will, but Mike Vanderboegh, the author of the piece, makes a valid point. I know I would surely not lay down hundreds of dollars for a firearm in anticipation of a confiscation order without preparing some kind of resistance, and there is little doubt that I am not the only one. Whether those who were buying those SKSs and AKs constitute the “average gun owner” of which you speak is really neither here nor there. What really matters is what such actions show, which is that there are still more than a few of us who still believe there are things worth fighting and dying for. And personally, I would think the real embarrassment to the average gun owner is the positions of people such of yourself who naively assume they’re not going to take your deer gun. I think the words of gun blogger Geek With A .45 are just about right here:

“If you own a duck gun or a deer rifle, and see nothing wrong with the ‘Assault Weapons Ban’, I remind you that the Second Amendment is of sober and serious purpose that is not about your trivial right to entertain yourself with sports shooting.
“When they come for your duck gun, my battle rifle and I won’t be there to help you, because at that point, I either won’t have a battle rifle, or it’s shards will have been buried with me.
“And if that came to pass because you were sitting on your ass, you won’t deserve any help either.”

Something to think about, Mr. Hansel, the next time you so willingly throw fellow gunnies under the bus in a selfish attempt to save your own “trivial right to entertain yourself with sports shooting.”
As far as this “growing sentiment” to ban semiautomatic firearms — with all due respect, have you been hiding under a rock? You’re probably an outdoorsman — does the name Jim Zumbo ring a bell? You remember, the Outdoor Life writer who ended up losing his job for calling AR- and AK- type rifles “terrorist rifles”? Do you know just WHY Zumbo lost his job, Mr. Hansel? Because more than a few people who owned those “terrorist rifles” were made aware of his remarks and told his sponsors — Remington Arms, Gerber, Hi-Mountain Seasonings, Mossy Oak, and Cabela’s — and Outdoor Life that if they didn’t dump Zumbo, they would be facing a boycott. Remington was the first, and two days later, Zumbo resigned from Outdoor Life after some 45 years as a hunting writer. Impressive indeed — but even more so considering that Zumbo penned the offending blog post on the Friday afternoon of President’s Day weekend, when most of the folks in the offices of his sponsors were out and wouldn’t be back until probably Tuesday morning. As it turned out, though, Remington ditched Zumbo on Monday morning, President’s Day, with the others following suit in the coming days. Honestly, I haven’t a clue where this “growing sentiment” of which you speak is coming from, other than the halls of Handgun Control, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the Violence Policy Center and other like-minded imbecilic organizations. Which is really to be expected, I guess, but in any event, I’d like to think that if you call the NRA and tell them we should push for another Ban on Weapons That Look Scary, they’d collapse in fits of hysterical laughter just before they hung up. Which is just as it should be.


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