J.C. Moore Online
Current Events from a Science Perspective

Science and the Second Amendment

My qualifications. You may think the title is unusual,  but science is about using observation and reason to understand the world.  I think some reason is needed in the Second Amendment debate.  I have some qualifications as I grew up in Oklahoma where camouflage is the unofficial state color and most everyone owns a gun, or two, or more. I own several and have hunted and shot targets since I was old enough, that’s 12 in my family. My dad thoroughly trained me in gun safety and I was warned if I ever violated a safety rule, I would be 21 before I ever touched another gun. I have  known many gun owners who are fine men  and women and I was an NRA member back in the days when it encouraged marksmanship, sportsmanship and gun safety.  The observations   are  significant events  chosen to illustrate that recent attempts to remove some restrictions on gun laws may be a bad idea.

Humorous Observations. I’ve observed a lot of use and misuse of guns in my life. For instance, I have a neighbor who shoots his AK-47 off his back porch into the lake. He doesn’t have a proper backstop and there are at least 20 houses in range of a ricochet. I’ve talked to him about that and the disturbance but he insists it’s his right and perfectly legal. I’m not sure that’s so as neither the bullets nor the noise stop at the edge of his property, but it’s not a good idea argue too much with a man holding an AK-47. I’ve learned to adapt, though I feel a little conspicuous wearing my orange hat when I go for a walk or work in the yard. I’ve noticed that guns tend to boost people’s egos, which might be a good thing. But it also seems to make some people feel invincible and take chances a reasonable person wouldn’t take. Some of my neighbors recently marched on Washington with their guns to “take back our country”. They either trust the government more than they let on or they have lost it. The government has tanks and planes and nuclear weapons.

Not so Humorous Observations. In Nevada recently, a Sheriff’s Deputy and National Guardsman just back from Afghanistan, was called to check on a domestic disturbance. He was gunned down as he stepped from his patrol car by a man wielding an assault rifle. Last year, two deputies in a small town in Oklahoma went to serve a man a warrant for a minor offense. The man opened up on them with an automatic rifle as they stood at the door, killing both and wounding a passerby across the street. A witness said the shots came too fast to count so I looked up the rifle. The ad says it is not good for hunting but might be useful for self-defense or to take to work.   Those officers never had a chance. In my hometown, a man got upset by an editorial a woman wrote in the local paper. He bought a handgun at the local pawnshop and the owner showed him how to load it and fire it. He then went to the cafe where the woman worked and shot her dead right in front of all the customers.

Politics. Unfortunately, the 2nd amendment has become a hot political issue and some of our politicians have used it to the limit – and then some. If one politician wants to allow concealed carry, another will see that and raise him an open carry, and another will up that by an open carry in bars. An important rule of gun safety is that guns and alcohol don’t mix. The Oklahoma Legislature has topped all that by passing a bill exempting the state from Federal gun laws. The Governor vetoed the bill and the override attempt failed, but the sponsors have vowed to keep trying – at least until the next election. A legislator who is a former state trooper, says that it is a “bad, bad, bill that will make law enforcement in Oklahoma a very dangerous job”. He’s right. The supporters must have forgotten that Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist who blew up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was stopped for a traffic violation but was held when the patrolman noticed he had a concealed  handgun loaded with Black Talon ammunition. McVeigh was still in jail when they traced the bombing to him.

Rights. We are guaranteed our Second Amendment rights and no one is really trying to take those away. While considering our gun rights, we need to also consider the rights and safety of our peace officers and our citizens. Registration of handguns, background checks, safety training, and a cooling off  period for buying handguns seem to be good ideas. No one really needs to own an assault rifle, high capacity clips, or bullets designed to  penetrate an officer’s safety vest. If we truly respect our officers, we will give them the regulations they need to prevent crime and have some safety in their work. Other amendments, such as the First Amendment, have reasonable restrictions to insure public safety and  protect the rights of others. It should be no different for gun rights.

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  1. Sarah Palin rouses NRA convention with call to protect gun rights | Tea Says:

    […] Science and the Second Amendment | J.C. Moore Online […]

  2. Patrick Says:

    There are 80 million gun owners in the US and 250 million guns. Most hunting rifle calibers will penetrate a police officer’s protective vest. There are over 20 thousand laws on the books in the US dealing with the restriction of firearms both in usage and ownership.

    The tiny fraction of gun owners that you personally know do not reflect the attitudes and beliefs of most gun owners. As a science teacher you should know when you are dealing with a statistically valid data set. Regards, Patrick

  3. admin Says:

    Thanks for your comment. The observations I used are anecdotal evidence and do not provide a general proof. They are a small sample of what I have observed in my life and are significant events chosen to illustrate that recent attempts to remove some of the restrictions on gun ownership and use may be a bad idea. I know many gun owners who are fine men and all those laws are there for the few who aren’t.

  4. Citizen of the Republic of America Says:

    Cop killer bullets? That pretty much covers every caliber out there! Seriously, that media hyperbole is just that. Any bullet can be lethal, body armor or not. I really wish people would stop spreading ignorant myths about “cop killer bullets”.

  5. admin Says:

    “cop killer” is not an AP bullet but it is the nickname for a Black Talon bullet, a particularly soft nosed bullet, designed to do the maximum damage on impact. That was certainly McVeigh’s reason for having it and the patrolman very likely could have been a victim of it if he hadn’t noticed the concealed weapon under McVeigh’s jacket.

  6. RKBA Says:

    Jeeze, what a maroon. You are no more a scientist than Daffy Duck is President of the United States. Oh, wait . . . .

  7. admin Says:

    Actually, I am light tan and I have good credentials in science. My point was that some reason needs to be applied to the 2nd Amendment debate and I appreciate your comment.

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  9. Pabitra Says:

    Interesting read and thanks J.C.
    I am not really aware about US gun laws but heard that no statesman in his right mind will ever attempt to take away the guns from an average US citizen. The right to possess a gun may be a cultural thing possibly because it is very difficult to understand the desire and wish of possessing lethal fire arm in a civilized society, at least one that boasts law and order.
    It is also somewhat easy to understand that Guns become necessary when reason does not work.
    The only gun that I ever handled was a Holland and Holland double barrel breach loading .375 magnum from my family heirloom. I neither wish to possess one nor want to fire one ever in my life.

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