In the September, 2004 issue of Integra there is a letter from Mr. Howard C. Pomeroy in which he advocates "responsible" gun control. Advocacy of such social engineering is at best a red herring that obfuscates the real issues and, more important, the real solutions.
But first, to clarify a misrepresentation regarding the opinion of Charlton Heston regarding private ownership of AK-47 rifles. Mr. Pomeroy wrote "the former NRA President Charlton Heston stated that the AK-47 scared him and that the private possession of an AK-47 was entirely inappropriate." This opinion of Mr. Heston aired May 6, 1997 on KGO-AM (San Francisco) in an interview with Ted Wygant. The three relevant quotes from Mr. Heston are "AK-47's are inappropriate for private ownership, of course," "I just got through telling you. The possession- private possession of AK-47's is entirely inappropriate," and "for any certain time, AK-47s are entirely inappropriate for private ownership". This interview was followed by a letter to NRA board member Col. Bob Brown, dated May 12, 1997 which reads, in part "When I spoke of AK-47 firearms on May 6th, I was talking about the Soviet military rifle -- a fully-automatic, not a semiautomatic, firearm".
As for the question of "responsible" gun control, such well-intentioned enforcement and restrictions harm only those who are no danger to society or anybody who chooses to "responsibly" participate therein. While one could trot out the statistics that demonstrate that gun control can only lead to more crime, I will refrain. The issue at hand boils down to a fundamental philosophical aspect of society and the refusal to enforce a common standard.
Mr. Pomeroy writes "criminals obtain guns at flea markets, street sales and gun shows". One does not become a criminal by purchasing a firearm: one becomes a criminal by committing a crime. Criminals should not be at flea markets or gun shows: criminals should be behind bars or, in the case of the worst kind of criminals, dead. If criminals were locked up - or, better yet, steered clear of a criminal path - then they can not buy weapons or use them in additional crimes. If they have not yet committed a crime, then there should be no restriction on their activities: prior restraint is far more horrible than the alternative.
A society can only be built on symbiotic trust: the population must be able to trust that the government will do the right thing and the government must trust that the population will reciprocate. Prior restraint by the government sends the clear message that society can not be trusted to live their own lives by the dictates of their own conscience, and that a soulless entity that will never have a conscience must fill in the shoes of a squashed Jiminy Cricket.
I am not an avid gun owner or marksman by any means. I once attempted to shoot the atmosphere and missed by a long shot (and have scans of targets that prove that I am pretty bad - available upon request). I do not own a handgun or an "assault" weapon by choice, but it does not bother me in the slightest that others do. In fact, I encourage them to own such weapons: in a perfect world 9 houses out of 10 on my street would have a firearm leaving the local burglar to play Russian roulette. Odds would be in my favor that he'd go find a town where nobody owned anything that posed a risk to him and would make a hasty depart.
But my arguments have nothing to do with the statistics and figures that others debate. My argument is that if somebody breaks into a house, attempts a robbery, rape or murder, it should be perfectly accepted to shot that person dead on the spot. No more criminal buying weapons at flea markets, no more burden to society. The individual who pulled the trigger should be regarded as a defender of society, not the target of prosecutorial harassment or wrongful death lawsuits as commonly happens in England. Not only does this place the badge of responsibility back on the citizenry where it belongs but it eliminates the criminal-as-victim mentality that leads otherwise rational people to seek to make a life of crime as safe and profitable as possible - regardless of the expense in terms of dollars or innocent blood. Those criminals who avoid a justified slug of hot lead should be retained behind bars until they no longer pose a threat to society. The criminals are the problems and the criminals need to be removed from the street.
Mr. Pomeroy states "The problem is how to keep guns from falling into the hands of criminals." Why should the innocent shoulder the burden when greater effort should be taken to ensure that there are no criminals on the street with hands into which a firearm can fall.