Community Perspective

Let’s make the country a little safer

I have a request for Rep. Don Young, Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and the Fairbanks community: How about we do something now to make our country just a little safer place for our kids and grandkids?

I’ve been hunting for years, going to the range for years and have a pretty good assortment of firearms in my gun cabinet. So, no, I don’t want to take away your “black rifles,” your assault style rifles. You know, Second Amendment and all that. How about we just turn them into “hunting rifles”?

But, really: 30- or 100-round magazines? Let me quote last year’s migratory bird hunting regulations: “You may not hunt with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (magazines must be ‘plugged’ to hold two shells).”

Most hunters and sportsmen seem to understand that.

If we want to conserve the numbers of ducks and geese available for future hunters, it just doesn’t seem right to go out and flock-shoot those ducks and geese. It doesn’t seem sportsmanlike to shoot more than two or three ducks before the flock flies away, right? And no moose hunter I know feels the need to have more than five in their rifle’s magazine.

But apparently we think it’s OK for the crazed killer to be able to use extended magazines when flock-shooting our little first graders, Jewish folks in their synagogue, blacks in their church, Hispanic people in Walmart, and whites at a country music festival in Las Vegas?

How about we make them pause to reload? Give the rest of us a couple of seconds to do something in an attack like that. I challenge you to go stand next to someone at the rifle range firing off a semi-auto with a 30-round magazine and imagine that you’d have any chance of stopping that before you’d be dead.

On the other hand, if we could again make those extended magazines scarce — limit the easy availability — you know a good many more people will live in subsequent shootings. It might even begin to seem a little less “reasonable” for the demented one to think he can be the guy to gain most notoriety for the record in killing the most people in a mass shooting.

So keep your “assault” rifle but just change it into a hunting rifle. How about no more than five in the magazine? What about that semi-auto handgun? Maybe no more than nine in the magazine? Pick a number, but, please God, at least make the murdering crazy pause to reload.

Consider me a gun owner, gun enthusiast, hunter and taxpaying citizen who’s asking us all to act to restrict availability of these high-capacity magazines. Fun at the rifle range isn’t really a good enough reason to have them at easy access for some nut who goes off the deep end and again and who wants to kill as many of our children as possible.

Tom Hansen lives in Fairbanks.

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