So You Want To Buy A Gun
Badtux talked guns this past week, and looked at the usefulness of various weapons.
I was trained on the M-16, the fully automatic version of the AR-15, both in the military and at the police academy. The military doesn’t issue the M-16 any more, they issue the M-4 which has a three round burst mode instead of fully automatic. Not even the military could justify full auto as anything but a waste of ammo. I hated the weapon. My small arms ribbon is for the .38 caliber revolver, not the M-16. Having fired rifles for some time before I entered the military I could not adjust to the straight-back stock and sights of the M-16 to fire consistent patterns. I could instinctively fire a normal rifle or handgun, but I had to think about the M-16.
I fully agree with Badtux on a shotgun for defensive purposes. I have a Remington 870 with a 20-inch barrel that should make any sane person on the wrong end decide they are in the wrong place. For those who don’t take the hint, one round of 12-gauge will settle the issue even if they are wearing soft body armor. The important thing is, do not own a gun unless you know you will use it if pushed. If you can’t use it, you are arming the bad guys.
Let’s say that you want to embrace the spirit of the Second Amendment and be ready to serve in a militia if required. There is a very good alternative to the piece of garbage AR-15 – the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, usually just called the Garand. It is an auto-loader, but it is chambered for the Springfield 30-06 round which is effective for deer hunting and has a much longer range, and the internal magazine is limited to 8 rounds. It was good enough to be the standard infantry weapon in World War II and Korea, so it has valid use as dual purpose militia weapon.
While most people have been fixated on the shooting in Newtown, for personal reasons I have been following the Christmas Eve ambush of volunteer firefighters in Webster, New York. Webster is on the shore of Lake Ontario just East of Rochester in Monroe County, New York. I went through the police academy with an officer from the Webster PD, who will have retired by now, and I remember the Spengler murder in 1980.
William Spengler beat his grandmother to death with a hammer. He was given a deal that had him plead guilty to Manslaughter in the First Degree. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison and served 17 years before he was granted parole.
Early on the morning of Christmas Eve, Spengler killed his sister, and then set fire to the family car and house. He then went to hill with an AR-15, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a revolver to await the arrival of the fire department. He intended to have the fire spread to the other houses on the street.
He killed two firefighters, and wounded two others before he was flushed from his firing position by arriving police officers. He then took his own life with the revolver.
I still have members of my extended family in the area, and while the number of dead isn’t as great as Newtown, I know the area, and it is closer to my personal space.
When I heard about it my first thought was that whoever provided Spengler with those firearms would be located, and would find themselves in major trouble. Spengler was convicted of a violent class B felony, he not only couldn’t purchase a weapon, he would have gone to prison for “possessing” a weapon. If a surveillance video had been seen of Spengler handling a firearm at the counter at Walmart, he would have been charged with a felony. The weapon didn’t have to be loaded, and he didn’t have to possess it for long to be eligible for three years in prison.
Tonight CNN reported that a neighbor has been arrested for buying the AR-15 and shotgun for Spengler. She is facing Federal criminal charges.
They are still looking for the source of the handgun, and they aren’t apt to give up.