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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

One Tall Voice: Reflections on a trip to the shooting range

Published: December 5, 2008
Section: Opinions

GUNS N' MOSES: Jordan Rothman exercises his right to bear arms with the Brandeis Republicans last Sunday.

GUNS N' MOSES: Jordan Rothman exercises his right to bear arms with the Brandeis Republicans last Sunday.

A few weeks ago, I had a splendid time going to a shooting range with the Brandeis Republicans and several other Brandeis students. That Sunday was only the third time I had ever been shooting and I was a bit nervous. This feeling was added to the fact that the worker at the range only gave us a 90 second tutorial on each weapon we rented and his only safety instruction was to, “keep the gun pointed down range.” Nevertheless, after I had gotten my gear and fired my first shot, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Improving one’s ability to aim and shoot a weapon is an enjoyable affair and makes for a wonderful hobby. Furthermore, the event allowed all who participated to bond with each other and partake in a time-honored American tradition. Shooting a firearm for only the third time in my life also reminded me of my views on weapons.

I’d like to get them on the table, as my delightful experience at that shooting range has substantiated my love and admiration for firearms.

Holding a gun in your hands is an inspiring feeling. You can feel the power that you then posses, and know that your actions must be thought out carefully.

You can understand the trust that the people around you have in your competence and any rational person discovers that this weapon must be used with caution. I am reminded of the NRA saying, “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” which is in fact correct.

Any rational and sane person knows that guns should be used carefully and they should therefore not be denied a weapon as long as the state deems them to be competent. Sure, accidents will always happen, but for the most part, people are smart and knowledgeable about the immense responsibility of owning weapons.

I therefore do not see the right that the government has of limiting the use of guns, just as they have little right to limit the use of automobiles to able people. Once an individual proves to the state through a written exam and driver’s test that they are competent to drive they are allowed to operate vehicles.

Both cars and guns come with great responsibility as each can take a person’s life. So long as a screening process is in place, guns should also not be denied to a responsible and able American citizen.

Furthermore, guns represent a time-honored hallmark of American culture.

From the very early days of the colonies, gun-owners assisted in the common protection. Militias and others with guns helped quell rebellions, stop invasions, and afforded the community many other benefits.

“Home Guards” and other voluntary associations were in full force until World War I, and some forms of these groups are still in operation today.

It may seem unlikely to the modern observer that citizens with guns will be needed, but who can tell? One can never know if they will need a weapon to stop someone from burglarizing their house.

One can never tell if this country will be invaded, and regular citizens are charged with the task of defending the nation. Taking away guns and putting up restrictions on the right to bear arms is therefore not only wrong but somewhat dangerous. It denies citizens their time-honored right to guns and takes away their ability to defend themselves.

I would wager that many people who oppose guns have never fired a shot before in their life. Though they don’t support other people owning and using arms, these individuals have not experienced the awe and responsibility that comes with holding a lethal weapon. This is hypocritical. Before anyone makes a judgment about guns, please go to a range a shoot a couple of shots yourself. The Republicans are even planning on going shooting again next semester and if the F-Board is better to us than they have been in the past, we might even be able to subsidize the cost. Only then can you make a fully informed decision on the issue free from bias or ignorance.

I would also like to note that it is sickening how some states have overly-restricted gun laws. Washington D.C. has severely limited one’s ability to possess a fully-assembled firearm in one’s house, disallowing its use during an emergency. Other jurisdictions have limited the use of assault weapons, handguns and other forms of arms.

Although some regulation and protection is necessary, most handguns and assault weapons should be legal. If citizens needed to take up arms, they should have the best means possible. If someone needed a handgun to stop a robber in a quick moment, they should have their chance.

Although background checks, waiting periods, and other precautions are important, some regulations are completely deleterious as they undermine a citizen’s freedom and right to own arms.

I cannot wait to own a gun or two when I get older. I shall use them not only for sport, but for personal protection and service to my community.

Simply holding a weapon allows the user to feel the immense power and responsibility of the firearm they are carrying. Bad people will get guns despite any efforts to dissuade them and accidents will always happen.

But good and responsible individuals should be allowed to possess weapons, to do otherwise violates a sacred constitutional right and rescinds a valuable service to the community.

And if you can’t get firearms, there is another way to posses “guns.” Just go to the weight room next semester, the new additions are sure to allow the opportunity to indeed bear arms.