April 03, 2013
How Many Guns Make an Arsenal, and Other Questions for our Time
By David E. Petzal
As our once-great nation continues its descent into lunacy, it behooves us gun owners to take note of the times in which we live and remember that we have New Rules, and that common sense is now as null and void as grammar. This applies to shooters and gun owners to the Nth degree, and woe unto him who is not aware of the new light in which we are seen.
In Maryland, a second-grader was suspended from school for two days for shaping his breakfast Danish into the shape of a handgun and going “Bang, bang.” In the same state, a couple of six-year-olds were suspended when, while playing cops and robbers at recess, they pointed their fingers and said “Bang, bang.” Are Maryland school administrators any nuttier than school administrators in other states? Not that I can see. It could have happened almost anywhere.
In New Jersey, a proud father who had just given his 11-year-old son a .22 LR AR-style rifle for his birthday and posted about it on Facebook was visited not only by the cops (in full SWAT regalia, dad claimed) but by representatives of the state’s child welfare agency. No one had a search warrant, but they nevertheless demanded entrance to the house to inspect how the homeowner stored his firearms. Dad got his lawyer on the phone, and the lawyer told the minions of the law to go away, which they did. Governor Christie ordered a full investigation, after which he ordered an entire roast suckling pig with sides.
In a recent New York Times article (which used the phrase “ammunition bullets” which ranks with President Obama’s “magazine clips”) there was a list of the stuff Adam Lanza had in his mother’s house, possession of which is probably prima facie evidence of being a homicidal whack job. It is enlightening to go down the list and see how much of this stuff I have. Lanza’s gear is listed first, then my comments.
- A bayonet. I have one too, a present from an Army officer who was stationed in Germany.
- Cards from the NRA. Plenty. I’m a Benefactor member and an Instructor, so I have lots of NRA cards.
- Ammo. Yep.
- Guns. Of course.
- Numerous knives. Oh boy.
- Hearing protection. Too late, but I have it.
- Eye protection. Only fools shoot without it.
- Targets. By the ton.
- A spear. Yes indeed. A souvenir of Zululand, 1988.
- Rifle scopes. Numerous.
- Samurai swords. No. The good ones cost a fortune.
- Pieces of paper with miscellaneous writing. Guilty.
- Receipt from shooting range. No. I have a yearly membership.
- I also have camo, and military uniforms which are now way too small.
Which brings us to the definition of “arsenal.” One semi-hysterical newspaper account of the Sandy Hook shooting said that Lanza had access to a “huge arsenal” of guns, and then went on to list five. According to the dictionary, “arsenal” describes a facility for the storage of military weapons, which implies hundreds, or maybe thousands. Five guns is not even a decent collection, much less an arsenal. But to the fevered brain of a civil servant, or a police official, or a reporter, any guns can constitute an arsenal, and cause the cops to come to your door, locked and loaded, and warrantless if need be.
So, with all this in mind and a tip of the hat to Bill Maher, here are New Rules for Gun Owners:
1. Stay the hell off Facebook with your hobby. If you post a photo of your kid dressed in camo, holding what looks like an AR, you deserve whatever happens to you.
2. Remember that public officials follow the primary directives of their profession--cover your ass and protect your job. This means that if they have a choice of throwing your kid out of school for saying “Bang” or coming to your house for a look because your neighbor said you had an arsenal, or not doing same, they will expel your kid and kick in your door.
3. In the 1987 movie The Untouchables, Sean Connery’s character says: “You just fulfilled the first rule of law enforcement: Make sure when your shift is over, you go home alive.” My sympathies are all with the cops on this one. If a call involves guns, they are going to come ready, and don’t count on them having a sense of humor.
4. The people who really, truly, do not like guns or gun owners tend toward hysteria, and what you consider perfectly innocent may put a SWAT team on your doorstep if the hoplophobes get wind of it. Be discreet in all things having to do with firearms.
5. In a country where some people take Joe Biden seriously, any manner of madness is possible.
You have been warned.