Opinion: The latest gun regulation bill is nothing to cheer about

The legislation resembles the timid movements of a couple of 6-month old children…

  • By Rodger Painter
  • Tuesday, June 28, 2022 10:47pm
  • Opinion

By Rodger Painter

While I, like most Americans, am happy to see Congress finally taking a step forward on gun regulation, the legislation resembles the timid movements of a couple of 6-month old children I’ve recently been privileged to observe trying to crawl and walk.

My roots in Alaska go back as far as humans have walked these shores. At 75, I have lived my life in the “gun culture,” but these weapons always were rifles meant to kill meat to eat or, as a commercial fisherman, to protect my livelihood when state and federal laws allowed, and encouraged, the killing of sea lions and seals.

Never would I ever have considered handling a firearm designed to kill human beings, which is what an assault weapon was designed specially to accomplish, and it has proven to be very effective in doing so, as a host of mass shootings has demonstrated.

I enjoyed hunting deer. It was as much as walking the muskeg in the fall and enjoying other animals, environment and friends. I didn’t need to bag a deer, which was rare, but I loved it, but I always ended up with meat donated by fellow hunters who were more successful.

How can an update of gun safety regulations ignore the ability of an 18-year-old to purchase an assault weapon when he or she would be prevented from buying a handgun? The answer is politics, as is the failure of the law to address extended magazines. I wouldn’t want to be in the same area as a hunter who needs an extended magazine to shoot a deer or any other animal I’ve ever hunted.

How brave is a “red flag” law urging states to take the lead? We are enthusiastic about the idea, but it’s up to the states to implement. What kind of leadership is this?

I am a veteran and I have handled weapons of war. Assault rifles, like .50-caliber machine guns, bazookas and other weapons designed to kill people, should be banned for sale to the general public.

The “originalists” on the Supreme Court and in Congress must be reading a different Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution than I am. Here’s the amendment:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

To me the authors were talking about the National Guard in which I served. I think the authors would be alarmed to see how it is being interpreted to allow shooters, including 18-year-olds, to acquire weapons capable of killing many innocent citizens. Two recent shootings involved with lone teenagers armed with assault rifles are startling: Uvalde 21 dead and 18 injured, and Buffalo 10 dead and 13 injured.

I hope that there is another attempt to implement more meaningful curbs on gun violence.

Rodger Painter lives in Juneau.

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