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Opinion: Can We at Least Make it a Little Harder to Get Killed in America?

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A lot of noise is being made about how Connecticut has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country, and therefore gun control is simply pointless, so let's just sell them at 711, but when Americans say "gun control," we mean "gun inconvenience." We mean "gun paperwork." We mean "filling out gun forms." We mean "waiting a couple of days, or maybe a few hours."

And in some of the really "strict" states, we mean "getting fingerprinted." That isn't gun control. That's the process that they use to hire people at the UPS Store. And if you happen to live in one of the many states where the "gun show loophole" is still wide open, you can get a handgun, shotgun or rifle without bothering with any of that.

And why limit yourself to handguns, shotguns or rifles? If you have a hankering for something big and bad, you can legally purchase a fully functioning machine gun in 41 states, provided that it isn't a new one. But since the Russians dumped tens of millions of AK-47s on every third world country that said they knew a guy who might have read Karl Marx once, finding a used AK isn't any trouble at all.

All it takes is money, a clean record, and some paperwork, and you'll be protecting the sweet living hell out of your freedoms at 10 rounds a second. If you like guns but noise bothers you, why not buy a silencer? Those are also legal to own in 41 states.

Of course, you probably don't need a machine gun or a silencer. As recent events have shown, a semi-automatic rifle or handgun can be just as effective. But isn't it nice to know that you could buy one if you wanted to? I sleep much easier just thinking about it.

Bear in mind, an AK-47 is an "assault rifle," and not an "assault weapon." Those are different things entirely. An assault rifle has a multiple round clip that is capable of firing in sustained bursts, and these are illegal in the United States, except where they absolutely are not illegal, which is pretty much everywhere in the United States. (See above.)

An "assault weapon" is a rifle that looks just like an assault rifle, but is only capable of firing in semi-automatic mode, which means that it fires as fast as you can pull the trigger. So the logic here is that an "assault rifle" is more dangerous than an "assault weapon," which is a distinction that means positively diddly.

The M-1 Garand was the first semi-automatic "assault weapon," and we used that to win World War II. A semi-automatic rifle seems perfectly dangerous to me. But whatever. It's either a little paperwork or a lot, and you can have whichever one you want. Your choice.

So yeah, this is what passes for "gun control" here.

Can we at least make it a little harder to get killed in America? I suppose that's the question that I have in the wake of the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut. And the shopping mall in Oregon. And the immigration center in upstate New York. And the army base (for God's sake) in Texas. And the movie theater in Colorado. And the multi-town rampage in Alabama. And the church in Knoxville. And the Temple in Wisconsin. And the supermarket parking lot in Arizona. And the nursing home in North Carolina. And the college in California. And the hair salon in California. And the sign company in Minnesota. And the IHOP in Nevada. And the beer distributor in Connecticut. And all the people in ones and twos day in and day out.

Could we at least make people burn a few more calories in order to get their hands on something that serves no other function but to kill a lot of people in a short amount of time? I'm not talking about bolt-action deer rifles, and I'm not talking about revolvers, and I'm not talking about shotguns, and everybody knows that I'm not.

The argument is that "guns don't kill people, people kill people," but guns allow you to kill in the American fashion, which is with as much convenience and as little effort as possible. They aren't going to go away, and it would be stupid of us to try to ban them. But can we start using a little common sense in what we make available to the public? I cannot for the life of me think of any scenario that would happen in the United States where Joe Citizen would need an AK-47, or a knock off of an M-16, or a pistol with 33 rounds in the magazine.

But I guess that's the way it is, huh? Oh well. At least bullet-proof vests are just as easy to get as guns. Maybe we should all start buying those. I'm sure that's a compromise that the NRA would love.