October 2000

Odds and Ends

Gary Anderson, a gold-medal smallbore shooter, former Atlanta Olympic shooting venue manager, and now director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program in Port Clinton, Ohio, wrote recently to say, “I noted a comment in your July Gun Tests editorial about the shut-down of the U. S. Army Reserves Pistol and Rifle Teams. When the USAR Pistol Team left the National Matches, they thought they were turning in their equipment for the last time. By the time the Service Rifle Team was ready to leave, the decision had been reversed and USAR Teams were back in business.”

Anderson said the proposed shutdown of the teams was done strictly as a cost-cutting move and was not driven by any higher political agenda. “The surprisingly fast reversal tends to affirm that,” he added.

More problematic, he said, is the impact that California’s new “assault weapons” legislation is having on service rifle shooting. “The registration of currently owned service rifles, the ban on sales, and the prohibition against any juniors even touching these rifles in California will make it very difficult for traditional service rifle target shooting to continue in that state,” he said.

I’m glad the reserve teams are back in business, and I regret that high-power shooters in California are steadily losing their gun-ownership rights. If Golden State gunowners don’t watch it, it won’t be long before they have to register their slingshots.

Of course, gun-confiscators have passed the California restrictions based partly on the “reducing crime” argument. But researcher John R. Lott Jr., the author of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, has demonstrated that gun-control laws often contribute to crime instead of controlling it. But is the message getting out—even to those near and dear to us?

Apparently not, according to Lott. He points out that between 30 and 40 percent more women support gun control than do men. Even when surveys are conducted to determine who actually owns guns in America, married men claim to own guns at about a 30 to 35 percent higher rate than married women report having guns in the home. Either women don’t know the guns are there, or guys say they own guns they don’t, or women don’t want to admit their husbands have guns in the home. Lott’s guess is that the last reason is most likely true.

Women don’t know guns can protect them, rather than threaten them. For us to win the battle to keep our arms, we first have to convince our housemates that guns are good things when used properly.

-Todd Woodard