If you read this blog regularly you may have noticed that there is no image at the top and there’s a good reason for that.  What I have to say isn’t cute or funny…it’s very serious and I don’t want to be distracted by an image.

A little less than 48 hours ago a terrible tragedy occurred in Aurora, Colorado, about 10 miles north of my house.  As I write this 12 people are dead, 58 others are wounded.  Of the wounded, at least 6 are still in critical condition and fighting for their lives.  All this caused by a lone gunman who was dedicated to his task.  Remember that, we’ll come back to it later.

As with the recent devastating fires in Colorado, the community and the state have  come together and risen up to demonstrate all the best qualities of the human condition.  I expect stories of heroism will be coming soon as well they should.  I’m sure it took great feats of heroism to keep the death toll at 12 so far.  And I’ll be moved and proud of my fellow man when I hear them.

But it never should have happened.

There is a lot of rhetoric being tossed around right now about gun control.  No surprise there, the anti-gun faction comes out every time there is a tragedy like this.  Some of their points make sense and are legitimate concerns and some I definitely disagree with but there is one thing that I’ve been thinking about for quite some time now.

It’s been reported that the shooter was dressed in full riot gear..Kevlar vest, kevlar leggings, ballistic helmet and face shield, throat and crotch protectors.  He carried a Glock 40 pistol, a Colt AR15 rifle, and a shotgun and there was another handgun in his vehicle.  Estimates range from 1000 to 3000 rounds of ammunition and he had a 100 shot drum magazine for the AR as well as high-capacity magazines for the Glock.  And there’s the problem.

I am a gun owner, though I haven’t bought a new weapon in a long time.  I also spent some time in the late 80’s running the gun department for a local sporting goods store.  I’m not presenting this information to brag but to make the point that I know a little about weaponry.  I believe strongly in the Second Amendment and I will give up my guns when they scatter my ashes to the wind.  But all of my weapons and all the weapons I believe we as Americans should be allowed to own fit in one of 2 categories.  They are either sporting arms or for home and personal protection.  The AR15 and to a lesser degree the high-capacity mags for the Glock don’t fit into either of these categories.

The AR15 comes from the factory as a semi-automatic weapon.  For those of you that don’t know, a semi-auto can be fired rapidly but you have to release the trigger after every shot to continue firing.  No problem, right?  Well yeah…unless you go to a gun show or the web and purchase a quick and easy conversion kit to make the thing fully automatic.  That means once you depress the trigger the weapon will continue firing until you release the trigger or run out of ammunition.  And the auto fire rate of a converted AR15 is roughly 200 rounds per minute.  Can someone please explain to me why a citizen, someone not in law enforcement, or not in the military needs that kind of firepower?  Planning on being charged by a herd of crazed rabbits?  Attacked by 20 or 30 coyotes?  The .223 round is a flat shooting accurate round but doesn’t have the shocking power to drop anything in much larger than a big dog or a small deer…or a human being which is what the weapon was designed to be used on.  It’s a people killer, plain and simple.  There is no legitimate reason for a citizen to own one.

And how bout the body armor this cretin was wearing?  I’ll use the same argument here.  I can’t think of one legitimate reason a citizen should be allowed to purchase that kind of gear.  Law enforcement and military, absolutely.  But there is no earthly reason for my neighbor to get dressed in Kevlar from head to toe.  Unless, of course, they are going to commit a crime and don’t want to die which is exactly what happened in Aurora.

There will be a lot of anti-gun discourse in the coming days and weeks and as a gun owner I will disagree vehemently.  Banning all guns is simply not the answer.  But when you get around to AR15’s, AK47’s, and other assault weapons and 100 round magazines for them, when you start talking about banning all sales of body armor to non-military and non-law enforcement, then I’ll be right there with you.  Those things have no place in the general population.  It’s taken me a long time to arrive at this conclusion but after Friday morning I’m there.

They say that a lone gunman with dedication to his purpose can’t be stopped.  But by removing assault weapons and body armor from the general population maybe, just maybe the damage they can do will be limited.

You’ve seen the old bumper sticker:  You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold dead fingers.  For the most part I agree with this.  But if you want to limit public access to military style weapons and body armor, I’m in.

Please keep the Aurora victims and their families in your prayers.