By LARRY M. JONES
The above title, as many of you will recognize, contains typical commands given by a “range officer” at a designated shooting facility prior to allowing commencement of firing. This officer is responsible for the safe conduct of shooting events, whether at military, public, or private shooting ranges.
In similar fashion, today our entire nation seems to be “readying itself” on both the political right and left in preparation for sending salvos downrange.
After any great tragedy such as the latest school shooting in Connecticut, the liberal politicians use each event as a “battle cry” to outlaw and confiscate firearms, despite prohibition by the Second Amendment. In defense, conservative lawmakers from the Red States like Texas quickly rally to counter this assault on individual rights and freedom. With much of our nation polarized as strongly liberal or conservative, each confrontation becomes more vitriolic.
Growing up in rural Texas over a half century ago, I understood that guns were merely a part of our daily lives, a tool not all that different from a shovel, hammer or an axe. Any of them could be used with deadly efficiency for either evil or constructive purpose, but in those days, inappropriate use was rarely a consideration.
Firearms enthusiasts and hunters across the country have recently been stocking up on both arms and ammunition. We saw a similar thing in 2008 when our current socialist Bureaucrat-in-Chief was first elected, but the recent “run” on firearms, ammunition, and reloading supplies has been without precedent. Sporting goods stores have had their shelves virtually stripped of “assault type” weapons, surplus military rifles, ammunition and reloading supplies. Four years ago there were shortages of shooting supplies, but nothing compared to this recent buying frenzy. I even went online and checked some major suppliers such as Cabela’s, MidwayUSA, Gander Mountain and others where I found that inventories of so-called tactical rifles, ammunition, reloading components and high capacity magazines were essentially non-existent for the foreseeable future.
I have seen it further reported that most all firearms manufacturers have stepped up production to maximum capacity. Ammunition manufacturers are also operating at 100 percent capacity, utilizing all available ammunition components (bullets, powder or primers). As a result, none are available to civilian hand-loaders and civilian marksmen. With politicians so blatantly focused on banning and over-regulating arms and ammunition, panic hoarding is quite understandable.
America has always been a nation of gun lovers. The freedoms granted by the Second Amendment have made the United States unique among all nations in the world. In recent decades this right to keep and bear arms has been under steady and unrelenting attack by liberal politicians. An over-reaching and intrusive federal government has grossly and deliberately misinterpreted intents of the First and Second Amendments, and totally disregarded the Ninth and Tenth that delineate powers held at various levels within our government.
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that stated, “85 million guns owners killed no one yesterday.” Perhaps it’s time to ignore these 85 million law-abiding citizens and deal with the mentally unstable few that infringe and trample on an historic and inalienable American right. Although battle lines are clearly drawn on both the left and right, we need to better focus on the correct target before we “commence firing.”
Larry M. Jones is a retired Navy commander and aviator who raises cattle and hay in the Brock/Lazy Bend part of Parker County. Comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.