Question of the Day: What Does Responsible Ownership of an AK-47 Look Like, and Why is it Worth the Potential Risks?

“You can’t kill a stranger with a gun if you don’t have one,” Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large [not shown] opines. “You can’t kill a relative, and you can’t kill a gang rival and you can’t kill yourself with a gun if you don’t have one. You may find some other way to do it, but guns are a most effective killing tool and one that doesn’t offer much service outside of doing bodily injury.” Is Large so small-minded he can’t see the positive aspects of gun ownership? Or is he being willfully blind and maliciously obtuse? Yes! Like so many antis, Large doesn’t “get” guns. In fact, he wants to know, “What does responsible ownership of an AK-47 look like, and why is it worth the potential risks?” Care to educate the man? [We’ll send him this link and ask for a reply.]

comments

  1. avatar ST says:

    This is exactly the cultural problem we face. When someone uses a gun like an AK in self defense-usually without firing a shot-there’s no documentation created or study proclaiming the benefit. Without any paper, the only thing the culture knows about is when something bad happens. Thus the question “what good does a gun do?”

    1. avatar DJ9 says:

      Even if there WAS a paper trail for non-shooting DGUs, people like the columnist in question would ignore any benefits; it doesn’t fit the approved narrative, so it would not (cannot) ever be acknowledged. It’s like asking a passionate life-long tennis player that hates all other sports why a person would want to play golf, and why golfers “need” all those different clubs.

      Waste of time.

  2. avatar Anon says:

    Ironically, a “Personal Defense Weapons Solicitation” for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), lists an AR-15 variant as “suitable for personal defense.”

    So who needs an AR-15? According to the DHS document, it might simply be those who are looking for “personal defense.”

  3. avatar Matt in Idaho says:

    Guns, even unused, protect people all the time.

    How many guns have effectively been used to protect our presidents or something else without ever really being used?

    It’s the implication : )

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Well, the founding fathers had sort of the same idea, except they were trying to protect essential liberties from thugs masquerading as government officials. Oops! This is an affront according to Mark Kelly with the Gabby Gifford gun control group.

  4. avatar Kevin L says:

    Responsible ownership means safe storage (keep it in a safe bolted to the floor when not in use, so criminals can’t get to it), as well as following the 4 gun safety rules. It’s worth the risks because if one is careful and the rules are followed, it can be a tool for fun (range practice), sports ( 3 gun and similar), and if need be, self defense. There are VERY few risks if one practices all the safety rules and stores their AK safely.

  5. avatar Mediocrates says:

    maybe Jerry hasn’t heard the folks with felonies who fail background checks are never prosecuted. what makes him think those who don’t execute a background check will be prosecuted? Then, he goes on to bring up how great Australia’s gun control laws are {rolls eyes}.

    Sorry, Jerry. I’m not giving up my Constitutional rights to make you feel better.

  6. avatar Templar says:

    The article is calling for universal background checks and supports the notion by citing a bunch of shootings done with stolen guns. My head hurts.

  7. avatar Fuque says:

    Im interested how he rationalizes owning a car? because according to the number of car crash fatalities cars are very effective at killing those same examples…Licensing and registering cars doesn’t seem to matter, in fact, more licensed and registered cars kill more people then unlicensed…..so whats his logic?

    1. avatar A samurai says:

      The prosecutors’ office in my county expects to file 75,000 DUI charges this year. Up from 60,000 that were prosecuted last year. My county has a population of 1.2 million. Where are the desperate cries for a car ban? Thousands and thousands of people documented every day using cars irresponsibly, yet I never hear anyone talk about tank capacity limits, child proofing requirements, or outright bans on ownership. Cars are not guns. However, it seems that when we choose to, for conveyance sake, people seem very willing to overlook the irresponsible drivers that killed 33,000 people last year. According to the NHTSA: http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx . But every time one person with a gun, often not a legal gun owner does something illegal it because a widely talked about national incident. The original author wants gun owners to justify their guns in light of deaths. I want him to justify his car or truck in light of the far greater number of people being irresponsible with cars and killing far more people nationwide that are never talked about. Not one more death, you know unless it happens on the road, in which case who cares?

      Cars are not guns. But they both become similar when they both have the ability to kill. For come reason people seem very confused about which are killing more people.

  8. avatar DaveL says:

    The thing is that taking down an armed criminal pretty much demands an “effective killing tool”. The availability of such tools is therefore an important factor in the common citizen’s ability to do it.

    Killing yourself, or somebody who’s willing to sleep in your presence… Not so much.

  9. avatar bontai Joe says:

    There are countless videos of feral hog hunting where a semi-auto modern rifle is THE firearm of choice.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAgN6BUTFuI
    http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/other-shows/videos/other-shows-hogs-gone-wild-videos.htm

    It is important to understand that feral hogs are causing billions of dollars of destruction of crops and wildlife habitat. Add in the fact that these animals attack humans, and that their numbers are increasing at phenomenal rates, feral hogs outnumber humans in Arkansas for instance, so hunting with rifle with a 30 round magazine that allows fast follow up shots before the pack scatters is the best way to eliminate these pests.

  10. avatar Matthew Park Moore says:

    Responsible ownership of an AK-47 looks just like the responsible ownership of any other gun – it looks like me. I live near Seattle, if Mr. Large wants to come over to my house and have a look he is welcome. Please email ahead and we can schedule.

    I’ll email him directly about this as well, with lengthier answers interlineated into his article, and I’ll post the whole long mess here when it is done. Which will have to be tonight because I’m supposed to be working now.

  11. avatar tdgrafton says:

    Hate to break it to the author, but it’s easy to kill people even if you don’t have a gun. Firearms don’t change that. However; firearms do make it a lot easier to defend yourself if you have the chance to employ them.

  12. avatar DNS Guns says:

    Swimming pools kill more kids every year than guns. Swimming pools are not licensed or regulated and anyone can have one of these child killers. Ban pools.

  13. avatar Pulatso says:

    100 milllion gun owners didn’t use their guns to commit a crime yesterday. That’s what responsible gun ownership looks like, regardless of gun.

  14. avatar ChrisB. says:

    “but guns are a most effective killing tool and one that doesn’t offer much service outside of doing bodily injury”

    The data from a dozen studies show that guns PREVENT bodily injury and crime at two orders of magnitude more than they cause bodily injury.

  15. avatar Calvin says:

    “You can’t kill a stranger with a gun if you don’t have one”

    Uhm, yeah, pretty much why I bought one. And???

  16. avatar Chas says:

    I’ll take “willfully blind and maliciously obtuse” for $100, Alex.

    1. avatar Dennis says:

      ’cause the question is not worth more than $100.

  17. avatar Excedrine says:

    Q. “What does responsible ownership of an AK-47 look like, and why is it worth the potential risks?”

    A. This is an easy one. Pretty much the complete opposite of what criminals do with them, and bear in mind that rifles of all kinds are very rarely used in homicides and the comparatively astronomical rarity of the public mass-casualty shooting… which yourself and the rest of the legacy “news” media use almost exclusively to turn the perpetrators into overnight celebrities and howl their names for the next three months like a cheap two-dollar whore for the sole purpose of increasing your bottom line, Mr. Large. That only too perfectly segways into my next point, which is to highlight the irony of your demonstrably false accusations of these events being solely profitable for gun companies — which only ever happens after YOUR sleezy pols on Capitol Hill call for the punishment of all gun owners (i.e. more knowingly asinine, demonstrably ineffective, and positively draconian gun control laws).

    Meanwhile, non-criminal types almost universally observe the late Col. Cooper’s “Four Rules” (Google is your friend) and manage to never hurt anybody. Anyway, it’s worth the “potential risks” because 1.) first and foremost there is the simple and unarguable truth that we are solely responsible for providing our own personal security, secondly, 2.) as long a you’re not hurting yourself or others there’s literally no reason under the Sun that you shouldn’t be able to, and lastly, 3.) why oh why would you ever gimp yourself (should the unthinkable ever happen) for any reason other than some physical handicap or the cost of the platform?

  18. avatar Yellow Devil says:

    What Does Responsible Ownership of an AK-47 Look Like?

    How about a bunch of activated Army Reservists who batch ordered AKs engraved with our unit crest and motto as a memento from our deployment in Afghanistan?

    Oh, except for those Soldiers living in NY and Connecticut of course. They couldn’t even bring back their empty, standard 30 round magazines back into their states and had to pass them off to their team leaders before boarding the plane out of Fort Hood.

    I suppose I can give kudos to those states for being equal opportunity offenders.

  19. avatar Tom W. says:

    Channeling the prophet Ice Cube, “I did not even need my AK, and it was a good day.”

    This author may need testosterone therapy, as I think all of his has leaked out.

  20. avatar GeeSmith2 says:

    It looks like me. I use one AK to hunt with, just as many people use bolt action rifles; I use one to compete with; and, I use one for home defense. Even my turkey hunting shotgun is an AK-type.
    It’s a simple, easy-to-use system that allows me to transition between tools and maintain similar ergonomics and manuals of operation.

  21. avatar Craig says:

    Mr. Large doesn’t believe you have an individual right to bear arms, and thinks the 2nd amendment is a mistake and should be repealed. He has stated such in columns in April and May.

    No matter what you think responsible ownership is, it won’t matter because he doesn’t think you have a right to any of it.

  22. avatar DerryM says:

    The crux of his argument is summed-up in the sentence, “You may find some other way to do it, but guns are a most effective killing tool and one that doesn’t offer much service outside of doing bodily injury.”.
    That’s just entirely wrong and laughable.

    It is also typical of hoplophobic thinking. Paint the gun as a “one trick pony”, namely, “killing device” and ignore it’s other uses makes as much sense as painting rocks as decorative items for your garden and ignoring their potential use to crush-in a skull and kill a person.

    In either, or any, case the killing results not from the object, but from the human being’s use of the object. It’s that simple, Mr. Large,…always has been, always will be.

  23. avatar 0351 says:

    Given that so many gun crimes are committed with stolen guns or illegally tradedy, the obvious answer is that those of us who feel sufficiently dedicated to arm ourselves not only have the right to do so, but the responsibility to ensure *our* weapons at least will not be misused or neglected. While I discourage legislation requiring speicific storage laws, as situations differ, a culture of responsibility must be, and I think is, cultivated amongst gun owners. Lock your stuff up if you aren’t around or have untrained / young children / people around. Additionally, it is important that gun owners should seek the best training that is available and we can afford. Responsibility goes hand in hand with the exercise of our rights, but it is vital that we remember that responsibility cannot be effectively legislated.

  24. avatar Narcoossee says:

    What does it look like? Well, for one, countries which don’t infringe on their citizen’s natural right to self defense don’t tend to be in headlines like this: http://www.christiantoday.com/article/kidnapped.nigerian.schoolgirl.i.was.raped.15.times.a.day.by.different.men/38862.htm

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Ding, ding! We have a winner!

  25. avatar Scot says:

    I guess he’s a member of the ‘tautologies are fun’ school of argument.

    Evidently he’s not aware the mass killings with the largest loss of life weren’t committed with guns, or that serial killers, some of whom have racked up large numbers as well, rarely, if ever, use guns.

    Guns are not necessary for murder, not even for mass murder, but they are necessary for self defense if one is smaller, weaker, older, disabled, than the attacker, or if there are multiple attackers.

  26. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I would suggest that he look at video from the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles where Korean business owners protected themselves and their businesses with modern semi-auto rifles from the roving mobs looting and attacking anything that moved. The police were hunkered down in their precinct buildings protecting their own butts, and definitely NOT out on the streets enforcing the rules of law & order.

    More recently in New York City, when his lowness mayor Bloomburg would NOT allow National Guard troops to establish order in the stricken areas to prevent looting, it fell on individual citizens to set up neighborhood security to prevent looting of what little they had left.

    In these situations, the population can not count on “first responders” to protect them. And in reality as has been discussed here many times, the police are rarely “first responders”, it is the citizens on site that are the first to respond. It is we civilians that are there right when bad things happen, and to insist that we remain defenseless while waiting 15-20-30 or more minutes for police to maybe arrive is unthinkable. Police response time at my house is 45 minutes. I know this because I have called 911 (1) when a neighbor attacked his wife, (2)when the same neighbor was attacked in his yard by another neighbor, (3) when someone decided to shoot a couple dozen shots in the neighborhood at half past midnight.

  27. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    Why own an AK-47? It’s at the top of my wish list. Historically significant design. Simple and functional compared to an AR clone. AND BECAUSE THAT PHALLIC 30-ROUND CLIP MAKES DIANNE FEINSTEIN UNEASY.

  28. avatar Narcoossee says:

    Also, responsible ownership of a firearm has a tendency to prevent what you see in the following video, up to about 1:14…and enable what you see from 1:15 onward, yo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgCiC6qTtjs

  29. avatar Nighthawk says:

    Jerry Large lives in a fantasy world where laws and bans magically prevent the think they are addressing from occurring and existing. The levels of delusion this man lives in are indescribable. The fact guns will always exist because governments and militaries will ALWAYS use them, even if they managed to take them from everyone on the planet, criminal or law abiding is cleverly avoided and far more dangerous than street criminals and the odd domestic violence offender having them. Still that aside, what he’s suggesting as a solution is akin to saying “if we could only ban cars, get rid of them, and go back to horses we’d have solved the problem of CO2 emissions from vehicles”. This is the level of intelligence these people have.

  30. avatar JDS says:

    For hundreds of years men (women to) have been golfing under the false guise of “loving golf”. Golf sucks. It is frustrating on a good day and infuriating most of the time. In fact what we all know it to be is an afternoon away from those we love most…the wife (or husband) and kids. An afternoon of solitude. There are some who hate golf and were therefore forced to find a different way to avoid our wives (or husbands) and children…shooting! I don’t know about you guys but to me a bad day on the range is better than a good day on the course. That, my friends, is responsible gun ownership!

  31. avatar esitue says:

    “You can’t kill a stranger with a gun if you don’t have one,”
    Notice how he inserted stranger into the text as a means of insinuating that firearm owners are all mass shooters?
    Persoaly I

  32. avatar Alpo says:

    Large and the antis are getting owned in the Seattle Times comments section.

  33. avatar the ruester says:

    You are all missing the point. His question is not “what does responsible AK47 ownership look like,” it’s “what do people defending that ownership sound like.” See, because you can’t give a one word/emotion answer that can shame him and all of his metrosexual friends into silence, you don’t get to practice your rights anymore. Sorry, guys, he makes the rules, not us… (snicker)

  34. avatar Tom Stanton says:

    That question has no answer. First – Large would have to define responsible. Second – he’d need to quantify “the potential risks.” Until then, having a semantic battle about AK-47s means nothing. But someone keeps paying him to write things – so I suppose meaningless semantic battles are what he wants.

    1. avatar Nighthawk says:

      But he won’t quantify the “risks”, antis never quantify anything accurately. They include suicides and accidents in their gun violence tally, disregard gang-linked gun deaths which are the sizable majority, fail to differentiate types of firearm (because it’d show “assault weapons” as being less than 1% of the deaths). Every time someone dies from a gunshot it’s “gun violence” and nothing further need be investigated. All the same, even granting them their criteria, accidental falls kill almost as many people every year as guns, as do automobiles, and household poisons kill far more, so draino in your home is more of a risk than an AK47 even by their own standards of widebrush “gun violence” including the 20k suicides.

      1. avatar A samurai says:

        He has labeled peoples’ deaths as risks. Because we all know if you just banned enough things no one would every die. Right?

  35. avatar Ralph says:

    Owning an AK keeps people from becoming idiots like Jerry Very Large.

  36. avatar Greg C. says:

    It’s a lot easier to kill someone with a sword if you have one. Good thing I don’t have a sword.

    It’s a lot easier to strangle someone with an extension cord if you have one. My goodness! My house is a death trap!

    This kind of reasoning is a little too simplistic, don’t you think?

    1. avatar knightofbob says:

      Not only do I have a sword, I have two katana. One would be hard pressed to find any physical use for them other than killing, which is clearly their design. Neither one has caused even the most minor injury to anyone since they have been in my possession.

      I was able to purchase both without any kind of background check or even proof of age. I have received no training whatsoever in their proper use. Though it will happen eventually if we give an inch, there have been no cries for sword regulation in this country yet.

  37. avatar the ruester says:

    Responsible ownership looks like every day of your privileged life in this great country that you hate.

    The potential risks are worth it because they prevent petty tyrants (such as yourself) from thinking you somehow have the authority or the ability to abuse the constitution. I don’t really care what you think about that, you don’t have a say in the matter, and never will.

  38. avatar Stan says:

    I would ask Jerry what responsible journalism should look like? His recklessness when dealing with the facts and spreading fear, uncertainty and doubt is far more dangerous than any type of gun ownership.

  39. avatar Joe R. says:

    You can’t exercise Amendment 1 (be a journalist [and the term is used here in its loosest allowed meaning]) without people exercising Amendment 2.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      2A goes bye, bye; look for 1A to follow.

  40. avatar Samson says:

    What bothers me so much is, *I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY I HAVE AN AK* or prove my responsibility.

    I own an original Zastava PAP that was from the early 2010 importing… I was expecting an original original with the amazing and beautiful wooden thumbhole stock and forend but I must have got one from the first shipment post-wood, because when I picked it up I was surprised to open the box and find it was the cheap polymer. However the rifle is a NJ-legal out of the box rifle, with the 10-round (single stack ) magazine, lack of a muzzle device, thumbhole fixed stock, no bayonet lug, etc. And it is also quite possibly the perfect SHTF and S&P rifle… it shoots a plentiful, usually-cheap round that hits hard and is perfect for both defense and game-taking. It will last forever with simple, minor care. It has a non-chrome-lined bbl because the Serbians believe they could construct a much more accurate bbl w/o chrome lining that would still stand up to plenty of abuse, provided you cleaned the rifle as you should any firearm. It also has a 50% thicker than standard AKs , RPK-pattern receiver that is the best stamped-metal receiver you could ask for on an AK. It’s an outstanding “every-day-use” rifle that could find itself as a “national champion” in a survival, ranch, every-day, and combat rifle competition.. but because it’s “AN AK!” or even worse a dreaded “assault rifle” it’s as bad as bad can be.

    I should not have to explain the finer points of firearms and armory and weapons selection to the bleeding hearts as I have constitutionally protected, state-codified, citizen-supported rights guaranteed … however the minority yells louder than the majority making us law-abiding citizens look bad. I could CARE LESS that people believe I should not have the right to own this rifle. Because I DO have that right, and I DO own this rifle (and many, many others) and that as they say is that. Haters can go suck a lemon and eat a cooked crow.

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      Jerry would tell you that because you list disaster preparedness as a reason for owning an AK, you must be paranoid. He would say that because you’re paranoid, your mental state is questionable, and therefore, he thinks you probably shouldn’t own a gun.

      It seems that anti-gun folks have a desire to know why you want to own guns like AKs and ARs, and no reason is acceptable to them. If the reason is hunting, their answer is “you must be a really bad shot/those rifles are inaccurate/get a bolt-action rifle, etc.” If the reason is “because I want to,” their answer is that the second amendment is not absolute, and you’re just being a selfish gun nut who wants his murder toys. If your answer is “disaster preparedness”, their answer is that you’re a prepper psycho who thinks he’s going to take on the government. If your reason is “self defense,” their answer is that a revolver or a shotgun is good enough for everyone else (except the police), so why do you think you need more?

      Face it, you’re never going to come up with a satisfactory answer. I know. I read the Seattle Times often enough to have to be subjected to Jerry’s typical democratic talking-point clickbait editorials.

      Fortunately, his articles ALWAYS get torn apart in the comments section. A ton of people in and around Seattle own a lot of guns. If only the average anti-gun Seattleite knew how many concealed carriers were walking around them…

      1. avatar SpeleoFool says:

        How about: to discover for myself what the second amendment means to me by exercising my rights. Also, to keep alive the knowledge and skill set of marksmanship so that those parts of our history are not lost to time.

        Then if those answers fail to provoke thought and meaningful dialogue I’m going with: because Dugan Ashley says they’re the best rifles in space on Earth.

      2. avatar Samson says:

        Oh I hear you, and I get it, but what I kind of mean is this- up to and including the day that firearms such as the AK et al are banned, they are perfectly legal (where they are legal etc. of course.).

        So I don’t HAVE To explain anything, I do not need to provide an acceptably sufficient answer to anything, all I have to do is pay the money to own it and not shoot anybody out of turn. When Piers Morgan or whoever else gets on their rants about WHY DO YOU NEED IT? WHY DO YOU NEED TO OWN AN AR/AK ? WHY DO YOU NEED TO OWN A HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINE? SO YOU THINK EVERYONE SHOULD OWN A TANK? (I noticed he LOVES to add that line to anyone who supports firearms ownership/rights. “YOU believe everyone should have a tank!!!” LOL. No one ever mentions a tank until he does.) So he can go off on that and bluster hisself back to Manchester United, but the fact remains, I do not need to explain anything.

        I do believe that could change in an instant, and it will most likely as soon as the modern edition of Packing the Supreme Court occurs, when 2 more liberal judges are added for the next 40 years. Then firearms rights as we know it are going away permanently, and perhaps there will be revolution, most likely not. But again, up to that day, I ain’t got to explain nothin, the antis can beeatch all they want, it doesn’t change the firearms I own or want to buy.

  41. avatar Vendetta says:

    I have 2 AKs. Neither one has or will ever be used to commit a crime. They have countless flawless rounds through them. I dont see the issue…

  42. avatar LarryinTX says:

    If he really wants an answer, all he needs to do is fund a constitutional amendment to achieve what he wishes to achieve, and he will hear plenty of reference to “responsibility” on his way to bankruptcy. Simply proposing another blatantly unconstitutional law, whether it is passed or not, will NEVER accomplish what he wants to accomplish.

  43. avatar SpeleoFool says:

    I had this discussion recently with a friend who posted anti-gun stuff on FB. What my position boiled down to is this:

    Yes, firearms are tools designed for killing and causing bodily injury. Understanding the ballistics and capabilities of different firearms and cartridges requires a dispassionate analysis of their capacity to damage tissue and to incapacitate people (or to ethically kill, in the case of hunting). That is a fair enough generic description of what firearms do, mechanically.

    However, firearms absolutely do not incentivize, excuse or change the circumstances in which it is appropriate to fire them at people or animals. In fact, that is a wholly separate question–when is it appropriate to shoot someone? The answer is just short of never. The simple fact is that the vast majority of people, gun owners and not alike, are good-hearted and do not seek to harm anyone. We know this simply by looking at the numbers of people who commit violent crime vs. the numbers who do not.

    Presumably, someone like Mr. Large argues against guns because he abhors violence. It must be inconceivable for him to think that, as a gun owner, I also abhor violence. I’ve also faced depression and survived, but that is neither here nor there. I mention that only because the potential risk that I might kill a relative, a “rival gang member” or even myself are all zero. The intent is simply not there.

    So why do I even own firearms? Because I’m willing to place myself in harm’s way to stop violence by meeting force with force. I will probably never have to do so, and for that I’m grateful. Mr. Large should be grateful as well that the daily threat of violence against us is so remote that it’s unrelatable. That means we’re free to enjoy firearms for their more recreational aspects (I generally describe target shooting as “like bowling, only faster”). Meanwhile the daily utility of my firearms is as a symbolic bulwark against those who would harm others. My AK says, “you’re not going to harm the people I care about as long as I have something to say about it.” Not in a Rambo sense. Not in a Scarface sense. In a “turn around and walk away” sense.

    That’s what responsible ownership of an AK looks like.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Now, when is he going to show us what responsibility in public discourse looks like? Does it include presenting both sides of a question? Does it include any research or just unthinking blather? And precisely what are his own qualifications to address the public with his unsupported *opinions*?

      1. avatar SpeleoFool says:

        I don’t begrudge the man his opinion. I just understand it to be ignorance and denial stemming from a place of good intention. The 1st Amendment is his license to share his opinion, as it is mine to disagree.

        I agree with him that it’s distressing when someone walks off with an AK. I disagree that it’s entirely preventable. And I strongly disagree that trying to be like Australia is an appropriately measured response to that concern. It’s simply too important to maintain the general ability of our citizenry to protect themselves and each other. Furthermore, I see the notion that getting rid of firearms will make us collectively safer as a warning sign that we are becoming collectively more distrustful, apathetic and suspicious of our neighbors and fellow Americans. The question I’d pose back to him is why it is acceptable to impose blanket restrictions on society rather than to work at living up to the level of personal and collective responsibility that we might all enjoy more freedoms? Gun Control is glass-half-empty policy, and I doubt he even realizes it.

  44. avatar migikesagiri says:

    Bombs are way more effective at killing than guns.

  45. avatar BlinkyPete says:

    “What does responsible ownership of an AK-47 look like, and why is it worth the potential risks?”

    About the same as responsible sports car ownership or liquor consumption looks, and because it’s still statistically safer than either of those and many other things you’re not considering the societal value or risk of.

  46. avatar Gene says:

    As if someone needs to justify the use of a tool. How about folks justify the need of cars in a suburban or metro area where public transportation exists. Or a single person owning a home when renting suffices.

    Having said that, i,aging the feral hog situation in the midwest. Roundups are pretty effective with an ak or orther 7.62 rifle. The dude needs to umderstand it isn’t how stuff looks that makes it effective; it’s how it operates and it’s mechanics. AK mechanics just plain work.

  47. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    While I do not have an AK, I can still answer that question… He looks just like me. Or my wife. Or my 10 year old son. Or the many co-workers, friends and associates that I know who own guns.

    And what potential risk? Within the house, there is more risk from one of my knives than our guns. There is more risk from my son’s bow. We’ve had a grease fire on our stove, so even that is a greater potential risk than our guns. The same for the many other tools stored in my house that have the same or greater potential for injury as a gun.

  48. avatar Tyler says:

    Responsible AK47 ownership looks like responsible ownership of a bottle of pepper spray, except it’s more effective. It looks like responsible vehicle ownership except it’s not as dangerous. It looks like what every responsible adult looks like. You came very close to the real problem with society, we don’t have a gun problem, our guns (for the most part)work fine. We have a problem with irresponsible people, people who would rather blame an inanimate object than accept responsibility and reality.

  49. avatar Buzzlefutt says:

    It looks like many. It looks like a nurse, a librarian, a teacher, an engineer. It might look like your neighbor. It might look like the person who repaired your car, sold you your car, built your car, or designed your car. It might look like guy you just drove past and didn’t notice. It might look like a mayor, a fireman, or the postman.
    Responsible ownership looks normal. It doesn’t have to look like a caricature, or a stereotype. It doesn’t have a specific ethnicity, sexual preference, demographic, or reading level. It’s good people all over. Productive people with families or without. Responsible ownership is more common than irresponsible ownership.

  50. avatar Accur81 says:

    I’m not an AK / SKS owner, but I’m an AR owner. On duty, my AR is great (although quite old) for felony stops and searching for felony suspects. Off duty, I still appreciate a quality handgun / shotgun / and even an AR-15 for self defense. My residence is about 35 miles southeast of LA, and the next major earthquake, sports victory, or police brutality incident could very well result in a large-scale riot. I’m also not terribly far away from drug cartel activity, which is associated with massive violence and crime both north and south of the US border. I’ve carried firearms virtually non-stop for about 15 years with no ill effects.

    Were I a taxpayer, instead of being paid by taxes, I would be no less deserving of quality self defense. I’ve found that firearms are tools, and that evil people gravitate towards violence with whatever tool they can find, or whatever they think will be most effective to carry out their plans. That could include bombs, guns, knives, cars, bats, brass knuckles, bare hands, etc. Banning any of the aforementioned items does not eliminate them – they are still available on the black market.

  51. avatar Richard says:

    I remember when you could buy a 20 millimeter cannon, the 2nd Amendment does not LIMIT the right of the people to bear ARMS. If you’re worried about what is politically correct, your nothing but a liberal sheepe, period. Turn ine you guns in at the next police buy out, or better known as confiscation and holdup signs, I DEMAND SECURITY BEFORE LIBERTY.

  52. avatar Gs650g says:

    You can’t defend yourself against a physically or numerically superior enemy without a gun either. Not all of us are Jackie Chan or some other tv show hero.

  53. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    “but despite that we don’t seem able to get to the kind of effective control that could spare us most of the thousands of gun deaths the country suffers each year.” I defy the author to show any credible proof (we’ll deal with Australia later) that gun control laws reduce the murder/crime rate. He can’t because there isn’t any. Simply journey back to the last time the national murder rate was this low, late 1950’s early 1960’s, and you’ll see there were few gun control laws on the books. The massacres he cites would not have been stopped by a universal background check law.

    “What does responsible ownership of an AK-47 look like, and why is it worth the potential risks?” Owning and using an AK for self-defense, defense from tyranny (I’m sure he’ll go for that one) target shooting and hunting. The “potential risks” of AK-47 ownership are pretty small considering that (yes, we’re going here again) hammers are used to murder more people every year than AK-47s. Not to mention knives, shotguns and hands and feet. This is a solution in search of a problem. Or just an attempt to grab as many guns as possible.

    “It calls for universal background checks when guns change hands, whether it’s a sale or a family member borrowing a gun, and makes failure to have a check done a crime. It’s a small step that we ought to take.” Which would have stopped Adam Lanza how? The author is clearly in favor of universal registration which, as he helpfully points out later, leads to confiscation. Maybe that’s why we’re against “universal background checks” because they put in place the mechanism for eventual registration which could then lead to confiscation. Now, if the author is all rah-rah for confiscation (and he seems to be, citing those blokes down under as a shining example of how to get it done) I wonder if he’s thought about the bloodshed and violence that will result when armed cops break down doors trying to tie guns away from heavily armed gun-advocates. I wonder if he’s thought about the massive non-compliance on registration seen in hotbeds of 2nd Amendment fervor like Connecticut and New York. Does he want violence or is he just naive? And what criminal is going to perform that background check when he passes a gun off to his buddy? Think you can control illegal guns? Take a look at how well laws have controlled illegal drugs. At least he’s honest about how crappy the bill is.

    The Australian example is as tired as the “we register cars, why not guns?” analogy. Australia’s murder rate was already going down before the gun laws were passed. Once passed, it rose, then went down again. Multiple studies (including studies by the Aussies themselves) have concluded that the gun laws had no effect on the murder rate. Add to that Australian gangs making full auto machine guns in basement workshops and you can see how silly the comparison is. One final thought, Australia isn’t America, is it? Comparing two countries with very different demographics and cultures is the ultimate apples and oranges. One other final thought. After banning guns, England saw their homicide rates go UP. And stay up. They’ve only recently, more than a decade after the fact, gotten close to the pre gun-ban level.

    Now when is PETA going to protest all these poor sharks the anti-gun types are jumping on a daily basis?

  54. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    The notion that citizens own AK-47s encourages all sorts of miscreants to change their behavior. It’s one reason why home invasions are so thankfully rare in America. Not so much England.

  55. avatar Chis in KY says:

    “You can’t kill a stranger with a gun if you don’t have one. You can’t kill a relative, and you can’t kill a gang rival and you can’t kill yourself with a gun if you don’t have one.”

    This sentence can be useful for almost anything. You can replace gun with car, knife, rope, pillow, dirty diaper, and so on and it still makes sense.

    You can’t kill a stranger with a car if you don’t have one. You can’t kill a relative, and you can’t kill a gang rival and you can’t kill yourself with a car if you don’t have one.

    1. avatar SpeleoFool says:

      Interestingly, it breaks down a little bit when you use “your willingness to stand up for innocent life.” I’ll just substitute “your backbone” for brevity:

      You can kill a stranger with your backbone if you don’t have one. You can kill a relative, you probably won’t kill a gang rival but you can kill yourself with your backbone if you don’t have one.

  56. avatar rlc2 says:

    I propose UBC and intelligence tests, as a licensing requirement for the traditional press. The ideas in Jerry’s arficle are dangerousand will get someone killed.

  57. avatar Matthew Park Moore says:

    Here is the letter I wrote to Mr. Large. I hope it does some good for the cause.

    Note: I know that I am using some technical terms incorrectly. I am trying to reach out here, by using terms that Mr. Large will probably understand. Thank you for your patience.

    ————————-

    Hello Mr. Large;

    You ask “what would responsible ownership of an AK-47 look like?” It would look like me. I don’t own an AK-47, but I own three rifles that are functionally equivalent and that I think you would find equally objectionable. They are all legal to own here, but since 2012 they have become illegal to own in some other states.
    http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/su-16ca/rifle/
    http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/rfb/rifle/
    http://www.ruger.com/products/mini14RanchRifle/models.html

    I am a 60 year old software engineer with a Masters degree, and I don’t think most people would perceive me as a redneck. I live in a small but comfortable house in northeast Bellevue, and the rifles live in my gun safe except when I take them to the range. I also used them as props in the NRA marksmanship courses that I used to teach, and I would use them for self-defense if the need arose.

    If you would like to come out and see for yourself what responsible ownership looks like, you are welcome most nights or weekends with prearrangement. If you would like to try shooting these guns, that can also be done but it will take at least 4 hours (non-negotiable safety lecture, how-to-shoot lecture if needed, travel to/from range, time on range). That could be a weekend day or a weekday – I have plenty of vacation time, so I could take a day off work with a few days notice.

    You can write anything you like about me as long as it isn’t a flat-out lie and as long as you don’t publish my last name or exact address. My gun collection cost over $10,000 and if I had that much cash on hand I wouldn’t want my address in the paper either.

    I am the same person that took Nicole Brodeur to the range a few years ago, and I think she will still give me a good character reference.
    http://seattletimes.com/html/nicolebrodeur/2009729929_nicole25m.html

    I will interlineate my responses to your original text. That will make this longer but hopefully easier to follow. In my responses I will state a large number of facts. I can provide citations to the scholarly literature for all of this, you need only ask, but putting it all in now would make this twice as long and very tedious reading.

    > Until we act on gun laws, we can’t move on from tragedies
    >
    > Keep gun-control momentum alive for the vote on Initiative 594.
    FYI for outsiders, I-584 would require universal background checks and keep records of all transfers statewide. That is similar to the systems they have in California, New York, New Jersey, and other deep-blue states.
    >
    > You can’t kill a stranger with a gun if you don’t have one. You can’t kill a relative, and you can’t kill a gang rival and you can’t kill yourself with a gun if you don’t have one. You may find some other way to do it, but guns are a most effective killing tool and one that doesn’t offer much service outside of doing bodily injury.
    That is true, but you are making the assumption that killing is always wrong. Whereas in fact, we all have the right to kill in self defense under certain circumstances. That is a legal right and most people would also say it is a moral right.

    This is also why the right to keep and bear arms is important. Guns are the best tools for self defense for most people in some circumstances. If someone is trying to murder you, maim you, rob you, or rape you, and you would like to make them stop doing that forthwith, using a gun of some sort will often be your best bet.
    >
    > Most people know that and even support some controls on who has access to the weapons, but despite that we don’t seem able to get to the kind of effective control that could spare us most of the thousands of gun deaths the country suffers each year.
    That is because there is no such thing as “effective control”. Gun control laws have no effect on violent crime rates. That includes mild laws of the sort that you might hope to pass in Washington State in our lifetimes, and also Draconic laws like they have in Japan or Jamaica. None of it works except as a clever way for Liberals to proclaim their imaginary moral superiority.
    >
    > We’re temporarily shocked by reminders of the carnage; then we, the public, move on. We need to keep our eyes on the bloodshed long enough to do something about it. And in Washington state we’ll have a chance to take an important step in that direction in November when Initiative 594 will be on the ballot.
    Here we see I-594 is not justified on its own merits but as a first step. Hold onto that thought, we will return to it.
    >
    > Between now and then, we need to keep in mind tragedies like the Seattle Pacific University shootings, the periodic shootings in Seattle’s Rainier Valley and the shootings at Café Racer and at the Jewish Federation. And maybe especially we should remind ourselves that most shootings happen without so much public attention.
    >
    > Can we do that? I don’t know, but I think it’s important that we try.
    >
    > Last week The Seattle Times reported that Aaron Ybarra, the man who shot three people at SPU last month, killing one of them, had access to eight guns until three disappeared in 2011. The three missing guns include an AK-47, a gun that comes with a 30-shot magazine and can accommodate a magazine that holds 100 rounds.
    >
    > Maybe you remember that Ybarra’s shooting spree was interrupted because he had to pause to reload his shotgun. If he’d had the AK-47, the tragedy could have been much worse.
    Here we have taken a sharp turn. We are no longer talking about background checks, we are talking about the supposed evils of a particular type of gun. Which is not what I-594 will be about, unless you see it as a first step towards banning AK-47s.
    >
    > That gun is out there in the hands of someone who may not be a responsible gun owner. We are told responsible gun owners need to be protected from laws that would steal their constitutional rights. What does responsible ownership of an AK-47 look like, and why is it worth the potential risks?
    Responsible ownership of an AK-47 looks like responsible ownership of any other gun, because the types of guns that go by that description are not different from other guns in any important way. Gun ownership is worthwhile because it makes self-defense a practical possibility for most people. AK-47-ish rifles are reasonable tools for self defense because they are more powerful than a handgun but kick less than a shotgun. They are sufficiently accurate at short range and very reliable.

    There is an easy way to verify that for yourself – ask a policeman. The police in Seattle don’t carry AK’s, but they do have rifles that are very similar in all important respects – M16 and M4 assault rifles, US military pattern. They have them instead of AK’s because they think they are technically a bit better, or from a buy-American mindset, or because Homeland Security provides them cheaply. I don’t know which it is – you should ask. I do know the police have guns for the same reason that responsible citizens have them – for self-defense against deadly criminal attack. The mere fact that police forces have generally gone over from shotguns to assault rifles in arming their patrolmen shows that rifles like the AK-47 are a reasonable choice for self-defense.

    You make a big deal above about magazine capacity. The police also have 30-round magazines in their assault rifles. Having more rounds in the gun is obviously a good thing from the self-defense viewpoint. It would be annoying to run out of ammo before you ran out of criminal attackers. The problem is that more rounds mean more weight and more bulk, which works against good marksmanship. The police have compromised at 30 rounds as the best for self-defense. I’ve settled on 20 round magazines for my rifles. It is a debatable point, but everyone agrees 10 rounds is too few.

    As well as undervaluing the benefits, you also overstate the costs. Rifles of any sort are rarely used to commit murder – less often than hammers I think the FBI statistics say. So, usefulness for self-defense, endorsement by the police, low level of criminal misuse – AK-47s should be the last kind of gun you want to ban, not the first. Unless of course you want to ban them all – then the order in which you do it is determined by political expediency.
    >
    > Ybarra didn’t own all the guns he had access to, and neither did the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, whose actions for a moment seemed sure to move the country toward tougher gun-control laws. Guns don’t always stay in responsible hands.
    Adam Lanza got the guns he used at Sandy Hook by murdering their rightful owner, who had bought them legally and passed background checks. The only laws that would have prevented this are the law against murder (that didn’t work), and a law that banned guns of any sort for anyone – total prohibition.
    >
    > Speculation is that the AK-47 was taken by a person who may have sold it for drugs. It’s out there somewhere unaccounted for.
    >
    > But we can track more guns than we do now, and that’s what the initiative is about.
    >
    > It calls for universal background checks when guns change hands, whether it’s a sale or a family member borrowing a gun, and makes failure to have a check done a crime. It’s a small step that we ought to take.
    >
    > We need some momentum to move us to where Australia went after a massacre in 1996. Australian states coordinated their gun-control laws and adopted universal background checks and a 28-day waiting period for purchases. They outlawed most semi-automatic rifles and created a system that links their gun-registration systems, so a person who doesn’t qualify for a gun license can’t get a gun just by going to another state. Gun deaths have fallen by about two-thirds.
    Here you are making international comparisons. Except that of the almost 200 nations you could have used, you cherry-picked the single one you think will help your case. If you compare all nations and do it honestly, you will see that gun control laws have no effect on violent crime rates. England and Japan have low murder rates, and always have had, but Switzerland requires every able-bodied man to keep a machine gun in his house, and their murder rate is lower than England’s and only a bit higher than Japan’s. Whereas Jamaica has all the gun control that you want – total prohibition, with penalties up to life in prison (and they really enforce that – they have people serving life for simple gun possession). They also have one of the highest murder rates in the world. Russia has strict laws and about 1/10 the gun prevalence that we have, but 4 times the murder rate. Some of my fellow travelers use comparisons such as those to argue that gun control increases violent crime, but I don’t think that is supported by the data either. The best reading of international comparisons, and of gun law vs violent crime research generally, is that gun control has no effect on violent crime rates.

    Also, Australia outlawed, confiscated, and destroyed millions of guns – not something you can realistically hope for here. I don’t know where you got your 2/3 reduction claim, but I’ll bet total violent crime rates declined by a lot less, and violent crime was declining at the same time all around the world, generally by about half. So even your best cherry-picked example doesn’t prove what you want it to prove.
    >
    > Maybe it will take an even bigger massacre to get us to act, but I hope not, because the killing and dying is mostly done in smaller numbers and not by mass shooters.
    >
    > Chicago got attention recently because several individual shootings added up to a number large enough to make national news — 82 people shot and 14 killed over Independence Day weekend. Action on gun control shouldn’t depend on drama.
    It is hilarious that you choose Chicago as an argument for more gun control. Chicago already has all the gun control laws that you could ever hope to pass in Washington State in our lifetimes, and what good has it done? Chicago has 4 times the murder rate as Seattle and has had for decades. Chicago is a much better argument against I-594, and gun control generally, than it is an argument for it. Here is that argument in more detail:
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/347263/dishonest-gun-control-debate
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2013/05/03/gun_control_is_failing_in_chicago_306926.html
    >
    > Across the country, the majority of gun deaths are suicides, and you will rarely hear about those. Most of the rest of the deaths and injuries are from domestic violence or gang incidents.
    There is no support for the idea that gun control – even gun prohibition – prevents suicide. Just look at Japan – nearly total gun prohibition, one of the highest suicide rates in the world. More comprehensive international comparisons show the usual thing – guns laws to not effect suicide rates.
    >
    > Most Americans are more at risk from what we choose to eat. But we shouldn’t tolerate more than 30,000 deaths a year when controlling the instrument that facilitates those deaths (and thousands of injuries) could prevent many of them without harming anyone.
    >
    > Let’s not continue to pay in lives for our delay in controlling access to guns.
    As we have seen, your whole argument rests on a false premise. Gun control laws do not save lives. We pay nothing by refusing to go down that road.

    Thank you;
    Matthew Park Moore
    mpmooreblvu2@comcast.net

    > Jerry Large’s column appears Monday and Thursday. Reach him at 206-464-3346 or jlarge@seattletimes.com

  58. avatar SelousX says:

    It looks like me, who built his own to have for sport, positive exposure to friends and acquaintances, and defense.
    What makes it worth the risks? Intelligent risk management, that’s what. Not leaving it loaded where a child or an unbalanced person could have access to it is usually a good idea. It’s not like it’ll hop up on its own and go on a killing spree. Sheesh!

  59. avatar DetroitMan says:

    “You can’t kill a stranger with a gun if you don’t have one. You can’t kill a relative, and you can’t kill a gang rival and you can’t kill yourself with a gun if you don’t have one.”

    Mr. Large,

    Guns are illegal in Mexico, as well as most of South America and Africa. Yet the drug cartels, Boko Haram, highway bandits, and all sorts of unsavory people are able to acquire them and inflict violence on the law abiding populace there. The law is an ineffective tool for preventing violence because criminals, by definition, don’t care about the law. For that matter it is illegal to murder, rape, assault, and steal, yet criminals perpetrate these acts every day, with or without guns. The idea that if you make guns illegal, criminals will somehow be disarmed, is madness. It is utterly foolish and divorced from reality.

    In the United States, we don’t even enforce the gun laws we have. The NICS was created with bipartisan support and the support of the NRA. It was supposed to prevent felons and the mentally unstable from purchasing guns through legal channels. Every year thousands of gun sales are stopped by this system when fellons apply for a purchase. Yet no agency ever follows up on these attempted purchases. Here we have felons, who are legally prohibited from buying a gun, caught red-handed trying to purchase one. It’s on official BATF paperwork that the felon has signed. It would be a slam-dunk case in court, but nobody bothers to go arrest them. Meanwhile, the states are lax in submitting mental health records to the system. Seoung Hui Cho and Jared Loughner had both raised concerns among mental health professionals that they were dangerous, yet no record was ever put in the NICS database. Consequently both were able to purchase guns legally and went on to perpetrate their massacres. So, Mr. Large, if we pass more “gun control” laws, what gaurantee do we have that they will protect us? The laws we have are supposed to be protecting us. Clearly our government, who is to protect us according to anti-gun pundits like yourself, can’t be bothered to do it. The reality is, and always has been, that we are responsible for protecting ourselves. If you can’t stand the thought of guns, then go ahead and trust in the police, an alarm system, your cell phone, or maybe a baseball bat. It’s your right as an American to choose how to protect yourself and your family. Thankfully we also have the right choose to own guns, and I will be trusting the most proven effective tool for my own protection and my family’s.

    Lastly, what does responsible gun ownership look like? It looks like the millions of American gun owners, and millions of legally owned guns, that never shoot anyone. If guns really were the sort of One Ring (reference Tolkien) corrupting evil that anti-gun people portray them as, America would be a vision of Hell surpassing anything seen in all the wars of the world. Instead, violent crime has been in decline for 20 years, while gun ownership has increased during the same period. Millions of Americans keep guns and use them safely and lawfully every day. Some of these gun owners are probably your friends and neighbors, and you don’t even know it. What you do know about are the criminals, who are sensationalized every day in our media, who perpetrate horrors on their communities using guns. The mistake you make is that you equate them with all gun owners. That is the same logic that leads to all other forms of prejudice, and is ultimately a fallacy. So maybe you should think long and hard about how illogical your position is, and how effective gun control really is in the face of hardened criminals who are determined to commit crimes. Maybe you should get angry that politicians love to talk about more laws to reduce gun violence, yet won’t bother to enforce the existing gun laws. Maybe you should get to know some gun owners in your community. Maybe then you will realize that we are not all powder kegs or accidents waiting to happen. Or you can continue to be willfully ignorant of actual crime statistics in this country and the experience of other countries with gun control. It doesn’t matter to me what you choose to believe. It should matter to you though, as an educated person who wants the best for society.

  60. avatar Dave s says:

    My AK serves the same purpose as my Ruger Mini 30, and my SKS.
    Besides the enjoyment I happen to get from collecting weapons and shooting them, and the investment value of them, I would suggest the following.
    The thin veneer of civilization can wear thin, or disappear in the blink of an eye. That is apparent in the international news headlines as well as the Seattle crime statistics. Reasonable prudence suggests we take reasonable precautions to protect ourselves in the event that catastrophe strikes.
    In that unlikely but possible circumstances the willingness to protect yourself may actually enhance the preservation of civilization by allowing you to preserve life and order in your immediate surroundings.
    The weapon has no moral judgement, the wielder supplies those. The AK in the hands of good men is a tool for good, in the hands of evil men the reverse. Evil

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