The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 9, 2013

Dablemont: Hunting guns are all we need

By Larry Dablemont
Special to The Globe

— Guess the highest number of times I have shot at one duck?

No, I’m not bragging about my shooting here but I have never once shot more than three times at one duck because long before I was born, the government decided to limit the number of shells a pump or automatic shotgun would hold.

Some of the shotguns were made to hold five shells and others were made to hold seven. But in order to protect a declining population of wild ducks and geese, all waterfowl hunters were required by law to insert a wooden plug into their shotgun’s magazine to make it unable to hold more than three shells.

Another thing they did was to outlaw what they referred to as “punt guns,” which were large barrels mounted on the front of small wooden boats, holding a large quantity of powder and shot, used at times to wipe out an entire flock of ducks sitting on the water. They made it against the law to use any shotgun lower than a ten-gauge.

Thank God they did those things, or we would have had few ducks to hunt when I was a boy, and today.

Some hunters resented it, and said the government was overstepping its authority and those restrictions would just lead to more restrictive laws.

Thirty years or so ago, the government once again acted to protect waterfowl by making it illegal to use lead shot. Some hunters didn’t much care for the idea.

I didn’t much like it at the time because steel shot was a poor substitute for lead. But they kept improving it, and today, most of us who love migrating waterfowl are glad it was done.

I may have shot more than three times at a squirrel with my .22 rifle, but not often. I never shot more than three times at a pheasant, a grouse, a rabbit, or a quail. Most times, since I like to use a double barrel, I have never fired more than twice.

My deer rifle holds seven shells, and I have never filled it. And I have never ever emptied it at a deer.

I always figured that a man who had to shoot at a deer several times was a poor hunter. Shooting at running deer in the woods is seldom a good idea.

If you put a bullet where you want it, usually one shot kills a deer.

So I guess I do not see the need for weapons which shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger, 30 or 40 times or more. What hunter needs one of those?

Why the dickens are so many people so up in the air about those horrible weapons which are as unnecessary in our world as bazookas and hand-held missile launchers.

I know, I know. If the government outlaws them, it won’t be long until we can’t own hand grenades, and the next thing there’ll government officials at our door demanding that we give them our chickens!

Some fellow sent me a message via e-mail that those AR-15 rifles are no more dangerous than a baseball bat or a knife.

Can you believe people can think that way? Up against a person with the rifle, what is the baseball bat or knife going to accomplish? I sure am not about to argue with someone sporting that type of IQ.

Still, I know we are not going to change the violence against innocent people with much of anything we do involving new laws.

It isn’t laws is going to change things, it is a change in our culture, and that isn’t going to happen. We don’t enforce the laws we have.

Do you think those gangs in Chicago, killing people each week, couldn’t be stopped without new laws restricting weapons?

It is a different world in those cities than it is in the country. Human beings in California and New York are as different from us as a buzzard is from an eagle.

I guess they need to pass a bunch of laws that we don’t need here in the Ozarks. So it is best probably if various states try to tackle gun laws according to their situations.

But it’s pretty dumb to think any of us here in the country need a weapon that shoots more than seven or eight times without reloading.

Common sense would tell me that if we made it illegal for any weapon to be capable of holding more than 10 shells, we would accomplish as much as anything else we could do.

What we need is a culture far different than we have in places of intense populations. We need families and fathers. We need an end to movies which show gore and horror and gunmen killing hundreds of people, both good and bad. We need an end to video games that give 10-year-old kids a thrill, mowing down human beings with a powerful weapon.

I hear that so many people who do not hunt use those assault rifles and high capacity magazines because of the enjoyment it gives them to go to a shooting range and create havoc with the only power they have ever felt.

Why can’t that be done with those same rifles, limited to ten shells in a magazine?

I love to shoot trap and skeet with my shotguns. I wish some of those assault rifle fans could switch to that kind of shooting, where you use shotguns limited to three shots.

It is so much more enjoyable, and actually involves some skill.

No folks, we aren’t going to change anything, we are just all going to pray that the next kids aren’t ours, that the next theatre or the next library or the next café or the stadium where a massacre takes place is far away from us.  

We are going to hope that the 20 illegals arrested in Springfield a week ago bringing Mexican methamphetamines into the Ozarks will be the last of them.

We should do like Illinois is about to do and give them driver’s licenses which will no doubt make them easier to catch.

There not much we can do, if we are just common country people with common sense who can’t figure out why this world needs assault rifles and drugs and alcohol

More and more, we can’t figure what is happening to this great country.

All you can do is burrow back deeper into the woods, far far away from New York and Washington and Los Angeles.

We can thank God we are country people living in a place where hunting guns are all we need.