Monday, January 21, 2013

A Sportsman's View On Gun Control

Mike Topping should be either a sportsman or environmentalist. He lives at the far end of Saucon Park, surrounded by a sea of green, even at the height of Winter. As luck would have it, he is both. He is Chairman of Northampton County's Open Space Committee and the President of the County's "Federation of Sportsmen," which consists of 17 clubs and over 7,000 members. His opinions are his own. He warns 7,000 sportsmen will have 14,000 opinions. In a wide-ranging interview over good coffee at his Saucon Park home, he spoke about the Second Amendment and the need for gun control.

Second Amendment

According to Topping, the Second Amendment is the foundation of all of our individual freedoms. "They can all be set aside if we don't have the power to forcibly resist a government action we feel is wrong and illegal," he stated. As an example, he noted that the KKK would pass by the home of someone who possessed a shotgun.

Assault Rifles

Topping is also mystified by the clamor to ban assault rifles, i.e. semi-automatics. Those are rifles that will fire when the trigger is pulled. He points out that real assault rifles, i.e. fully automatic guns, are already illegal. He also noted that it is illegal to use a semi-automatic rifle for hunting in Pennsylvania. They may only be used for target practice and personal protection.

"There's a certain amount of Madison Avenue behind these assault rifles," Topping states. "But if you take the mechanics out and put them into a nice wooden stock, it will look more like a hunting rifle."

High Capacity Magazines

"That's a tough one," Topping notes. He notes that the seven-bullet limit imposed by a recent New York law is completely unworkable because most gun manufacturers sell ten-bullet magazines with every type of gun.

"Ten is the magic number," Topping noted. "What they did in New York was done by people who don't know anything about guns."

The Obama proposal limits magazines to ten rounds.

Gun Show Loophole and Background Checks

"We don't have that in Pennsylvania," says Topping, noting that a background check is still needed.

He supports increased scrutiny.

"Background checks should be as intrusive as possible," states Topping, noting that the "mental area" needs the most work. "Society has a right to be protected from persons who should not carry firearms."

We Have a Violence Problem

According to Topping, what people identify as a gun problem is really a "violence problem" that extend to video games and even toy guns. "Personally, I don't think toy guns that look real should be sold," he recommends.

Topping notes that women are joining sportsmen clubs more than any other group precisely because there is a violence problem.

He would support increased penalties for gun law violations and agrees that more protection most be offered at any large gathering of people, from schools to hospitals.

Hellertown Sportsmen May Offer Facilities to Teachers

Although numerous details must be worked out, Hellertown Sportsmen want to offer their facilities to provide free training to Saucon Valley teachers. "Any large institution should have people who have security training," notes Topping.

36 comments:

EbAy said...

It's good to see you interviewed someone with a rational opinion.

I've been seeing the mainstream media doing a lot more "interviews" over the last 2 weeks of individuals who don't represent what most gun owners believe.

Not all of us want to own a nuke.

Anonymous said...

Mike Topping is "right on" with his comments. On a personal note, you refer to him as "Topper". Is that his nickname?

Anonymous said...

They may only be used for target practice and personal protection.

Precisely the reason that these ridiculous weapons should be banned. They serve no worthy purpose in civilian hands.

Anonymous said...

Not all of us want to own a nuke.

So? Your line is at nuke. Our line is at semi-automatic assault style weapons.

Anonymous said...

i disagree with Mr. Topping regarding mag limits. The government knew exactly what it was doing by imposing the 7 round limit, making all of the current magazines illegal under the standard.

By further restricting/taxing the sale of the new mags, you have a back-end way for gun control as the guns cannot be used without the new magazines, which you restrict. The gov cannot control the guns, so they are making an end run via ammo/mag limits

Bernie O'Hare said...

I thank the spellchecker on Mr. Topping's name.

Anonymous said...

One could argue that the first amendment is first supporting our freedom. The ability to associate and to have free speech provides the marketplace of ideas that contributes to the ability to organize and cause political/societal change.

Maybe the second is second to uphold the first, but note the words "well regulated!!!!!!"

I suspect Mr. Jefferson put the first amendment, first, for a good reason.

Anonymous said...

Magazine limits feel so good, and are ridiculous. An amateur can swap out a seven or ten round mag in under three seconds. The Columbine and Newtown guys reloaded several times. A limited magazine discussion is not a serious discussion about gun violence.

c said...

I agree 100%

Bill Coker said...

Bottom line is restrictions, regulations, and bans affect only the legal gunowner. Unfortunately there are no restrictions on illegal gunowners (just ask the Mexican government). Legals rarely, if ever, commit crimes. What do the restrictions really accomplish?

Anonymous said...

I am amazed at the number of people arreseted for crimes that also involve guns and only get light sentences.

Do any crime with a gun should mean five years plus the sentence for the crime and no parole!Injury to a victim with a gun should add ten years. Any gang violence involving a gun should be twenty years.

If we are going to infringe on constitutional rights then "stop and frisk" in high crime areas should be allowed.

EbAy said...

So? Your line is at nuke. Our line is at semi-automatic assault style weapons.

My point was that most mainstream "reporters" gleefully interview those who want the extreme protected. Just as you try to imply that my "line" is a nuke.

Glad we can meet at the same line. I'm for being able to own a semi-automatic for personal protection. If you want to own a flintlock, that's your choice.

I sometimes forget that idiots will try to twist a statement. I'll be more careful in the future, now that I know you lurk on here.

John Rambo said...

Sometimes emotional issues such as gun control can get cluttered with all types of intellectual justifications on both sides for certain objectives.

A quote from a great thinker on the matter cuts to the core of the subject in 16 seconds, discuss.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbHH5xZcVvQ

Bernie O'Hare said...

"I suspect Mr. Jefferson put the first amendment, first, for a good reason."

The first might be first for a reason, but its author is James Madison.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -- stand corrected on who wrote, but it was Jefferson who proposed the concept of the Bill of Rights.

Bernie O'Hare said...

That's OK.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, when is America going to take a look at the gun violations according to race/ethnic background and see if it is out of whack. I am not a bigot. I for one would like to put that issue to rest. Is there really more gun violations amongst the minority population vs the white race? We know our prison populations on the local levels in the metropolitan areas are populated more with minorities that white. Please don't scold me for being a racist. I am just curious as is most of America. Please shine some light on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Comments are light when gummint is on holiday. Apparently, their "work" involves a lot of blogging.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" Please don't scold me for being a racist. I am just curious as is most of America. Please shine some light on this topic."

I can't see any reason to do that kind of research unless it is racially motivated. Blacks and Hispanics commit more crime than whites, but that is not because of their race or ethnicity. It is because of their poverty. Your "research" question would just justify bigot in their bigoted thinking. How about seeing how much gun violence there is from those who have no jobs? Or education? Or who are forced to live in a poor environment?

Anonymous said...

Poor people are not inherently criminal or violent. Males raised by single mothers are.

Black males comprise 6% of the population and commit 52% of murders.

Nobody is permitted to discuss this.

Being poor is not a crime, or in Bernie's mind, reasonable cause to suspect one is a criminal.

Bernie O'Hare said...

So now we see what you really want to talk about. I am not going to allow bigoted commentary here. Do it somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

75% of all the crimes committed in Chicago with guns are committed by minorities. These are the mayors own statistics. That isn't being racist. That is fact. Maybe they are unemployed. The issue of minorities being unemployed must be addressed. Gun control is not the issue. employment for minorities is.

Anonymous said...

It's OK for you to broad brush the poor as prone to violence. But it's not OK to cite readily available crime statistics.

Got it. The subject hits a bit close to home and denial is a powerful thing.

Anonymous said...

Bernie -

I don't think race should be off limits in this discussion.

When I first heard about the Newtown shooting, I immediately thought younger, white, middle-class male. Later, we found that the gunman fit that profile.

If a certain group is pre-disposed to a certain type of crime, I'd like to understand it. I know our math scores are low in this country, but why wouldn't we want to use statistics to our advantage?

Anonymous said...

People who intentionally commit crimes do so bc they watch movies, TV, videos and the news, all of which glorify violence. Criminal mentalities are more often than not taught. And the problem with gun control is that the government fails miserably in controlling the flow of illegal guns, perhaps bc it is a multibillion dollar industry. The same reason they don't control the flow of drugs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:31, It is far too easy for bigots to conclude that people commit these crimes bc of their ethnicity and not bc of their backgrounds. This issue is divisive enough w/o bringing race into it. If you want to and insist your motives are pure, then I will ask you to identify yourself when you past and accept personal responsibility for your words.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"It's OK for you to broad brush the poor as prone to violence. But it's not OK to cite readily available crime statistics.

Got it. The subject hits a bit close to home and denial is a powerful thing."


Now I understand. You have no real interest in the issue but just want to attack me ... anonymously.

Anonymous said...

Everything in this interview is spot on, well done Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Precisely the reason that these ridiculous weapons should be banned. They serve no worthy purpose in civilian hands.

So I take it, you agree no one needs a 2014 Corvette with a top speed in excess of 150mph, with 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. Shall we ban those also because they serve no worthy purpose in civilian hands and with interstate speed limits set at 65mph? Let us all drive Yugos! Who needs to drive 150mph?

If we ban Corvettes, at least one life will be saved, same argument as used by Joe Biden, but there is no Constitutional amendment which can be said to uphold our right to go fast, as there is with firearms.

That is not to say I have a problem with State background checks, but I have issues with an arbitrary ban that merely feels good. My point is your logic is all wrong!

-nlv

Anonymous said...

Who says you have to know anything about guns to have the solutions here? Or know anything at all?
It's all about appearances, right?

Appearances, political expediency, and feeling good about ourselves. Right?

Anonymous said...

Bernie @ 4:15
Mr Armstrong says those sorry condishions didn't exist untill the current President took office---and that the country was stupid enough to elect him again.
I just read it right here on Lehigh Valley Rambling.

Bernie O'Hare said...

You have no interest in any discussion, but just want to trash people.

Anonymous said...

BOH, you should read your own blog.

Anonymous said...

No race or ethnicity data here please. Haven't we established time and time again that this is not about any facts?
If we must use data, let us only use data that we are comfortable with.
Remember readers, we are here to feel good about ourselves.

Anonymous said...

9:13
Your lack of knowledge is very impressive. You deserve to be quoted on television. You certainly display the lack of knowledge necessary to be a spokesperson.