Friday, November 18, 2005

A Tale of 54 Guns in Pennsylvania

I haven’t talked about the shooting in Pennsylvania. An 18 year old man, David Ludwig, killed his 14-year old girlfriend’s parents and then he and his girlfriend took off. They were captured in Indiana and police officials aren’t sure, or they’re not telling, if the girl was involved with the murders or if he kidnapped her.

I’m a little surprised that anti-gunnies haven’t made more of this story. It has all the elements they need to twist it into a tight little ball of gun-hatred:

*The young man had access to firearms;
*He is a hunter;
*He was home schooled in probably a Christian family, and;
*He seemed like a nice guy until he went berserk with a gun.

Jeez, could gun-banners asked for anything more. Well, if they did, they got their wish.

There are two news articles this morning that make a great deal about finding 54 guns in the teen’s home. A court document lists three AR-15 “assault weapons” and, gasp, “Several rifles and shotguns, some pump-action….” Of course, the family had “…numerous rounds of ammunition….” The guns were removed from the house. I don’t know why they were removed since there are no allegations that Ludwig’s family had anything to do with the murders.

The stories don’t say who the guns belong to. My guess is most belong to Ludwig’s father who is a commercial airline pilot. They might be owned by several family members. Who knows?

I don’t know if these guns are a collection in the sense of historically interesting guns, or an accumulation a gunnie might build up over the years. After all, different guns have different purposes and if family members were active shooters in more than one discipline, they would have similar guns for different sports (i.e., an accurized AR-15 rifle for Service Rifle competition and a M4-type AR-15 for plinking).

The Lancaster story (second link above) includes reader comments. Be sure to skim them. Many people think the report is sensationalized and others call for more gun control—in various ways (“…how many guns does one need to hunt?”). There are also attacks on home schooling.

The article sensationalizes the number of guns found in this home. Its author, Janet Kelly, knows (even if she wouldn’t admit it) that when gun haters read her article, they will take a collective gasp. They wonder why people could own so many firearms. They imagine such owners to be troglodytes with too little education to understand the error of their gun-accumulating ways. For them, one gun is too many, but 54 guns put the household beyond society’s pale.

An event such and the fact the murderer’s family owned so many guns gives gun-banners the truths they need to twist into lies. They will use it to try to pass “arsenal” laws while hoping to reduce gun ownership in general. Ludwig’s actions are inexcusable, but so are gun-banners’ soon-to-come attempts to use this tragedy for their political ends.

Bill and I own a lot of guns—I won’t say how many. We also have numerous rounds of ammunition. We like to shoot a variety of guns and I collect historically and technically significant firearms.

When I see stories like this, I can only imagine how a reporter could spin our collection into something evil. But it’s not. Our collection and shooting are our avocations and our guns have never hurt anyone while we’ve owned them. We take gun safety and gun security seriously while still enjoying owning and using them. And yet, someone could twist our stories into something we wouldn’t recognize.

We’re not rednecks or troglodytes even though we hunt. Like Ludwig’s father, Bill and I are responsible professionals with three college degrees between us. I own a sizable book collection, primarily literary fiction. Bill owns a matchbook collection. One big difference is that we don’t live with a love-sick foolish young man. However, if you ever see a story about an arrest of two people in a home full of guns, ammunition, matches, books, and one cat, please send bail.

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