Originally published Monday, August 12, 2019 at 07:30p.m.

In light of the horrible random shootings in America, and all of the rhetoric that unfortunately comes after it, I wondered if the proposed action by the folks who are on the left side of this issue will affect the average American sportsman and citizen?

The short answer is yes, I think it will. I believe there is no doubt if new more-restrictive laws are passed, it will be an issue for many Americans, especially the vast majority of the 15 million gun owners who feel that their Second Amendment rights are being taken away due to the criminal actions of a few.

Let me get out front of this and say this is just my opinion and mine alone. It is not that of the editors, owners or employees of this newspaper.

I’ll also admit that trying to be objective about all of this is hard for me.

You see, I’m one of those millions of Americans who own firearms and yes, I even own one of what the left erroneously calls an “assault rifle.” The fact is my AR is nothing more than a semi-automatic sporting rifle like the one I owned for many years in the 1970s and ‘80s. That rifle was a Remington Model 740, a semi-automatic rifle which was capable of firing 6mm cartridges out of a box magazine. I used that rifle when I hunted for deer, antelope, and predators.

My first introduction to an M-16 rifle was when I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1969. I was issued a fully automatic M-16 half way through basic training after the Army started to switch from the M-14’s that were also fully automatic, but fired a much more powerful 7.62 NATO or 308 cartridge.

That M-16 rifle I had in 1969 is NOT the same rifle as I and millions of law-abiding Americans own today. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic sporting rifle which means it fires just one round with each pull of the trigger, just like my old venerable Model 740 Remington rifle.

I have a 3x9 telescopic sight on my AR rifle, just like the one I had on my Remington rifle.

My AR rifle has been used by me and others to hunt deer, antelope, javelina and predators.

To say that AR-style rifles shouldn’t be in the hands of the American sportsman and any other law-abiding citizen is just ludicrous.

Let’s examine some of the facts that I believe the mainstream media is failing to report to Americans.

For example, the horrible regrettable murders of 30 innocent citizens in Texas and Ohio were done by sick, twisted individuals who obviously had mental issues.

But what about all the gun violence in Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws around?

On the July 4 weekend 70 people were shot and 5 died. Two weeks ago there were 43 people shot and 8 died as a result of the illegal use of firearms in the Windy City. But did you see any national headlines about those incidents? No, as they didn’t fit into the radical left’s agenda to limit and outlaw firearm ownership in America for millions of law-abiding citizens.

It isn’t much of debate when you know the facts that gun laws don’t work for those who have criminal intent or mental health issues. If more restrictive gun laws worked, then Chicago would have very few shootings. Gun laws only put restrictions on law-abiding citizens.

Bottom line is that it is not a gun issue, for a gun is an inanimate object that can’t fire without a person pulling the trigger. It’s a criminal issue.

I’ve had a lively debate about this issue on the internet with a liberal friend, who just happens to be a retired law enforcement officer who worked for the Arizona Game & Fish Department for 30 years.

His comment to me was: “I’m sure those people killed and injured didn’t dream they would get seriously injured or die in a Walmart. These killers could appear anywhere at any time.”

My response to him was: ”Look at the cause of deaths from a statistical standpoint and you will see that traveling in an automobile is way more dangerous and a person is more likely to be killed in a fatal car accident, rather than being shot by some deranged person.”

This information will not sway his opinion, but that is the truth. You have a far greater chance of being killed in an auto accident going to Walmart than being killed in a random shooting there.

If that situation occurred here in Kingman, I suspect that the shooter would not have had the opportunity to shoot as many victims as he did. No, one of our lawfully concealed-carry citizens would have taken him out.

As a police officer here in Kingman for more than 14 years, I never feared our armed citizens. It was the burglars, robbers and murderers that I was concerned I would and did in fact come face-to-face with in my duties.

These issues are dividing and destroying our country from within. I’m not sure how it is going to end, but one thing is for certain: Disarming law abiding Americans is not the answer.