Playing with Guns

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About Andrew Bardetti

Andrew has a passion for social justice, really bad movies and trying to read every book someone recommends to him. He blogs at Living the Fourth in the Real World and as an unofficial collector of quotes, his favorite is by Marcus Aurelius: "Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all of your heart."


  1. AnonymousDog says:

    So what’s your position on public access to safe shooting ranges? On the decision some years ago by the NCAA to drop rifle shooting as an intercollegiate competition due to target shooting being crowded off college campuses by a host of factors? What are your thoughts on the use (or non-use) of Pittman-Robertson funds for the construction of public shooting ranges?
    There are a bunch of different things involved in your basic question that don’t get the public discussion that they deserve.

    • Andrew Bardetti says:


      Public access to safe shooting ranges is necessary so individuals who have no idea how to handle a gun can learn just what it means to squeeze that trigger. If a responsible father wants to teach his son how to handle the 9mm in his lockbox, he’s got to have somewhere to do that and so I say yes to public access to safe shooting ranges. Now, saying that we could also get into “Well, if anyone can come learn how to shoot, what would/could be done to prevent someone with ill intent from practicing?” There I’d say people running these shooting ranges should be making note of people come in with, let’s say, heavier arsenals but as DCPrin so eloquently points out, and I’ll agree with him below, criminals do not obey laws and gun safety starts with gun education.

      I try to respond to people in twenty-four hours and in that time frame I could not find much on this NCAA issue. When I tried to find an article or a case about this issue, nothing came up besides a list of colleges that still participate in the sport. If you have more information you could provide here, I’d be happy to read it and give you my opinion.

      In terms of Pittman-Robertson funding, I would say we should be careful where that money goes. Those dollars are primarily being collected for wildlife needs, as I understand it, to ensure that various populations of animals do not go extinct, and so I think it would be best to say those funds would go towards “hunting ranges” as opposed to “shooting ranges.” Got nothing against hunting – best meal is the one you can catch/gather on your own – but it would be a mis-allocation of funding to put those towards, say, an indoor shooting range.

      And I completely acknowledge there are a whole plethora of topics on the general heading of “guns” that my article does not touch on. Thanks for pointing out some of these other issues.

      • AnonymousDog says:

        I was under the impression that Pittman-Robertson funds were supposed to go for BOTH wildlife conservation and the construction of public shooting ranges, but most states devote most of their shares to wildlife conservation. Here in Illinois, about 25 years ago, Pittman-Robertson funds were used to purchase a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for historical preservation ( a fine project, by the way, but probably a misallocation of P-R funds), and the courts struck down all challenges as lacking standing.

  2. Explain to me again how criminals obey laws?

    You imply that laws should be made to limit access or have a more stringent/through licensing process, but that goes against the entire spirit of the amendment. I disagree with your opinion about the reason behind the second amendment;the reason it is there is that the founders, after getting through a revolution, had a distrust for concentrated government power, where a government can oppress their own population through use of force (look at Syria and the current militarization of our police). Of all the checks and balances included in the constitution, it is the last resort.

    You mention that the columbine shooters got their guns from a gun fair and the tone was that it was that the access was too easy, but what of all the other people who bought guns at the same fair? did they shoot up something or do anything at all illegal?

    Those shooters had intent and premeditation, do you honestly think that if it was more difficult for them to obtain guns, that it would have stopped them from attempting mass murder?

    I agree with the sentiment of AnonymousDog, what of responsible shooting?

    To use your example, driving; there is an entire industry devoted to teaching people how to drive and most people usually have a mentor to guide them through the basics. This is because driving, in many places is an essential part of life.
    To compare driving with gun ownership is fundamentally different, guns are a choice and no where close to being a necessity, as you prove from your arguments. But because it is a choice, there is now a rift between responsible gun owners and the rest of the public who fear them. When the old guys plowed through a farmer’s market, did anyone seriously rethink car ownership access?

    You say that the perception of guns should change, I agree, but not with more legislation and condoning a culture of fear, but like with driving, using education and experience. We are a more fearful culture than ever before, bring back the campus gun ranges, gun safety classes, real ROTC, etc. so that people can understand and no longer fear guns. It is a tool of death, but a tool nonetheless.

    Remember the old adage, guns dont kill people, people kill people.

    And no, I do not own a gun.

    • Andrew Bardetti says:


      Reading my article and your response again I can see where you might think I see legislation as the only answer. I certainly believe, given how people with ill intent still manage to get their hands on dangerous tools, we could stand to revisit our security measures and see where we might be able to make it more difficult for those folks to access those weapons but I also want to completely agree and second your final paragraph and the old adage. The arguments I made were to motivate a move to this kind of conversation, to say “Look, it is certainly a given responsible people can own a gun in this country. Now, what are the best things we can do to a) foster good gun education for everyone and b) limit access to the irresponsible” as opposed to getting bogged down in the same old Second Amendment, all or nothing argument because the world is not black and white like that, there are shades of grey. There are certainly those on this planet who will commit an act of violence with whatever they can get their hands on and how to reduce the amount of violence in a society is a whole separate topic. When those old guys plowed through a farmer’s market, I seriously rethought car ownership access. When shootings of any caliber happen, I also rethink gun ownership access but I also believe the best way to reduce the amount of gun violence is through education and experience, as you point out and as are the staple elements of forming a good driver as well. I hope that clears up my position and next time I’ll go into more detail on the finer points I may have left too vague.

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