My Life as a Gunman

During my teens and early twenties, I fired weapons at people, who were often shooting back.

It was not a pleasant experience but, after V-E Day in Germany, when most of our food was being sold in British and French black markets, I was persuaded to go deer-hunting not so much for sport as out of hunger. In early morning, sighting a brown hide and preparing to fire, I realized I was about to bag a cow.

That ended my hunting career, but I brought home as a souvenir a pistol I had taken from a German officer. Years later, when my teen-age son found it in a closet, I disassembled the gun and walked a mile in Manhattan dropping parts in trash bins to make sure it would never be put together again.

In the half-century since then, the Second Amendment has been of only academic interest, but a flurry of activity post-Tucson reawakens the sense of wonder at how bearing arms against targets that don’t shoot back has become a sacred right in America.

A GOP house member proposes a tiny step toward gun regulation, and House Speaker John Boehner slaps it down as if he were blaspheming against motherhood.

There are such stirrings after every American massacre, but the NRA has no need to worry. In Arizona, instead of a public recoiling from the bloodshed, there is a surge in sales of the semi-automatic Glock pistols used in the shootings. (Having to fire one shot at a time into a crowd is so inconvenient.)

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Author: ROBERT STEIN

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