Opinion: Community-based Approach to Gun Ownership by Zane Carter


I have hunted since childhood and keep my guns safely secured. My oldest guns are hand-me-downs from my father, including the bolt action .22 that he hunted with in 1912 at age twelve and gave to me on my twelfth birthday. I agree with the second amendment as it was intended by the single-shot musket owners who passed it in 1791. “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

This legislation came on the heels of the Revolutionary War which ended the British occupation of the fledgling colonies that were to become the United States of America. So it’s no wonder that our forefathers thought it important that we citizens have access to the armaments needed to defend ourselves from invading or occupying forces.

However, there is a way to avoid the thousands of murders, suicides and accidental deaths caused by guns each year and still have access to the firearms we hunt with and those we’d rely on to defend our sovereignty if need be. I propose that the federal and/or state governments fund the construction of local arsenals operated by members of our community who manage the deposit, safe storage and dispensing of all firearms for the surrounding community.

This would eliminate the risk of having deadly firearms in reach of children, distraught family members, angry spouses, robbers, the emotionally unbalanced and would-be mass murders. Registration and storage of all firearms would need to be mandatory, so that unregistered guns could be seized from psychopaths and criminals including thugs, thieves, gang members, drug dealers and others who possessed illegal firearms.

All the “common sense” gun laws currently being bandied about by cowardly legislators aren’t worth the time it takes to say “hyperbole.” The problem is not the laws, it’s the guns. And all the rhetoric in the world won’t change that.

The NRA trumpets the slogan, “It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.” This is exactly why we need to keep bad guys from owning guns. As demonstrated in Australia, which banned firearms altogether, once the guns are off the street, deaths caused by guns cease to be a problem. The NRA also pushes the slogan, “Guns don’t kill people — people kill people.” This ignores the obvious fact that killers overwhelmingly choose to kill with guns, which enable them to kill quickly, easily, at a distance and in large numbers.

I would be quite happy to store my guns in a community arsenal, safe from thieves, intruders or curious visitors. Then just before hunting season, I could show my ID and hunting license and check out whatever shotgun or hunting rifle I needed for the season. Each gun would be released with a trigger lock so the owner could store their gun safely at home. We gun owners could construct a secure shooting range at the arsenal to brush up on our skills. It might even include skeet shooting for us bird hunters.

There would need to be some exemptions. Farmers could be allowed to keep a hunting rifle at their farm for predators that threaten their livestock or poultry. Cattle ranchers might carry sidearms to ward off rattle snakes, bobcats or other dangerous animals. Marksmanship competition like turkey shoots could be held at the arsenal.

Once all of us law abiding citizens put our guns in storage, law officers could finally identify the law breakers among us and confiscate their weapons. Though law enforcement officers would be armed, they’d no longer face the threat of being outgunned, and in time they might find it unnecessary to wear bulletproof vests. And once criminals don’t have guns, the rest of us won’t need to arm ourselves or worry about mass shootings in our schools or at public gatherings. Metal detectors at schools could become relics of the past, teachers wouldn’t need to enforce gun laws and students could spend their time studying rather than practicing “active shooter” drills.

And if we ever need to defend our sovereignty from some invading force, our community arsenal could give us back our guns and the federal government might even provide seasoned military leaders so we could form the “well-regulated militia” that our forefathers envisioned.

Zane Carter is a retired advertising executive who now lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.


Letters to Editor

  1. Diane Shields says:

    I so TOTALLY agree with this proposal. I will be in the March for Our Lives in Chestertown on Saturday. I hope many others will as well.

  2. Beryl Smith says:

    That is the first totally common sense proposal I have read. Thank you for that.

  3. vernon miller says:

    Zane are you serious? You really think the bad guys are going to turn in their guns. I and let’s say 3,000 other Kent County hunters want to hunt at sunrise on Sat. morning. How’s that work, or instance?

  4. Bill Anderson says:

    The National Guard Armory in Chestertown used to have appropriate facilities on its basement level to securely store weapons. That space I refer to could readily contain hundreds of weapons unless the space was modified after it was no longer used by the National Guard.

  5. Patty Heaps says:

    Hahahahaha! Seriously?! I thought I was reading The Onion or The People’s Cube. What a fantastical vision! And who will be the keeper of the gates at these “community arsenals” – the unicorns?

  6. Gren Whitman says:

    With individuals’ weapons locked in the arms room and signed out only on need, a military post is one of the very safest places you can be!

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