Ralph Peters, retired from the military, wrote what Peggy Noonan calls “a stinging, striking piece in the New York Post last week.”
He fired his first gun as a child when he was handed an illegal sawed-off shotgun “kept handy for woodchucks and rattlesnakes.” He served in the U.S. Army infantry, has fired automatic weapons, and owns guns: “As I write these lines, there’s an 1858 Tower musket behind me and a Colt on my desk,” he wrote.
“But I believe, on moral, practical and constitutional grounds, that no private citizen should own an automatic weapon or a semi-automatic weapon that can easily be modified for automatic effects. These are military weapons. Their purpose is to kill human beings. They’re not used for hunting (unless you want to destroy the animal’s meat). They’re lousy for target shooting. But they’re excellent tools for mass murder.”
More to the point, Donald Trump is making sense on gun issues, Ms. Noonan continues.
In meetings with the nation’s governors and with congressional leaders, he said he isn’t afraid of the National Rifle Association and they shouldn’t be either. He would harden the schools, raise to 21 the age limit to buy assault weapons. He would enhance and broaden background checks so “sickos” can’t get guns. He is convincingly alive to the mental-health crisis and its part in the story. He wants cops to have the authority to confiscate temporarily the guns of the dangerous, such as those who go around threatening to shoot up schools.
Importantly, he treated the mass shootings like a crisis, not a tragedy. This country is tired of tragedy, of the weeping president and the high-toned speech. Mr. Trump doesn’t do that because he can’t, and doesn’t know how to mourn. Just as well: We’re all tired of moist and empty vows. Do something. President Obama had a sense of tragedy about the NRA and congressional blocs and those poor, sad Americans who cling to guns. In effect he gave his own party a pass when it stepped away from gun control after Sandy Hook.
President Trump perhaps does not know enough about the facts to be fatalistic about them, suggests PN. “But he got the big picture right—at least the larger context of voters frozen along battle lines.”
Read more from Noonan here.