Letter to the Editor

Concerns of a gun owner and duck hunter

Saturday, March 30, 2013
Berkley Bedell

Along with a group of friends, I went on duck hunting trips in Canada and North Dakota every year for over 50 years. It was an important part of my life, and as a person who has owned a gun and hunted for many years, I have a great interest in the gun debate going on at this time in our country.

The 12-gauge shotgun I used on those trips was one of my prized possessions. I am relieved that it apparently is not part of the current gun debate. I have never owned a military style automatic weapon and it is a puzzle to me as to why anyone would want one. Guns like my shotgun are used primarily for shooting birds and animals; my friends, family and I have enjoyed our wonderful roast duck dinners through the years.

Military style automatic weapons are used primarily for shooting people. I have never thought it would be fun to shoot people. Shooting ducks is a challenge. They fly pretty fast. But people cannot fly and most of us cannot even run very fast.

Laws require me to put a plug in my shotgun if I am going to shoot ducks, so that I can only shoot three shells before reloading. That is because we prize ducks so much that we do not want to kill too many of them at once. At this time there is no such law for weapons that kill people. You can put as many bullets in a people-killing gun as it will hold and kill as many people as you want without reloading. This is ridiculous. The more ducks you can shoot, the more duck dinners you can have. But you gain nothing by killing more people.

President Obama recognizes how foolish this is. He is recommending that we limit people-killing guns to 10 rounds at a time. Ten people equal three ducks. My understanding is that the Congress may not agree with him. Apparently he is overvaluing people, as compared to ducks, and some members of Congress feel we should put a larger limit, or even none at all, on how many people can be killed at one time. A limit of three ducks is okay but a limit of any number on people is not!

I do not know what Congress will do. I do not think anyone knows what this Congress will do. I hope its members do not duck the issue as they have in the past when they did not act and simply let the automatic weapons ban expire.

Whatever they do with people-killing guns, I hope they do not increase the limit of three ducks that can be killed at one time. Ducks are important.

* Ninety-one year old Berkley Bedell from Iowa served in the U.S. Congress from 1975 through 1986. He was recognized as the first National Small Business Person of the year in 1964.

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