The AR-15 assault rifle. One of these powerful guns was stolen from the car… (AFP/Getty Images )
The news is that a semi-automatic rifle belonging to the head of Utah's biggest gun lobby was reported stolen.
But that's not the whole story.
First of all, there's delicious irony to the fact that a fellow who makes a living arguing that people need guns to protect themselves from bad guys has now provided a very powerful gun to a bad guy.
This highlights one of the often-overlooked aspects of the gun control debate: Guns don't just magically appear in the hands of baddies. All too often, they're taken from law-abiding gun owners.
It doesn't require Stephen Hawking to figure out that fewer guns in circulation would translate to fewer guns reaching potential do-badders.
But what really makes this gun-theft story sing is how the rifle was stolen. Its owner, Clark Aposhian, chairman of the blandly named Utah Shooting Sports Council, had the AR-15 in his car.
Seriously. And the car was parked in the driveway of his home.
OK, let's stop and think about that. Aposhian, for reasons passing strange, keeps an assault rifle in his car. What, does the guy think he's going to find himself in a "Mad Max" situation at a moment's notice?
So he arrives home and heads inside, leaving the powerful firearm in his car. Who does that?
And apparently he didn't give it a second thought because police say the theft occurred sometime during the night, meaning that Aposhian had gone to bed without retrieving the assault weapon that he'd left out in the car in his driveway.
And this guy is a leading advocate for gun rights.
What's my point here? It's this: The firearms lobby can argue all it wants that guns don't need more regulation. The reality is that many of the guns on the loose have no business being in civilian hands. An AR-15? Really? Do a lot of deer hunting with that puppy?
More important, Aposhian's case makes painfully clear that even the best-informed gun owner can behave like a total screw-up. He's made a clear case for why guns should be treated as a privilege and not a right.
And that's a privilege that should be earned.
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