BUZ LIVINGSTON: Guns and the New Year: Looking forward and looking back

Buz Livingston

January derives its name from Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings. Ancient Romans paid homage to Janus when faced with life transitions. As the New Year rolls in, we can reflect on the past and make plans. 

Obscured by the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Conn., was a shooting at the Treasure Island Mall in Newport Beach, Calif.  Someone stupid with an automatic weapon busted off 50 rounds, fortunately missing everyone, ricochets included.  At my house it was a big deal; our son was shopping at Treasure Island shortly before the shooting.

Sure mental health screenings would reduce future mass shootings.  This strategy costs money and the mental health lobby doesn’t garner much financial support. Looking at our dysfunctional Congress, it seems a bit ironic to underfund mental health but we do. One of the easiest entitlements to cut is mental health; it’s reality.

Limiting magazine capacity is a more cost-effective way to reduce mass killings. Smaller magazines, fewer bullets — it’s math. 

A seven round semi-automatic sidearm, courtesy of John Browning, served my Uncle Bob well on Iwo Jima.  In Georgia, hunting regulations limit semi-automatic shotgun capacity — one in the chamber, two in the magazine.  By design, rifles used for large game don’t use high capacity magazines. Limitations on high capacity magazine are a non-issue for sportsmen.

We struggle keeping guns from people with mental health issues, so the least we can do is minimize potential damage.

People should be able to enjoy hunting. Our pretty grandbaby has outgrown one pink camo outfit but her daddy made sure she has one that fits. 

He claims she’s going to be Annie Oakley and being a daddy’s girl, I am betting on it.  Maybe she will kill a bigger deer than her dad, fingers crossed. My cousin field-dressed a deer in his Bronxville, N.Y., backyard thoroughly shocking his Manhattan-born (not Kansas) spouse and few other suburbanites. After one fruitful Gadsden County hunting trip, he smuggled frozen venison through JFK.

Mama went to a Methodist college and did her best to impart Sunday learning on her progeny. A fellow parishioner, Quentin Tillman, sported the very first “If Guns are Outlawed …” bumper sticker I saw.

It perplexed me since shotguns and hunting was an integral part of my raising. For kids dead dove pickup detail preceded shotgun qualification. My severe myopia went undiagnosed when I “lost” multiple dead dove daddy shot. Thousands of shotgun blasts certainly contributed to the tinnitus I now suffer.

Fast forward a couple of decades as the proprietor of Bob’s Package Store, Quentin and I developed a professional relationship.  Despite being a teetotaler, every year he bought Beefeater Gin as a Christmas present for his friend Joe Grollman. Mr. Tillman put aside his predilections to accommodate their relationship. Americans should do the same and work together to minimize gun violence. 

The Second Amendment solidifies gun ownership. We have two functional shotguns and a pistol. When my wife lived alone in Blue Mountain, I qualified her for a Lady Smith and Wesson and she slept better.

When the Bill of Rights was ratified most people, under duress, would struggle to get more than two rounds off inside of sixty seconds.  Let’s deal with 21st Century reality.

Buz Livingston, CFP offers hourly financial planning and fee-only investment management to clients along Florida’s Emerald Coast.  Contact him at 267-1068, Buz@LivingstonFinancial.netor www.LivingstonFinancial.net.