From a recent phone interview with the Lufkin Daily News:
In the wake of Friday’s shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 27 people dead, gun-rights and gun-control advocates have sparked an intense dialogue about what should be done to prevent such increasingly frequent tragedies.
“Top Shot” Season 3 Champion Dustin Ellermann of Zavalla has become a vocal part of that dialogue.
With investors turning against gun makers, politicians weighing gun restrictions and many calling for teachers and administrators to have the right to arm themselves, the debate shows no signs of ebbing.
When asked what he believes will happen in terms of restrictions being placed on guns, Ellermann said, “Whatever they want.”
“They call them assault weapons, but there’s no technical definition,” he said. “It’s a term created by media and anti-gunners. An assault weapon could be anything from a rock to a shovel.”
Ellermann said assault rifles, or fully automatic rifles, are restricted by “tons of legal tape” and have been heavily regulated since 1934, and even more so since the Gun Control Act of 1986.
“The only way anyone is going to have one is if it’s stolen from a police station,” he said. “A lot of people really don’t know what they’re talking about. For the most part, there’s not really crimes with assault rifles because you can’t really own them without jumping through all the hoops and loops.”
When asked if he believed gun-control advocates, politicians and the media were perhaps seizing upon public sadness and anger stemming from the tragedy to push an anti-gun agenda, Ellermann said, “In the words of Rahm Emanuel, you never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And here we are.”
And as Ellermann was quick to note on his Facebook wall as the tragedy was unfolding, there are a lot of details about the shooting in Connecticut that are not yet known.
”Even now, we still don’t know what was going on,” he said. “We don’t really know what kind of weapons were used. We don’t know and we may never really know.”
With corporate America reacting and some TV stations even canceling their gun shows, Ellermann said he believes blame for these tragedies is being wrongly placed on guns.
“It’s a gun show and guns don’t have anything more to do with violence than a car does at a drunk-driving accident,” he said. “They’re blaming inanimate objects, and that’s just not logical.”
As a children’s minister, Ellermann said, “It irritates me beyond belief that some guy would do this. And I am saying a murderer, not a shooter. I’m a shooter; he’s a murderer.”
The solution, Ellermann said, is for the good guys to be able to arm and defend themselves.
“I think Israel’s got it right,” he said, noting that if you enter an establishment in that country, “the first thing you see are a fire extinguisher, a first aid kit and an M16 — a real assault rifle.”
Ellermann said, “Every mass murder this year has been in a gun-free zone. The good guys aren’t legally allowed to carry their guns there. And that’s what we’re doing with these stupid and foolish gun-free zones. A criminal hell-bent on murder doesn’t really pay attention to the sign.”
As soon as he heard the news of the deadly shootings earlier this year in Aurora, Colo., Ellermann said, “I knew, ‘Oh, it’s a gun-free zone.'”
“Last I checked, there was a law against murder,” he said, “and I’m pretty sure if they don’t obey that law, they’re not going to obey a law about ‘You can’t bring your gun in here.'”
Ellermann also cited recent events in which armed citizens have averted what could have been similar tragedies — events not always reported on by the media, he said.
“The body count wasn’t high enough and it was a good guy with a gun,” he said. “The people on hand — the responsible citizens — you’re the first responder. If somebody needs the Heimlich maneuver, you don’t call somebody and wait. You’re the first responder.”
Because of the evil in the world, Ellermann said, people have to be responsible for their own safety.
“It’s not walking into a parking lot, staring at your cell phone and thinking that you’re safe because you have a cell phone and you can call 911. Well, that’s great. They can wipe up all the blood off the parking lot. It’s just part of being responsible,” he said. “It doesn’t take a badge. It just takes a good guy.”
Ellermann said he believes there are a lot of “hidden defense stories that get swept under the rug.”
“Sometimes it’s just the presentation of placing the pistol in your lap,” he said. “Guns are used for defense and for stopping crimes hundreds of times a day, but it doesn’t get reported on a national scale. And a lot of times it just doesn’t get reported.”
Ellermann said he does not believe teachers should be security guards, “but they should not be disarmed by law!”
“A teacher is a responsible mother hen, I’m all for the defense of our kids,” he said. “Locally, if the school wants to be safe, allow me to help train their teachers. I’ll do it for free. That wouldn’t be enough training. I’d prefer they have some active shooter training. But to disarm the good guys is just an invitation to a massacre.”
Ellermann said that if a police officer, security guard, volunteer or a teacher — “armed and legally carrying safely” — had been on hand in Newtown, the situation could have been stopped. And while there’s no guarantee that no life would have been spared, “It wouldn’t have got to 27.”
“Once challenged, these guys are cowards and they shoot themselves. It’s ‘Game over,'” he said. “You know what? it could have been over right then, too. If you ban guns, you’re only going to take them away from the law-abiding, anyway.”
And Ellermann said he believes some of the blame should be placed on a culture that is filled with violent video games and movies, [note: not my words, that was the question asked, I put blame on an evil, sinful culture] which combined with “mentally unstable, very spiritually oppressed people who need help” can create a breeding ground for disaster.
“As a society, what you put in your head and what you meditate on affects you, and that’s just biblical of what you should think and act on and trying to keep your mind pure,” he said. “There’s no argument there on what society becomes as a result of everything around us. That’s where the real battle is, but it’s hard to debate that when people don’t see that.”
Ellermann said that while the nation struggles to come up with solutions, “There’s no easy fix here because there’s a lot of evil in this world. And those who want to go after an inanimate object and want to blame them? They’re out of touch with reality. Even if you tried an outright ban on guns, the criminals will always have them and it will make us that much less safe. We’re experiencing more crime and sin in the world, and yeah, it’s never going to be perfect, but it can be better. And taking weapons away from law-abiding citizens is just idiotic.”
Stacy Faison’s email address is [email protected].