From the High Ground
"Tics" -- That is, "Optics" and "Politics"

30 Oct 1996
By Condor

First, I want to state up front, for the record, that I am not an expert in the area of optics. Specifically, I have never had a hand in the design, manufacture, or modification of a telescopic rifle sight. I do, though, know that LASER is rarely capitalized as it should be, given that it is an acronym, meaning "light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." I've used "red dot" scopes. I've shot LASER-sighted weapons, used a Starlight scope on more than a few occasions, and "been around" a bit, where optics are concerned. Yet, again, I am NOT what I would profess to be "an expert" in the field.

I do know this, though. That there are certain politicians who would ban such sighting devices, if given the chance. If you read your European history, you'll discover that there was a period of time when optical sights, scopes on rifles, were forbidden.

Now, why do you think that is?

How good of a shot are you with "iron sights?" You might find out... you might HAVE to find out, in the not so distant future. The very reason for using a scope on a rifle, or any other type of optical sighting device, is the same reason that some politicians would ban their use. That reason being, of course, that such devices improve a rifleman's ability to successfully engage and destroy a target at a longer range, ideally keeping the shooter out of harm's way. Certainly, there are several iron sights on the market that are precise sighting instruments, truly marvels of precision engineering. All in all, however, they are fairly expensive (the better ones, anyway), and most shooters would not be likely to install them on their rifles. Regardless, shooters restricted to using iron sights would, for the most part, have their own "effective range" seriously diminished.

Ability is an individual thing, of course. I grew up using iron sights, both "open" and "closed," and it's not such a big deal to me to use them. I take exception, however, to the notion of being legislated into HAVING to use them. I'm talking about another "backdoor" attempt to implement more gun control. I can assure you that the same mentality that asks "Why do you need an 'assault' weapon?" will just as surely ask you something like "Why do you need a scope on that high-powered rifle?" and "Why do you need to shoot things that are so far away?"

Whether in real life, or in a fictional book or movie, assassins seem to favor rifles with scopes, sometimes with LASERs as well. At least, this is the perception of the American public. And it is this same perception that has led to measures like reduced-capacity magazines, outlawing silencers and, in general, banning accessories and even entire rifles if such items give the anti-gun public the notion that they are "evil." Solution? Ban them!

You folks with scopes made by Leupold, Swarovski, Zeiss, Schmidt & Bender, and other makers of quality optics, can easily attest to the fact that such products are not bought cheaply. Do you think, even for a moment, that if telescopic rifle sights are outlawed, that you would be compensated for the actual value (i.e., purchase price and modifications -- if any)? If so, then guess again.

Think about what your shooting "style" would be like without optics. Go ahead, think about it. Hey, I'm not saying you can't shoot accurately without slapping on a scope... but I AM saying that if you've come to rely on using a scope for your long-range engagements, you might not like having to do without one. Times are not good for shooters like you and me who take our equipment -- and ourselves -- seriously. People who don't share our enthusiasm for firearms and shooting, especially our interest in long-range target shooting, aren't very likely to ever understand, and they certainly aren't likely to become strong supporters of our Second Amendment rights.

Look at the strategies that have been tried by those who stand against us. Attempts to establish arsenal licenses, raise taxes on handloading supplies and live ammunition, impose fines for inadequate security measures, and threats of unwarranted searches have all been intended to chip away at us, bit by bit. The notion is, clearly, that if they can't get our guns, then go after the things that make our guns shoot -- primarily, ammunition and ammunition components. If you haven't noticed these tactics, you've been living in a cave, and it's time to come out into the sunlight with the rest of us.

In line with the strategy of going after things that make guns shoot is the idea of "regulating" our sighting systems, specifically those relying on optics. Left unchecked, this "future" will become "reality."

If you like shooting your rifle with a scope on it, vote accordingly in this year's election.

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