Get Your Gun From the Army

Get Your Gun From the Army
June 8, 1964
June 1964
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A month after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, an Army colonel testified before Congress that the deed might harm the Army's civilian marksmanship program. "I think that this terrible tragedy did have a tremendous impact upon marksmanship in the United States, and in this way, it focused the attention of all American citizens on the weapon that was used in the commission of that crime - the gun," Colonel John K. Lee, Jr., told the House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense. "The public sentiment is against it as a tool . . . There is a feeling of revulsion against the instrument which caused a tragedy of this sort." Colonel Lee made it clear that he did not share this revulsion: "To me, a gun . . . in itself never commits any act, wrong or right, but is controlled by the people who handle it." Almost all of the Congressmen present indicated that they agreed with the irrelevant logic of this cliché. Colonel Lee's testimony took only a few minutes and covered only $500,000 or so during days of hearings on the $50 billion Department of Defense budget. But his comments on the assassination attracted some attention and so drew notice to a little-known segment of Army life – its program of distributing guns and ammunition to civilians and training the recipients in their use...
A month after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, an Army colonel testified before Congress that the deed might harm the Army's civilian marksmanship program. "I think that this terrible tragedy did have a tremendous impact upon marksmanship in the United States, and in this way, it focused the attention of all American citizens on the weapon that was used in the commission of that crime - the gun," Colonel John K. Lee, Jr., told the House Appropriations subcommittee on Defense. "The public sentiment is against it as a tool . . . There is a feeling of revulsion against the instrument which caused a tragedy of this sort." Colonel Lee made it clear that he did not share this revulsion: "To me, a gun . . . in itself never commits any act, wrong or right, but is controlled by the people who handle it." Almost all of the Congressmen present indicated that they agreed with the irrelevant logic of this cliché. Colonel Lee's testimony took only a few minutes and covered only $500,000 or so during days of hearings on the $50 billion Department of Defense budget. But his comments on the assassination attracted some attention and so drew notice to a little-known segment of Army life – its program of distributing guns and ammunition to civilians and training the recipients in their use...
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