The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference is designed to give non-military members a deeper understanding of what the U.S. Armed Forces do and what they are -- their capabilities, culture, history, and more. It's a fascinating program, and David wants to share with his listeners a few things he learned from it. In this segment of the Rule Breaker Investing podcast, he talks about getting to handle and fire a few assault rifles, and considers his feelings on guns in general.
A transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Aug. 24, 2016.
David Gardner: No. 7: That brings me up to number seven. Now, number seven is about guns. I realize there are lots of people listening, right now, who have very different feelings about guns. Some of us wish that there were no guns in the world, and some of us believe that being able to carry a gun is a fundamental human right.
Just so you know, I'm kind of in between where you all are. I am not anti-gun, at all. I recognize, certainly, that they have really important roles to play, both in the military (which is where I was last week) and for our law enforcement officers.
At the same time, I recognize that lots of horrendous things have happened because of guns. We're seeing it every day in this country. You'll hear stats like a gun in a house is 80 times more likely to be used on someone in that house than on any intruder. Of course, unfortunately, crazy people get ahold of guns and do really bad things, and have in highly publicized ways in the United States of America for the last decade-plus.
So my experience of guns probably came down to summer camp, about 40 years ago in Maine, where I lay down on the ground. I don't think I really ever got up from the prone position. I wasn't particularly good at firing a gun. If you were good back in those days at summer camp (and I'm sure some of you know this), you'd start in a prone position and then you'd eventually get up to a kneeling or sitting position and then up to a standing position if you were a good marksman. I was never particularly one. I'm not a hunter. I haven't spent much time with guns in the past.
However, having the opportunity to fire an M16 at the Marine Quantico base, or with the Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina...an M4A1, an MP5 (the submachine gun on automatic), a Glock pistol...and just shooting at targets (sometimes 100-plus yards' distance -- it's not paper targets like it was at summer camp). It's dummies that when you hit them, they flip down and then slowly lurch back up letting you know that you got a hit. I enjoyed it. It was an enjoyable experience, just like any sport for me.
I will note that the improvements in technology that now give you a red laser dot through your site -- boy, does that make me a better marksman than I would be otherwise. So I'm one of those video gamers who's played any number of games where I'm shooting guns. This time I was doing it for real (seeing how they train and learning about that). I walked away neither particularly pro-gun nor particularly anti-gun. Probably slightly more pro-gun than I had been before, but really [with the] understanding that guns used in the military make a huge amount of sense, and we want the best ones we can.
Guns used by law enforcement -- the same thing from my standpoint. I much prefer when Tasers are used by law enforcement, which is why one of our Rule Breakers stock picks, that's done pretty well, recently, is Taser. By the way, Taser has done pretty well, not because of Tasers, per se, but because of body cameras, which has been an important and growing market and for good reason, here, in the United States of America.
No sermons, here, as I close number seven. I think, at the end of the day, for gun control we really need to make sure that when people buy a gun that we are enforcing who really can do it and what they're allowed to buy. When that's really done well, it becomes just like other things that are done well in our society, like who has a driver's license and who doesn't.
From that standpoint, I understand people who appreciate their guns. Retired military who want to be hunters. I'm not one of them. I'm not going to be that person. But I emerged with somewhat of a more balanced view than I probably went in with.