Deep breath. OK, get ready to yell at me, unfriend me on Facebook, and otherwise be mean. Go ahead. I don’t mind.

I used to own guns. Lots of them — so many that there was a time when I really wasn’t sure how many. Today, I think the number of guns I have is ... two. Wait, four if you’re counting .22s.

Back then, I used to hunt, shoot competitively, and just plink in the desert with my brothers and friends. Good times.

But my interest in firearms waned during the time I was a cop. Guns stopped being a source of enjoyment after I saw what they did to people. Murders, suicides and the occasional finding of bits of them in my hair caused me to see guns differently.

Hunting, protection, fun — dress it up however you want; the fundamental purpose of a gun is to turn another creature into meat.

I’m not against gun ownership per se, but I am against owning certain kinds of guns — namely the types that produce the body counts we’ve seen most lately in Ohio and Texas.

This doesn’t sit well with people who believe that owning high-volume, rapid-fire guns is the best defense against government tyranny.

This was a good argument when the public versus the government was somewhat of a fair fight, back when the best that both sides could muster in an armed conflict were swords or muskets.

America won its independence that way. Trading fire with the king’s men in Lexington was a fairly even match. The ballistic qualities of muskets in those days was just a step above a thrown rock.

That parity is long gone.

Our history would be different today had even one of the king’s men lugged an M240 7.62x51 mm machine gun.

Not a fair comparison, you say? Neither is the notion that violent resistance to government oppression today will keep you “free.”

For that reason, assault weapons need to go. They aren’t going to keep you free for the simple reason that when the crap starts flying, the rules go out the window. Victory will go to whoever can escalate the fastest. And it won’t be you.

No amount of assault weapons, camouflage, slogans, secret militia meetings and taking to the hills will ever compete with a military that can find, identify and kill you (along with all your family and friends) from outer space.

Before you say, “Yeah, Kirb. You tell those gun-toting [bad word] what’s what,” let me point out that the idiot logic above pales in comparison to the stupidity that sometimes passes for sound thinking in the halls of government today.

Honestly, I have less confidence in politicians — and their ability to solve our firearms free-for-all — than I do in most gun owners. Why? Because when it comes to the mass killings, nobody beats the federal government.

This first occurred to me when I won the military draft lottery in 1971. Either I join the military to be sent off to fight and possibly get killed, or go to jail. Nice choice.

During the draft, not only would the federal government order you where to go and maybe get killed, but it also could make you kill other people when you got there. And here’s the really crazy part: It would even give you the guns and train you how to do it.

Equating war with the massacre of innocent civilians in shopping centers isn’t a valid comparison, I know, unless you count the fact that innocents always get caught in the middle. We can ask the civilian dead of Dresden, Nagasaki, London and Kabul whether what killed them was a noble and fair fight.

I don’t know the answer to America’s gun problems. If I did, someone way smarter than me would have figured it out by now.

This much is certain: We’re in a war. And we better figure out how to stop it before we all lose.

Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.