Posts Tagged ‘Assault Weapons’

The Real Motive For Going After “Assault Weapons”

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

For Your Own Good?

I’d like to discuss this subject rationally with my readers, and that means we must dismiss emotion from the subject.  The passions inflamed by discussions of gun bans, as well as the debate over their legitimacy and purpose are sure to take any debate to the brink, so rather than fill volumes with useless rhetoric, I’d like to cover a bit of ground most of the media, even conservative outlets, won’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  People on the pro-Second Amendment side of this argument are quick to point out the very real statistics that demonstrate fewer people in the United States are murdered in a given year with all rifles, including the subset consisting of so-called assault weapons, than are killed in the city of Chicago with handguns in that same year.  This statistic should be stunning to those who had swallowed the media hype about so-called “assault weapons,” but the simple fact of the matter is that such weapons account for a statistically insignificant number of murders in the US, according to the FBI’s own crime figures.  Knowing this, it is reasonable to ask why it would be that the gun-grabbers would focus on this contrived class of weapons for their immediate gun-ban agenda.  There are just a few reasons, and they’re all important to understanding their agenda, but one is absolutely critical.

The first thing to understand is that by simple appearance, and since cosmetics largely define the classification, so-called “assault weapons” look mean.  Despite the fact that Grandpappy’s old-school Browning BAR in .30-06(7.62×63,) another semi-automatic rifle that is much more lethal, given the higher energy of its round versus an AR-15 in .223 or an AK-47  in 7.62×39, the Browning merely looks relatively innocuous compared to the menacing AR-15.  The truth is that a single round from any of the three could be lethal, but if I had to bet on which would cause more damage, I would put my money on the .30-06.  The .30-06 was the standard round the Army employed in its Springfield M1 Garand rifle, from the period covering the Second World War until its ultimate replacement with the M14 (.308) and the M16(the fully automatic cousin of the AR-15.)  The projectile of a .30-06 is an awesome round, and as George S. Patton observed, the Garand rifle was at the time what he considered to be “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”  Let us therefore conclude that there are indeed rifles with far more lethal capability that would not be considered “assault weapons” for the purposes of this ban.  It is therefore an obvious conclusion that this classification of weapons, defined almost entirely by cosmetic characteristics, was created entirely because they look more threatening than Grandpappy’s BAR and therefore make for better propaganda.

This is the classification of weapons that constitutes the most rapid growth in gun ownership in the country, excepting one:  Handguns. There are many more handguns in circulation than there are so-called “assault weapons,” meaning that as a purely political exercise, it will be easier to drum up some majority willing to ban “assault weapons.”  This political calculation is why the focus is on so-called “assault weapons:”  If the gun-grabbing camel is to get its nose under the tent-flap that is the Second Amendment, it must start with something that is owned by a relatively smaller albeit rapidly growing segment of the populace. If too many obtain weapons in this class, it will be more difficult to ban them, and so the gun-grabbers must act now to the extent they are able.

So-called “assault weapons” generally share another characteristic that gives them broad appeal both among civilian sportsmen and police or paramilitary organizations:  Compared with many of the rifles that look  more innocuous, they can be mastered and handled by a much larger segment of the population, because felt recoil is reduced to levels that do not jar one’s bones, and they are typically light enough that the do not cause extensive fatigue for the shooter. Because of their relatively simplified design, they are easily maintained by even an inexperienced novice.  Most of them share various types of ammunition that are lightweight and inexpensive, giving them broad appeal.  Since the expiration of the 1994 “Assault Weapons” ban in 2004, millions or even tens of millions of this type of firearm have been produced or imported into the United States, although most of the imports have been “sporterized” (removing many of the cosmetic features defining them as “assault weapons”) in order to comply with US Customs restrictions and regulations imposed by the BATFE. What this means to statist gun-grabbers is that so-called “assault weapons” are the most effective weapons with which to stave off any tyrannical moves by the government.

Their low recoil, easy portability, durability, weather and dirt resistance are all features common to their military cousins.  The ease of maintenance, the high capacity magazines, and the relatively inexpensive ammunition mean that these weapons would be of indispensable use to those who comprise “the militia” as defined by our founders, who were not discussing and did not intend “The National Guard” by their description.  The founders of our country and the framers of our constitution envisioned a militia made up of every able-bodied male, able to bear arms in defense not only of the country in time of invasion or insurrection, but in defense of liberty if the source of insurrection were to become the legalized sort characterizing every despotic form of government the world has ever known.  Knowing this, it’s important to realize that so-called “assault weapons” are the focus of fear among the anointed who may have other plans for our republic.  It is for this reason that they seek to ban them, because this is the sole weapon classification in broad distribution among the American people that makes a meaningful resistance to arbitrary governmental actions possible.

It is for this reason that the gun-grabbing left wishes to deprive you of so-called “assault weapons,” knowing that they resemble in many respects their military cousins, minus the ability to operate in fully-automatic mode.  In truth, a well-skilled group of veterans, or average citizens could hold off a similarly sized military force for some time unless heavier weapons were brought to bear against them.  From the moment the ATF carried out its botched raid on the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel, TX, it was clear to all who watched that a superior force of government agents could be held at bay indefinitely until there was an application of larger, military class weaponry.  So-called “assault weapons” have no application in defense against tanks.  It was in response to this raid that the assault weapons ban of 1994 was crafted.  It’s also worth noting that as much as the broad-based backlash against Hillary-care, the AWB of 1994, passed by Congress in September, was instrumental in fueling the “Republican revolution” in November that year.

What the events in Waco made plain to the elites is that armed resistance is possible, and while it would be relatively easy to contain small enclaves of resisters in compounds simply by the application of superior firepower and military equipment, putting down a wider resistance might prove difficult. On a broader scale, with a resistance across the entire population, perhaps even on the offensive rather than hunkered in bunkers awaiting the end of the world, such a resistance might well overturn a runaway government despite its advantage in heavy weapons and military equipment.  This was a shock to the powers-that-were, and it posed to them a new danger that spoke to a future moment when they might face justice for treason rather than a few dozens or hundreds of isolated radicals being dealt with in swift and severe fashion.

This may sound fantastic at first blush, but I beg you consider it if only to recognize the reasons why despite all of the illogical arguments made against “assault weapons,”  the political class in our nation’s capital have a very strong reason to see the citizenry of the nation deprived of “assault weapons.”  In their jaded but pragmatic view, citizens may use their shotguns, their handguns, and even Grandpappy’s old-style Browning rifle, to kill a deer, or even one another, but politicians are largely protected from these, and more importantly, they represent no meaningful offensive capacity in a theoretical war against the aggressions of government. Not since the advent of modern military weapons have the American people had at their disposal so effective a means by which to resist arbitrary government, and you had better believe that the government knows it.  Whatever doubts they may have had evaporated during a morning raid in 1993 at the door of a religious enclave that had been obsessed with the end of the world.  From that moment forward, it was realized and understood by the political ruling class that they must relieve the American people of that capacity.  In 1994, they made the first attempt to do so.

In the eights years since the expiration of that law in 2004, many on the radical left have thought of little else but reinstating it, and you can bet that if they get it back in place, there will be no expiration this time, and no means save one by which to undo it.  There’s a widespread understanding in Washington DC that on our current fiscal and monetary path, massive civil unrest is virtually inevitable, but if it should eventuate while the American people retain the capacity for mass armed resistance, the eventual clean-up may not look quite like the anointed class had hoped.  It is for this reason that we must not permit them to ban our guns, and our “assault weapons” most of all, because the fact of their existence may constitute the only implement of detente in a cold war now waged by the forces of statism against the greater body of the American people.

Now you must understand why despite the illogical basis for the arguments, and in spite of crime statistics that demonstrate the irrational course of going after them, the statist gun-grabbers must act to deprive you first of so-called “assault weapons.”  Once deprived of these, you will maintain no other for long.   This concept was well understood by our founders, though in interceding generations, it has been neglected and white-washed by the statist intelligentsia.  In that vein, I offer you a few pointed reminders you should take care never to forget:

:
“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason, during Virginia’s ratification convention, 1788.

“The power of the Sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends, and countrymen, it is not so for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. The unlimited power of the sword, is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” – Tench Coxe, Penn Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.

“…but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights…” – Alexander Hamilton speaking of standing armies in Federalist Papers 29

“There is something so far-fetched and so extravagant in the idea of danger to liberty from the militia that one is at a loss whether to treat it with gravity or with raillery; whether to consider it as a mere trial of skill, like the paradoxes of rhetoricians; as a disingenuous artifice to instill prejudices at any price; or as the serious offspring of political fanaticism. Where in the name of common sense are our fears to end if we may not trust our sons, our brothers, our neighbors, our fellow-citizens? What shadow of danger can there be from men who are daily mingling with the rest of their countrymen and who participate with them in the same feelings, sentiments, habits, and interests?” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist Papers 29

“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include all men capable of bearing arms…To preserve liberty it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them…” –
Richard Henry Lee, Initiator of the Declaration of Independence, and member of the first Senate, which passed the Bill of Rights. Additional Letters From the Federal Farmer 53, 1788.

“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster, An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution(1787)

“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no resource left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government, …” – Alexander Hamilton Federalist Papers 28.

Combating Ignorance About Guns

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

He’s Coming for Yours…

One of the things that causes me the most consternation about the entire argument over gun control is how so many people who express opinions on the matter exhibit a complete lack of knowledge on the instruments at the center of the discussion.  More, it’s frustrating to realize that among all the voices chiming-in, there are a great number who have no idea why it is that we have the Second Amendment, or what all the fuss is about.  To them, it’s a simple matter: Collect up all the guns and the problem is solved.  Sadly, simplistic views like this aren’t very likely to bear fruit, and there is good reason to be skeptical about those who express them.  After all, before launching into a tirade against guns, or anything else for that matter, one ought to know a bit about the subject matter, but it seems to have become the fashion in America to speak with conviction on issues about which one may know precisely nothing.  This article is an attempt to lift the veil of ignorance that seems to shroud so much of the public discourse, and while my readers may know much of this material, I have no doubt but that there are millions who might benefit from the information contained.

The first thing that every person ought to know about guns is that many things have been mislabeled by politicians so as to more easily sway the ignorant.  Understanding what is and what isn’t true about guns first requires learning what they are, how they function, and what the different types of guns are, as well as their uses.  One often hears politicians talking about “fully automatic” weapons.  This is by itself a misnomer, because I’ve not seen a weapons system that is fully automatic outside of military applications, for instance like the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System used in our Navy.   That is a system that once turned on, automatically aims and fire projectiles at targets without any further human intervention.  You would not be able to contain one of these even in a fairly large garage, so let’s dispense with the nonsense about “fully automatic weapons.”

In practical terms, however, when most people talk about fully automatic weapons, what they are describing is a gun that will continue to fire one cartridge after the next by merely squeezing and holding the trigger.  I am always perplexed when media outlets describe a shooting with a semi-automatic weapon as “spraying the room with bullets,” since “spraying”  implies a continuous stream.  If the trigger is being re-pulled with each round, there is no “spraying” involved.  “Peppering” is a better descriptor, but naturally, the media blows everything out of proportion.  They may share an anti-gun agenda, but I believe another explanation is that most people in the media are equally ignorant about guns. Only with automatic weapons is something remotely like “spraying” possible.  Automatics are very rare in fact, and have been strictly licensed for decades.  There is a great deal of paperwork and taxation and licensing fees involved in maintaining an automatic weapon.

In stark contrast, what is generally regarded as a semi-automatic weapon requires an additional pull of the trigger for each round to be sent down-range.  The confusion arises because there are any number of guns that look just like their automatic cousins, but are instead purely semi-automatic weapons.  What most people know as the AR-15 is simply the semi-automatic cousin of the fully automatic M-16 rifle, first tested and fielded by the Army in the 1960s.  This family of rifles has been through several stages of development, and there’s no denying that they even share many common parts, but I can most thoroughly assure readers that an off-the-shelf AR-15 is not an automatic, and is not capable of “spraying” anything in the sense of a fully automatic M-16.  An M-16 has a maximum cyclic rate of around 700 rounds per minute.  This assumes you could feed it a continuous stream of ammunition, and that the barrel would not bow like a banana from the heat well before a full minute had elapsed.

A semi-automatic is in fact a self-loader, or an auto-loader, in that when you squeeze off one round, the rifle will by a combination of spent propellant gases and mechanical action eject the spent cartridge and reload the next round, provided one is available.  One must release and again squeeze the trigger to fire the next round and send it down range.  Military rifles like the M-16 have a select-fire feature that permits the user to place the weapon in automatic or semi-automatic mode.  Civilian rifles like the AR-15 do not have the automatic setting, and can only fire in semi-automatic mode.

The same thing is true of the much-discussed AK-47.  There are as many versions of this rifle in the world as there are manufacturers, plus some, but those legally imported into the US are all of the semi-automatic variety.  In fact, while it is theoretically possible to convert many of these rifles to fully automatic function, the jail time one would incur for having done so is hardly worth the trouble of modifying one, and depending on which model and so forth, you may have some substantial but delicate machining ahead of you.  It’s simply not worth it, either in terms of any perceived benefit, or in terms of the probable criminal liabilities.  In all the hundreds upon hundreds of gun-owners I know and have known, I’ve never known so much as one willing to entertain the idea.  We rational gun-owners enjoy our right to keep and bear arms far too much to put it all at risk over something so foolishly wasteful.

One of the questions I am asked by people who aren’t aware of the reasons for the so-called “Assault Weapons Ban” of 1994  given the differences in function between an automatic weapon and a semi-automatic weapon is why it was that such weapons were ever banned at all.  The answer is purely political.  So-called “Assault Weapons” merely look menacing, and as we should all know by now, politics is frequently all about perceptions.  If you want proof, consider one of the features banned in that law: The Bayonet Lug.  A bayonet lug is a machined block or other appendage on a rifle that permits the mounting of a bayonet.  I have never heard of a single person committing a crime with a bayonet attached to an “assault rifle,” and yet we are told that this is a feature that makes them more dangerous.  I don’t have any statistics to back this up, but given what I know about the world in which I live, I am willing to bet that more people are killed by meteorites hitting them in the head than have been killed by a madman with a fixed bayonet.

Since this is the case, one must ask what rational purpose there is to this classification of so-called “assault weapons.”  The answer is that all of the criteria are purely cosmetic.  Much is made of the question of magazine capacity, but frankly, this is a lot of steam.  Take your average Glock 17, a weapon that is fairly common, and sadly has been used in a number of the high profile crimes of which we’re all aware.  There are those who, apart from simply calling for an outright ban, want to restrict the number of rounds one can store in a magazine to just ten.  I say “just 10,” but 10 shots are plenty in the hands of a practiced shooter, because if you’ll head over to Youtube, you can watch videos of competitive shooters who are able to change magazines and resume fire in less than one second.   In other words, any perceived hitch in reload time is very minimal for somebody who is well-practiced.  On the other hand, for those less-experienced shooters who may simply be trying to fend off some home-invader(s,) a magazine change could take several seconds, costing them time and permitting the assailant(s) to close the ground between them.  Having a higher-capacity magazine is a distinct advantage for the less-than-expert home-defender, because having nearly twice the rounds on tap probably increases their chance of successfully defending their home particularly against multiple assailants.

The point is, however, that with practice, the difference between two ten-round magazines and one seventeen-round magazine is negligible.   Some will ask: “But what about Assault Rifles? Surely their magazines cannot be changed so quickly!” Really?  Try this video.  As you can plainly see, magazine changes, no matter how frequent, are of little consequence to somebody trained to shoot.  There are those who will say “But that proves our point about semi-automatics.”  Not really.  Watch this gentleman firing and reloading his revolver.  As you can see, there’s nothing about this that would suggest that some of the most horrific shootings we’ve witnessed over the years would have been even slightly different in terms of the results by eliminating semi-automatics. Perhaps this will lead you to believe that I’ve made the case against all semi-automatics, but before you jump to conclusions, take a look at this video of a seventy year-old bolt-action rifle.

What nobody seems willing to discuss is how often firearms are used in the defense of innocence against the insane or malignant people who manage to get their hands on them.  In one recent case, an off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy in San Antonio, TX prevented what could well have turned into another theater shooting by engaging a suspect who ran into a theater shooting.  This story received virtually no press coverage, but once again, what is demonstrated is how guns can and are frequently the instruments of salvation for the innocent.  Just days ago, a woman in Georgia shot an intruder who had broken into her home.  She hid with her children in the crawl-space, but when the thug came into view, she unloaded on him.  There won’t be a widespread push to get this into widespread circulation, either.

Just as our society is beginning to break down, and you may find yourself more frequently needing the defensive capacity of firearms, the Obama administration is trying to fast-track legislation to ban them.  This is another example of how the emotions of Americans are used against them by shrewd politicians who take advantage routinely of crises to advance what is nothing more than a political agenda.  It does nothing to change the reality that there are some sick and evil people who will make use of whatever weapon is available to do some of the most horrific things.  As Charles Krauthammer recently explained on FoxNews, the real problem is that we have made it nearly impossible to get a troubled person committed for psychiatric treatment.  That was true with the individual who carried out the massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school, and it was undoubtedly true of many others.

Given enough time and opportunity, the insane and the evil will find ways to turn almost anything into a deadly instrument of mass murder, whether it’s a handgun or a fertilizer bomb or a Boeing airliner.  None of that changes the fact that one’s 2nd Amendment rights are not subject to popular vote.  None of that changes the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.  The founders, in their wisdom, understood that one might well have need to defend himself, and that police would not always be available to respond in time to prevent a crazy or a villain from doing their absolute worst.  At the recent school shooting, this was clearly the case, since by the time the police arrived on scene, the killer had taken his own life, and there was no exchange of gunfire with police.  In fact, given the circumstances, the killer could have used ‘slow’ revolvers to equally tragic effect, and nothing about the outcome would have changed.

The purpose of our 2nd Amendment is to afford you the possibility of repelling attackers, and dealing with insane and evil people who prey upon their fellow man.  They understood that there would always be good cause for self-defense, and given their recent experiences, they also understood all too well that some times, the evil and the crazy act from behind the shield of official power.  One would think that somebody would eventually consider the death tolls governments have inflicted on their own people over the last century, but somehow this death toll, numbering in the tens or hundreds of millions always manages to escape notice.  No other sort of institution has inflicted that sort of carnage whether private or individual, and yet we have some number of people who suffer under the delusion that governments are to be trusted as the sole armed defender in a given society.    I saw an interesting image on Twitter Saturday being re-tweeted around and what it said was that “a movie about a society in which only police and military are armed has been made,” and when you click into the picture, you see a scene of execution and the title of the movie:  Schindler’s List.

If this doesn’t make plain the truth of the matter, I don’t think you’re willing to be convinced of the truth.  Some people choose ignorance because it’s more comforting than actual knowledge, or because it permits them to take up the support of evil while pretending not to have known better.  Either way, readers should understand that there can be no rational argument for stripping the hundreds of millions of guns from the American people for the purposes of crime prevention.  The truth is that guns are simply an instrument like any other, and as long as there is man, there will be senseless violent murders, whether guns are available or not.  The only thing achieved by banning firearms is to leave millions of Americans virtually defenseless, and that’s immoral.  Instead of going after the crazies, the politicians are using this as an opportunity to go after the rights of law-abiding citizens, and for all the reasons you can already guess, you have every reason and right to resist it.  Ignorance should no longer be an excuse.  Those who advocate the banning of firearms are simply damning many more innocent Americans to deaths from which they might have protected themselves.  So much then for “good intentions.”