While the Nation teeters on the precipice of the fiscal cliff, certain lawmakers would rather spend their time and effort dealing with feel-good politics that will have no effect rather than dealing with the Nation’s business. If you want to be angry, let’s keep it focused where it belongs—solidly aimed at those who intend to pass legislation that will not fix any perceived problem while limiting the rights of law-abiding citizens.
What we are experiencing today is just the beginning. Gun owners are second-class citizens in the eyes of lawmakers and the media. We are stuck in a twisted time warp to the political correctness of the 1990s. And we are not going to wake from this nightmare anytime soon.
Diane Feinstein (no, I am not a General and therefore see no reason to honor the hypocrite with a title) is leading the charge with a new, more restrictive Assault Weapons ban. Fortunately, Feinstein knows a little something about guns. She has concealed weapons permits in at least California and Washington D.C. and who knows where else. Oh yes, Diane understands why ‘she’—a member of Congress, eligible for Secret Service protection, who works in a building guarded by armed capital police—has a need to also carry a weapon for personal protection. However, when it comes to the rank and file citizen she makes every attempt to limit our rights.
What is an Assault Rifle?
In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least these characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:
- It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder (for example, a buttstock; not a machine pistol)
- It must be capable of selective fire
- It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle
- Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine rather than a feed-belt
- It must be capable of having a firing range of 300 meters (over 1000 feet)
Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are not assault rifles despite frequently being incorrectly labeled as such by politicians and media. For example, semi-automatic-only rifles such as the AR-15 (based on the M16 rifle) that share designs with assault rifles are not assault rifles, as it is not capable of switching to automatic fire and thus are not selective fire capable. Belt-fed weapons or rifles with fixed magazines are likewise not assault rifles because they do not have detachable box magazines.
Are Feinstein’s Actions Anything more than Feel-good Politics?
Banning certain guns by name or particular characteristics is proven to fail and has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the gun is an assault rifle. I remember when California (Feinstein’s home state) banned the Intratec Tec-9. It was back on the street a short time later dubbed the TEC-DC9 (DC standing for Designed for California). About the only difference was a small change to the bolt design, but even without it, the TEC-9 would not have qualified as an assault weapon.
Feinstein and her anti-gun lackeys also take issue with certain military characteristics. In California, you could own an SKS, but not ones with any combination of three or more identified military style characteristics, bayonet lug, thumb-hole stocks and so on. Later, it was changed to be more restrictive and banned other characteristics such as detachable magazines and models outfitted with, or the potential to mount, a grenade launcher.
I guess you have to throw your—already illegal in all 50 states—grenades by hand in California. Now does anyone ‘need’ a grenade launcher? I doubt it. But if that was the litmus test, I can think of a lot of things we don’t ‘need’ but are not illegal. Senator and Congressmen may top that list…
High Capacity Magazine Ban
This is one of the two pieces of legislation that I believe has a shot of passing. Again, it is feel good politics. Limiting magazines with a capacity of over 10 rounds does nothing to limit a shooter’s ability to quickly put rounds down range. Smaller capacity magazines can be switched in a couple of seconds. Anyone with a few simple tools can build two 10-round magazines into a 20-rounder within 30 minutes—an hour if they want it to look pretty.
But would this make us, or our kids, any safer? Reduce the speed at which rounds can be fired? I offer Cheaper Than Dirt’s own sponsored shooter Jerry Miculek as exhibit A.
In this video, Jerry is shown shooting 12 rounds from a revolver in less than 3 seconds—and that required a reload.
By the same token, Jerry set another record by shooting 12 rounds from a revolver, blindfolded and drawing from a holster in just over 5 seconds—keeping all 12 rounds on a man-sized target from 30 feet. And on his belt? It was full of speed loaders. How many rounds could he accurately put down range in under a minute? Just doing the math with Jerry blindfolded, he could easily shoot 30 rounds in a minute from a revolver. Using his stats from the first scenario Jerry could shoot well over 100 rounds a minute from a revolver. Hmmm, I believe it is a revolver on Feinstein’s California CCW. Does that mean she really favors a weapon that could…
It really is worth a look at Jerry’s title and records such as shooting six shots each from 10 different revolvers in about 17 seconds. That is 60 rounds in 17 seconds or over 200 rounds a minute. Check out Jerry’s page at http://www.jerrymiculek.com/titles.html.
Another myth being bandied about by politicians is that Modern Sporting Rifles such as the AR-15 shoots the same round as the military. I’ll cover that topic in a post about the .223 vs. 5.56mm soon.
What can be Done?
This is a much more in depth question. The Secret Service looked into school shootings back in 2002—during the first assault weapon ban— and did not conclude military-style guns as the problem. The Secret Service warned against profiling and came to the conclusion that there was not a single trait or type of person that could be used to identify a potential shooter. Any such list would list or attempt would identify too many people to be useful.
Interestingly, researchers noted that these perpetrators do not simply snap and commit these heinous acts. They plan. They acquire or manufacture weapons. These children take a long, considered, public path toward violence.
Many of the shooters told Secret Service investigators that alienation or persecution drove them to violence. According to the United States Secret Service, instead of looking for traits, it urged adults to ask about behavior:
- What has this child said?
- Do they have grievances?
- What do their friends know?
- Do they have access to weapons?
- Are they depressed or despondent?
No limits on video games, banning of high-capacity magazines or other ridiculous knee-jerk reactions were recommended. As I noted earlier, it isn’t hard to modify a couple, or even several, low-capacity magazines to manufacture high-capacity magazines. The individuals who perpetrate these heinous acts are the very personality type that would take the time to create such a work around to circumvent the law to create the tools necessary for an evil deed.
Are Guns Even the Biggest Threat?
Let’s look at the two biggest domestic terrorist acts in U.S. history. On October 19, 1995, two bombers were convicted of killing 168 people, including 19 children under the age of 6. The availability of guns was not the issue, but guns were not responsible for the deaths either. However, it was a gun that proved to be the fatal flaw in the Oklahoma City bomber’s plan.
Within 90 minutes of the explosion, Timothy McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger for driving without a license plate and arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Where are the calls to ban or regulate racing fuel, rental trucks and fertilizer? Those were the instruments used to kill 168 people, not a gun.
That was the worst act of terrorism on American soil until the dark events on the morning of September 11, 2001 when terrorists with box cutters gained control of commercial airplanes, crashing into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon killing thousands of people.
When will the lawmakers and anti-gunners in this country realize the evil that has attacked this country in the past, and threatens to do so again in the future, cannot be stopped by the passage of yet another law? We have over 20,000 gun laws in the country now. Will 20,001 or 100,001 laws that only the law-abiding citizens will heed really make a difference?
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