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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 12,148

Journal Archives

You just proved Salon's point.

Outlawing rifle handgrips that stick out (which is what you actually mean by "banning assault weapons" does not affect, in any way, the lethality of available rifles. Just like outlawing scotch, but not vodka, wouldn't affect drunk driving in the slightest.

"Assault weapon":

Not an "assault weapon":

Those are the *same rifle*.

The NRA is only a very small part of the issue.

I believe the NRA has about 5 million members, whereas over 20 million Americans own "assault weapons" (or far more if you use the proposed new California definition), and 50+ million own over-10-round magazines. Probably 75-80 million own guns that are banned in Australia. For perspective, about 16 million Americans hunt in a given year.

I think guns would be a lot less front-and-center in the national conversation if the prohibitionists weren't constantly trying to ban the lawful ownership of the most popular ones.

Because full autos were never common in civilian hands, and semiautos work well for civilian use.

But since 75% of the civilian gun market is semiauto, and semiautos have *always* been considered suitable for civilians, banning semiautos would be a lot more like trying to ban beer and wine than banning, say, fentanyl.

Semiautomatics are civilian-legal in California and in Bloomberg's New York City, in Canada, and across most of Europe. They are not going anywhere.

If a gun is easily converted to full auto, it is considered a machinegun under Federal law

even if not actually converted. That's why there are no civilian semiautos that fire from an open bolt.

The civilian AK, civilian AR-15, etc. do indeed have internal differences from the restricted military/government select-fire models that make them as difficult to convert as any other civilian semiauto.

Actual select-fire assault rifles were originally developed to allow a single weapon

to fulfill both the room-clearing role of a submachinegun (in full-auto mode) and the medium-to-long-range role of a rifle (in semiauto mode). Remember that the primary CQB weapons of the time were submachineguns, like the Thompson, the PPSh-41, and the MP40.


Combining both functions into one select-fire rifle simplified logistics and made individual soldiers more flexible, instead of having to have different guns (or different soldiers) assigned to long range vs. close range.

The ammunition was also downsized to split the difference between a pistol round and a rifle round in terms of power. For example, 7.62x39mm sits almost exactly (in terms of case length, and power) between the 7.62x25mm round used in the PPSh submachinegun, and the 7.62x54mm round used in full-power Russian rifles.

If you take away the automatic fire capability and leave only the semiauto mode, you do reduce the number of rounds you can put into a close-range target or multiple closely spaced targets in a very short time. But for civilian use, whether law enforcement or home defense), that's not a negative; aimed fire is always going to be better in a LE patrol or HD role than less-discriminate fire, and particularly hosing a hallway or a room full-auto with a subgun. In long-range shooting, you are correct that full auto *from a lightweight rifle* is not going to be more effective than aimed semiauto fire, unless you switch to a compressed-burst mode like the AN-94 or HK G11. But at very close range, a full auto putting multiple rounds on the same target or multiple adjacent targets in a very short time or for hosing a doorway/hallway/small room, full auto is going to be more effective than aimed semiauto.

I'll point out that the U.S. originally made the M4 with just semiauto and 3-round burst capability, but brought back full auto after the Iraq war showed that semauto and 3-shot burst were inferior to full auto for CQB:


I am convinced we have had guys get killed because of the three-round burst fire, he said. If you go into a room and there is 10 feet of wall you want to render uninhabitable, you dont do that with a three-round burst. One of the best things they are doing is going back to automatic fire."

As to FMJ vs. HP, the Hague accords (written with full-power rifles in mind) mandate FMJ for general infantry use when fighting other nations that are signatories to the accords. There are some exceptions (open-tip match bullets for precision rifles are allowed, softpoints/hollowpoints are allowed in law enforcement, or combat with non-state forces, etc.). The military also tends to have more interest in shooting *through* things than in limiting penetration, whereas in civilian use like LE or HD, limiting penetration with a fragile HP or SP is safer for bystanders and neighbors.

I apologize for misconstruing your position, then.

I took this comment as a defense of efforts to ban AR-15's, but I apparently misread your point:

"This is a good reason why AR-15's are a problem, the people who possess them do not have control of their emotions and can not control their desire to shoot the weapon. This is why there is an effort to get the mass shootings stopped."

I can thin of a few ways to address mass shootings, in terms of reducing motive and reward, addressing mental-health issues, making potential targets less vulnerable, and ensuring countervailing force is on site where large numbers of people are.

Where I disagree with the gun-control lobby is that I realize that we've already banned mass-area-effect weapons like machineguns and destructive devices, and that all that is left to ban are ordinary one-shot-at-a-time civilian small arms owned by millions of citizens. Those trying to "stop mass shootings" by outlawing civilian guns and common magazines are chasing a red herring, and perhaps do not realize just how counterproductive it is to threaten fifty million nonviolent and peaceable citizens with felonies for responsibly exercising a civil right.

If I am understanding you correctly, then...

you do in fact advocate taking some guns away from the innocent and nonviolent---even from tens of millions of households---in the name of public safety, if some minuscule percentage of guns are misused (and all are to some degree, though rifles like the AR-15 are less misused than shotguns and pistols).

You were wondering at the beginning of this conversation why gun owners feel that some people want to take their guns away. Well, there you go.

FWIW, I've passed an NC background check, Federal background check, FBI fingerprint check, mental health records check, attended mandatory gun training, and have 30 years' shooting experience, including shooting well under stress. I would respectfully suggest that taking my guns away would not improve public safety one iota. And it is precisely the attempt to take guns from the peaceable and nonviolent that drives such opposition to gun control proposals, and that has pushed U.S. gun sales to record levels in the past several years.

The guy in Houston killed 1 person with a pistol and 0 people with an AR-15, yes?

"Here is a problem, yesterday in Houston a guy decided it was time to shoot his A-15, he shot at a guy just sitting in a vehicle, he shot and killed one person, he shot at police vehicles, he shot at HPD helicopter flying overhead. "

And he didn't kill *anybody* with an AR-15. He killed one person using a pistol. This proves that rifles are more misused than pistols, how?

I refer you back to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, upthread. Rifles are the *least* misused of all weapons in this country. And handgrip shape doesn't affect likelihood of misuse.

"This is a good reason why AR-15's are a problem, the people who possess them do not have control of their emotions and can not control their desire to shoot the weapon."

"The people who possess them" are some of the least likely people in the country to misuse a gun. There are approximately 8000 murders with guns annually; AR-15's account for maybe 100, despite being the most popular civilian rifle in U.S. homes.

BTW, you're talking to one of "the people who possess them". I'm a competitive shooter, and there is a Rock River AR with a Wilson target barrel in my gun safe.

"This is why there is an effort to get the mass shootings stopped."

And turning the country into a police state in order to get rid of 20 million rifle handgrips that stick out, or confiscating up to a half a billion over-10-round magazines from 50+ million citizens, won't prevent a single death from mass shootings. Nor will restricting guns to 10- or 15-round magazines. The worst mass shooting in U.S. history (Virginia Tech) involved two small pistols and a backpack full of small magazines.

An AR-15 is a small-caliber (centerfire .22), non-automatic civilian rifle. Even if you waved a magic wand and caused all small-caliber rifles to disappear from the earth, you would not have affected mass shootings even in the slightest. And making it a felony to possess a protruding handgrip (which is all "assault weapon bans" would do) won't either.

What if we got mass shootings with rifles down to European levels?

Because that's where we're at right now. And *all* murders using modern-looking rifles average out to about 2 to 4 per state, per year (100-200 total) out of ~12,000 murders annually. The media plays up rifle murders and plays down handgun/shotgun murders because "ZOMG MENACE!!!" stories sell page views, but rifles of any type are not a significant crime problem in the United States and never have been.

Murder, by State and Type of Weapon, 2014 (FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2014)

[font face="courier new"]Total murders...................... 11,961
Handguns............................ 5,562 (46.5%)
Firearms (type unknown)............. 2,052 (17.2%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc.............. 1,610 (13.5%)
Knives and other cutting weapons.... 1,567 (13.1%)
Hands, fists, feet.................... 660 (5.5%)
Shotguns.............................. 262 (2.2%)
Rifles................................ 248 (2.1%) [/font] (including modern-looking rifles, traditional-looking rifles, and rimfires)

I'd encourage you to go to that FBI link and compare the Rifles column for each state to the other columns (including knives and fists/feet). The thing is, even if we got "assault weapon" murders down to zero, fundamentalists like Bloomberg and Watts would still be trying to outlaw them. Because they are also trying to ban large-caliber precision rifles, even though they have been used in exactly zero U.S. murders in the last 25 years.

But if you want to know where the "they want to take our guns" sentiment comes from, it's the "assault weapon" hysteria and magazine bans. AR-15's and over-10-round pistols are the most popular civilian firearms in the United States, and anyone advocating banning them is advocating taking tens of millions of guns and maybe half a billion magazines from 50+ million people, including me and tens of millions of other Dems and indies. Such bans are simply not going to happen outside of a few extremist states, but the mere attempt to enact them drives opposition to all gun control proposals. You can't say "no one is trying to take your guns" when in fact some very powerful 0.01%'ers are trying very, very hard to do just that, and have passed actual confiscatory bans in some states.

Well, we've reduced gun homicides by 50% and gun accidents by 95% already,

and our suicide rate is comparable to Australia's and most of Europe's, most years (and far below Japan's). But since you're speaking of "where do we go from here", I think that question is made a lot more complicated by the current Holy War against responsible gun ownership.

When I first started posting on DU back in 2004-2005, I (naively) floated a few proposals that I thought might could be a productive middle ground between gun owners and gun control advocates, such as universal background checks (with felony criminal penalties to prevent compiling a registry or other misuse), a tax credit for the purchase of UL-listed gun safes, etc. But in the past four years, I've seen compromises such as those I once advocated, as well as prior compromises by gun owners, wielded as weapons against the lawful and nonviolent. The result is mistrust of all such proposals by lawful gun owners, and I doubt that mistrust will abate until the fundamentalists currently running the gun control lobby are replaced by pragmatists who look for common ground instead of talking points and rhetorical cheap shots.

To me, it appears that the current leadership of the gun control movement isn't so much interested in reducing gun violence, as it is interested in criminalizing ownership by the nonviolent, at least those of the working class and middle class. When the people pushing "mandatory training" or "safe storage" or "universal background checks" are simultaneously talking about compiling registries, banning and confiscating the most popular guns, and outlawing self-defense, it undermines even some good-faith proposals that might have merit.

I think universal background checks might be do-able, still, but the proposals currently being pushed aren't about background checks so much as they are about registration and petty harassment (e.g. making it a crime to share a gun with your life partner even if they have a clean record, or to introduce new shooters to the shooting sports at anywhere but a formal range). And in the context of the current culture war, I see little interest on either side in crafting a compromise. Even my idea about a tax credit for gun safes would inevitably be twisted by the prohibitionists into a requirement that all guns be unloaded and locked away at all times, and in that environment no such proposals are really viable.
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