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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 04:09 PM
Number of posts: 12,148

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I do own guns for self-defense, yes. But not because I'm afraid.

I also shoot competitively with the same guns.

Do you think everyone who puts on a gi and studies practical martial arts for years does so solely, or even primarily, out of raw irrational fear? If so, why?

I get that you don't like guns and don't choose to own them. It's a free country, and I 100% support your choice. I happen to choose differently. That doesn't make me less rational, or less human, than you.

Ah, the assumption that anyone who chooses differently than you

must be acting out of primitive emotion, because if "they" were choosing intelligently, then OBVIOUSLY "they" would agree with you on your pet issue. So "they" must own guns out of deep-seated fear or something.

Years ago (back on Common Ground Common Sense, originally the John Kerry forums) I encountered this same claim and posted the following in response. I don't own guns out of fear, and I don't think many people do; the defensive utility is certainly part of the picture for most people, but it's more about competence than about fear. Since CGCS is (alas) no longer operating, I'll repost it here.

Proficiency with firearms is a martial art just like isshinryu karate, tae kwan do, kenpo, or tai chi, and can gives a sense of accomplishment and competence just like any other human discipline. The Japanese concept of bushido applies just as much to the gun culture as to other martial arts cultures. I have some moderate experience in the Asian martial arts culture (isshinryu), and there are a lot of similarities between the gun culture and the traditional martial arts culture, and just as with empty-hand martial arts, proficiency in self-defense is a symbiotic benefit that is a worthwhile purpose in its own right.

Just as with the other martial arts, IMHO training and skill development are an end in itself, very much a Zen thing, if you will. To shoot well you must view shooting in a very Zen-like way; breath control, minimization of muscle tremors, concentration, sharp focus on the front sight, smoothness... A lot of the shooters I know also have a thing for archery, which is pretty much the same thing, and my (ex-)wife did fencing for a while.

Some people pride themselves on how well they can smack a small white ball with a stick on a golf course. Others pride themselves on how accurately they can shoot a firearm.

Also, I am a certifiable physics geek, and there are very few inexpensive hobbies that are more physics-intensive than rifle shooting. (Aviation is more physics-intensive, but it's not inexpensive...) Many shooters are mechanically inclined, and I'll bet the percentage of photographers and engineers among shooters is higher than in the population at large. My younger sister is a shooter and she also happens to be a professional engineer, with degrees in both engineering and mathematics.

It's also a "freedom thing." The guns in my gun safe are a tangible reminder of political and personal freedom, a Zen-like discipline, a fun hobby, a tool of personal security, and a locus of camaraderie that crosses political, social, and ethnic lines. I do not own them by a grant of permission from some social elite; I own them because I choose to, and because as a mentally competent adult with a clean record, it is my right to choose to.


Here's the root of the disconnect, I think. A lot of prominent gun-control activists are people who have both been impacted by criminal violence, and have not been particularly exposed to the positive side of gun ownership. I think to some degree, they have come to see "guns" as the entity who victimized them, and see gun control as a way to lash out at that enemy. That victimization by people misusing guns also taints their view of gun owners, I think, that we must somehow be either ignorant, or evil, or some selfish mixture of the two, possibly with some sort of sexual deviancy thrown in (because some of those victimized see guns as sexualized power objects). As a for-instance, Sarah Brady's husband was shot by a nut with a .22 revolver; while I don't think that justifies her attempts to ban my rifles, it at least helps me understand it.


It's not "any and all guns" that are involved in criminal mayhem; it's actually a tiny subset of guns, mostly illegally possessed handguns, in the hands of a violent few. And in fairness, it's not all gun-control activists that dream up creative deceptions to try to outlaw our most valued possessions, either. I think most of us on our respective sides are not as far apart as our legislative positions on the issue would appear to make us; I think we just have a huge knowledge and communication gap (on both sides).

There IS common ground to be found. The bedrock of that common ground is, NOBODY wants to see criminals misusing any guns. People who hurt other people piss me off just as much as they piss you off. We all agree that bad guys shouldn't have them. The disagreement comes in when people on your side of the issue decide to slap sweeping restrictions (AWB, handgun bans, pre-1861 capacity limits) on everybody in order to affect the bad guys (so they hope), and we respond by opposing all new restrictions to avoid having wrongheaded restrictions slapped on the good guys. Hence the impasse.

"Judge orders Wal-Mart to let SC church challenge contraceptive sales"

Would you be cheering the theocratic principle then?

The fact that a church thinks God wants them to ban something is hardly newsworthy (look around and you can find churches that want to censor, ban, or outlaw all kinds of "sins" they disagree with---whether contraception, alcohol, cigarettes, erotica, same-sex relationships, "nonsporting" weapons, "unwholesome" entertainment, or the practice of Islam---but it's a little odd to see the theocratic principle implicitly endorsed here on DU. I guess the idea of Banning Things For Gawd is ok as long as the sin in question is gun ownership.

The church's obsession with rifles is a little odd, though, since rifles are the least misused of all weapons in the United States, but whatever. It's a free country.

Ah, makes sense.

FWIW I know the original Spencers (late 1850s/early 1860s) were set up to use speedloaders, so they could be reloaded pretty quickly, and each Blakeslee Cartridge Box (1864) held 6 to 13 speedloaders of 7 rounds each, for up to 91 rounds on tap per case. I am not aware of whether any speedloaders were made for the later Henrys and Winchesters or not.

Further back than that.

"The first 10+ magazines go all the way back to the 1874 Gatling gun "

Further back than that. The Henry lever-action carbine of 1861-ish had, IIRC, a capacity of 16+1, as did numerous 1860s and 1870s Winchesters. The Evans rifle of the early 1870s had a capacity of 28 or 34 (may have allowed +1, not sure). To go back to a time when civilians couldn't buy over-10-round (or over-15-round) firearms, you have to go back to the 1850s or earlier.

IIRC, the precharged airgun that Lewis and Clark carried on their expedition in the early 1800s (comparable in power to a modern .45 ACP) had a 20-round magazine; production of that rifle began in 1795.

Specifically, 19 *names* were affected that could no longer be used in marketing.

"AWBs never intended to restrict rifle ownership except for a few percent, about 3% of all listed firearms were affected by the 94 awb, iirc about 19 'assault rifles' were affected out of over 700 firearms."

Specifically, 19 names were affected that could no longer be used for guns sold to non-LE civilians. For example, Colt could no longer use the trademark "Colt AR-15" for an AR manufactured for non-government civilians. But they could call it a "Colt 6920" and legally sell it, as long as it met the features test, and AR sales went through the roof during the ban's debate and in the years after it passed.

The biggest impact of the 1994 AWB on rifles was in the honor-system restrictions on combining "evil features". For example, you could have a protruding handgrip or a flash suppressor, but not both on the same rifle (the items were legal to buy but not legal to install, though the ban was not enforced). Hence, post-1994 Mini-14s with straight stocks could use flash suppressors, whereas post-1994 AR's with protruding handgrips had to have brakes or smooth muzzles instead. My AK was a ban-era import (2002 model SAR-1), so it had a smooth muzzle and no bayonet lug, and of course it wasn't stamped "AK-47".

"those rifle sales are likely to existing gun owners, rather than newbies. "

Some, perhaps most, were probably to people who already own at least one gun, yes; a relatively expensive rifle isn't most people's first gun purchase.

The thing is, every time a new ban on any particular type of gun is proposed, people who are in the "I'd like to own one of those someday, but it's not a financial priority right now" will make it a priority. That's why the Feinstein law tripled AR-15 and civilian AK sales during and after 1994, and why the mad rush to ban guns and magazines in 2013 drove demand, and sales, through the roof.

"I don't own any guns anymore, gunfree about 15 yrs (I even renounced the 2ndA), don't need worry if I left a round in the chamber or it getting stolen, no panic attacks, no sweats about carrying concealed whether the handgun might misfire or get caught on a twig or drop out in a restaurant & go off or make others irate. No worries about getting arrested or sued for inadvertent brandishing (whether true or trumped up) or whatever else can go wrong accd'g to murphy when carrying a gun. They were always safer just in a gun safe in the home. "

I respect your choice, and I don't criticize you for it. I just reserve the right to choose differently myself.

Why are you so hung up on military FMJ? We are talking about CIVILIAN JACKETED HOLLOWPOINTS.

" our friend Martin Fackler inter alios, contend the .223 55gr prior to 100 yds, will fragment in a Human target into one large fragment & the several particles you & wiki noted, but this does not take into account any losses of KE from passing thru a drywall, which, imo, would affect the fragmenting."

Why are you so hung up on military FMJ? In the HD context, we are primarily talking about *civilian jacketed hollowpoints or softpoints*, designed to fragment more consistently and more readily than military FMJ in order to limit penetration. Mine is loaded with Federal 55gr JHP. Even more prone to early fragmentation are the 40-grain small-game loads, but they penetrate even less than birdshot and are therefore no longer used by law enforcement or most non-LE civilians either. Ditto for AK's and for every other civilian rifle.

"Those are ak74's, right? You do confuse when you just write .22 rather than .223. I figure the 3 there for a reason. I looked at a few of the firing links, but don't come away with anything I can discuss with confidence. "

The bore diameter is the same for all American centerfire .22's, at .224. Russian .22's measure about .221, but that's too small to have any effect ballistically. There are only a few standard bore diameters used across the spectrum: .17, .22, .25, .27, .30, .32, .36, .40, .45, .50, .68, .73 cover almost all of them. I think .22LR usually uses .224 barrels also but I may be wrong, though .22LR shoots fine out of an AR with a chamber adapter.

The different numbers (.220, .221, .222, .223) are just shorthand used by manufacturers and standardized by SAAMI to differentiate the different cartridge shapes/lengths. For example, .22 Hornet, .221, .222 Remington, .223 Remington, .22-250, .220 Swift, and 5.56x45mm NATO all have the exact same caliber (diameter) barrel and fire the same bullets. The "3" in .223 Remington was put there to distinguish it from its parent cartridge, .222 Remington, when they slightly modified the shoulder geometry to give it a touch more powder capacity than the .222. But the bore diameter is .224. .223 is roughly in the middle of the pack with regard to case capacity and velocity; .220 Swift can push light loads beyond 4000 ft/sec, whereas some of the others are in the mid-2000's.

It's kind of like 9mm/.38 Special/.357 Magnum, which shoot the same diameter bullets, roughly .36 caliber. Shotgun calibers are named differently for historical reasons, but a 12-gauge is .729 caliber and a 20-gauge is about .68 caliber, as I recall.

As to the .22 AK's, yes, some are non-automatic civilian AK-74 lookalikes or derivatives in 5.45x39mm (.221), like the one in the video, and some are in .223 Remington/5.56x45mm.

Almost all Ruger Mini-14's are .223 Remington, FWIW, though a few were made in 6.8mm SPC (around .270 IIRC). The Mini Thirty is 7.62x39mm.

"But an increased temporary cavity is not necessarily a bad thing for the target, in that it can collapse sometimes with little contributing damage, or miss vitals, and fackler's wound chart shows the ak74 tends no fragmentation. Perhaps this ak74 a way to fly for HD. "

First, only Russian military 5.45x39mm 7N6 FMJ acts like that, and 5.45x39mm 7N6 FMJ is banned from further import because the BATFE considers it "armor piercing" (remember, what doesn't fragment tends to shoot through things). However, 7N6 achieves wounding similar to military .223 FMJ by being designed to tumble upon impact more readily than .223, thereby tending to travel through the target sideways and causing a much-larger-than-.22 wound.

Because it doesn't fragment, though, 7N6 would be more likely to shoot through walls, a bad thing from a HD standpoint. Using a civilian jacketed hollowpoint in that caliber would make a lot more sense in the HD role, to limit drywall penetration. I believe Hornady makes a civilian VMAX load in that caliber.

No, gun ownership has been steady since the mid-1990s, while murders decreased 50%.


What does change on short time scales is the willingness of gun owners to discuss a very private matter with some stranger who cold-calls you on the phone, claims to be taking a survey, and asks you if you own guns. Look at the two data points on opposite sides of the 1994 gun-control debacle; a thirteen point drop in one survey, and then back up to 42% where it's been for more than a decade now.

That doesn't mean that fifteen million households sold all their guns (or lost them in tragic boating accidents) in 1994 and then eight or ten million households bought them back a couple years later. What it demonstrates is that the more hostile the climate, the less inclined gun owners are to tell some random caller about what valuables they own and how they store them. I'm one of them; I talk about gun ownership here where I am relatively anonymous, but I damn sure won't tell some caller I don't personally know.

One thing some people also forget when looking at rates is that there are way more households than there used to be per capita, so the fact that per-household ownership rate is holding steady is actually growth in absolute numbers, as you know.

So if I understand correctly...

Possession of a stolen gun: misdemeanor
Stealing a gun: misdemeanor
Possession of an unregistered 11-round magazine: felony
Adding a handgrip that sticks out to a Ruger Mini-14: felony

Do I have it right, as the law now stands?

The FBI violence stats for 2013 are out.

I'm particularly interested in Table 20, Murder by State and Type of Weapon, because of its relevance to rifle and magazine bans. For percentages, go here, download the Excel version, and sum the columns.

Murder, by State and Type of Weapon, 2013 (FBI)

[font face="courier new"]Total murders...................... 12,253
Handguns............................ 5,782 (47.2%)
Firearms (type unknown)............. 2,079 (17.0%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc.............. 1,622 (13.2%)
Knives and other cutting weapons.... 1,490 (12.2%)
Hands, fists, feet.................... 687 (5.6%)
Shotguns.............................. 308 (2.5%)
Rifles................................ 285 (2.3%)[/font]

2012 and 2010, for comparison:

Murder, by State and Type of Weapon, 2012 (FBI)

[font face="courier new"]Total murders...................... 12,711
Handguns............................ 8,813 (49.9%)
Firearms (type unknown)............. 1,848 (14.5%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc.............. 1,637 (12.9%)
Knives and other cutting weapons.... 1,583 (12.5%)
Hands, fists, feet.................... 678 (5.3%)
Rifles................................ 320 (2.5%)
Shotguns.............................. 302 (2.4%)[/font]

Murder, by State and Types of Weapons, 2010 (FBI)

[font face="courier new"]Total murders...........................12,996
Handguns.................................6,009 (46.2%)
Firearms (type unknown)..................2,035 (15.7%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc...................1,772 (13.6%)
Edged weapons............................1,704 (13.1%)
Hands, feet, etc...........................745 (5.7%)
Shotguns...................................373 (2.9%)
Rifles.....................................358 (2.8%)[/font]

The 9-year trend in rifle homicides, 2005-2013:

[font face="courier new"]2005: 442
2006: 436
2007: 450
2008: 375
2009: 348
2010: 358
2011: 323
2012: 302
2013: 285[/font]

And it's not just rifle homicide that's down over the years; *all* homicide is down over the last decade, even those by fists and feet. Good news all around. The declines in individual categories are probably exaggerated a little by the growth in the "type unknown" category (apparently some departments didn't get their paperwork in...) but the overall totals are down so the declines are real, just a little smaller than the raw category numbers would suggest.
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