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Assault weapons: Empty threats, empty fears, empty definitions

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Assault weapons Empty threats empty fears empty definitions

The coming Democratic Primary has begun in earnest and invariably somebody begins discussing the idea of reinstituting an assault weapons ban. Most recently, Bernie Sanders has entered the fray:

The common refrain is that assault weapons are “designed specifically to kill”, their intended use is for “military purposes”, and they were never meant for private ownership.

But what is an assault weapon exactly? Despite the use of the term by supporters of tougher gun laws and its consistent presence in the news, it is not a term used by almost anyone familiar with military or civilian weapon systems.

Why, you might ask, is the term “assault rifle” not used? After all, the various rifles used by the world’s militaries, such as the M16, M4, SCAR, G36, or FAMAS, are all classified as assault rifles (something avid video gamers even know). So why do we not use the term assault rifle? Because assault rifles are already banned for use by most civilians.

An assault rifle is a modern firearm, typically utilizing a lighter rifle caliber, made of a light (usually synthetic) frame and capable of selective-fire. Selective-fire is the key portion of the assault rifle definition. In order for a firearm to be considered an assault rifle, it must at least have the dual capability of semi-automatic fire (one trigger pull, one shot) and a form of automatic fire (one trigger pull, several shots). Assault rifles are military/paramilitary specific weapons and are not available on the general civilian market.

What is available to most civilians are variants of the Armalite-15, and weapons inspired by it, which have had the selective-fire feature removed. An AR-15 purchased at a local gun store looks, feels, and appears just like it’s military cousin. But because it has had the selective fire options removed it is no more dangerous than any other semi-automatic weapon on the civilian market, including the majority of popular shotguns, pistols, and target shooting rifles. In fact, because the typical AR-15 civilian variant maintains the light .223 caliber, this weapon is in actuality one of the least lethal weapons available to the civilian population. To make it even less effective for civilian use, its design makes it among the least likely to be successfully carried concealed. (The concealment factor is actually the major factor that makes a weapon dangerous in civilian use. The rate of handgun use in firearm violence is astronomically higher than all other firearm categories combined because handguns are so easily concealed).

The AR-15 is often used by mass shooters because it is cheap, widely available, and looks scary. But the actual effectiveness of the weapon is far below other weapons available on the market.
This brings me back to my original question: what is an assault weapon? From the standpoint of actual terminology for weapon systems, there is no such classification as an assault weapon. It is a legal term with loose and variable definitions. And, most pointedly, none of the definitions that have been used make effective sense for the end resolution they seek. Generally speaking, most assault weapons related laws are built around magazine-size and aesthetic appearance.

Is the nation ready to revive the American Conservative Movement?

The Federal Assault Weapons ban implemented by President Clinton defined, in essence, an assault weapon as anything that looks like a military-style weapon, is semi-automatic, and has a magazine that holds more than 10 bullets. This classification is vague to the extreme. It casts too large of a net to be realistic while simultaneously allowing for too many stark loopholes to be effective in its goals.

For example, a Ruger 10/22 (generally used for small-game hunting and competition shooting) is semi-automatic, designed based on the M1 Carbine from World War II, and easily utilizes magazines that hold up to (and beyond) 30 bullets. While this firearm was not banned under the Federal Assault Weapons ban (it was too prevalent to be realistically removed from the market), it does meet the law’s definition of an assault weapon in nearly every way and yet, despite estimates showing over 6 million 10/22s being sold on the civilian market, I have not been able to find an instance where the weapon has been used successfully in a mass shooting.

Now, compare this to the Savage-Springfield 67H and Savage 311-D Shotguns. Have you heard of these firearms? The Savage-Springfield 67H is a pump-action 12-Gauge shotgun, and the Savage 311-D is a double-barrel break-open shotgun. Neither weapon meets any definition of an assault weapon, in any written law, unless the barrels are sawn off (an easy aftermarket customization which couldn’t be controlled by a ban). Few could recognize these shotguns on sight, few have ever heard of them, and there is not a single law or ban on the table that would keep these shotguns out of the hands of criminals…and yet these are the exact models of shotguns used to devastating effect by the Columbine Shooters.

This is why assault weapons bans are empty threats based on empty fears. They are reactionary attempts to ban prevalent firearms, which could never be fully removed from American society, using empty definitions that do not take into account the actual lethality of different types of firearms. Such bans will solve absolutely nothing and would likely make matters worse. Even more troubling to consider is that when such laws inevitably fail, gun control advocates will cast an even wider net using their existing regulations to make it almost impossible for American citizens to obtain the firearms best suited for their personal defense. Because there is no set definition of what an assault weapon is, the working and legal definition can change. After all, what firearm isn’t “designed to kill” and which firearms do not have the fingerprints of military development somewhere in their pedigree? It is clear that the current call for an Assault Weapons Ban would accomplish nothing but a foot in the door.

 


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1 Comment

  1. Gene Ralno

    March 6, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    “…they were never meant for private ownership.” Wrong!! They were specifically modified in ’63 for the civilian market.

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Guns and Crime

Thomas Massie exposes the many problems with Red Flag Gun Laws

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Thomas Massie exposes the many problems with Red Flag Gun Laws

Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) has been a staunch proponent of the 2nd Amendment throughout his career in Washington DC. This makes him an opponent to Red Flag Gun Laws which are spreading across the states. Colorado recently passed their version, bringing the total up to 15.

As we’ve documented numerous times, Red Flag Gun Laws are a direct attack on the 2nd and 4th Amendments. Depending on the version of the law, citizens can have their firearms forcibly removed from them by law enforcement when a judge decrees they may be a threat to themselves or others based on requests by people who know the victim. It’s important to understand that these laws are not based on anyone committing a crime. They are based on a feeling that someone may commit a crime.

It’s like the movie Minority Report, only without psychics. Gun owners’ liberties can be encroached based on the government’s “future crimes division.”

In this video, Massey gets to the heart of the matter by talking to Colorado Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams and Dr. John R. Lott of Crime Prevention Research Center. This is an important video for #2A proponents across the nation.

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Guns and Crime

Illegal alien Billy Chemirmir charged in 12 murders, was never ordered for deportation

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Illegal alien Billy Chemirmir charged in 12 murders was never ordered for deportation

It may be more difficult than it should be to deport illegal immigrants in America, but when they are convicted of crimes, it’s a realistic expectation that they should be deported, especially when they’re arrested in a state like Texas. But that wasn’t the case with Billy Chemirmir who was arrested four times without deportation. Now, he’s being charged with a dozen murders.

The 46-year-old Kenyan national had been arrested for DWI twice, criminal trespassing, and domestic assault, yet he was not deported. His last arrest in 2018 was for murder. Now, 11 more charges have been handed to him, all surrounding the murders of elderly women.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told The Daily Caller that an immigration detainer for Chemirmir was filed with Dallas County Jail in March 2018, but that he’s not currently in the agency’s custody.

Opinion

I’m truly at a loss for words on this case. It’s not like he was hiding under a rock, undetected by law enforcement. It’s not like they didn’t know he was an illegal immigrant. And it’s not like this happened in a sanctuary city. This happened in Texas. He was arrested four times. Yet he was still allowed to roam, work, and allegedly commit murder.

It’s important to note that this is not a case of our porous southern border. Records are unclear of how he came to live and work in America in the first place, but if it was another case of visa overstay, then this will be a slightly different case than we’ve seen in recent weeks. He wasn’t a gang member who came over with migrants. This goes to show that those in the country illegally all need to be examined more closely. We have enough issues with citizens committing crimes. We don’t need even more criminals on the streets.

Quote

“This guy should’ve been detected but wasn’t. In our case, they had him just wandering around the apartment for three hours.” – Richard Arnold, Lawyer for a Victim’s Family

Final Thoughts

If we aren’t deporting illegal immigrants who have been arrested four times in Texas, how can we expect any criminal illegal aliens to be deported? The system is broken. We need to rethink everything about immigration.

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Guns and Crime

‘Serial rapist’ DREAMer Carlos Eduardo confesses to Houston area sexual assaults

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Serial rapist DREAMer Carlos Eduardo confesses to Houston area sexual assaults

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order by President Obama has a new set of victims as a Houston man has confessed to two rapes and one attempted rape.

Carlos Eduardo, 18, confessed to following women home from a 24-hour gym, then forcing them by gunpoint into his car. He would then drive them to an isolated location and sexually assault them, according to police.

“He would sit in the parking lot and watch them walk to their cars,” said Chief Josh Bruegger from the Pasadena Police Department.

An anonymous tip led police to Eduardo’s conspicuous lime green Ford Mustang. It appeared he was attempting to change the appearance of the vehicle after CCTV video was released with his vehicle visible.

Opinion

One would be hard pressed to find a mainstream media report even mentioning Eduardo’s immigration status. The left is losing the narrative on the border crisis and other elements of the illegal immigration problem, so the last thing they want to lose is the final remnant of positive credibility they have with DACA.

In other words, they need the perceptions of DREAMers to stay clean.

To be fair, the rates of crimes committed by DREAMers is not noticeably higher than crimes committed by American citizens in the same age groups and locations, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve increased crime levels by virtue of their presence in America. Currently, there’s nothing that can be done to demonstrate how crime rates can be reduced because DREAMers are at the bottom of the priority list for most opponents of illegal immigration.

And maybe that’s how it should be.

I’d almost be willing to forget about DACA altogether if we could simply stop the flow of illegal immigrants currently entering the country. Almost. People like Eduardo are a stark reminder that not all DREAMers are innocent, worthy contributors to American society.

Quote

“I believe this was the beginning of a serial rapist. We have three cases. Any time you have that, it scares the community, and it should. That’s really why I wanted this to be a priority. I have a wife, I have daughters; this is the last thing you want out there is a serial rapist on the streets.” – Chief Josh Bruegger

Final Thoughts

This is just another angle of the multi-headed monster of illegal immigration. Border security, asylum loopholes, visa overstays, and the lack of a wall are all problems, but let’s not forget DACA still looms over America.

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