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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.

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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 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

16-year-old illegal alien Domingo Marcos accused of killing teacher in head-on-collision

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16-year-old illegal alien Domingo Marcos accused of killing teacher in head-on-collision

When Domingo Marcos, 16, crossed our southern border illegally in 2017, he immediately asked for asylum. He was given a date for his asylum hearing and released. When he didn’t show up for his hearing, his asylum was denied and a deportation order went out. Unfortunately, law enforcement didn’t catch up with him until he allegedly killed Alabama school teacher Sonya Jones in a head-on collision.

According to MyNBC15:

Prosecutors say Marcos is an illegal immigrant from Guatemala who tried to claim asylum in Arizona in 2017. When he was a no show to his hearing, prosecutors say he was denied asylum and issued a final order of deportation. Authorities didn’t catch up with him until Monday’s crash.

My Take

Most of the stories about illegal immigrant crimes we cover here have to do with heinous acts committed by adults. This is a reminder that there are dangers posed to American citizens that come in many forms from illegal immigrants. Not all of the pain they cause is intentional, and not all of those causing the pain are adults.

Things may be very different today if more illegal immigrants who apply for asylum showed up to their hearings. This goes to show it’s often considered easier to flea from the law for the rest of their lives and hope for Democrats to give them amnesty in the future rather that risk failing the very difficult task of demonstrating a valid need for asylum. The left will say the system needs to be changed to allow more asylum-seekers to stay in the country legally. That may actually be the case, but until we stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming over the southern border, it’s really a moot point.

America is the most generous nation in the world in dealing with illegal immigrants. We can be strong defenders of our own sovereignty and still be compassionate, but it must start by securing the border. We need the wall up immediately.

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Guns and Crime

Mark Geragos, lawyer to Kaepernick, Smollett, and Jackson, likely unnamed co-conspirator with Michael Avenatti

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Mark Geragos lawyer to Kaepernick Smollett and Jackson likely unnamed co-conspirator with Michael Av

Michael Avenatti may be getting all the headlines, but his unnamed co-conspirator may be even more of a catch in the extortion case that got Avenatti arrested. Mark Geragos, a regular CNN analyst and lawyer to famous people like Colin Kaepernick, Jussie Smollett, and Michael Jackson, is supposedly the unnamed co-conspirator.

My Take

Avenatti is a spotlight hog. He’s the guy you call if you want the attention paid to your lawyer instead of you. He draws fire and offers cover while still getting your case plenty of attention.

Geragos is the guy you call if you need a real lawyer.

This is why people who aren’t stars call Avenatti while those who are aleady stars call Geragos. He’s a high-dollar hired gun who delivers results. This time, he may have gotten caught with his hand in the wrong cookie jar.

The fact that he’s a CNN analyst certainly adds poetic justice to this. CNN is one of the biggest culprits who helped make Avenatti a star in the first place.

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Culture and Religion

First they came for the gun owners….

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First they came for the gun owners

…but I didn’t say anything because I didn’t own a gun.

One of the more infuriating aspects of the Left’s game of denying reality with their little ‘That wasn’t really socialism’ is that there are distinct parallels between their agenda and that of other socialist nations, past and present. They all have a similar process of imposing socialistic slavery with a specific national agenda. A key part being the deprivation of the means of self-defense to their citizens and those who posses these means.

Denying the right of self-defense is a fundamental aspect of socialism

It is a fact of history that gun confiscation is an integral part of implementing of a socialist national agenda. The USSR required the people to turn in their guns, as did the German national socialist worker’s party. As was Fidel Castro’s response in the question of whether the people should have guns as or the United Socialist Party of Venezuela confiscating guns from the people for their own safety, of course.

These have all taken place at the onset of socialistic slavery, but somehow the new version isn’t the same because reasons. Leftists aren’t really trying to set up a governmental monopoly on the use of force, they are just trying to protect the children* [ *unborn and under 9 months old excluded ]. Even though it has been proven time and again that their repression of Liberty does not work as advertised.

The liberty grabber left is now celebrating the destruction of basic civil liberties

Where this subject not so deadly serious, it would be comical to still witness leftists parroting the ‘No one is talking about gun confiscation’ or a variant thereof. Meanwhile they can scarcely contain themselves in the glee over New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seizing on their ‘serious crisis’ to confiscate guns with tweets looking to replicate the destruction of a basic human right in the states.

It is more than a coincidence that the tempo of the drum beat for liberty control has increased while the ideological fraud of socialism is being forced on the people. After a long winded piece gloating about leftist victories over liberty, an opinion piece in Bloomberg has even suggested that Chief Justice John Roberts seize on the serious crisis in New Zealand, using it to destroy this basic civil liberty.

Citizens turned into subjects with a change in the relationship between the people and the government

The genius of the founding fathers is that they recognized that down through history, people have had varying relationships with government. In most cases it was one of the government having a monopoly on the use of force. On occasion the people would challenge this monopoly and change the government, but only after an ensuing orgy of carnage and death.

The founders set forth a new paradigm, that of government by the consent of the people with a semblance of parity via a distributed ability to use force. The nation’s Socialist-Left would like to change or ‘reform’ that paradigm back to the old-fashioned version of the government being the sole purveyor of force. Please note that we are dispensing with the tired old line of the left that this is not what they want. They have made this quite clear over the past few years to the point that anyone that is informed of the issue recognizes that this is just another lie on their part.

“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression.” – Thomas Paine

Relegating gun owners to 2nd class citizenship

Those of us who haven’t traded, sold or lost all of our guns in a boating accident are a persecuted class these days. The situation is much akin to a baseball pitching machine throwing fastballs over and over again without let-up. With all kinds of new laws being proposed at state and federal levels that range from invasive Intergalactic Background Checks, liability insurance requirements, gun registration and of course, gun confiscation SWATing legislation.

The destruction of basic civil liberties will only begin with gun owners

Every citizen of the nation is protected with basic Constitutional principles and civil rights including due process, the presumption of innocence and the right to face one’s accuser.

The gun owner has been excluded from these basic civil liberties in some states, and if the liberty grabbers had their way, such would be the case nationwide. With just the flimsiest insinuation of being ‘dangerous’ a gun owner [or those who are merely accused of being a gun owner] will be subjected to gun confiscation raid from the authorities.

This will be just the beginning of the ordeal – if they survive the SWAT team coming at 5:00 AM without warning. Our 2nd class citizen will have to prove they aren’t ‘dangerous’ after they have effectively found guilty in a star chamber. It will only be after spending thousands of dollars in legal fees that they may get their property back in less than stellar condition. The trend is to set gun owners below the legal status of accused criminals in the eyes of the justice system.

We’re just starting on the slippery slope

Fresh from their moves against the basic human right of self-preservation, the chief censor of the government of New Zealand has arbitrarily decided that certain ideas are beyond the pale, sparking a debate over free speech as reported by the Associated Press. This of course is another ongoing controversy in the states over the issue of political correctness and ‘Hate speech’. This shows that isn’t just about ‘military style assault weapons’ or whatever is the phrase at the moment, this is a question of liberty, something the people who use a similar sounding label used to pretend to support.

Make no mistake, the legislative mechanisms and regulations used to deprive gun owners of their commonsense human and civil rights will be used on others if they are allowed to stand. A civil liberties group in California made the point that one doesn’t have to be a gun owner to be subjected to gun confiscation SWATing. If they can go after the property of a gun owner in one instance, because they don’t like their attitude, what’s to stop them from going after a journalist or other type of activist? These orders only have to allege someone is dangerous with little evidence, much less proof that they own a gun. What’s to stop them from deciding free-speech is dangerous or ‘offensive’ necessitating that their computers or cell phones should be seized – at gunpoint no less?

The Takeaway

The whole point of the ‘first they came for’ series is that authoritarians rarely go after everyone at once. They are very careful in picking their targets for their oppression with the tactic of divide and conquer. Today it’s the people who own guns, tomorrow it will be those who don’t conform to the precepts of ‘political correctness’.

This is why President John F. Kennedy stated that: “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”

This is why everyone should be concerned at the headlong rush to denigrate the right of self-defense. And why everyone should be horrified that the government could even consider jettisoning the basic civil liberty of due process and the presumption of innocence. The loss of basic civil rights for some will mean the loss for everyone.

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