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Friday, January 11, 2013

The assault rifle myth, what you should be aware of...

The gun debate rages on.  Threats of King President Obama issuing an executive order to get around that pesky Congress - you know the branch of government created to check the executive branch's power -  when it comes an assault rifle/gun ban have predictably surfaced.  The mainstream media, along with liberal politicians, have gone about demonizing gun owners, assault rifles, and the NRA.  As such, I feel it's important to get out a little more about this topic,  While my own views on gun control are perfectly clear, there are a few points that I think everyone that has an opinion should at least know.

First, let's talk about the AR-15.  This is an easy one.  Many people believe the AR stands for "assault rifle". Others think it stands for "automatic rifle".   It's neither.  The AR actually stands are ArmaLite Rifle, named after the manufacturing company of the original.  The only thing remotely "assault" about an AR-15 is that its name sounds similar to many familiar military rifles such as the popular M-16.  In fact the AR-15 is actually the civilian adapted version of the M-16.  What's the difference between the two?  The M-16 is capable of automatic fire, meaning you can hold down the trigger for continuous fire.  The AR-15 is semi automatic, meaning you have to pull the trigger each time you wish to fire one bullet.  And contrary to what many seem to believe, it's not simple, easy, or possible for most people to convert an AR-15 to fire fully auto.  So while an AR-15 "looks" like a ferocious fully automatic military rifle, the fact of the matter is it's no different functionally from just about every other semi automatic rifle.

So what is an assault rifle then?  The only solid answer to this question seems to come from the US Department of Defense's book Small Arms Identification and Operation Guide where it says "assault rifles" are "short, compact, selective-fire weapons the fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.  For those unaware, the term selective-fire means that the rifle is capable of shooting in semi automatic mode, full automatic, or multi shot bursts which the user can select with a switch before firing.  In other words, only a rifle capable of automatic fire is deemed an assault rifle.

What this means is that just about every rifle on the market, even the AR-15, is not an assault rifle and that all the weapons used in all these horrible shootings were really not assault rifles.  They were all semi automatic only.  None of them were automatic.  And while obtaining an automatic weapon is not federally illegal, it requires a very thorough and extensive process and costs quite a bit more than your average gun acquisition fees.  But again that's beside the point since none of the gun men were using full auto.

Ok, so let's just agree that the left's push isn't against automatic weapons but against whatever they're calling "assault rifles".  But what exactly IS that? The answer to that question is actually not as easy as it first sounds.  One of the initial responses is "well, weapons the military would use for combat."  I'll overlook the fact that we already have that by virtue of not allowing all but a very small civilian population obtain automatic weapons since the difference between a military rifle and a civilian rifle is the automatic fire.  The argument is that the AR-15 looks like it's designed for combat simply because it looks very similar to an M-16.  But functionally it's no different than a hunting rifle.  Keep in mind, before the M-16, some of the older era military used rifles looked just like many hunting rifles we have today.  What I'm getting at is that design intent is a poor measurement since a rifle designed for hunting can be used for combat and a rifle supposedly designed for combat can be used for hunting.  So banning a weapon that looks like it was designed for combat will stop nothing since someone intent on destruction would just use a hunting rifle instead.

Ok, so what else could it be?  The grip? The stock? Magazine capacity? Features such as this have been tried before and it didn't really work well.   Magazine capacity is about the only feature I partially agree that might have an impact.  If your magazines are only limited to say...10 rounds each, then that could mean some madman's rate of fire might be reduced if he ends up having to reload giving people precious seconds to get away or neutralize him.  However, even that has its flaws since someone could easily just carry another fully loaded weapon (the Connecticut shooter had two fully loaded handguns in addition to his rifle).

The bottom line is that features such as these have virtually no impact on the core functionality of these weapons: semi automatic fire.  If a hunting rifle with no frills can function exactly the same as an AR-15 decked out with a tactical rail and other intimidating looking features, then it shows that banning a weapon on features is pointless.  The only ban that would matter is a ban on semi-automatic guns...which gets me to what's really going on and what people should be concerned about.

The left tends to work in a subtle (though predictable) path towards its goals.  They're never openly direct.  They learned this generations past when they realized people didn't want what they were selling.  People still don't want what they're selling today, but that doesn't stop them. Instead, they'll chip away at an issue bit by bit, where each bit seems like a "reasonable" compromise.  And they'll keep doing this until eventually their piece meal strategy has yielded them their goal (funny how that's very similar to how Satan works in people's lives - for another post).  This is what's happening with the demagoguery of assault rifles.  Even though the term itself is nebulous and not adequately defined, they know the flash imagery of the words "assault rifle" make people think of violent combat action.  However, they know full well how ambiguous the term is, but if they're able to pass the legislation, it will create a wedge with which they can use to push further gun control agenda.

Imagine this:  Let's say the AR-15 and all other combat like rifles are banned.  Everyone cheers...until the next madman uses a semi automatic hunting rifle.  Then knowing full well how nebulous the term is, they push for certain hunting rifles to be banned.  Everyone cheers...until some other madman uses semi automatic handguns.  And so on and so on until our 2nd Amendment rights have been eroded to a point of uselessness.  And that is the ultimate goal for the left: To get guns out of the hands of civilians altogether.  And why get rid of guns?  Because a populace that can't defend itself is easier to coerce and make go along with how they think society should be run.  Make no mistake about that.  They'll pay lip service to honoring the 2nd Amendment because they know out right trashing it will ruin their goal, but at the same time they'll do everything they can to instill enough fear into people to get what they want.  It's political thuggery at its best.

And you don't think it'll happen that way? Keep this in mind:  Handguns are used about 10 times more than rifles are used in gun related murders.  So if the goal is to reduce the amount of violent deaths at the hands of guns, it makes logical sense that it's going to end up with handguns since it's the biggest perpetrator.  But see, the left knows going after handguns right now will ruin their work, so they demonize assault rifles to create the wedge they need to go after a bigger goal.

Finally, let's talk about the 2nd Amendment again.  The 2nd Amendment was designed not for hunting or sport shooting, but to enable every citizen to protect themselves....particularly against tyranny.  Our founding fathers founded this nation from resistance under the face of tyranny.  And while they themselves were firmly against tyranny and for liberty, they were also wise enough to understand that perhaps further down the road there might be leaders that have forgotten the precious value of liberty and its true cost.  And it's those leaders this forward looking 2nd Amendment aimed to thwart.

It doesn't matter how peace loving you might be, the cold, hard truth is that armed resistance  has, and always will be, the best deterrence to tyranny.  Some may scoff and say, "Tyranny....here?! LOL  YOU'RE CRAZY".  But to that I'd say the reason we haven't had tyranny in over two centuries, given rise to one scoffing at the idea today, is because of the 2nd Amendment.  An armed populace is not something easily overcome and will make any one or group of megalomaniacs think twice.  Physical violence is always the final resort in enforcement or resistance.  And thus if resistance doesn't have the capability to effectively resist enforcement's physical violence, then enforcement can use that threat to do what they want.  

Anyone that values liberty should be wary of any politician that says, "Why do you need an assault rifle? There's no tyranny here." Any citizen should be suspicious of any politician that isn't self aware Allowing the left to chip away at our 2nd Amendment is a very bad idea.  So when someone asks this, tell them "Because having one will help me protect what I love....why do you need to ban them?"