Friday, January 04, 2013

All About "Assault Weapons"

I wrote this to a gun owner who questioned why I was such a fan of "assault weapons:"

There is no such thing as an "assault weapon"...that phraseology is propaganda from the gun banners. I refer you to this great article in Forbes:

And this article in Human Events:

A true "assault rifle" as we correctly apply the terminology is a select-fire — that is, either full auto, where the gun fires until it runs out of ammunition on one pull of the trigger, or semiauto, one shot per pull of the trigger — rifle or carbine issued to the military. Select fire/full auto guns have been rigidly controlled in the United States since 1934 Firearms Act. Nor can any modern firearm can be easily converted from semiauto to full auto, despite what people may have heard or read.

The AR-15 platform is hardly the “choice of John Wayne wannabes and terrorists” as it has been represented. Rather, it is the single most popular firearm in the United States, and the overwhelming choice of competition shooters, hunters and people concerned with their personal safety:
  • The AR-15 dominates competition; it rules at the NRA Camp Perry long range competitions and in the fastest growing shooting sport in America, 3-Gun. I recently built a .22 Long Rifle AR platform gun that may be the most accurate .22 I own...and I own many. Using that gun I was able to achieve "Rifleman" status in a Project Appleseed on my first attempt.
  • The AR-15 is a superb self-defense weapon, in fact, my personal choice for home defense. After careful analysis of penetration, the chance the round might exit a house, etc., much of which we’ve shown on the shows, we concluded the AR platform in 5.56, the standard caliber, was a far better choice for home defense than a shotgun with buckshot or even a handgun.
  • The AR-15 platform is equally excellent as a hunting firearm, both for pest/varmints, a major Colorado hunting activity, and, in heavier calibers, for big game such as mule dear and elk. Because the caliber can be easily changed without a gunsmith by replacing the upper receiver, it is the most versatile gun sold. A hunter can have a .22 Long Rifle upper for small game, a .223 upper for varmints like coyotes and a .300 Blackout upper for deer/elk, on a a single frame for a fraction of the cost of 3 rifles. Colt makes an AR platform gun that is interchangeable from .223 to .308, perfect for hunters.
  • The AR-15 platform is the overwhelming choice for people who just like to plink, informal target shooting. The stats we have show AR owners are shooters, expending many thousands of rounds a year.
  • The AR platform is ergonomic and adjustable by the owner rather than sending it out to an expensive gunsmith. One gun can fit a small framed person or the Incredible Hulk. The gun is designed to be easy to fact, as an instructor, I now use AR platform guns to introduce newbies to shooting.
  • An AR platform rifle is customizable by the shooter...there are literally thousands of accessories that can be installed by the user, which allows a shooter to really make the gun his or her own with resorting to a gunsmith.

AR platform rifles may look like military rifles, but they are no different from rifles that have been available to American citizens since the dawn of the 20th Century. The Remington Autoloading Rifle, for instance, was a semiauto featuring a box magazine, available in multiple powerful calibers and was introduced in 1906, a year after Winchester's semiauto Model 1905. In fact, the Remington rifle was continually updated throughout the century. Fitted with a 20-round magazine, it was used by Texas Ranger Frank Hamer against Bonnie and Clyde in 1934. Replaceable magazines have been a feature of handguns and rifles since the late 1800s.

When I was growing up in the 1950s & '60s, the gun rack in my house — note that I said gun rack, not gun safe; no one we knew owned a gun safe — included not only a Remington Model 8 semiauto rifle, but an M1 Carbine with both 15 and 30 round magazines, and an M1 Garand 8-shot semiauto, a rifle described by George Patton as, "The greatest implement of battle ever devised." I wouldn't argue with Patton on that point! Handguns included a 1911 .45 semiauto, several German semiautos and, later, a 15-shot S&W semiauto. These guns could, up until 1968, be ordered through the mail with no background check of any kind.

Amazingly, with all this readily accessible semiauto firepower much, much more accessible than in today's heavily regulated environment! schools were safe then. Why might that be?

Again, because a civilian firearm looks like a military weapon doesn't mean that it is the equivalent of that military weapon. You can buy a car that looks a lot like Danica Patrick's #10 Sprint Cup car; paint it green and orange and put all the same stickers on that car that Ms. Patrick has on hers. Yet you will not win any races with your family car. It turns out that everyone wearing Peyton Manning jerseys does not in fact play for the Broncos.

Additionally, this "panic" about evil assault weapons is simply misplaced. According to the current FBI stats (, more people are murdered annually with hammers and clubs than all rifles (605 versus 438)! 

And that's all rifles. Senator Diane Feinstein, the author of the newly proposed "assault weapon" ban legislation, in her own press release referred to "385 deaths" as a result of the so-called "assault weapons" since the previous Clinton Era ban ended in 2004, or roughly 50 death per year (

While all deaths are to be mourned, let's put these numbers in perspective...300 people die annually from drowning in their bathtubs; more than 100 people are killed annually by strangulation or hanging; as many as 1000 people die annually from autoerotic asphyxiation. According to the author of the proposed "assault weapons" ban, we need to ban as many as 150 million currently legal firearms, create a staggering bureaucracy guaranteed to engender a level of civil disobedience unheard of before in the United States and potentially turn millions of law-abiding citizens in to felons because those firearms were responsible for the same number of deaths annually as bees and wasps (54 deaths a year,

This fight is not about "assault weapons" is about civilian disarmament, that is, the ultimate goal of the confiscation of all privately owned firearms. That is what it has always been about. None of the proposed laws would have the slightest effect on spree killers, something on which both sides pretty much agree. None of the proposed laws will make us one iota safer.

SHOOTING GALLERY has featured AR-15 platform guns since its very first season when the previous AWB was still in effect. It will continue to do so.

From today's DAY BY DAY:


Steve said...

I have to say that I don't agree with your opinion that the new AWB is just Dianne Feinstein’s opening bid. She, as well as liberals in Illinois and New York really believe that this is their moment to make an end run around the constitution. They are going for broke.
Their naked opportunism and extremism can help us because it provides a moment of clarity that we have not had before. The lie that all these people want are “reasonable controls” and “compromise” has been exposed and we need to be communicating that to every gun owner.
This goes beyond guns. This is an attempt by the far left to deal a body blow to traditional, “red state” America; to bring us to heel.
Two things are on our side. The first is time. They cannot act as quickly as they would like under our system of government. That gives time for passions to cool and for our defenses to gather strength. The second is that they have picked a fight with one of the strongest voting blocs in the country. We are in a position to deal these people a humiliating defeat. The post election hubris of the left needs to be knocked back for the good of all freedom loving Americans.

TheMinuteman said...

Michael, you forgot one other segment that the AR platorm helps bring into our sport, the disabled.

My wife has radial nerve palsy and by far her favorite gun to shoot is an AR because it is the only one that can easily be made to fit her exact size and extra accessories can be used on the front end to put the weight and recoil through her functioning hand.

She doesn't have to worry about operating a bolt with the non-functional hand. Reloading is much simpler and doesn't have to happen as often.

Like you though, if I have a new shooter my go to rifle is usually an AR now. Hell, it got my mother-in-law into shooting.

Daniel Morgan said...

Steve, I don't believe you read Michael's opening nearly as closely as you may believe. I can assure you - and you will clearly see, if you re-read it - that Michael has no illusions about the intent of Sen Fienstein and the Obama andministration - anymore than do "most" of us in our community. It's clear that the eradication of all firearms is - clearly - their intent. First a ban, combined with regulation, followed by confiscation. We've already heard cries of confiscation from the New York Times and the Des Moines Register - whose columnist also called for the NRA to be listed as a "terrorist organization" and the outright murder of all gun owners. It doesn't get more draconian than that, my friend.

Gun owners are being pilloried in the media - ever more so than usual, as they and their Hollywood allies work in support of the leftist agenda to rid the US of ALL firearms - not just those evil, black "assault weapons." The optimum word in "gun control" is clearly - "control", as our opponents know all too well - and have admitted - that none of their unprcedented measures at registration and confiscation would have prevented recent tragedies - or the next one. They simply seek to exploit those tragedies to further their own agendas while national attention and sentiment is seemingly in their favor. And even those statistics are an illusion as any change in the way Americans feel about gun control - when polls are taken honestly - are still within the margins of error of previous polls.

So, no, this is by no means an "opening bid." Ms Feinstein, and her comrades, Pres. Obama and Vice Pres. Biden are in a full court press to "srike while the iron is hot" (as they say) - and they mean to take every form of pistol, rifle and shotgun out of the hands of every American. And their statements about their "respect" for the 2nd amendment and the many duck hunters across our nation are just platitudes. Those wonderful semi-auto, over & under, and side-by-side shotguns used by duck hunters will be rounded up just as quickly under the "and others like them" provisions of Sen. Fienstein's bill - and anyone too foolish to see that is in for a rude awakening.

Steve said...

Regardless of whether I misread Michael's post, my main point is that the myth of reasonable gun control or compromise needs to be put to rest. They have finally put all their cards on the table and if we are smart, we can exploit that.
My other point is that this a very winnable fight. Remember 1994 and make sure that your elected representatives remember it as well.

Anonymous said...

I guess when really terrorist start smuggling guns in our country and start breaking in to decent family home and they got no way to defend them self because you got the wrong idea and just turn the problem in to your own personal interest blaming and disrespecting the 2 amendment when is no way you can stop the the main problem cold murder wasn't done by the trigger only by the ignorant that pull it that is the difference between murder and self defense my condolences to any victim but the reality is clear a big example are irresponsible drivers that hit and run and leave the victim die it was kill on cold blood also but no one say let's bane vehicle no because is a tool the same way is the gun and riffle i can't hunt with out the right tool and defend my self with a baseball bat it was made to play baseball and not to defend your self when you under gunfire