What is an assault weapon?
With all the talk lately about banning “assault weapons” I see a lot of ignorance. It’s quite apparent a lot of people have no clue what they are talking about when they talk about “assault weapons”. They don’t what it means.
Is a knife an assault weapon? Yes, it is – if I stab you with it. So is a rock if I hit you upside the head! Or a pencil or a pen . . . almost anything that could be used to ‘assault’ someone.
So are you going ban things based on their capability to be used for assault?
If so, then you’re going to have to start with banning hands.
“No, it’s a gun,” (you, the hypothetical reader says).
Okay then – what kinds of ‘guns’?
“Military guns,” you might say.
How do you define those It’s appearance? I’ve seen a lot of guns out there which look like military guns. But they are twenty-twos – small caliber, often used to teach child about a gun. Used in target practice and tournament matches. “.22″ (twenty-two) is a pretty light ‘gun’. It doesn’t matter how much plastic you strap to it, or folding stocks or all that mess. It’s still a light gun. Good for shooting squirrels and stuff – but not much else.
However, you can still kill someone with one, and their bullets will travel through two standard interior walls (standard 1/2” drywall).
And guess what. Most military caliber guns use small caliber bullets – somewhere between a .22 caliber and a .38. That’s right – your AR-15 (M-16) “bullet” (the lead head) isn’t much bigger around than a twenty-two (though it’s a little longer). It packs a bit more punch due the length of the brass allowing more powder) – but other than that? It’s like a .22 on steroids, that’s all. Same with the SKS.
I’ve seen guns out there that are jokes – they look like toys. Gun makers are strapping on all these cool looking plastic pieces that make them . . . clumbersome, in my opinion. Under their skin they aren’t anything but a .22 weapon with a long magazine. But they can be as deadly as they come – no matter what caliber they are, or their appearance. All it takes is one shot and you’re done.
“Well,” you might say petuently. “Large caliber guns.”
Oh. Well. Guess what. I’ve got several .50 caliber guns. All are black powder – that is, they are our ancestor’s guns. You pour powder down the barrel, stuff a bullet in, seat a primer – and then (maybe) – you are done. It’s used for hunting and takes about 15-30 seconds to reload. If you’re good. They’ve been used in wars and won.
Should we ban them – based on it being a large caliber gun? And a lot of “deer guns” are .30 caliber. Deer hunters use them. You don’t want to use a lighter caliber unless you’re really good – you take the chance of wounding the deer and not taking him down. I’m all for a clean, instant kill – I feel for wounded animals running around.
So maybe it’s not about the rifles at all (since most perceived “assault weapons” are rifles, though a shotgun, which IS different, can be regarded as one as well).
Maybe it’s about their rate of fire. How quickly you can fire bullets from the gun.
How do you judge that? I’ve seen people with bolt action rifles (one of the slowest around) who could crank out two or three rounds per second. And I had a pump action .22 child’s gun which could spit them out as fast you you could yank your hand. Semi-automatics are as fast as you can twitch your finger – so: which one?
Shall we go back to the black powder again? That would certainly slow everybody down.
Maybe it’s about expanding the magazine outside of that used when hunting (usually about five rounds) into more than good common sense would call for. Taking a gun’s magazine beyond “one good kill” into “many of them”.
Usually when you are shooting a deer, if you haven’t gotten him by the 3rd round, you haven’t got him at all. Five at the most. I can’t see any reason for a magazine needing more, not for hunting. By the fifth shot most of the animals are gone.
I think maybe we should look at banning magazines exceeding a certain number of rounds. No more than 10 or so. That seems reasonable to me, though good luck! – Long magazines can be “manufactured” by someone at home if they’re clever enough
I think I could consider that a reasonable choice. Good luck getting all those extra length magazines out of the public, thought. Those are unregistered, and you’re not going to track down every one.
Personally I don’t think it’s the guns, not so much. People are going to kill people no matter what you do – with a knife, a rock, or a gun. They’ll blow a place up if they want to take a lot of “someones” with them. You can’t tell with crazy people, or people who are angry or prone to expressing themselves through violence.
Maybe it’s not the guns at all.
Maybe it’s the people who use them.(And I’ll leave you there to think about it . . . educate yourself on guns: the statistics, their usage, what the terms mean . . . and maybe like me, you’ll find yourself watching the people more closely – and not just the ones with guns.)