I don’t really enjoy discussing gun politics, because nobody likes my opinions. I think it’s blindingly obvious that US gun laws do not make Americans less likely to get shot, so people who want to take their Chinese AK to Walmart hate me. I also think the UK’s total handgun ban and near-total ban on semiautomatic rifles is sheer idiocy, and the three mass shootings in the country’s entire history could easily have been prevented if existing laws were properly enforced. So gun control extremists hate me too.
This article isn’t really about gun laws though. I got thinking recently about bad arguments that keep coming up in gun politics. Both sides use some pretty awful ones. For example no, the UK really isn’t more violent than the USA. You’re about five times more likely to be murdered in the United States than you are in England. No, every Swiss man doesn’t keep a service rifle and ammunition at home. They used to, but too many were using them to shoot their wives. That’s untidy, and the Swiss hate untidiness, so they changed the rules and started locking stuff up in military armories. No, Europeans aren’t disarmed. 11 of the world’s 20 most heavily-armed civilian populations are in Europe, including three of the top five.
But the issue that really gets me frothing at the mouth is assault rifles. Politicians, campaigners, the media, even Obama never shut up about assault rifles. “These are military weapons designed to kill,” they say. “There’s no reason for a civilian to own one.”
Actually I agree. There isn’t any reason for a civilian to own an assault rifle. But this doesn’t matter, because civilians can’t own them anyway. In fact, most US gun owners haven’t been able to legally own an assault rifle since 1934, and they hadn’t even been invented then!
Anti-gun loudmouths seem to class guns as assault weapons based on how they look. This even showed up in the 1994 Federal assault weapons ban. It listed a whole range of characteristics that made a gun an assault weapon. These went from the bizarre – being fitted with a flash suppressor – to the ridiculous. A pistol grip? Seriously? A weapon magically becomes more dangerous because it has a pistol grip?
What makes the definitions used in the 1994 ban even more stupid is that there’s already a perfectly good definition of an assault rifle, one that dates back to the early 1940s and the people who invented them in the first place. You just have to ask two questions:
- Is it chambered for an intermediate round?
- Is it capable of firing fully automatic bursts?
If the answer to either of those questions is “No” then it doesn’t matter what shape it is, what accessories it’s fitted with or whether any bits of it fold up; it’s not an assault rifle. An M2 carbine looks kind of like a hunting rifle for kids. It’s small, has lots of nice woodwork, no pistol grip and no flash suppressor. But it’s an assault rifle, and that “high-powered, military style” AR-15 isn’t.
This might seem like a minor point. After all, any rifle, whether it resembles a military weapon or not, is easily capable of killing a bunch of people. But personally I think that if you’re trying to ban something despite not even being able to get its name right, you probably need to sit down and consider if you really know what you’re doing.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.