Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Gun Thing

I just can't seem to get past this subject. Maybe it is me looking for it more these days, but everywhere I turn, it seems that some Congresscritter or SoccerMom has got it in for the guns.

Funny thing is, they can't seem to stand on any kind of philosophically clean position.  Some seem to be OK with the idea of "hunting guns" but not with "assault weapons".  The trouble is, they wouldn't know the real difference between the two, even if they can identify one from the other.

I mean, what really turns a rifle into an assault weapon?  I must admit, and I have a lifetime's worth of firearms experience to back it up, that I can't really sort this out.

The typical "assault rifle" is a military pattern rifle, in a semi-automatic only fire control configuration (trigger), with a large capacity magazine, shooting an intermediate caliber cartridge.  Now it is easy for the uninformed to look at that definition and say, "See, YOU even defined what it is."  The trouble is, that doesn't really get very far, as far as the VPC, HCI and the rest of the usual dreggs are concerned.

You see, a typical AR-15 (a civilianized version of the military M-16), may look ominous, and it certainly can kill something, but its cartridge is NOT very powerful.

The military 5.56x45 SS109 type ammunition that is currently used by all NATO forces uses a projectile that is quite small and is not very heavy.  It is, however, quite fast, at about 3100 feet/second of velocity at the muzzle.

The cartridge that it replaced, by comparison, is, by most experts accounts, the BEST military cartridge ever devised.  The 7.62x51, used in the excellent M-14 from 1957 to the late 60's, IS a very serious cartridge.  It has a substantially heavier projectile and almost as much velocity and delivers 2.5 times the energy of the 5.56.

Now the civilianized version of the 7.62, slightly modified chambering dimensions, courtesy of Winchester in about 1955 - before the armed forces adopted it even, has become a standard for target shooters and hunters.  It is perfectly suited for everything from varmints to deer and even larger game with good bullet selection.

So, again, what really constitutes an assault rifle; a high capacity sporter rifle in semi auto, shooting a weak cartridge, or a 5 shot semi auto Remington 7400 in .308?

No way to put any kind of quantitative analysis on this.  Period.  They are just different.  Either could be used for hunting, although any ethical hunter would probably limit the 5.56 to varmints and small game.

The  "hunting gun" was designed for killing.  Somehow this offends some.  No amount of counting features or magazine limitations will make a difference.  It will still kill.  The "assault weapon" will kill as well.  That is what is was designed to do also.

That is why I will never give in to the stupid mentality that the "we must do something" brigade keeps shouting about.  They actually believe that by doing this or that, futzing with the law, passing bans, caliber restrictions and such will make the "gun problem" go away.  NO IT WON'T!!!

Here lies the root of the problem.  There is no such thing as "Gun Crime", just Crime.  It is a disease of society, not of an artifact.  Attempting to control the artifact has historical precedent.  Laws forbidding the ownership and use of personal weapons is ANCIENT.  It has always been used as a suppressive and coercive device, and every time, the attempt has failed to produce the desired result.  GO READ YOUR HISTORY.  CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME.

Molon Labe!



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