The Gunman and the Gun Ban

Does Michael McLendon's rampage demonstrate the need to prohibit "assault weapons"?

Less than a day after Michael McLendon fired his last shot, gun control groups issued press releases that cited his murderous rampage through three Alabama towns as an argument for reviving the federal "assault weapon" ban. The Obama administration also wants to bring back the ban, on the theory that outlawing the firearms supposedly favored by gangbangers and homicidal maniacs will reduce the casualties they inflict. But there is little reason to believe such laws can deliver on that promise.

Last week Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, claimed McLendon "needed the firepower of assault weapons to execute his plan of mass carnage." In a joint statement, five anti-gun groups demanded "an effective federal assault weapons ban," calling the Alabama massacre the latest in "a string of preventable tragedies committed with these military-style weapons." They identified McLendon's weapons as "a Bushmaster AR-15-style assault rifle and an SKS assault rifle," which they described as "military-bred firearms developed for the specific purpose of killing human beings quickly and efficiently."

In truth, neither of these guns is an assault rifle, which by definition is capable of firing automatically. Both of McLendon's rifles, like all the guns covered by "assault weapon" bans, were semiautomatic, firing once per trigger pull.

Gun control groups deliberately foster confusion between "assault weapons," an arbitrary category based mainly on appearances, and machine guns, which are already strictly regulated under federal law. The confusion was apparent in news coverage of McLendon's shooting spree, which erroneously called his guns "automatic weapons" and "high powered assault rifles."

Furthermore, the standard version of the SKS, because it has a fixed magazine, was not covered by the federal "assault weapon" ban. It's not clear from press accounts whether McLendon's Bushmaster rifle would have been covered by the law; the company makes a "post-ban" version of the AR-15 that complies with state laws similar to the federal "assault weapon" ban because it does not have a collapsible stock or a bayonet mount.

As those modifications suggest, the definition of "assault weapons" has little to do with features that make a practical difference in the hands of criminals (who in any event rarely use these guns). The aspect of the federal "assault weapon" law that had the most functional significance was the ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds. But that provision is unlikely to make a difference in crimes like McLendon's, since magazines can be switched in a few seconds and the time can be shortened by taping them together (as McLendon did). Not to mention the fact that plenty of pre-ban large-capacity magazines would be available to a determined killer.

In any case, the focus on the specific guns used in attacks like this is misleading because murderers don't need much "firepower" when they're attacking defenseless victims at random. The day after McLendon, using a rifle that anti-gun activists called an "assault weapon," killed 10 people in Alabama, a teenager used a 9mm Beretta pistol to kill 15 people in Germany. The deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history was accomplished with two ordinary handguns; so was the second deadliest.

McLendon carried a .38-caliber handgun and a shotgun in addition to his rifles, at least one of which apparently did not qualify as an "assault weapon." Had he been prevented from buying the Bushmaster, he could have armed himself with any number of hunting rifles that accept detachable magazines. As an agent with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives noted after the murders, "any gun is lethal."

Last year, when the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly recognized for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms, it suggested that prohibiting "dangerous and unusual weapons" nevertheless could be constitutional. That is the loophole supporters of "assault weapon" bans will try to exploit. Their success will depend on the extent to which the courts scrutinize the specious distinction between good and evil guns.

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason and a nationally syndicated columnist.

© Copyright 2009 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Paul L.||

    Looks like Media Matters hack Eric Boehlert is jumping on the story too
    Rampage Nation: The press no longer cares about epic gun violence
    http://mediamatters.org/columns/200903170006

  • TofuSushi w/O\'ganicWasabi||

    Less than a day after Michael McLendon fired his last shot, gun control safety groups issued press releases that cited his murderous rampage through three Alabama towns as an argument for reviving the federal "assault weapon" ban.

    Fixed!

  • TofuSushi||

    [looking at man in the center of the photo]
    How did Larry the Cable Guy get involved in this?

  • bright side||

    Look on the bight side. Bans produce gray and black markets which drive the price of the banned goods up. For rednecks like me with a healthy collection this is a profitable move! Just think of it as part of the stimulus package.

  • ||

    TofuSushi,

    There's only one gun safety group and that's the NRA. NO ONE ELSE teaches gun safety courses and to call gun banning groups anything else is disingenuous at best.

  • TofuSushi||

    Charlie P,

    Oh, you silly. The safest guns are the ones locked away at the police station. Has the NRA ever advocated that? Link please?

  • ||

    TofuSushi,

    The NRA advocate gun confiscation? Obviously not; we believe in a free society. I do have a quote for you and others who may think that we should all turn in our guns and live like sheep:

    "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
    ---Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787, in Papers of Jefferson, ed. Boyd et al.

  • TofuSushi||

    See? A bunch of gun toting ruffians you are. Someone needs to take your toys of death away. Obama will take care of this soon, I hope.

  • John||


    "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."


    It was a different time back then, the same may not apply. I don't think guns should be outright banned, many people like hunting, but what this incident proves is the need for strong, effective gun control legislation to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and only in the hands of police, military, and law abiding citizens.

  • robc||

    John,

    Gun control legislation keeps guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens.

    That is the problem.

    Suggest some legislation that doesnt make it the least bit harder for ME to get the guns I WANT and then we can talk.

  • TofuSushi||

    It should be easy to spot the 'criminals' if they are the only ones with guns, yes?

    But this thread is on the way to sound like a bunch of Homer, Louisiana cops. Making sure the uppity types don't have guns but the gentried set do.

  • ||

    John,

    They did not have the technology that we enjoy back in the eighteenth century, but the founders of our nation were as a whole, better educated than we are. They had millenia of history to look back on and human nature to guide them. Since that time, governments have become even more controlling. I would say that they knew full well what they were doing and nothing has changed to negate that fact.

    TofuSushi,

    They are not toys; the First and Second Amendments are intertwined and produce an armed and informed citizenry. It is the sole reason you enjoy the freedom you have today.

  • guncontrolpolice||

    Why don't we see the mass advocation of gun control when some fat ass weekend warrior swatard bursts through someones door and kills a few innocent people, or a some rentacop BART cop shoots someone? These the people that are going to defend my best interest? I've been a do-it-youselfer for most of my life, I think I'll stick to keeping my ability to defend my self and my rights against anyone who tries to usurp them. Regardless of their authority.

    I'll take my chances with a few lunatics having access to anything they want as long as I can. I fear the cops and my government far more than I fear the occasional lunatic.

  • ||

    There is way too much earnestness on this thread.

    Why don't we see the mass advocation of gun control when some fat ass weekend warrior swatard bursts through someones door and kills a few innocent people, or a some rentacop BART cop shoots someone?

    Because the police are trained and responsible, dude! They go to the range and qualify, like, once or twice a year!

  • TofuSushi||

    guncontrolpolice,

    Because those are accidents by well trained professionals, usually. Unless they are being Fascists then it is bad.

  • Wicks Cherrycoke||

    This senseless tragedy would never have happened if we had only summoned the political will to outlaw small towns in Alabama.

    But no ... we cave to those small town extremists.

    Obama will take care of this soon, I hope.

  • TofuSushi||

    Way off topic, but Robert Stacy McCain made it into a Day by Day cartoon. RSM is a frequent attendee of Reason events.

  • Untermensch||

    Is TofuSushi real or performance art? The statements seem a little too well calculated to fit the parody here, especially the one about "accidents" by "well trained professional" (sic).

  • TrollFeedingFrenzy!||

    When the trolls feed, oh the carnage they create!

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    "Because the police are trained and responsible, dude! They go to the range and qualify, like, once or twice a year!"

    Heh, heh.. That certainly brought back levity! :-) Yeah, cops are the ones to stay away from on the range. They may get a lot of good training in handling people, but in general, they are the worst trained shooter around. :-)

  • ||

    Why is it that liberals who are more likely to distrust cops claim cops are the only ones who can be trusted with guns, while conservatives who think a badge makes you a sinless angel are less likely to think those sinless angels are the only ones that can be trusted with guns?

  • TofuSushi||

    "well trained professional" (sic).

    Excuse me, I had an "s" at the end of that. The plural was proper.

    And just what issue do you have with real performance art? Why must they be mutually exclusive? Are you anti-art? The Reason ArtNazi?

  • Untermensch||

    The sic referred to two things, one of which is pedantic:

    (1) it should be "well-trained professionals" with a hyphen (yes, the missing s is my fault, not yours). That's the pedantic part.

    (2) Now for the more germane point: As anyone who's hung out on Reason.com for long knows, the whole notion of "well-trained professionals" when talking about cops is fraught with difficulty. Half these guys are yahoos with big guns who like to shoot things. We're then surprised when they do it and blow some guy's head off for no reason.

    Does that answer the question? But I still want to know who you really are since your comments are a little too clever at hitting the liberal stereotype.

  • John||

    Suggest some legislation that doesnt make it the least bit harder for ME to get the guns I WANT and then we can talk.

    How about a waiting period for gun or ammo purchases. Also, a background check for any crimes, mental health or substance abuse problems. Also, registration of all guns and reporting to police of all gun and ammo purchases. Also, an expansion of gun free zones to everywhere except hunting areas and shooting ranges. That would make it impossible for criminals to buy guns.

  • ||

    Untermensch, TofuSushi is really Chuck Baldwin.

  • TofuSushi||

    But I still want to know who you really are since your comments are a little too clever at hitting the liberal stereotype.

    If you are one of those hold-over Bushite stormtroopers, just wait. Obama has a new job for you at the sanitation department.

  • TofuSushi||

    Untermensch, TofuSushi is really Chuck Baldwin.

    I am offended. I became a fan of Stephen Baldwin while watching "The Zebra Lounge" with my lesbian-partnered friends.

    Not so much any more since he christianized skate boarding, but I like the nostalgia sometimes.

  • ansd||

    Oh, they weren't killed with "automatic weapons" or "high powered assault rifles"? Well never mind then! I know I feel much safer when the bullets are flying at me one at a time!

  • TofuSushi||

    ansd,

    Right on!

  • ||

    John,

    In ever case in history, registration has lead to confiscation. Germany, France, England, Australia, New York City, Washington, D.C. and the list goes on...

    Contrary to your idea about gun-free zones, every one of the 39 states that have enacted "shall-issue" concealed carry laws have seen crime go down, while the opposite is true of the remaining states.

  • Reinmoose||

    I'm stumped. I don't know who TofuSushi is, but I certainly like her performance. I don't need to know to be happy with it.

    I wish Neil would come back, though :(

  • Oddgenderassignment||

    why a her?

    Past reference?

  • asdf||

    "I fear the cops and my government far more than I fear the occasional lunatic."

    Someone needs to find a better country to live in.

  • TofuSushi||

    In ever case in history, registration has lead to confiscation. Germany, France, England, Australia, New York City, Washington, D.C. and the list goes on...

    You write that as if it were a bad thing.

    I'm stumped. I don't know who TofuSushi is, but I certainly like her performance. I don't need to know to be happy with it.

    I am not a her, I am a he. Just ebcause I have lesbian friends does not mean I am a Womyn too.

  • asdf||

    "How about a waiting period for gun or ammo purchases. Also, a background check for any crimes, mental health or substance abuse problems. Also, registration of all guns and reporting to police of all gun and ammo purchases. Also, an expansion of gun free zones to everywhere except hunting areas and shooting ranges. That would make it impossible for criminals to buy guns."

    But what if it's a hunting emergency?

  • asdf||

    or the British decide to return?

  • McFail||

    "Someone needs to find a better country to live in."

    You're gonna have to step it up. Such a poor level of trolling has no place among the other trolls going on in this thread.

  • asdf||

    or I can't get the top off my beer?

  • TofuSushi||

    But what if it's a hunting emergency?

    When the government runs all of the grocery stores the hunting emergencies will stop.

  • robc||

    Am I the only one considering adding TofuSushi to his INCIF filter? I dont find his kind of "art" amusing at all. Oh, once or twice it might be funny, but to keep it up? Lame as any other troll.

    countertrolling is still trolling.

    There are enough joes in the world without needing to make more out of straw.

  • asdf||

    sorry, I have no patience for stupid whiners.

  • TofuSushi||

    or the British decide to return?

    Obama is increasing the size of the military for just this possibility. He just can't tell people out loud.

  • ||

    I wish Neil would come back, though :(

    I still want Cesar to come back so he can be complimented on one of the best sockpuppet performance art creations ever. His responses to when I asked him what the best Duran Duran song is were priceless.

  • TofuSushi||

    Am I the only one considering adding TofuSushi to his INCIF filter? I dont find his kind of "art" amusing at all. Oh, once or twice it might be funny, but to keep it up? Lame as any other troll.

    Cannot stand any ideas conflicting with yours, eh?

  • TofuSushi||

    robc,

    Going to sitck your fingers in your ears and scream when MNG comes back to spank you again?

  • Reinmoose||

    I find TofuSushi to be amusing, but maybe overdoing it with frequency. I was able to get him to rule out the women (although I'm still not too sure), but I have my suspicions for who it is.

    He is not a joe at all! Much too civil, lacks passion and snideness.

  • MANIAC||

    The time for revolution is now, BEFORE they take away the guns.

  • Lefiti||

    http://www.jlaw.com/Commentary/guncontrol.html

    In Judaism, safety is a religious concern. The Bible requires that a roof be properly gated, in order to prevent people from falling off of it (Deuteronomy 22:8). This commandment is understood by the Talmud as a general directive to remove any safety hazard (Bava Kamma 15b; Shulchan Aruch CM 427:8). Contemporary rabbinic authorities include in this commandment an employer's responsibility to ensure occupational safety (Piskei Uziel 47) and an injunction against reckless driving (Minchat Yitzchak 8:148). Someone who refuses to remove a safety hazard can be punished by excommunication (YD 334:7). In general, safety regulations are treated with far greater stringency than any other section of halacha (YD 116:7). Clearly, any Jewish view of gun control would place high value on safety.

    In the Talmud there are specific regulations that resemble gun control. There is a law against owning a dangerous dog (Bava Kamma 79a). One who owns a dangerous dog must keep it tied in metal chains at all times (CM 409:3). Even if the dog is defanged or trained not to harm people, it must be chained because it may frighten strangers, and as a result may cause stress related injuries such as miscarriage and heart attacks (Shabbat 63b). One of the more pious Rabbis, Rabbi Pinchas Ben Yair, was so stringent about this law that he refused to own mules, because they can occasionally cause injury (Hullin 7b; Terumat Hadeshen 2:105). However, there were instances where allowances were made. In border communities, where there is a threat of marauders, owners of dangerous dogs may unchain them at night for protection. Some say that any dangerous city is similar to a border community (CM 409:3).These sources demonstrate that halacha would require any gun to be carefully locked at all times, with allowances made in cases where the gun is actively being used for security. Those who are more stringent would avoid guns completely. (It should also be noted that many authorities prohibit hunting for sport; Rama OH 316:2, Darchei Teshuva YD 117:44)

    There is a second halacha that is relevant to this issue. The Talmud prohibits someone from selling offensive weapons to idol worshippers and suspected criminals (Avodah Zarah 15b; YD 151:5-6). The rule against selling to idol worshippers is based on an assumption that the idol worshippers will use them against Jews; however, if the Jews are allied with the idol worshippers, it is permitted to sell them arms. It is likewise prohibited to sell such weapons to anyone suspected of reselling them to criminals. This halacha requires that the buyers of firearms be carefully screened, and resembles in many ways laws requiring a national registry of gun and rifle owners.

    Although halacha is extremely concerned about safety, it does not prohibit the ownership of guns. However, recognizing that a gun is a dangerous object, halacha (like many current gun control laws) requires that owners and vendors of guns take all possible precautions to prevent their guns from causing any harm.

  • asdf||

    robc, is there a retard filter we could add you to? "Gun control legislation keeps guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens. "

    And do rape laws take away the rights of law abiding citizens to have sex? Do drug laws prevent you from buying asprin? Since when we jail criminal we occasionally jail someone innocent, should be then get rid of prisons? Does your stupidity know any bounds?

    Seriously, the level of stupid is overwhelming.

  • robc||

    MNG has never spanked me. Not once.

    He is always wrong for one thing.

    I miss joe, at times. At least on urban building threads, he had some good points even if wrong overall.

  • ||

    "How about a waiting period for gun or ammo purchases. Also, a background check for any crimes, mental health or substance abuse problems. Also, registration of all guns and reporting to police of all gun and ammo purchases. Also, an expansion of gun free zones to everywhere except hunting areas and shooting ranges. That would make it impossible for criminals to buy guns."

    This is the norm already in NJ. One is fingerprinted and background checked, files references with the state and undergoes a mental health/substance abuse review prior to getting a Firearms ID card, which enables one to transport arms, purchase ammo and long-arms only (handguns require a separate permit on a per-purchase basis). You have to be 21 to get one, and cannot obtain a permit to purchase a handgun unless you your FID card first.

    I don't mind the waiting period, and I cannot fathom why some people complain about them, since background checks are a reasonable concession to make if you want to prove you are a law-abiding citizen capable of the responsible ownership of guns.

    The assault weapon ban is only "feel-good" for people who don't understand guns. When placed correctly, even a single .22 LR bullet can kill a person. While the quantity and speed of bullets exiting the muzzle will certainly increase your chances of killing people, you need only the intent to kill - the weapon of choice matters little when you intend to take life either way.

    As for "gun-free" zones, that creates a huge problem for hunters. I cannot hunt in Connecticut unless I want to drive in a long arc, way out of my way, to enter the state, because Rockland County, NY is a "gun-free" zone, so I can't take the Tappan Zee Bridge from Jersey to CT. If gun-free zones were enacted everywhere, I might have trouble driving from my home to my tree stand.

  • TofuSushi||

    In happy news, it appears that ACORN has been contracted to assist with the 2010 Census for recruiting head counters.

    Nice to see that the new administration is picking the right grass roots groups for public service.

  • Zeb||

    The right to own guns as protected under the second amendment has nothing to do with hunting or sport. Limiting gun use to those areas only would be equal to an outright ban constitutionally.

    Is this no-link John the same as the usual John?

  • robc||

    And do rape laws take away the rights of law abiding citizens to have sex?

    No. But rape laws dont make me wait when buying condoms either.

    Murder laws are all that is needed to enforce murder. Gun control laws arent necessary.

    Do drug laws prevent you from buying asprin?

    Drug laws often cause problems. On Sunday I had to spend an extra 10 minutes and had my privacy violated in order to buy the drugs I needed because of the contents of an OTC drug.

    Thats a pretty good analogy. I have friends who cant get as much Claritin as they need because of the freak out over meth.

    Wrong solution to the problem.

    Of course, I think meth should be legal.

  • TofuSushi||

    When placed correctly, even a single .22 LR bullet can kill a person.

    Does the Brady Foundation know this? They need to get the word out!

  • ||

    TofuSushi is a saturation problem. I'm with robc.

  • ||

    I cannot hunt in Connecticut unless I want to drive in a long arc, way out of my way, to enter the state, because Rockland County, NY is a "gun-free" zone, so I can't take the Tappan Zee Bridge from Jersey to CT.

    Uh, dude, you have Federal right-of-passage provisions that protect your right to drive from somewhere you legally possess a gun to somewhere you can legally possess a gun. You can drive through Rockland County with a long gun no problem. NY likes to try and defy the Feds regarding handguns, though.

  • ||

    Also, a background check for any crimes, mental health...

    Except that political disagreement is now diagnosable as a mental health issue. According to Mises.com, Harvard sponsored a conference on "The Free Market Mindset: History, Psychology, and Consequences" which was to "brings together leading scholars in law, economics, social psychology, and social cognition to present and discuss their research regarding the historical origins, psychological antecedents, and policy consequences of the free market mindset. Their work illustrates that the magic of the marketplace is partially an illusion based on faulty assumptions and outmoded approaches"

  • ||

    Epi, I've looked into the law and since I am no legal scholar I couldn't untangle the language to say for sure whether I can or cannot transport long-arms legally across the county. Not that I hunt in CT at all; the thought occurred to me it would be nice to try it one weekend. But the "thought it might be nice" is not enough for me to risk losing the right to bear.

    What about Massachussetts? I hear they are draconian when it comes to entering the state with long arms or handguns. Does Federal right of passage protect a person trying to enter MA? Seems like it should but I would not want to try to fight it.

  • kinnath||

    The spoiled bean curd boy fails to be entertaining even as a troll -- mostly weak performances with almost no originality.

  • ||

    "Except that political disagreement is now diagnosable as a mental health issue. "

    This thought turns the very marrow of my bones to ice.

  • ||

    Don't worry Madbiker, Obama's new universal health care plan will include (forcible) treatment options for you.

  • ||

    How about a waiting period for gun or ammo purchases.

    Useless to control any crime. Aside from criminals not caring and having black market sources, I defy you to find any "crimes of passion" that were committed after somebody ran to the store to buy a gun.

    Also, a background check for any crimes, mental health or substance abuse problems.

    Background checks for violent crimes, sure. Have we stopped caring about the privacy rights of people with mental health or substance abuse problems?

    Also, registration of all guns and reporting to police of all gun and ammo purchases.\

    See above, re criminals and black market. Not sure how having registered your gun and reporting ammo purchases will prevent the gun from going off when pointed at your wife's boyfriend.

    Also, an expansion of gun free zones to everywhere except hunting areas and shooting ranges.

    Of course, most mass shootings occur in gun free zones. Apparently, people bent on mass shootings regard gun free zones as free fire zones.

    That would make it impossible for criminals to buy guns

    Because a criminal would never break the law to buy a gun.

  • Smirnov||

    Except that political disagreement is now diagnosable as a mental health issue.

    Off to the yellow house with you, Comrade.

  • ||

    There is some buzz going around about legislation requiring a serial number stamped on all ammo casings, and registering it when you purchase. This is going to make ammo more expensive than it already is, and is almost like the sin-tax on tobacco - make it cost so much to pursue your hobby you have to quit.

  • ||

    But the "thought it might be nice" is not enough for me to risk losing the right to bear.

    Dude, you can transport long guns 100% no problem, whether through NY or MA. Handguns can be trickier because of NY and MA's extremely restrictive licensing, and NY prosecutors have been known to try and prosecute people legally transporting handguns using legal trickery, in spite of the Fed right of passage.

    But long guns are absolutely no problem.

  • ||

    Thanks, Epi.

  • ||

    There is some buzz going around about legislation requiring a serial number stamped on all ammo casings

    Time to start learning how to reuse my brass.

  • ||

    Time to start learning how to reuse my brass.

    Or better yet, someone else's brass. :-)

  • ||

    I reload. saving brass or buying new/used brass is easy, but a serial number requirement is going to complicate matters. It could possibly even make reloading illegal.

  • TofuSushi||

    The spoiled bean curd boy fails to be entertaining even as a troll -- mostly weak performances with almost no originality.

    Aw, kinnath. Time tested ideas get you down?

  • ||

    It could possibly even make reloading illegal

    Probably not illegal, just difficult because they'lll "have to" make it illegal to buy/sell used brass (or make you fill out forms for individual casings, which is the next best thing).

  • ||

    What's the over/under on when SWAT teams start kicking down doors and terrorizing families who might have items in the house made of lead, which can be melted down and recast into illegal bullets?

  • ||

    Ammo serialization is beyond stupid and would never pass, except maybe in a particularly stupid city like San Fran.

  • brightside||

    I'm telling you. Bans are good for the economy. At least they are good for the people who plan ahead and are willing to assume the risk!

  • ||

    You know, what we really need is some sort of firearm defense. Like a personal shield, or a bullet interception mini-missile defense system. Bigger guns. Dead-man switches that guarantee the shooter will be taken out, too. Something along those lines.

  • OR!!||

    Or sharks with laser eyes.

  • TofuSushi||

    PL,

    Criminals should not have bullet defense equipment. It is already outlawed in several states.

  • Tym||

    I asked him what the best Duran Duran song is were priceless.

    There are none, they all suck.

  • ||

    Waiting periods are particularly stupid in states that require firearm ID cards. You already have to wait several weeks for the card. Presumably one applies for the card for the purpose of purchasing firearms. After the first purchase of a gun, what's the point of having a waiting period for future purchases. I think my firearm count is now at 8 (always giving selling or buying something). Does it make any bit of sense to make me wait three days to pick up a new revolver? As if the other 8 firearms wouldn't do the job.

  • T||

    Dead-man switches that guarantee the shooter will be taken out, too. Something along those lines.

    I don't think most people are cool with wearing semtex underoos in case they get mugged, but I could be wrong.

    I'm holding out for developing superpowers that make me immune to bullets, but that's just not working out well enough yet.

  • ||

    And it'll eat you,
    It'll decease you.
    All the better just to tease you.
    It's precocious, and it knows just
    What it takes to make a foe hush.
    It makes Dr. Evil shout out sighs,
    It's got ruby laser eyes.

  • ||

    PL, you're just ferocious today.

  • kinnath||

    Time tested ideas get you down?

    Time tested == stale and past expiration date.

  • ||

    There is some buzz going around about legislation requiring a serial number stamped on all ammo casings, and registering it when you purchase. This is going to make ammo more expensive than it already is, and is almost like the sin-tax on tobacco - make it cost so much to pursue your hobby you have to quit.

    I believe the Obamatrons have identified ammo as the soft underbelly of gun control. They have already put an end to civilian reloading of military brass, which will restrict supply/raise the price of .223 and .308 ammo.

    I reload. saving brass or buying new/used brass is easy, but a serial number requirement is going to complicate matters. It could possibly even make reloading illegal.

    I'm sure the Obamatrons would regard that as a beneficial side effect.

    Ammo serialization is beyond stupid and would never pass,

    Since when does being beyond stupid prevent passage of a law?

  • GG||

    The Obama administration also wants to bring back the ban, on the theory that outlawing the firearms supposedly favored by gangbangers and homicidal maniacs will reduce the casualties they inflict.

    But what's his reasoning behind his disarming of pilots?

    This is going to make ammo more expensive than it already is...

    So will this.

    Fuckin' guy... /Tony Soprano

  • asdf||

    What acceptable level of kill-ability will gun lovers accept without allowing them to have nukes and bio-weapons. Answer, none! Because they're all fun after all - and FREEEDDOOMMMM!

    Next...

  • ||

    There's also the PyrE option. A gram for each citizen.

  • ||

    It's a shame he didn't find a state house and shoot some politicians instead.

  • ||

    Drink!

  • Old Bull Lee||

    I met and talked to a cop at a recent trip to the range. He was fairly safe, but I was shocked at how little knowledge he had of his own guns and how bad of a shot he was with a .38 at 5 yards.

    Re the definition of "assault rifle", one of the AWBs unintended annoyances, still with us, is redneck idiots with SKSs and such bragging about how they own an assault rifle.

  • asdf||

    What more knowledge do you need besides, aim, pull the trigger, run?

    I don't know shit about combustible engines, but I'm still able/allowed to drive a car!

  • Old Bull Lee||

    The difference between .38, .38+P, and .357 ammunition for one.

  • asdf||

    I don't know the difference between diesel and unleaded, only that vehicles run on one or the other, although I'm sure there are some very uninteresting technical differences.

  • ||

    Jesus, I love this Tofu guy. Juanita - but funny. Teh $hiz.

  • ||

    You probably can't drive for shit either.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    Yes, but you do know that there is a difference and which type of fuel your car takes, right? That's the level of incompentency I was talking about.

  • ||

    I know! We can just make murder illegal and then there will be no need for an assault weapon ban. Problem solved.

  • asdf||

    "You probably can't drive for shit either."

    But it don't matter right, cause this is America!

  • ||

    What more knowledge do you need besides, aim, pull the trigger, run?

    Why am I not surprised that asdf neglects to mention any (except, perhaps, one) of the principles of gun safety?

    Please tell me you don't own a gun, asdf.

  • Hormonal Redhead||

    "Last year, when the U.S. Supreme Court explicitly recognized for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms, it suggested that prohibiting 'dangerous and unusual weapons' nevertheless could be constitutional."

    Um, are there weapons that AREN'T dangerous? That's kind of the point of a WEAPON, isn't it?

    Looks like a pretty damn big loophole to me. Unless "dangerous and unusual" is taken as a single condition and not two. (And maybe even then.)

  • ||

    RC Dean-

    Yesterday the DoD rescinded the order that all small arms brass must be mutilated after a large cry of protest went up nation wide from ammunition remanufacturers like Georgia Arms, and competitive shooters and reloaders.

    Regarding the ammunition serialization issue, Cam Edwards, who does a radio show for the NRA, interviewed Russ Ford, who is the main person trying to push this thing on everyone. Cam did a pretty good job of pointing out the valid criticisms of Ford's proposed scheme. The interview is kind of long (about a half hour) but well worth the listen.

  • ||

    Aren't most gun nuts "strict constructionists" about their beloved constitution? Why not allow unfettered access to 18th century muskets and be done with this argument?

  • ||

    mediageek,

    Do you have a link for the DoD recinding the order?

  • ||

    Aren't most gun nuts "strict constructionists" about their beloved constitution?

    No.

    Why not allow unfettered access to 18th century muskets and be done with this argument?

    Allow acess? For free? Cool, I guess. But I don't think there are enough 18th century muskets to meet the demand.

  • ||

    Just remember, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

  • PrettyBasic||

    "The Amendment's prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause's text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms"

    Not a whole lot of wiggle room there. (even if the 9 dipshits did wimp out and "explain" in wiggle room)

    RAGE ON!!

  • robc||

    Tony,

    As a strict constructionist I think freedom of the press applies to Dan Rather and reason.com even though neither TV nor the internet existed in the 1780s.

    Maybe because I understand they were talking about concepts. Also, I happen to agree with Hamilton (statist ass) that the bill of rights was unnecessary. The government wasnt given the power in the body of the constitution to regulate speech or arms so there was no need for the amendments in the first place. That said, Im glad we have them.

  • ||

    "Aren't most gun nuts "strict constructionists" about their beloved constitution? Why not allow unfettered access to 18th century muskets and be done with this argument?"

    Because, in keeping with the founders intent, we should have unfettered access to state-of-the-art firearms.

    The correct translation of the second amendment to modern day language:

    Because a well-practiced and well-equipped (well regulated) military eligible people(militia) is necessary to keep the nation free, the right of all people to own and carry ANY firearms shall not be restricted.

  • JB||

    I say we ban stupid people. We will start with aborting gun control morons.

  • ||

    "[B]eloved Constitution?" Why, it sounds like you don't think much of it. So limited government and civil liberties, those don't matter much, do they?

  • ||

    Aren't most gun nuts "strict constructionists" about their beloved constitution? Why not allow unfettered access to 18th century muskets and be done with this argument?



    I'm always amused by the idiots who make this argument on the internet. The unintentional irony of someone claiming that the First Amendment covers 21st century communications technology, but not late-18th century firearms is one of the most hilarious examples of double think I've ever seen.

  • ||

    Do you have a link for the DoD recinding the order?



    Charlie-

    There's no official .gov place to go, however it has been reported on a number of shooters' forums, as well as on the front page for Georgia Arms. People who have been in contact with the various ammunition makers as well as the government surplus wholesalers have reported that the order was changed.

  • ||

    rspock,

    Here's the amendment without that confusing comma (the version that was sent to the states for ratification):

    "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    It's clear to me this defines the right of the states to organize militias for self-defense. Since militias were composed of citizens, it does indeed imply the right for individuals to "keep" (possess continually) and "bear" (possess in a military capacity) arms.

    Since this wilderness dynamic no longer applies, and since "arms" could technically apply to all manner of modern, massively destructive weapons, at the very least I think the 2nd Amendment deserves its controversy.

  • ||

    I'm always amused by the idiots who make this argument on the internet.

    I'm a living constitutioner. Get amused by the strict constructionists not me.

  • ||

    I'm a living constitutioner. Get amused by the strict constructionists not me.



    Sorry, I'm continually amused by people who want to re-interpret the Bill of Rights to protect their particular pet cause as liberally as possible, while at the same time claiming that the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to the things they don't have a particular interest or stake in.

    You call it "living constitutionalist" I call it "hypocrisy of the highest order."

    Poe-tay-toe, Poe-tah-toe.

  • ||

    Re: Tony
    "It's clear to me this defines the right of the states to organize militias for self-defense. "

    This was a fiction invented by the 9th circuit court - the most overturned circuit. It, and your statement, both ignore the time period's definitions of both "well regulated" and "militia", not to mention "arms". The intent of the amendment as stated was to make sure the citizens were trained and capable of defending the U.S.. However, this was just one of several justifications for why no one's right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.

  • ||

    Tony,

    It doesn't get any more clear than this:

    "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms."
    ---Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Dec. 20, 1787, in Papers of Jefferson, ed. Boyd et al.

  • ||

    ...since "arms" could technically apply to all manner of modern, massively destructive weapons...



    Yes, as we all know an AR15 is just as deadly as a canister of Sarin nerve gas.

    OH NOES!

  • ||

    And I agreed that the amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms (although in the context of their being well-organized). I don't think it should be interpreted incorrectly, I think it should be repealed and replaced with something that makes sense in the 21st century.

  • ||

    I think we should have background checks at all bars and liquor stores. There should be a comprehensive check into all aspects of the purchasers life i.e. mental instability, d.u.i, what medications the person is on, if the person has a speeding ticket, if the person is pregnant, if the person has been charged with violent assault or other felonies, or if the person is on Medicaid. I think these measures should also have a much larger scope. i think if you have government health insurance there should be background checks at every restaurant or store, that way if your making unhealthy choices while being "supported" by mainly tax dollars your unhealthy and medically costly decisions can be denied. BY CONSTRICTING GUN OWNERSHIP TO THOSE WHO ARE ONLY TRAINED EMPLOYEES OF THE STATE TO PREVENT CRIMINALS FROM OBTAINING FIREARMS PRESUPPOSES THE NOTION THAT NON STATE TRAINED EMPLOYEES I.E. THE CITIZENRY IS INHERENTLY CRIMINAL.

  • ||

    Tony, under what circumstances would you agree that the average citizen should be able to own any semi-auto small arm they wish?

  • ||

    Re: Tony
    "And I agreed that the amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms (although in the context of their being well-organized). I don't think it should be interpreted incorrectly"

    Then why do you insist on interpreting it incorrectly. "well regulated" did NOT mean "well organized" in the 1790s. You can not redefine it to mean whatever you want at the time (although the "living constitutionalists" want to do exactly that).

    You can try to repeal it - but I guarentee (sp?) you won't succeed. I, and millions others, will fight any such effort. This is why the "living constitutionalists" want to redefine it into irrelavence.

  • ||

    Tony,

    "I think it should be repealed and replaced with something that makes sense in the 21st century."

    When it's a check on government power, what could make more sense? Will Hope and Change do it? Forgive my sarcasm, but how else could we maintain that check without the threat of force?

  • Other Matt||

    Will Hope and Change do it?

    Hope and Change can do anything! Right now, as I type, they're magically making the value of my dollars disappear, isn't that amazing?

  • ||

    For TofuSushi: If you're still on here, you should bite your tongue. Of course the Brady bunch know that a .22 caliber is able to kill. The organization, chaired by Sarah Brady, is named for her husband, who was crippled by a .22 at the same time Ronald Reagan was almost killed by one. You're bringing up bad memories for them.

  • ||

    Oldshooter,

    Ignore him. He's just a troll hanging out and saying inflammatory things to piss people off. He's not interested in honest discussion.

  • ||

    TofuSushi is the sock-puppet meta-troll of a regular hit and run poster.

  • ||

    For those of you who oppose civilian ownership of guns, or concealed carry for that matter, I wonder if you have seriously considered the consequences of widespread disarmament of our public. There is an old aphorism to the effect that "God made men, but Sam Colt made them equal," that is apt here. If we could somehow magically get rid of all the guns in the country (obviously impossible), and prevent any new ones from coming in (the way we keep drugs out?), we would only have created a situation in which the biggest and meanest guys would rule, much like the situation in a gang. The only effective way to defend yourself against someone bigger, faster, or stronger (let alone better armed), is with a gun. What will you ban next, knives (see Britain, where pointy knives are now illegal and kids wear "stab-proof vests" to school, or Australia where retired military officers have to keep their ceremonial swords locked in a safe, or at the local police station)? How about banning martial arts classes and dojos? After all, who needs to know how to fight with their hands and feet? You may remember that the Japanese/Okinawan martial arts, which were developed where the populace had first allowed themselves to be disarmed, are a poor second best to defend against armed assailants, but was all they had at the time. Besides, do you really think 90+ million Americans will turn in their guns because some moron in DC passes a law? No, we will simply become a part of the already armed (and illegally carrying concealed guns) underworld...criminals by decree. If that would make you feel safer, you really need a brain transplant.

  • ||

    When it's a check on government power, what could make more sense?

    I don't believe it's a check on government power. At least not a realistic one. All it seems to be lately is an excuse for people to engage in gun fetishism.

    But I don't know if I'm in favor of banning guns. Probably not. It's not an issue I'm totally coherent on. I just appreciate that widespread access to massively destructive weapons could possibly be a bad thing.

  • ||

    I don't believe it's a check on government power. At least not a realistic one.



    What are your thoughts on the Iraq war death toll?

  • ||

    What are your thoughts on the Iraq war death toll?

    Iraqis aren't fat, lazy rednecks who couldn't bring down a secret service agent even if they could waddle their way to their gun cabinet in time.

  • ||

    Re: Tony
    Are you trying to say the M.D.s, CFOs, Parol officers, engineers, college professors, law enforcement officers, retired military (enlisted and officers) and (in general) other highly educated people that I (a medical technologist) shoot USPSA, three-gun, long range and service rifle (semi-automatic "assault rifles") with are fat, lazy rednecks? Guess again.

    What you're shown quite clearly is that you're a stereotyping bigot. You clearly belong in the Democrat Party.

  • ||

    mediageek,

    And I know who it is. At least, I think I do.

  • Leopard||

    I did a short study on mass shootings in the past 15 years. The majority were by people with untreated mental illness. They also planned well ahead. Banning guns would not have helped as they had time to find alternatives instead. In fact several did use bombs or arson in addition to guns. The only effective prevention is aggressive mental health care, including court ordered treatment if necessary. See my web site for more info.

  • Leopard||

    In case you don't know, just click on my screen name (Leopard) to go to my web site. Summary is part way down. There is also a link to a page with more details.

  • zoltan||

    There's also the PyrE option. A gram for each citizen.

    Nice ref!


    And what's the problem with gun fetishism? People with fetishes are pretty weird and do unusual shit, but if they're not infringing on anyone else's rights, what is the problem? Owning a gun does not infringe on anyone's rights just as owning a gram of cocaine or marijuana does not infringe on anyone's rights. Is there the possibility that either of these objects can be used for ill? Yes, in the hands of an irresponsible person. I'd rather see education and safety of use of guns, drugs, condoms, etc. (SLD: Not from the state, of course) than see anything banned outright.

    On the other hand, "aggressive mental health care" sends chills down my spine. What the government gets to decide is healthy or not is terrifying. Political disagreement is right down the line.

  • ||

    this is a lazy repost but I think it is necessary.

    A year or two ago, a young man stormed into a local medical clinic armed with a handgun and an assault rifle, taking hostages. The situation was resolved and he was taken into custody.

    The assailant was an active duty member of the national guard. The weapons he used were issued to him by the U.S. government for his military service. The weapons used in this crime were in his possession within the strictest of anti gun interpretation of the constitution. Yet they were still used in a crime. How can that be possible?

  • ||

    Making sure the uppity types don't have guns but the gentried set do.

    That's the way gun control usually works.

  • ||

    And just what issue do you have with real performance art?

    Just because no one understands you doesn't mean you are an artist.

  • ||

    I don't know shit about combustible engines, but I'm still able/allowed to drive a car!

    "combustible engines"? Dude, I want to watch you drive one of those.

    From a safe distance of course.

  • ||

    We don't need additional gun laws on the books, what we need is for the one's already on there to be enforced. There are over 2,500 gun laws on the books and enforcement officials don't even bother to enforce them.

  • ||

    The term "high powered assault weapon" always brings a chuckle. It also exposes the writers's ignorance of firearms. The 7.62x39 cartridge used in the AK47, SKS, and their clones is is of a similar power level as the venerable .30-30 WCF, a hold over from the days of black powder. The 5.56mm NATO cartridge and its equivalent .223 Remington, used in the M-16 and it's clones are varmint class cartridges; good for rabbit sized game but banned in some states for deer hunting due it's lack of power. High powered? I don't think so.

  • pilgrim 1776||

    No matter what or how the socialist, gun-controllers demand gun control, the second Article of the Bill of Rights states unequivocally that the Right to Bear Arms "shall not be infringed", and the purpose of that proclamation was to protect the people from the "stealthy encroachments" of government. We cannot let the socialist, collectivist, motherless sons/daughters take away our inalienable Rights!

  • Gary De Capua||

    The real problem is the infection of the Owellian's.

    Orwellian
    Orwellian describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being destructive to the welfare of a free society. It connotes an attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" - a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments. Often, this includes the circumstances depicted in his novels, particularly Nineteen Eighty-Four.
    Orwell's ideas about personal freedom and state authority developed when he was a British colonial administrator in Burma. He was fascinated by the effect of colonialism on the individual person, requiring acceptance of the idea that the colonialist oppressor exists only for the good of the oppressed person and people.
    Meanings
    The adjective Orwellian refers to these behaviours of State and The Party, especially when the Party is the State:
    • The political manipulation of language, by obfuscation, e.g. WAR IS PEACE. Using language to obfuscate meaning or to reduce and eliminate ideas and their meanings that are deemed dangerous to its authority.
    • Invasion of personal privacy, either directly physically or indirectly by surveillance.
    • State control of its citizens' daily life, as in a "Big Brother" society.
    • Official encouragement of policies contributing to the socio-economic disintegration of the family.
    • The substitution of traditional religion with the adoration of state leaders and their Party.
    • The encouragement of "doublethink," whereby the population must learn to embrace inconsistent concepts without dissent, e.g. giving up liberty for freedom. Similar terms used, are "doublespeak", and "newspeak"
    • The revision of history in the favour of the State's interpretation of it.
    • A dystopian future.
    Big Brother
    The most common sense of Orwellian is that of the all-controlling "Big Brother" state, used to negatively describe a situation in which a Big Brother authority figure - in concert with "thought police" - constantly monitors the population to detect betrayal via "improper" thoughts. Orwellian also describes oppressive political ideas and the use of euphemistic political language in public discourse to camouflage morally outrageous ideas and actions. In this latter sense, the term is often used as a means of attacking an opponent in political debate, by branding his or her policies as Orwellian. When used like this in political rhetoric if it is not sincere, it is interesting to note as it can be a case of a hypocritical Orwellian strategist denouncing Orwellian strategies.
    Political language
    Orwell tried to promote the use of more precise language in political discourse, and he criticised political language popular at the time, such as "running-dog lackey" and "Fascist octopus," which he said prevented thought. It seems unlikely that Orwell would have approved of many of the uses to which his pseudonym is applied. The loose definition of the term and the often poor correlation between the real-life situations people describe as Orwellian and his own dystopian fiction leave the use of the adjective at best inexact and frequently politically inaccurate. In his essay "Politics and the English Language", Orwell derides the use of cliché and dying metaphors, which "even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent" and goes on to say "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."

  • ||

    The criminals that have guns mostly got them thru illegal channels. I have guns. And not one of you will take them away. I am a woman, I hunt, and not one time did one of my guns get up and shoot by itself. Each and every one of us has a "weapon" of some kind in our house. Be it a lamp, a kitchen knife, or pan. And each and every one of you will use it to defend yourself when your life is in danger to the point of killing the attacker. If someone has a gun for protection what is the difference how a person dies? dead is dead. Those that want to kill someone wll do it whether they have a gun or not. The 2nd amendment was put there for a good reason . If you dont want to carry a gun, dont. Leave those of us alone that do.

  • ||

    I pose the usual agrument... what if Michael McLendon had used a semi tractor and drove from town to town wiping out people at bus stops? This may be cliche but what else can we say when presented with solutions base soley in fear.

  • ||

    TofuSushi w/O'ganicWasabi | March 18, 2009, 8:18am | #
    Less than a day after Michael McLendon fired his last shot, gun control safety groups issued press releases that cited his murderous rampage through three Alabama towns as an argument for reviving the federal "assault weapon" ban.

    Fixed!"

    Wrong...any one who does not trust an honest upstanding citizen with a gun...no any gun.. is just afraid that the citizen would have the power to fight back when the government tries to toss it's power around....and they have that fear because deep in side they really wish they could throw all the power around at will, and the people having arms is an issue.

    Remember gun control is never about guns it is about control and control alone.

    Check out what Hitler did with gun control...and Stalin and the list goes on and on.

    Those who forget the history are bound to repeat it.

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

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