The Logic of Gun Control

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A New York Times story about the National Rifle Association's decision to move its 2007 convention out of Columbus in response to the city's new "assault weapon" ban reveals what passes for logic among defenders of such laws (emphasis added):

Supporters of the Columbus law, including the police officers union, said they pushed for a local ban in response to the expiration of the federal law. They said that the Columbus police had confiscated larger numbers of military-style weapons in recent years from criminals, including a murder suspect who wounded a police officer in a fierce gun battle last year.

"We need anything that puts another tool in our belt to keep weapons out of criminals' hands," said Detective Daniel R. Jones, the officer who was wounded in that firefight and has lost hearing in one ear.

The weapon that injured Detective Jones was a fully automatic AK-47 rifle that was illegal even before Columbus enacted its ban on assault weapons, the police said.

This bait-and-switch reflects the deception at the heart of "assault weapon" bans, whose advocates deliberately blur the distinction between machine guns and the firearms covered by the laws. More broadly, it reflects the gun control movement's fondness for non sequiturs and the sort of magical thinking that makes it possible to imagine that a law will eliminate guns it does not even ban.

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  1. How obvious can this be? Not only would the new law not address the actual weapon used, the old laws that banned the weapon obviously didn’t prevent its use by a criminal.
    So tell me again how this gun ban thing works?

  2. to keep weapons out of criminals’ hands

    How about keeping criminal hands off weapons? Seems more to-the-point to me. It must be easier to blame the object than the person who wields it.

    “I was just sittin’ on the stoop, when this assualt rifle came by and jumped into my hands. It made me rob the liquor store. Evil gun!”

  3. I live in an east-side suburb of Columbus and feel MUCH safer. Now, instead of coming into my neighborhood where they might be shot at, criminals might stay several blocks west in Columbus where the law abiding citizens are known to be unarmed! Ah the law of unintended consequences. Give it a year or two – no crime rate improvement in the City, but the ‘burbs will drop.

  4. Bravo! Well said, Jacob.

    The Columbus ban is a perfect example of the bait-‘n’-switch of which Jacob speaks.

    The following is an excerpt from the new Columbus law:

    “Automatic firearm” means any firearm designed or specially adapted to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger. “Automatic firearm” also means any semiautomatic firearm designed or specially adapted to fire more than thirty-one cartridges without reloading, other than a firearm chambering only .22 caliber short, long, or long-rifle cartridges.

    In other words, the Columbus city council sees absolutely no distinction between, say, a belt-fed FN249 Squad Automatic Weapon and a tricked-out AR15 for use in Service Rifle, CMP, or National Match competition.

    Yet another perfect example of the 2+2=5 style of thinking that runs rampant through the anti-gun movement.

  5. Incidentally, the hyperlinked article for the word “blur” doesn’t show up for me. Looks like the link is missing a “.html” or somesuch on the end.

  6. Come on, Hedgehog. Banning semiautomatic rifles capable of carrying more than 31 rounds is not the same thing as leaving everybody “unarmed.” There’s certainly a lot of room to oppose this law, but it doesn’t leave the population of Columbus to ward off burglars with butter knives.

    Durin the runup to the non-renewal of the federal assault weapons ban, I saw a cop on one of the morning shows firing an AR-15 at a cinder block, to show how much damage it can do. Pow. Pow. Pow. Yep, it can blast big chunks out of a cinder block.

    Nobody bothered to ask the cop, “So, what kind of damage can a legal rifle do that cinder block?”

  7. So, joe, what you’re saying is that you support a law that would incarcerate someone for owning a peice of aluminum sheetmetal folded to hold 30 rounds of ammunition?

    Besides, you’re falling into the logical fallacy of “bad guns” vs. “good guns”

    Nobody bothered to ask the cop, “So, what kind of damage can a legal rifle do that cinder block?”

    This I will agree with. Generally speaking, Grandpa’s old hunting rifle fires a heavier cartridge that flies further than any of the so-called “assault” rifles.

  8. Where did I say I supported it, geek?

  9. Touch?

  10. However, you don’t seem terribly troubled by it. But that may just simply be a function of the whole “gun thing” being my pet issue.

  11. As much as I hate to resort to cliche, [“banning firearms ensures that only criminals will have firearms”]the ban just creates a new set of criminals (that hitherto were not criminals)

    I wrote a very poorly written (in retrospect) paper my sophmore year of college regarding gun-control, or more specifically, the 2nd amendment right, on the “original intent.” I’ve got the federalist papers in my car, and given a few minutes I’m sure I could locate the passages where Publius states in no uncertain terms that the right of the people to bear arms is specifically provided for the defense against tyranny. (probably preaching to the choir, here, though.)

    But the basic point that i think everyone is making is: Access to firearms (of any variety) does not and will not make a law-abiding person a criminal

  12. mediageek – quite possible…I know I’ve gotten into it with joe about gun issues, even when I know he’s not totally into gun control, because it’s such a big deal with me.

    I’ve lived in AZ for years, and always lived on the west coast, and it’s usually folks from back east who are just freaked out by the gun thing (especially NE folks). My friend used to carry, both concealed and non-concealed, and people would ask him questions like “why would you ever need to carry a gun” and the usual. Of course, these were liberal arts students, many of whom were quite lefty, so I wasn’t surprised. But it’s amazing how their attitude is fairly condescending. Like they think you’re some uncultured yokel.

    I may be a redneck, but I got me some culture, dammit. I done travelled to Europe and everything! 🙂

  13. This kind of think shows up in regard to a lot of bad law. The basic form is: “The law we have now isn’t working so we need an even more powerful version of it.” Proponents rarely stop to ask if the fault lies in the basic unworkability of the concept behind the law rather than the strength or weakness of the law itself. After all, if what your doing now isn’t working why do think that doing it even harder would work better?

    Such as “its not working, do it harder” thinking shows up in drug laws, drunk driving laws, environmental laws and other areas where state power often seems to many to inexplicably fail.

  14. “Come on, Hedgehog. Banning semiautomatic rifles capable of carrying more than 31 rounds is not the same thing as leaving everybody “unarmed.””

    No, but it shear utter ineffectiveness means that the real intent of the law is to establish a precedent for controlling what weapons, if any citizen may keep. The kind of crimes that would be functionally enabled by a long clip are so rare that banning the clips serves no practical purpose. It merely keeps the State’s foot in the door. If they can establish a precedent for banning one class of weapons then they have better grounds for banning others.

    Ineffective laws passed for dishonest purposes are the worse laws of all.

  15. Well said, Shannon.

  16. It takes about 3 minutes to convert a semi-auto AK to full-auto.

  17. Shannon – it’s the conspiracy theorist/paranoid in me that totally hates all gun control for that very reason. It’s not like they’re really doing it to deter crime. They’re doing it to keep control. First, it says to citizens “don’t defend yourself, rely on your government to protect you” and second, it says “we don’t want you having access to these types of weapons so that you’re more helpless”.

    They both go hand-in-hand and, of course, the latter is much more paranoid-sounding, but that’s how I feel about it.

    Goddamn, I sure do not trust the government, as if nobody could tell. Still, I surprise myself sometimes! 🙂

  18. Yes, yes, Shannon, and then they’ll start collecting people’s precious bodily fluids.

    Isn’t it a little more likely that the law was intended to restrict particularly dangerous weapons, and was written and supported by people who don’t actually know a great deal about firearms? That’s why I supported it, back when I supported it – because I thought that “Assault Weapons,” as defined in the federal law, were actually much more dangerous than “normal” rifles.

    The ignorance of the subject on the part of some gun controllers isn’t very helpful, but neither is the commies-under-the-bed paranoia of some gun rights enthusiasts.

  19. It takes about 3 minutes to convert a semi-auto AK to full-auto.

    How do you know?

  20. joe

    “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you” – Frank Burns

  21. No, but it shear utter ineffectiveness means that the real intent of the law is to establish a precedent for controlling what weapons, if any citizen may keep.

    Perhaps, but I think a better explantion is that the law allows politicians to curry favor with the polloi who want to see that the government is protecting them from scary things like guns.

  22. BA Iconoclast: Are you familiar with Mayor Nagin in New Orleans? He seems to be looking at the job like a businessperson rather than as a fur-draped king.

  23. Shannon- the particularly infuriating thing is that Columbus already has classified magazines that hold more than 30 rounds as “destructive devices.”

    So now a National Match tuned competition AR15 is the same as a belt-fed machinegun, which only makes sense, because the law there already states that a 30+ round magazine is “dangerous ordnance.”

    Yep, according to a law already on the books in Ohio, a bit of stamped sheet metal is the same as a grenade or RPG.

  24. That’s just it, joe. The people, like cops, who should know a lot about firearms support these bullshit bans when you know they know better. Just like your example of the cop shooting the cinder block with an AR-15. Give me my Winchester .30-30 carbine, and I’ll tear that cinder block a new one, as well. But it sure doesn’t look like an assault rifle. Well, in the late 1800’s it looked like an assault rifle, but today it looks like a relic.

    Anyway, I’m more worried about the commies under my bed. 🙂

  25. Shannon,

    Amen, sister. However [annoying pedantic mode on],

    The kind of crimes that would be functionally enabled by a long clip…

    I’m sure you meant ‘magazine’ 🙂 [pedantic off]

    Jack,

    It takes about 3 minutes to convert a semi-auto AK to full-auto.

    With that statement, you are dangerously close to a Federal felony. I’m not kidding.

    As far as the gun ban and the NRA, this is the city’s third crack at an ‘assault weapon’ ban, the first two having been struck down. There is some reason to think that the NRA was perfectly aware of the city’s planned gun ban (they’ve been working on it for two years, according to the local NPR station) and that the NRA may have chosen Columbus just so they could walk noisily away if the gun ban passed. I mean, why else would they come to Columbus? Eeewww.

  26. joe,

    I’m usually critical of conspiracy theories, but the gun-grabber conspiracy isn’t a conspiracy at all. It’s right in the open. There are dozens on on-the-record quotes from various leaders of the gun control movements, stating that their true goal is … wait for it … confiscation of all firearms! It’s one time where there actually is a slippery slope. Eugene Volokh has written on this a few times, but for some reason, I can’t find the cite right now.

  27. What Steve says is true. It’s not a conspiracy if it’s right out in the open. Advocates of gun control from Dianne Feinstein (Mr. & Mrs. America, turn them all in) to Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center (confirmed handgun owner, BTW) to Sarah Brady, who originally named her organization The National Coalition to Ban Handguns.

    And when they haven’t seeked to outlaw firearms outright, they seek to exert controls that would make them useless as a defensive weapon: campaigning at every step against liberalized concealed carry laws, pushing for so-called “safe storage” laws, or trying to pass a mandate that some arbitrary number of rounds constitutes an “arsenal.”

    Joe, it isn’t a conspiracy, but mostly because it’s all right there in press releases, proposed legislation, and videotaped interviews.

  28. *seeked* should have been sought. I type English good.

  29. “BA Iconoclast: Are you familiar with Mayor Nagin in New Orleans? He seems to be looking at the job like a businessperson rather than as a fur-draped king.”

    Dynamist, no, I’m not familiar with him. Thanks, I’ll definitely check him out.

    I hate to sound like one of those Diversity Seminar Types, but it would be nice if we had more Latinos and Asians run for office in Central Ohio (hopefully of the libertarian stripe, or at least “New Democrat” like Bill Richardson of New Mexico), rather than the usual good ‘ol boy white nepotists and welfare-state negro hand-out artists.

    Maybe we could sic that Mencia guy from Comedy Central on Coleman and his ilk …

  30. It takes about 3 minutes to convert a semi-auto AK to full-auto.

    Cool. Can you show me how? 🙂

  31. Isn’t it a little more likely that the law was intended to restrict particularly dangerous weapons,

    Define “particularly dangerous.” Not even military experts and the people tasked with manufacturing ammunition and guns can agree on the standards of what results in higher lethality, let alone come to any sort of scientific consensus on the topic. Bottom line is that using words like “particularly dangerous” makes for a good soundbite, but ultimately means nothing.

    and was written and supported by people who don’t actually know a great deal about firearms?

    Gee, perhaps if they’d actually listen to all of those crazy, gun-toting neanderthal wifebeaters they’d learn a thing or two.

  32. The thing that irritates me is when they go with the whole “legitimate sporting purpose” bit. I don’t hunt. In my youth I would occasionally kill a furry critter and I finally stopped because I found it personally repugnant (and all you hunters don’t jump on me, I have nothing against YOU hunting. I just choose not to).

    So my sole purpose for owning guns is to shoot people who are doing bad things in my house (joe’s probably right in that they won’t help me successfully defeat tyranny). And thus, I won’t be placated by the hunting argument. A lot of guns are for killing people, and that’s just the way it is.

  33. The ignorance of the subject on the part of some gun controllers isn’t very helpful, but neither is the commies-under-the-bed paranoia of some gun rights enthusiasts.

    It doesn’t have to be about paranoia, Joe. The simple fact is that the less power individuals have to defend themselves, the greater the potential for tyranny. The country was founded in such a way to deliberately limit that potential by placing an extraordinary value on individual rights, including the 2nd, and sharply limiting the centralization of power.

    Maybe you feel that the potential for tyranny is not increased greatly with measures like this, while the safety of the population is. It’s not an unreasonable belief at all. However, the gun controllers absolutely want to remove all firearms from us, and this is but one step towards that goal. At that point, I’d think you’d agree, that the potential for tyranny has far outstripped any safety increase.

  34. While the federal assault-weapon ban was most likely unconstitutional, and largely ineffectual, I don’t think it’s beyond reason to allow local municipalities to enact their own gun laws. For example, I recently went hunting with a friend in a central Virginia county that banned rifle hunting, only allowing shotguns. The reasons made perfect sense. The landscape was densely wooded, limiting visibility, and rifle bullets carry much farther than shotgun shot. While usage is different from gun ownership, I think that local governments can establish their own policies for gun ownership. Rural Montana and Manhattan should, and do, have different gun laws.

    And while there is almost nothing preventing criminals from possessing banned firearms, which is why I oppose most gun laws, I do believe the government can limit the types of weapons Americans can own. Certainly it should be illegal for Americans to possess anti-aircraft weapons, for issues of public safety, even though those weapons could be used in defense of tyranny.

  35. “Gee, perhaps if they’d actually listen to all of those crazy, gun-toting neanderthal wifebeaters they’d learn a thing or two.”

    Really? You’d be honest and tell them what firearms they SHOULD be banning? Or would you just tell them not to ban anything, thank you?

  36. MD-

    I’d tell them that they ought to pass a law banning full-auto laser shotguns. After all, everyone knows that only criminals and drug dealers use full-auto laser shotguns.

  37. blammo, that sounds terribly reasonable. I’ll be happy to debate legalizing anti-aircraft cannons once people stop passing laws that result in a 20-year jail sentence because the barrel of their shotgun was 1/4 an inch too short.

  38. mediageek,

    Yeah, that’s what I thought. I called your bluff.

  39. Stretch,

    Forget the potential for tyranny, removing our guns *IS* tyranny. So is it our moral duty to shoot the confiscators?

  40. “Gee, perhaps if they’d actually listen to all of those crazy, gun-toting neanderthal wifebeaters they’d learn a thing or two.”

    Gee, perhaps if the gun rights movement didn’t deliberately put crazy, gun-toting neanderthan wifebeaters in front of the cameras in order to provoke a culture war for their buddies, they’d find more people willing to listen.

  41. ‘Define “particularly dangerous.”‘

    Like everything else, there are easy cases at the extremes, and a difficult grey area in the middle.

    Assault and battery statutes are full of “serious bodily harm”-type language that requires a judgement call, too. So what?

  42. joe- The gun rights movement didn’t provoke the culture war. The statists did. The NRA has fought a purely defensive battle from the first time it was backed into having to defend an entire American sub-culture.

    The NRA/GOA are probably the only lobbiest groups in DC whose sole purpose is to get the .gov to leave their members alone.

  43. Yeah, that’s what I thought. I called your bluff.

    So what’s your point? The statistics on the effectiveness of gun control are dubious at best. Perhaps the best method would be to punish those who victimize innocent people?

    Nah.

  44. Is anybody really worried about the gun rights movement? I know there are alot of stupid laws on the books, but come on, in most places you can legally purchase a deadly firearm with a minimum of fuss. God bless this country.

    We should spend more time focusing on the getting-high rights movement.

  45. joe hits on a sad truth of modern politics. With all issues held by one of two parties, each party seeks to motivate broad coalitional support for each of the planks in its platform. Ergo, we get a cultural war appeal for the right of self defense that is deliberately conflated with other completely unrelated coalitional concerns to make it appear that ‘this stuff is all related’. I noted a similar gimmick the other day on the Sierra Club’s endorsement of the new Ford. Not just saving the environment, but appealing to labor and xenophobia.

    You will not find a more strident self defense advocate than me, but the apparent necessity of the approach depresses me. It is similar to that feeling that 99% of gun owners get when they go to a show and see the inevitable nazi table. Shut up and get off my side is a good argument in the case of nazis, but is really not employable against any significant voting bloc. Sigh.

  46. blammo:

    I don’t think I can express how much the gun movement owes the current state of affairs to GW Bush’s win against Gore. Bush has been outstanding on that particular issue, and it is only because of Bush that the federal ban expired. I never thought that one would be allowed to die. Whatever else happens, he gets credit for that.

  47. Like everything else, there are easy cases at the extremes, and a difficult grey area in the middle.

    Not terribly. One of the biggest logical fallacy of the gun-control movement is an attempt to differentiate between “good” guns and “bad” guns. There’s never any thought given to the idea that maybe, just maybe the good or evil of a particular arm is totally dependant upon the person wielding it. It’s simply assumed that good people should not be allowed to have “bad” guns.

    Assault and battery statutes are full of “serious bodily harm”-type language that requires a judgement call, too. So what?

    Ok, here’s a “so what” for you. Several years ago when California enacted a ban on “assault weapons” they so broadly defined the term that the Olympic style target pistols were rendered illegal. State congressman Don Perata’s response to an inquiry from Olympic hopeful Lauren Santibanez was “So what, move to Texas.”

  48. They are all muttering about the .50 again, by the way. I saw a 60 minutes piece a couple of days ago wherin someone actually referred to a Barrett as a ‘terrorist rifle’. Oh, goody. A new made up designation to go alongside ‘assault weapon’. I suppose ‘we know them when we see them’, too. Puke.

  49. mediageek,

    No, YOU started it…

    No, YOU did…

    Yawn.

    “There’s never any thought given to the idea that maybe, just maybe the good or evil of a particular arm is totally dependant upon the person wielding it.” So you’re ok with private ownership of four barrel antiaircraft canons that fire explosive 20 mm shells? Ah, well, I didn’t mean THAT…so now we’re back to line drawing.

  50. We should spend more time focusing on the getting-high rights movement.

    The war on drugs and the war on guns are as intimately connected as a pair of conjoined twins. The sooner everyone realizes this, the better off we’ll be.

    Jason-

    Disagree. Bush is lukewarm on guns. His stated stance on renewing the AWB was that if it reached his desk, he would sign it into law. The renewal of the ban was killed in the House and Senate. Feinstein reintroduced a renewal of that bill something like eight times in the year or so leading up to the expiration.

  51. Mediageek,

    Most gun-control advocates feel that unweildly hunting rifles and shotguns should remain legal, as a nod to American cultural/recreational legacy (not to mention that many of these nitwits like to hunt: http://tinyurl.com/7gmno).

    It’s gun-control advocates’ denial that guns also serve the purposes of self-defense that brings weapons designed for this purpose the “bad” label, including virtually all handguns and many short-stock rifles.

    “Good” weapons are weapons that can’t be used effectively for self defense.

  52. So you’re ok with private ownership of four barrel antiaircraft canons that fire explosive 20 mm shells? Ah, well, I didn’t mean THAT…so now we’re back to line drawing.

    Joe, I already addressed this. You’re attempting to force me to respond to a reductio ad absurdum.

  53. blammo-

    Agreed.

  54. mediageek, you “already addressed it” by stating that you refuse to discuss the issue. Who taught you logic, Ari Fleischer?

  55. well joe, in all fairness, i don’t think legislation concerning private antiaircraft guns is on the table.

  56. Why don’t we ban people who favor gun control? I’m sure we could send them somewhere like China, where gun control is in full effect…

  57. mediageek:

    An argument can be made that I am being overly generous to the administration here, but I believe they did EXACTLY what they had to do to ensure the expiration of the awb. It is strategically better to diffuse the negative press coverage by making two large deliberative bodies responsible for the outcome of a sunset. Remember, all you have to do is delay, and who is better at that than the House and Senate? I think that an open advocacy position with the president’s face on it would have hurt rather than helped. No lightning rod was a better approach. Dems were scared to fight hard and take it to the papers after the shellacking they took in Gore v Bush on the issue. To me, Bush gets credit.

  58. “There’s never any thought given to the idea that maybe, just maybe the good or evil of a particular arm is totally dependant upon the person wielding it.”

    Be careful what you wish for. That’s a superbly logical argument for a complete ban of guns in non-government hands, as it is for nuclear weapons and the like. Because there’s no way to tell ahead of time whether the person wanting the gun is Mr. Rogers or Dylan Harris, after all.

  59. mediageek,

    No, YOU started it…

    No, YOU did…

    Yawn.

    Joe, my intention isn’t to engage in fingerpointing, but the historical record, starting with gun-related Jim Crow laws, progressing to the National Firearms Act of 1934, up through the Gun Control Act of 1968, to the “Assault Weapon” Ban of 1994 proves my point. Had people like Homer Stille Cumming chosen not to pick up a stick and jab it into a hornet’s nest, we most likely wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  60. Gee, perhaps if the gun rights movement didn’t deliberately put crazy, gun-toting neanderthan wifebeaters in front of the cameras in order to provoke a culture war for their buddies, they’d find more people willing to listen.

    come on joe. it’s not as if there’s a group of guys smoking cigars in a dark room deciding what The Gun Rights Movement is going to do next. like any political movement, it has members that are a bit crazy and very vocal about it, and are no more under my control than militant communists are under yours.

  61. MD-

    But that boils down to a very basic epistemological argument with regard to whether the government should enforce laws that prohibit crimes that are malum in se or malum prohibitum.

    If a person’s beliefs are primarily Utilitarian in nature, and they have no problems with malum prohibitum, then I may as well be speaking Klingon.

  62. I agree with Jason Ligon on Bush’s handling of the AWB expiration. Saying “I’ll sign an extension if it reaches my desk” is like saying, “God, I won’t sleep with that prostitute if you send me a sign in the next five seconds.” As if Tom Delay and Bill Frist were going to allow such a bill to reach his desk!

    mediageek, you actually want me to believe that the Jim Crow gun bans of the 1870s were part of the effete coastal elites’ efforts to keep down Real Americans in the Heartland? That, in the middle of Al Capone’s careet, banning the private ownership of Thompson submachine guns was part of a culture war waged by cosmopolital elites? That the gun bans that came about in the aftermath of the Kennedy, X, and King assassinations were actually about hostility towards people who drive pickup trucks?

    Your grievance knows no bounds.

  63. People make too much of the line drawing argument. The line is demonstrable, and by that I mean statistically significant and measurable, public harm.

    The weapon that is engineered for self defence is not the weapon that creates significant public harm. A weapon that puts a single projectile into a single target is not any more a public hazard than a hunting rifle. Yes, .50 BMG is a huge round. Guess what? .460 Wby is a huge round, too.

    A PIVAD AAA system is not a weapon of self defence, and its employment has a greater than reasonable chance of harming bystanders. Ditto high explosives, bio agents, and so forth.

    A final standard would be that if a cop can have it, so can I.

  64. zach, “come on joe. it’s not as if there’s a group of guys smoking cigars in a dark room deciding what The Gun Rights Movement is going to do next. like any political movement, it has members that are a bit crazy and very vocal about it, and are no more under my control than militant communists are under yours.”

    The National Rifle Association is not the equivalent of militant communists. They are considered a very mainstream group, and they chose to make Wayne LaPierre their president, and let him rant on about jackbooted federal thugs, at the same time that Newt Gingrich was whipping up hatred of all things federal on the part of red staters as part of his program to gain Republican majorities in Congress.

  65. Take 1: “You guys are just paranoid” “But your folks have said they’re out to take our guns…” “…Um, and your spokesmen are shit-kickers!”

    Take 2: “Look, these arbitrary lines on which small arms should be illegal are absurd and have no relationship to anything but political buzzwords.” “Arbitrary, huh? What about artillery pieces, huh, HUH?”

    Now just to wait for some well-meaning people to explain why Joe’s ignoring any substantive points made to focus on baiting people here isn’t trolling, but braving the scary libertarian stronghold to have honest, insightful debate with people he disagrees with.

  66. Jason,

    If a guy on the ground can use it to take down an airliner, a good case can be made that it poses “significant public harm.”

    Banelli (sp?) street sweepers – a drum-fed semi-automatic shotgun, designed to cover a large area with shot in a short amount of time. Would that meet your standard of “A weapon that puts a single projectile into a single target?”

  67. Wow, I made Eric the .5b look like an asshole without even trying.

  68. The National Rifle Association is not the equivalent of militant communists. They are considered a very mainstream group, and they chose to make Wayne LaPierre their president, and let him rant on about jackbooted federal thugs, at the same time that Newt Gingrich was whipping up hatred of all things federal on the part of red staters as part of his program to gain Republican majorities in Congress.

    ok. i still don’t have any control over them.

  69. Trust me, Joe. In true libertarian fashion, you’re doing all the work and reaping all the rewards…

  70. Jason,

    The standards for what weapons can create significant public harm depend on the community. Therefore I think it’s reasonable that local governments develop different standards. I live in a Brooklyn apartment building, and I don’t want my arthritic 80-year-old neighbor with cataracts to attempt to dispatch a burglar with a fully automatic AK-47. But there are clearly situations where NYC cops should use fully automatic weapons.

    Conversely, if I lived in rural West Virginia and my nearest neighbor was 25 miles away, I would not care if he owned a machine gun.

  71. At some point, it gets old debating the same points — pro and con — for the four hundredth time.

    I don’t really feel like debating with gun banners much anymore. Their side continues to lose politically, on the national level. And my state has fairly loose gun laws.

    Soon, lawsuits against gun manufacturers won’t be allowed. Maybe after that, a national concealed carry license.

    After that happens, I’d love to see a Hillary administration. The war that would ensue between Congress and the Prez would be beautiful.

  72. Like I said, Bush is lukewarm on guns. I don’t bear any animosity towards him on that, as it’s simply political reality. The renewal was a game and one he played well. I’m happy it’s gone, and unlike some, I’m not going to rant and rave about how Bush isn’t doing enough for gun rights. I know that would be a losing game.

    mediageek, you actually want me to believe that the Jim Crow gun bans of the 1870s were part of the effete coastal elites’ efforts to keep down Real Americans in the Heartland?

    No, in that case it was all about Southern thugs with a grudge and a cultural mandate making sure that impoverished black sharecroppers couldn’t fight back when the Klan showed up. Incidentally, so far as I know, the only Jim Crow laws still on the books are gun control laws. For instance, shortly after the civil war Missouri instuted a law stating that no one could buy a handgun without having someone vouch for his “good character.” This law was originally passed to keep African Americans from possessing defensive arms. While the law is no longer enforced this way, it’s still on the books, and you must have someone vouch for your “good character” in order to buy a handgun.

    That, in the middle of Al Capone’s careet, banning the private ownership of Thompson submachine guns was part of a culture war waged by cosmopolital elites?
    Yes and no. In much the same way that astronomically rare incidents like the North Hollywood Bank robbery are used to whip up public sentiment for gun control, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was used to push for the National Firearms Act. Remember, at the time, a Thompson went for over $200-narly $3,000 today. Believe it or not, aside from military and law-enforcement contracts Tommy Guns sold very poorly.
    Homer Stille Cumming, who was one of FDR’s AG’s was an ardent gun-hater, and arguably the prototype for the modern-era puritan gun prohibitionist. His original proposals included making handguns NFA items, and registering and taxing all ammunition at $1/round or $14.27/round in today’s dollars.

    hat the gun bans that came about in the aftermath of the Kennedy, X, and King assassinations were actually about hostility towards people who drive pickup trucks?

    Again, an example of using high-profile tragedy to whip up public sentiment for laws that certainly haven’t stopped criminals from getting guns. And I don’t drive a pickup truck.

  73. If a guy on the ground can use it to take down an airliner, a good case can be made that it poses “significant public harm.”

    Right. Someone is going to knock a flying aircraft out of the sky with a single-shot rifle. Kinda makes me wonder why they had to strap something like six belt-fed machineguns chambered for the same round on fighter planes in WWII. You must know something that all those designers at Northrop Grumman, Republic, and all the other aircraft makers of the time didn’t know. Oh, and if you think .50’s show some sort of inherent danger, why aren’t you vociferously calling for banning the lowly .22LR cartridge? According to the BATFE, the .22 is used in more killings and shootings than any other cartridge.

    Banelli (sp?) street sweepers – a drum-fed semi-automatic shotgun, designed to cover a large area with shot in a short amount of time. Would that meet your standard of “A weapon that puts a single projectile into a single target?”

    The Street Sweeper was made by SWD, not Benelli. It didn’t do anything that a Remington 1100 with an extended mag tube wouldn’t do, except it looked a lot uglier. “bad” guns vs. “good” guns again, joe.

  74. joe:

    You blaspheme! Benelli doesn’t make the Street Sweeper, they make the best autoloaders out there, not that POS. It is made by Cobray, the same people who brought you the M10 and M11 (civilianized mac 10 and mac 11) – also pieces of poo.

    It just so happens that I went to a tactical shotgun class this weekend where a guy had street sweeper. By the second day, he was using an instructor’s old pump Remington 870 to keep up.

    A) it has a 12 round clockwork thingy like a revolver and not a detachable magazine. It is horribly slow to load and unload.

    B) the deadly ‘spray’ effect of the minimum legal 18″ barrel shotgun is vastly overstated. The probability of you hitting more than one person with a single blast is extremely small. To give you an idea, the guy with the streetsweeper was putting 9 pellets of 00 buck into a pattern about 4.5″ at 40 feet. With birdshot, things open up, but your effective range against a human target is very short.

    As for the .50 taking out the airliner with a single shot … I’m skeptical. The shot would not be easy, and the ‘over a mile’ range you hear is not a mile straight up in the air. Even with explosive .50 cal amunition, I’m skeptical. Helos are another matter, but they can be taken down very easily by any number of different tools.

  75. They are considered a very mainstream group, and they chose to make Wayne LaPierre their president, and let him rant on about jackbooted federal thugs,

    And the fact that there was widespread documented evidence of BATF abuses at the time probably had nothing to do with it, I’m sure.

  76. “But there are clearly situations where NYC cops should use fully automatic weapons.”

    I don’t know that I agree with this too much. Urban environments very rarely require an officer to use burst fire, and frankly most officers can’t shoot worth a damn anyway. I’m not trying to be arrogant here, and I am a moderate shot with a good deal of training myself, but I’ve been in enough classes with officers to have a basis for that judgement.

    BTW, Your granny neighbor with the AK could buy Hornady TAP ammo and not penetrate the walls. Might be a good Christmas present.

  77. Joe asked mediageek, “So you’re ok with private ownership of four barrel antiaircraft canons that fire explosive 20 mm shells?”

    I’m not mediageek, but my answer to that question would be, “Yes, absolutely.” I wouldn’t buy one personally, because the ranges around here ban any kind of ammo that might be a fire hazard, but if you could get 20mm FMJ rounds…

  78. That’s another funny thing about people wanting certain weapons banned. It’s not like the Barrett .50 is so inexpensive that everyone in your neighbourhood will own one. Same with the Benelli semi-auto shotgun. Although I don’t understand why that particular weapon seems so sinister to joe. It’s an effective weapon, yes, but again, so is my Winchester .30-30 lever action carbine. As effective? I’d have to say no, but I just don’t see the outrage (although I haven’t had the pleasure of shooting the Benelli).

    And blammo, you may be right about different areas having different ordinances. But outright bans? How about, it’s illegal to discharge your fully automatic AK-47 in NYC limits, but not to own one? It’s going to have the same effect on both law-abiding folks and criminals as an outright ban.

  79. Funny thing about .50’s: those who own them are much more likely on the board of directors of a bank rather than robbing one.

    WRT to 20mm stuff, I’ll only stop long enough to observe that until 1968 you could order a Lahti or Solothurn 20mm rifle through the mail.

  80. So you’re ok with private ownership of four barrel antiaircraft canons that fire explosive 20 mm shells? Ah, well, I didn’t mean THAT…so now we’re back to line drawing.

    OK…no. Constitutionally protected? Yes.

  81. Jason, “The probability of you hitting more than one person with a single blast is extremely small.” Isn’t the purpose of the semiautomatic design and drum to allow more than one shot in quick succession? You problably won’t hit more than one person with a single round from a BAR, either, but that doesn’t make it a good idea to allow KMart to sell them.

    mediageek, the CIA and FBI have identified the threat of losing an aircraft to a .50 caliber rifle to warrant their attention. What is it that you know that they do not? What’s that – absolutely nothing?

    Personally, I don’t claim to know how serious this threat is. Let’s not allow our ideological dispositions to prejudice our judgement of objective facts, mm-kay?

    “Oh, and if you think .50’s show some sort of inherent danger, why aren’t you vociferously calling for banning the lowly .22LR cartridge? According to the BATFE, the .22 is used in more killings and shootings than any other cartridge.” Wow, what brilliant logic. Did you know that bathtubs and staircases blah blah freakity blah. Spare me.

    “And the fact that there was widespread documented evidence of BATF abuses at the time probably had nothing to do with it, I’m sure.” Oh, I see. It’s ok for your side to enflame the culture war for its own purposes, because your side is right, dammit!

    Lowdog, how many people would actually go out and buy hand grenades or ricin if they were legal? Very few, but that’s not really the point.

  82. MP, I can respect that position – “shall not infringe means shall not infringe, period. Put hand grenades on the shelves of KMart” – a lot more than what I usually hear.

    To wit, “Of course I don’t believe people should be able to own antiaircraft guns. What a miserable, absurd straw man that iS! Some weapons are allowed and some weapons aren’t, but if you don’t draw the categories exactly as I do, you’re violating the Second Amendment!”

  83. I believe JFK and MLK were killed by rifles. Not sure what that has to do with handgun laws.

    I agree, though, that the Street Sweeper is dangerous. The unloading process leaves a lot to be desired. Bad design.

  84. Joe,

    In the two years that I’ve been posting here, you and I/we have continued to make basically the same augments at each other. I don’t know about you, but I’m just agreeing that we disagree on gun control, and leaving it at that. Neither side seems to be winning over the other.

    You live in a state that seems to have gun laws you like. I live in a state that has very few laws, which I like. In both cases, that’s not going to be changing any time soon.

    That might be a case of federalism at work, but I’m not sure.

  85. “Of course I don’t believe people should be able to own antiaircraft guns. What a miserable, absurd straw man that iS! Some weapons are allowed and some weapons aren’t, but if you don’t draw the categories exactly as I do, you’re violating the Second Amendment!”

    All too common an argument. Gun rights activists likely fail to address it because they know that the absolutist position would be unpopular. Yet again, another example of politics trumping principles.

    Unfortunately, it is also unlikely that SCOTUS would support my absolutist position. I’m sure they would make some sort of “public good” argument, in the same manner that they make one regarding campaign finance. Thus, people are also fearful that making an absolutist case in court would allow SCOTUS to open a crack in the foundation, thus leading down the slipperly slope to Constitutional handgun bans.

  86. Jason,

    There are certainly situations where NYC cops should use fully automatic weapons – we have highly-trained anti-terrorist task forces, for example. But your point only goes to show that a safe weapon in one location can be pretty hazardous to the public in another. Local governments should pass their own laws based on the unique attributes of their communities.

  87. So, I guess in the next free-speech-related topic, we can expect Joe to argue that anyone who thinks slander, false advertising, or organizing a lynch party should be illegal is just a ideological hysteric when they argue that any law violates the first Amendment…

  88. Eric, if the point of that post was to make my molars ache with the stupidity of it all…

    Mission Accomplished!

  89. No Eric. joe makes the point that since it is not clearly spelled out in the Constitution, if one accepts the fact that certain types of arms are unconstitutional due to public safety hazards that supercede a textual reading of the Constitution, then one is engaging in line drawing. At that point, there is never a hard and fast rule regarding where to draw the line, so you’re going to get a constant political push/pull. Thus, saying that the line should/should not include .50 caliber guns (or guns with large magazines, or grenades, etc. etc.) becomes a matter of opinion.

  90. One good trolling deserves another, Joe.

  91. Oh, I see. It’s ok for your side to enflame the culture war for its own purposes, because your side is right, dammit!

    joe, that’s exactly what you’re doing. you have some interesting points, but you’re only making them look less honest by trying to make our “side’s” spokesmen the issue. let’s try to stick to the point.

    mediageek, the CIA and FBI have identified the threat of losing an aircraft to a .50 caliber rifle to warrant their attention. What is it that you know that they do not? What’s that – absolutely nothing? (emphasis mine of course)

    LOL… that’s just about the last argument i expected to hear from joe.

  92. Eric-

    Either that, or that no one needs a Heidelberg Speedmaster 74 DI because it allows you to distribute “bad” ideas printed on paper to far too many people.

  93. if one accepts the fact that certain types of arms are unconstitutional due to public safety hazards

    I don’t, but Joe is playing the fallacy of the excluded middle – that there is no basis for any stance between “utterly unrestricted weapon ownership, including nukes” and “‘sensible’, AKA incredibly restricted weapon ownership, until we can get rid of that, to”. Considering that there’s a non-negliglible amount of Constitutional scholarship that concludes “Yeah, they meant pretty much any small arm, even military ones, but not cannons”, that’s patently dishonest.

  94. Mediageek, you know very well that the First Amendment refers to the “press”, that is, the professional, government-recognized media. That sort of idea-conveying firepower shouldn’t be in private hands!

  95. oops, i left my emphasis out.

    anyway, of course no one will be allowed to own their own AAA in the near future, so it’s not really an issue. but since apparently we’re talking absolutes for the fun of it… if people were permitted to own AAA, it might have an effect people in joe’s camp would like, namely the reduction of the military. think about it… i wouldn’t want to invade a country where half the farms and skyscrapers were rigged with civilian AAA.

    naturally, an organized military is better suited to defend a country, but just food for thought.

  96. Hate to jump in at the end here, but what is sensible, Eric? It’s probably not sensible to own a Hummer with current gas prices, but people do it and society survives. Once “sensibility” becomes the standard for the constitutionality of a law, we’re in trouble. I’m in the same camp as MP here. How can owning any object be a crime? It’s what you do with the thing that matters.

  97. Zach – no one’s brought up Switzerland, yet? 🙂

  98. Randolph, no offense, but you misread what I wrote.

  99. also, in the mythical world that will probably never exist that we’re discussing, AAA manufacturers could always refuse to sell their weapons to civilians out of principle. or there could be a provision in the manufacturer’s contract with the military that the weapons aren’t sold to civilians.

    it is all a bit of a conundrum. the government’s job is not only to protect its people, but to maintain order of some kind. if an individual could legally amass a private, high-tech army, comparable to that of the government’s, there would really be no way for the government to maintain order in matters relating to that person. in other words, if you were rich enough, you truly would be above the law.

    so anyway, at some point, everything has to come down to “sensibility”. sensibility is what decided which specific rights to enumerate in the first place, and can’t then just be abandoned because some rules were written down. but to my own libertarian sensibilities, people ought to be allowed to carry man-killing automatic weapons, for the resons stated in this thread.

  100. Well, if one really wanted to argue a right to own AAA, artillery, and other stuff that could broadly be painted as military ordnance, you could look to the section of the Constitution that authorizes the issuance of letters of marque and reprisal. In the day it was not unknown to issue these to privateers who’d then go out and blow stuff up with privately owned shipboard cannon.

    *shrugs shoulders*
    For what it’s worth.

  101. Why indeed give Congress the power to say to private citizens, “You know, if you were to go out and blow up enemy ships, that would be just super,” if private citizens couldn’t own weapons capable of blowing up ships?

  102. I think Joe has a point that in the real world of gun debates some line drawing does have to go on. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but what does make me nervous is when a reasonable, mainstream-liberal type colleague of mine suggested where that line should be drawn by remarking, “You know, I can’t really think of any situation where having a gun would NOT make things worse.” There’s plenty to rag on in that statement, but I’m far more frightened by it than by the fact that Joe doesn’t want me living next door to him owning an anti-aircraft gun.

  103. Eric, it’s certainly food for thought. But joe’s argument that any slight rollback in gun control will result in tanks in the street and fighter jets as lawn ornaments is, as I pointed out earlier, nothing more than a screaching chicken-little style attempt at reductio ad absurdum.

  104. Well, mediageek, as I said, his entire contribution is just trolling. 🙂

  105. LisaMarie:

    Sensibility is…sensible, but keep in mind that the likes of Joe will claim you’re a foaming-mouthed, pickup-driving, UN-black-helicopter-reporting paranoid for being bothered by your colleague’s remark…

  106. The second amendment protects our right to bear arms. It is silent as to ordnance or artillery, two things that existed at the time. So in making the distinction, it seems that government may bar us from having cannons, railguns, and fighter aircraft, but not rifles, handguns, stinger missiles, and suitcase nukes.

  107. oops Eric, I did misread… it’s the end of a long day of pretending to work. But I am still bothered by the idea of using “sensibility” as any sort of guideline for law-making. It’s fine and dandy for cultural taboos (as Zach said, vendors could choose not to sell certain things) but it’s a really sketchy guideline for anything binding.

  108. Well, mediageek, as I said, his entire contribution is just trolling. 🙂

    Yes, and quite frankly I got tired of positing logical arguments to a brick wall last year.

    There aren’t going to be any 50BMG bans on the national level, and for all I care, Massachusetts can ban BB guns. We seem to be living in two different worlds.

  109. Mm, laws should be sensible, as should law enforcement. But they should protect our rights, not violate them.

  110. Ack, tabbed out… Append to the above “It’s just that ‘sensible’ often gets used as a codeword for ‘my support of curtailing your rights’.”

  111. Incidentally, I’d like to float an idea for some of you that aren’t into guns:

    How would you feel about repealing many of the restrictions on sound suppressors (silencers)?

    My proposal would deregulate them as NFA items (Highly restricted by the feds) and instead move them to the same category as handguns- you’d still have to fill a form out to buy one, but they’d be available at Ye Olde Gonne Shoppe.

    There are a couple of reasons for this:
    1)When suppressors were originally regulated, there was zero medical understanding with regard to cumulative hearing damage.

    2)Many modern shooting clubs are having problems with urban sprawl, and their new neighbors are upset at the noise. Deregulating suppressors so people could shoot more quietly seems like it would go a long way to alleviating some of this animosity.

    Also, many European nations, most notably France, Great Britain, the Scandanavian region, and others require hunters and target shooters to use suppressors simply because it’s good manners.

    Thoughts?

  112. joe:

    From very recent exercise:

    Three rounds from a pump action shotgun hitting three separate steel targets 6 ft. apart.

    A consensus ‘good time’ for a trained operator is 1 sec for with a Benelli semi auto.

    For an operator of a Rem 870 pump – 1.5 sec.

    It is extremely difficult for an adult male to keep more than 3 rounds on target at anything approaching that rate of fire. If you meet a guy who can dump all 12 shells, assuming they are defense loads, from the magazine of a street sweeper at targets that fast, don’t worry about the shotgun. That guy can A) take a beating himself (did I mention the all steel folding stock with no buttpad?) and B) could probably bench press your house.

    I’ll be honest. I sold my old Benelli M3 and have a Benelli M2 on order. Shotguns are devastating weapons in close quarters, primarily because they do horrific damage to the guy trying to stab you. Everyone should do this exercise at some point:

    Stand with a holstered airsoft gun facing a guy with a rubber knife 11 yards away (compare that to the longest distance someone will be from you inside your own home). The knife guy rushes you and starts cutting. “all you have to do” is shoot him twice and get hits on his center of mass. Let me know how that works out for you.

    Pistol holders get rushed all the time, but somehow no one wants to rush the guy with the Benelli. It finishes the fight right now. I would never suggest that a shotgun is not dangerous, but I take issue with the suggestion that it is somehow uniquely dangerous to the public.

  113. mediageek,

    I wholeheartedly agree. But suppressors are firmly in the MS media “evil” category.

    It’d be a hard one to repeal. But feel free to start a petittion.

  114. Jason,

    Shotguns make wonderful defensive weapons for sheer power, but when practicing corner drills, and other tactical maneuvers, it becomes apparent they have some drawbacks.

  115. joe:

    “You problably won’t hit more than one person with a single round from a BAR, either, but that doesn’t make it a good idea to allow KMart to sell them.”

    You may have missed my point here. The public danger is not that someone might choose to shoot several people. I don’t acknowledge that as a necessary and sufficient condition for public harm, because someone might need to shoot several people or one person multiple times in rapid succession. One myth that really needs to be put to bed is the Hollywood vision of a single bullet stopping a threat most of the time. Nope. There is no shoot to wound, either. There is only justified lethal force or not justified lethal force. Using half assed lethal force is a good way to get dead.

    My point with the shotgun is that if you are shooting at one person, you will hit one person in most scenarios. Not so the grenade. I have no problem with Kmart selling semi auto BARs. I’m willing to listen to the notion that a fully auto BAR should require a tax stamp and licence (as is currently the case) on the grounds that a fully auto rifle has the potential to do public harm, though not the near certainty of an explosive. I see no reason for legal prohibition of new fully auto BARs to sell to the licenced crowd. It is just hard to justify based on any objective criteria. That is the whole point to me. To make something illegal, you need a specific public harm justification and some evidence to go along with it.

  116. It is silent as to ordnance or artillery, two things that existed at the time.

    It is also silent on ammunition. From what source did you get a definition of “arms” that means anything beyond “weapons”? The current American Heritage dictionary states (emphasis in original):

    A weapon, especially a firearm: troops bearing arms; ICBMs, bombs, and other nuclear arms.

    Now, of course the dictionary of the time didn’t include ICBMs in the definition, but I’m skeptical that it was worded such that it excluded ordnance or artillery.

  117. kmw:

    Yes, mine is relegated to the static defence of ‘the last room’ – my bedroom. Come through that door, and you are mine.

    Cornering with anything larger than a pistol is very tough in most modern houses. The guys at TDI are all on SWAT teams themselves and train other SWAT teams for a living, and they tell me over and over that the pistol is the worst thing to have in a fight but the most likely tool you will be able to get there. Their 5 man teams often have 3 and sometimes 4 pistol guys, with only one shotgun or carbine. It is a real shame that most military personnel in Iraq can’t shoot pistols worth a damn.

  118. mediageek – can you point me to the gun-related website you said you mod? I’m trying to figure out what I need to go through to purchase an automatic weapon. Seriously.

    Jason – nice on the M2…just lookin’ at their site, and those look wicked. Oops, now they’ll get banned…bad gun! 🙂

  119. “Gee, perhaps if they’d actually listen to all of those crazy, gun-toting neanderthal wifebeaters they’d learn a thing or two.”

    “Gee, perhaps if the gun rights movement didn’t deliberately put crazy, gun-toting neanderthan wifebeaters in front of the cameras in order to provoke a culture war for their buddies, they’d find more people willing to listen.”

    “It is similar to that feeling that 99% of gun owners get when they go to a show and see the inevitable nazi table. Shut up and get off my side is a good argument in the case of nazis, but is really not employable against any significant voting bloc. Sigh.”

    NOW we’re talking! Why is it that they almost ALWAYS interview the dumbest guys they can find for each side? They get the unreasonable gun-phobic nut-jobs on one side and the rabid gun-nuts on the other side. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that most coverage is intended to be sensational attention-getters rather than inform folks about their policy choices, I’m sure. I weep for the state of the 4th Estate.

    joe never seems to get tired of arguing gun rights, but hey, neither do the rest of us, apparently! (My personal opinion is that joe just LOVES the attention…)

  120. Most people in Amurika have a two car garage.
    How big a garage will they have when Chelsea Clinton runs for President promising a nuke in every garage, plus a lifetime supply of mind-altering drugs?
    I’m guessing at least a three-car, since Mormans will still need room for can goods, water, and whatnot.

    A chicken in every pot seems so quaint now, doesn’t it? Chelsea’s slogan will be, “some pot in every chick, and, oh yeah, guys can get some too. Tee hee.”

  121. mediageek: I love the Heidelberg reference. “Black powder” mimeographs are dangerous, too.

    Which leads me to another dimension in the private ack-ack debate. Only the rich can afford the stuff. Even common rifle ammo makes for an expensive hobby. Maybe Lex Luthor or Richard Branson could have personal AAA, but one is fictional and the other one doesn’t seem bent on destruction. (But imagine your Virgin Atlantic flight escorted by F-5s in corporate colors…oooh)

    Jason: I wonder if licensing is an infringement on the right to keep and bear? It might not be, if anyone can get a license. Or perhaps the exchange a citizen makes for bearing arms is a duty to cooperate in a well-regulated militia…? Something like, I could restore and own a vintage Flak 36 as long as I agreed to put it to use under the orders of the National Guard when asked.

  122. On a somewhat related topic, can someone recommend a decent second shotgun? I have a beretta automatic for skeet / home defense. I don’t want a double barrel as I feel it will limit me for home defense. If I get a pump action for trap or sporting clays, will I be able to reload without bringing the gun from shooting position?

  123. mediageek – can you point me to the gun-related website you said you mod? I’m trying to figure out what I need to go through to purchase an automatic weapon. Seriously.

    Lowdog-

    I mod over at The High Road though under a different user name.

    Another good resource is The Firing Line Both websites have a number of NFA Title II gun owners who will be able to help you out.

  124. David- I recently shot a Sportsman’s Team Challenge with a pump-action Benelli Nova.

    Effing sucked. Everyone, and I mean everyone else on the line was running either a semi auto or an O/U. Reloading a pump without bringing it down from your shoulder can be done, but it’s much more of a challenge.

  125. David,

    The problem with any pump is that you don’t know its empty unless you round count or click on an empty chamber. You can reload from full ready (gun high and on the shoulder) or low ready by cycling the slide to the open position, tossing a round directly into the chamber, and sliding the thing closed. If you still have time, you can start feeding the magazine from the bottom.

    I’m not a sporting clays kinda guy, but I can say that the requirements are different than what you’d want for home defense. For a defense gun, you want as close to 18″ as you can get and as light as possible so you can accomplish the on target reload described above while holding onto the thing with only one hand. Remington 11-87 semis are NOT reliable and they are too heavy. Mossberg pumps are cheaply made. The Italians make good guns. Benelli’s M2 series can be bought in a defense model and a spiffy recoil absorbing stock with gel pads. It is really nice. Franchi makes the 612 in a defense model, if you can find one. Those are very nice as well. If you want a pump, the Rem 870 is tough to beat. Stay clear of the straight black finish from Remington. It is rust o’ rific.

    In other news for the interested, we got to sample a ton of different loads. Hornady TAP 8 pellet 00 buck is an amazing round. For the shooters out there, I saw a Mossberg, an 870, and a Benelli all put the 8 pellets in a single ragged hole at 35 feet. That is a hell of a pattern with cylinder choke.

  126. No, Eric, I’m arguing exactly the opposite of that – that it is possible to draw reasonable lines – and tweaking those who argue the opposite.

    Read harder.

    You too, mediageek. I brought up the AAA example to demonstrate that, yes, you can produce reasonable limits without disarming the populace – that it’s a matter of line drawing.

  127. Jason Ligon,

    “Three rounds from a pump action shotgun hitting three separate steel targets 6 ft. apart.”

    The semiautomatic shotgun wasn’t developed to shoot three individuals. It was developed to fire into crowds.

    That’s the scenario I’m concerned about – the guy who walks into a crowded with the intention of killing as many people as he can before he’s stopped. The situation in which people are packed so tightly that you can’t miss, and therefore you can use you weapon at its highest rate of fire. I think it’s prudent to limit the ownership of weapons on this basis, and that (and not its usefulness in a military scenario of defending ground) is why I support the limits on owning fully-automatic weapons.

    But he, I’m just trolling, you know?

  128. “The semiautomatic shotgun wasn’t developed to shoot three individuals. It was developed to fire into crowds.”

    You are just wrong on this. If we were talking about a sawed off shotgun with a 3″ barrel, yes, such a critter is designed to be an area effect weapon. I don’t even know what someone would hope to be accomplishing with a semi auto shotgun firing into crowds. As I indicated, the three round firing time by a trained user is .5 seconds ish different between a semi auto and a pump. That .5 seconds is a long time when trying to stop multiple targets that are trying to kill you, but it means almost nothing in the context of whatever purpose you are imagining (killing random people in a crowd?)

  129. mediageek, doesn’t a suppressor somewhat affect the accuracy of a rifle anyway? (i know next to nothing about guns.)

    Most people in Amurika have a two car garage.

    really? well shit. i feel so substandard.

  130. Joe sez:

    The semiautomatic shotgun wasn’t developed to shoot three individuals. It was developed to fire into crowds.

    Damnit Joe, I’m trying to avoid getting into this, but when you go blaspheming, I just have to speak up.

    John Moses Browning invented the semi-auto shotgun in the 1890s. He did so to enable hunters to better bag their duck quarry. Do your fucking research before you go speaking out of your ass.

  131. The semiautomatic shotgun wasn’t developed to shoot three individuals. It was developed to fire into crowds.

    And with this statement joe just proves he hasn’t the slightest clue as to what he’s talking about.

    The Browning Auto 5 was the first semi-automatic shotgun to go into production. It was invented by John Moses Browning as a sporting gun for bird hunting and clay shooting.

    Joe, you’re vaguely respectable as a leftist who seems to be at least somewhat capable of using logic, but everytime you open your mouth about guns, you just make yourself look like a dumbass.

    For the sake of your own pride, stop yammering about anything even marginally related to firearms development or technology.

  132. You too, mediageek. I brought up the AAA example to demonstrate that, yes, you can produce reasonable limits without disarming the populace – that it’s a matter of line drawing.

    Yes, except that I can rationally argue that the line can be drawn to include nearly any and all small arms, from .17 HMR to .50 BMG target rifles.

    You, on the other hand, have the technical firearms knowledge of a box of Chinese take-out, so everytime you try to talk about drawing a line, you make yourself look like a shmuck.

  133. MG – The best part, tho, is when joe starts talking about how badly we need experts to tell us how how our rights should be divided up.

    Eminent domain, gun control, it’s all a question of where the line should be drawn – by experts in city planning and firearms. Y’know… like joe!

    I usually argue that you don’t need an expert to NOT write laws that infringe on the rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

    But on this ONE occassion, since joe has proven hiimself not to be “the expert” I will hypocritically agree that only an expert’s opinion matters! Heh…

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