Mass Shootings

Automatic Weapons Are Already Heavily Regulated and Gun Control Laws Don't Work

Laws aren't the solution you're looking for to crimes like the massacre in Las Vegas.


Stephen Paddock "appears to have used at least one fully automatic rifle" during his murderous rampage in Las Vegas, according to the Wall Street Journal. Let's tentatively accept that for the moment while recognizing, as Nick Gillespie has noted, that early reports in situations like this are often wrong. If true, though, it demonstrates the pointlessness of the predictable calls for tighter gun restrictions issued by the usual suspects. That's because automatic rifles—machine guns—have been tightly regulated at the federal level since 1934, and subjected to further restrictions since then.

The history of federal machine gun regulations is well-covered at the website of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Regulation began with the National Firearms Act of 1934, which imposed a $200 tax on the manufacture and transfer of "shotguns and rifles having barrels less than 18 inches in length, certain firearms described as 'any other weapons,' machineguns, and firearm mufflers and silencers" at the federal level (states and localities have always been free to impose their own restrictions). According to the ATF, "As the legislative history of the law discloses, its underlying purpose was to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions in NFA firearms."

The law was amended in 1968, and then again, in particular, in 1986. The latter revision was to "prohibit the transfer or possession of machineguns. Exceptions were made for transfers of machineguns to, or possession of machineguns by, government agencies, and those lawfully possessed before the effective date of the prohibition, May 19, 1986."

So for civilians, the only legally available automatic rifles in the United States under federal law come from the fixed pool of such weapons that existed on May 19, 1986. With a limited supply, shrinking at least a bit over time through attrition, prices for legal machine guns have no place to go but up. A glance at, an online listing service (with actual transfers handled by licensed dealers), reveals prices starting in four figures and rapidly going to five for individual weapons.

Purchasing and owning any NFA firearm, including automatic rifles/machine guns requires undergoing a background check and entering the weapon in the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record, which is "the central registry of all NFA firearms in the U.S. which are not in the possession or under the control of the U.S. Government," according to the ATF National Firearms Act Handbook. This handbook is an excellent resource for familiarizing yourself with the federal regulation of automatic rifles/machine guns and other NFA firearms. You might want to put aside some time if you decide to peruse it since, including preface and appendices, the book is 220 pages long.

Which is to say, short of outright prohibition, automatic rifles are subject to just about every rule and restriction that has been proposed by opponents of easy civilian possession. If the weapon Paddock used in his rampage was legally acquired and owned, it was done so in accordance with laws intended "to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions" in such firearms in the words of federal regulators themselves.

But what if Paddock's weapons were illegally acquired, or illegally converted to automatic, or were semiautomatic weapons mistakenly identified as machine guns?

Black markets and illegal acts exist everywhere, under every legal regime. I've written at length about the long history, not just in the United States, but around the world, of overwhelming defiance of gun laws. In recent years, Connecticut achieved an underwhelming 15 percent compliance rate when it attempted to require the registration of semiautomatic (not machine guns) "assault weapons," and New York's similar requirement resulted in 5 percent compliance (both addressed here).

That's just registration. To achieve something like the outright prohibition of certain firearms that's been proposed in the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas, perhaps the best assessment comes from Professor James B. Jacobs, Director of the Center for Research in Crime and Justice at New York University. Summing up the prospects for banning handguns in his 2002 book, Can Gun Control Work?, he wrote:

"Prohibiting possession would require disarming the citizenry; whether done quickly or over a long period, it would be a monumental challenge, fraught with danger. Millions of citizens would not surrender their handguns. If black market activity in connection with the drug laws is any indication, a decades-long 'war on handguns' might resemble a low-grade civil war more than a law-enforcement initiative."

Banning private sales of firearms has also been proposed in certain quarters, but without any suggestion of how such a prohibition would be enforced. When I spoke with NYU's Jacobs two years ago, he said that's "probably a good idea," of such a ban, but acknowledged that it would be "very easy to get around" such restrictions.

After Colorado imposed a requirement for universal background checks on private sales, the results were unimpressive. "People are just ignoring this law," Colorado Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) said.

Last word to NYU's Jacobs, from his 2002 book. Pointing to the long-term decline in violent crime—a trend that, despite recent blips, keeps crime rates far below the level of a quarter-century ago—he concluded, "Criminologists and policy makers should not be distracted by unrealistic proposals and slogans for 'gun control,' Rather, they should look to building on other anti-crime strategies and constructive social welfare policies that might be contributing to this unprecedented decrease of violent crime and gun crime."

NEXT: Las Vegas Shooter Stephen Paddock: What We Know So Far (Update: Explosives Found At Shooter's Home)

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  1. Like many things that drive people to fear, guns are very misunderstood. And this fact allows for politicians to abuse language to take advantage of those efears.

    1. You mean like alcohol, marijuana, opioids, cocaine, offensive speech, encryption, prostitution, abortion, immigrants, trade, automation, religion, irreligion, homosexuality, racial minorities, private wealth and broken taillights?

      Congratulations! You just won the Felix Dzherzhinsky Award for Most Convenient Demonstration of Counterrevolutionary Thinking In A Public Forum!

      Unfortunately, due to capitalist sabotage that led to lower than projected industrial output this year, we’ve had to start giving out much smaller trophies than before. And instead of solid gold, we’ve had to start making them out of copper. With a lead filling.

      1. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

        This is what I do…

  2. The important thing is we don’t wait for the facts, so we can make an emotional decision that will solve nothing.

    1. But it feelz so good.

  3. Banning guns would effectively end all gun violence in the same manner that banning narcotics has ended drug abuse.


    1. Leo is right, banning guns could never work, Constitution aside. Look at how badly the post-1986 machine gun ban worked, they’re so easy for criminals to get. Oh wait…

      1. Criminals didn’t use machineguns to speak of before the Hughes Amendment became law, either.

        You might be thinking of the National Firearms Act.

        But, then, apart from some high profile mobsters and Bonnie And Clyde, as far as I understand it by far most criminal use of firearms even in the early ’30s wasn’t machineguns.

        They’re just not very useful for robberies and the like; there’s not much demand for them in normal criminal circles, because they don’t provide any additional benefit.

        There’s a reason handguns are the most criminally popular weapons – they’re useful for robbing people or murdering your rivals close up, which is what it seems like criminal sorts do with weapons. Macineguns, even hand-held machine-pistols, just don’t add anything useful to that equation.

        (They’d be nice and common on the black market if they were in demand, just like every other totally illegal thing ghat’s in demand.

        Because it’s not like they’re actually hard to smuggle in, or just to make, with machine tools.

        And demand would mean black market money, which means it’d be profitable to do so.)

        1. If we can ban cocaine, we can ban bump stocks.

        2. The long-gun of choice for criminals was then, and is now, the “sawed off shotgun” since it can be conveniently concealed under a long-coat, and Double-Ought Buck does tremendous damage up close.

      2. Observe that violence is proportional to the men with guns sent out during the Herbert Hoover, Dicky Nixon and Reagan-Bush attempts to revive the monster of prohibitionism. “Frankenstein” was filmed in what year?

  4. “…Gun Control Laws Don’t Work…” Which is precisely why liberals are always crying for more of it. They love things that don’t work, are ineffective and are simply bad ideas, because they make them feel good. Which is what liberalism is all about.

    1. How much cognitive dissonance did it take the author to write “gun control laws don’t work” and then write how hard it is to obtain an automatic weapon?

      1. It is hard. It didn’t work.

      2. None.

        Because “work” means “does the thing the advocates claim to want”, which is reducing criminal abuse of such weapons, not just “make it harder for Joe Average to get one legally”.

        Problem being, again, that they were never really that popular for that purpose in the first place, no matter what we see in ’30s gangster movies.

        (Indeed, we see modern gangsters killing people evidently just as well with mere semi-autos, surprising absolutely nobody who’s studied the tactical and practical issues with automatic weapons.

        They’re great for fun plinking, and they’re great for suppressing fire.

        They’re no better, really, than a modern pistol or carbine for “killing a few rival gang members at close range”, though.)

      3. None. Because, with the illegal laws in place, obtaining any NFA weapon is very difficult, costly, time consuming, and takes a long time. His point is that with ALL that hassle, money, delay (a right delayed is a right denied…..) this guy, if the initial reports are correct, actually had one. We don’t yet know that as a certainty, as we’ve not seen “the final word” from the hooh hahs. If he DID, either he jumped through all those hoops set up to dissuade him from having it, or he broke some of the laws meant to prevent his getting it.

        Either way, all that “gun control” did not prevent a nutjob getting hold of it and using it to kill. Proving beyond any question that the gun control laws we have did not work.

        I cannot think of one “active shooter” incident ever where the gun control laws actually stopped it or prevented it. Nor have I ever heard of a new law proposed or enacted that WOULD have truly stopped any of them. Fifteen year old kids cannot legally own a handgun and certainly cannot carry it about with them as they go, loaded, yet we all can remember a few incidents where precisely this happened. Its illegal to be in possession/control of any firearm when drinking, certianly not when drunk, yet we see that one a fair bit, too. For that matter, the drunk driving laws prevent people drink-driving from crashing, do they?

    2. OH but gun control laws DO work………. they cause the law abiding citizens to obtain and own fewer guns, precisely the effect they are after. Dintchya hear ol Whatzernaim, Madam Die Fie? She said “if I could get the votes, I’d say to Mr. and Mrs. America, TURN THEM ALL IN. “

  5. Gun Control Laws Don’t Work

    Your problem is that you’re pretending that people make political arguments on logic rather than emotion and tribal opportunism.

    “oh, it might start a low-grade civil war, similar to the way the drug war oppressed millions? well isn’t that terrible… unless of course, it were to exclusively affect our political/cultural enemies. then its a feature, not a bug.”

  6. And, in back of all the hysteria and bloviation, lies the inconvenient truth;

    The Second Amendment was written and passed with the intention of keeping military grade firearms in the hands of the citizenry. Thus, any law that makes it harder for a citizen to obtain the military’s current infantry rifle is clearly against the intent of the Amendment. Any gun control proposal should be predicated on a proposed Constitutional Amendment. Anyone pushing gun control who fails to also propose such an Amendment is a scofflaw weasel who should be ignored until he is ready to play the game by the rules.

    1. No. The purpose of the Second Amendment (and for that matter most of the defense-related stuff in the Constitution) was to preclude the perceived need for a standing army. Not to create a standing army – and then to assert that that standing army’s equipment issue becomes the basis for what is protected for individuals.

      There is NO solution that doesn’t address THAT underlying problem.

      1. Oh – and nor am I asserting that creating a standing army eliminates the need for any individual or community right to defend itself – as many gun controllers want to seem to assert.

        Just saying that the problem is the professionalized standing army and its MP/police equivalent. Along with all the other militia functions that have now been federalized (including disaster organization and other stuff)

      2. You may be addressing the reasoning behind the Second Amendment’s purpose, but the purpose was to keep military grade firearms in the hands of the citizens.

        See, the argument that we no longer follow the ‘militia of the whole’ model of military protection still requires that the Constitution be amended. The gun grabbers need to address that the founders wanted the citizenry to be armed…and they do not. They can say “because we have admitted the need,for a standing army, the Second Amendment is ripe for further Amendment”. They don’t get to say it’s a dead letter.

        Not if we value the idea of a limited State.

        1. You can’t HAVE a limited state with a standing army. THAT is where the gunnuts are failing. Because it ain’t about guns per se – and never was back then either. It is about how a local community or an individual can protect itself without losing its liberty to a standing army. The notion that ‘everyone becomes their own untrained standing army in isolation’ is just simply insane and asinine.

          That old idea is still valid. Maybe even more so today with threats being mostly asymmetric (like terrorism) or natural disasters. Fat lot of good the standing army did on 9/11. It couldn’t even protect itself – while the only heroes that day were old ‘militia’ functions (in both NY and PA). Finding a way to ENHANCE that self-organization of even random groups (so it can BE ‘well-regulated’ in the old sense) is exactly how this discussion could transcend ‘guns’. And it would also eliminate the ability of top-downers to manipulate fears – because you can’t sell fear to those who aren’t fearful.

          Guns are only a means to an end. Stop fucking obsessing about them like they are a penis extension.

          1. Not to mention a fat lot of good it did Britain to have a huge standing army when they faced American ‘asymmetric’ paramilitary forces here in the States back around the early-to-mid 1700’s.

            We were not intended to have a standing army, yet we have one. We were intended to have the necessary weapons to protect ourselves, individually or otherwise, from threats foreign and domestic yet we do not.

            So, at least in spirit if not outright those idea’s are dead in these United States. If you talk about them to any ‘normal’ citizen they will look at you like you are insane. That’s how dead those views are.

            Fun to talk about? Perhaps. But both concepts are essentially dead and buried, which should tell you how far along the Tytler cycle we are.

            Last point, and it’s a big one, is that the world has changed in at least one major regard since the founding of this nation and that is the atom bomb. I don’t think anyone in their right mind says that people should be allowed to have one of those. Hell, most of us don’t even trust our own government with them, let alone some yahoo on the street (not that they could ever create, buy, or otherwise obtain such a complicated device.)This is something our founders never even once thought about, since it would have been a completely alien idea to them.

            1. We were intended to have the necessary weapons to protect ourselves

              necessary weapons – and training/discipline (well-regulated). That does not mean it is merely a ‘community right’. But it is absolutely an individual right associated with a civic need – not an absolute individual right in isolation.

              both concepts are essentially dead and buried. If you talk about them to any ‘normal’ citizen they will look at you like you are insane.

              Maybe. Maybe not. But until that discussion actually occurs, then I will argue that it is only dead because only very abnormal people are using the word ‘militia’. And normal people don’t listen to abnormal vaguely-Nazi people regardless of topic.

              Jeane Kirkpatrick wrote an article right after the Berlin Wall fell saying that we now had the opportunity to once again become a ‘normal country in a normal time’. It addressed a lot of the same issues that Eisenhower had mentioned in his farewell speech. That discussion was quite deliberately suppressed then – and since. The article isn’t even available online (at a good library though) and its not a coincidence imo. I’m convinced the idea isn’t dead. It was just strangled and buried alive. Libertarians are the only ones who can resurrect that discussion. No one else will.

            2. “‘I don’t think anyone in their right mind says that people should be allowed to have one of those””

              That would not fall under the definition of arms.

            3. This is something our founders never even once thought about, since it would have been a completely alien idea to them.

              not quite. The term “arms” in that time meant weapons of military usefulness (note well, that does NOT necessarily mean USED by the military, it does mean anything military might fund useful) that can be carried or moved about by an individual and deployed by that one. So, no, an atomic bomb wouldn’t necessarily qualify as “arms” unless one were intending something like a suitcase bomb, perhaps a shoulder fired nuclear grenade or small missile. But a B 71 loaded with a dozen nukes, or a Los Angeles Class submarine? Nope. Nor an aircraft carrier, though that WOULD be all kinds of fun. Maybe Soros would like to own one of those….. and have all his strange pals as shipmates. Hmm.. then they’d all be in one place, wouldn’t they? Hmmmm…. maybe we could rethink this one…..

          2. There you are mistaking my interest. I don’t own any guns. I defend the Second Amendment as written because I value the legal framework of the Constitution and the Amendments, and trust those who denounce them as ‘outmoded’ about as far as I could kick the stinking lot of ’em.

          3. The notion that ‘everyone becomes their own untrained standing army in isolation’ is just simply insane and asinine.

            I believe that the actions in Las Vegas prove you wrong. An ‘untrained standing army in isolation” just inflicted 59 casualties and over 500 injuries. That’s pretty good damage for ‘someone in isolation’… with guns.


            1. And you are saying what – that we need more of that?

            2. From a high vantage point. Into a crowd of 20,000. With limited avenues for escape.

          4. Jfree, how long do you think we have an independent US without a standing army? I am pretty sure the Russians, or Chinese, or North Korea, or ISIS would be happy to supply a standing army.

            1. The founders’ ideal was that, rather than having a standing army, the US would have a citizenry with the right and the means to defend themselves. How far do you think the Russians, or the Chinese, or the Norks, or ISIS would get if they invaded a country where every house was a probable sniper nest?

              1. Prolly pretty far once the radiation went down.

                1. in which case the standing army would be toast as well. So let’s leave that one off the table.

                  Yes, this shooter in Vegas (I refuse to repeat his name) DID function very effectively as a skilled operator in an assymetrical attack. His alledged behaviour prior to his operation was impeccable… no one paid the slightest bit of attention to him, he apparently needed no outside assistance. Yes, his selected target was a weak one, undefended in any practical sense. Nor did it have any tactical advantage toward any specific end. Just mayhem for its own sake, and the shock and awe it engendered.

                  But his operation proves the impact anyone COULD have acting alone. In a revolution or civil conflict, or even a full scale military one, tactics such as he employed could very well bring devastating consequences to any operational forces. Of course, had this actualy BEEN a military operation he was attacking, a shoulder fired rocket, tank round, field artillery round, could quickly have been brought to bear on that window…. limiting the toll. But against defenseless citizens? No countering that.

                  1. Sure the standing army would be toast, except for the part where it wouldn’t because no one can nuke us because we would nuke them with the MAD factor arsenal *our government* maintains.

                    Obviously said arsenal somewhat renders a standing army unnecessary (for protecting our own soil at least). But in the event that Russian/Chinese troops actually landed on our soil- which by definition could only occur if we had given up our own nukes first- there is no insurgent campaign that could possibly withstand a few “educational” nuclear punitive strikes on US cities. How long do you think resistance would last if Boise and Roanoke were vaporized because the Chicoms lost a convoy to insurgents? So long as they made it clear that they were willing to kill us all if we did not submit, our only choices would be obeisance or annihilation.

                    Which is, incidentally, the problem with insurgency in general: it only works if the opfor have “rules”, a la the US government. When the Romans, Mongols or European colonialists invaded countries, they didn’t use “hearts and minds”, they exterminated anyone that got in their way. They were willing to de- and then re- populate every region they subjugated, and the result was stable tyranny: the local subjects unwilling to gamble that their overlords wouldn’t exterminate them if they resisted.

                    The 2A can deter US government tyranny, but not foreign.

            2. how long do you think we have an independent US without a standing army?

              There can apparently be no discussion even about whether any one of our 800 foreign bases can be closed. So I’m sure the slippery slope to ‘no standing army’ will take many many generations – minimum.

              When I hear a 2A supporter talk about gun rights and liberty – from that foreign perspective with OUR army as the standing army occupier – THEN I’ll know we can have real discussion about security/liberty that transcends guns here in the US.

              Afghanistan had no standing army. We’ve now been there 14 years.
              We destroyed Iraqs standing army in a week. And only after that did the SHTF.
              We engage in videogame murder from afar and avoid boots-on-the-ground – both of which also create blowback/terrorism. It ain’t because of Montezuma’s revenge.

      3. True, there IS to be no standing army. Yet, the underlying principle does exist…. pretty early on, government DID begin specifying and issuing arms for military use. That is one issue, and you are spot on that it is THAT TYPE of weapon the Framers had in view for citizens to own, use, carry, etc, as an unalienable God given RIGHT. Whether there IS a military presently functioning or not, those same arms that WOULD be used by the military are precisely the ones citizens must be able to own and use.

        And yes, this thinking DID preclude the perceived need for full time standing army. Remember the text of that Second….. it says, referencing “militia”, which meant “every man”, since it is “necessary for the security of a free state” (state means civil society), the PEOPLE, who comprise the militia, are the very ones who MUST ALWAYS HAVE those arms BECAUSE it is the duty and responsibility of THE PEOPLE to see to “the security of a free state”.
        The intent, clearly established in the larger Constitution, was that, since THE PEOPLE see to “the security of a free state”, there would rarely BE any use for a standing army. SO rare, in fact, it was not permissible to have one called up and deployed for longer than ninety days.

        Shows ya how much good “laws” do when certain folks decide to ignore them. Whether its the ones maintaining an illegal standing army, or the ones taking common firearms and using them to murder innocents. Both violate the laws…..

        1. Whether there IS a military presently functioning or not, those same arms that WOULD be used by the military are precisely the ones citizens must be able to own and use.

          Ok. So let’s assume we leave Afghanistan. Should we just leave our land equipment there and distribute it widely and semi-randomly to individuals there? Leave cost out of your thinking. Would that act enhance their security/liberty post-departure of us? I argue it wouldn’t – because the weaponry of a standing army is just one of the things that makes standing armies destructive of liberty. It is, generally, arsenal weaponry – not personal weaponry. But hey – take the other side. I’d like to hear the argument in favor.

    2. Which ultimately matters not one whit. With all the other rights that have been circumscribed, to think the 2nd is somehow sacrosanct (especially with blood on the floor) is willfully naive. The only question now is how that outpouring will be expressed. The exact same concerns could easily be directed at the need for nationalized healthcare (with broad mental health elements) or some other cause.

      I am irritated that out of all the articles from Reason, damn few have addressed that violent crime is still mostly on the decline, even with these mass murders. Way to mimic the worst parts of the press with continual updates and blovating of their own instead of waiting for a clear picture to emerge, and a reasoned response against the hysteria at large.

      1. “”I am irritated that out of all the articles from Reason, damn few have addressed that violent crime is still mostly on the decline, even with these mass murders. “”

        Not sure what you are reading on this site, but I know violent crime is down from articles on Reason.

      2. Re: Qsi,

        With all the other rights that have been circumscribed, to think the 2nd is somehow sacrosanct (especially with blood on the floor) is willfully naive.

        Rights are not being circumscribed. Acts of naked aggression by the State should not and cannot be construed as de facto limits on rights that owe their existence by our very nature. All attempts at limiting our rights should be taken for what they are – naked barbarism by the state – and not a presumed manifestation of the State’s power to bestow rights.

        1. You are going to have a bit of a problem frothing about the “naked barbarism of the state” when it’s the plebs demanding gun control and actually the state, by sheer inertia, resisting.

          Best case scenario is pressing how poorly gun control measures work, and how tough cases make bad law to the agnostics so hopefully there isn’t an overwhelming force to move an unstoppable object.

          Nothing in your diatribe does that.

          1. the ONLY reason the plebes are “demanding” gun control is that certain factions within the state are fomenting that meme and driving things that way. Washington State’s legislature were asleep when Bloomie’s BUx bought us universal background checks… so were the courts. THEY fomented the support for that bill, and ignored the illegality of it on its face. Government SHOULD have never let it come onto the ballot as written…. they knew, or should have known, it was against Washington’s Constitution. They also, in large ways, supported the measure before hand, in many ways participating in the campaign in support of it KNOWING it was illegal, and pushing it on the people.

            Same thing went on in Nevada, COlorado, n Oregon it was the state lawmkers foisted an almosst identical bill onto the people in spite of their opposition. California, New Jersey, New York COnnecticut, (note their 5 to 15% compliance with new gun registration requirements in those two states…. ) and the DC gov’t failing to put a stop to the ilegal control measures prohibiting citizens from even being armed outside their homes… despite the folks clamouring for their right to arms as they go about one of the most crime infested cities in the nation, forcefully disarmed.

  7. “But what if Paddock’s weapons were illegally acquired, or illegally converted to automatic, or were semiautomatic weapons mistakenly identified as machine guns?”

    You leave out the possibility that it was legally modified to function similar to automatic. That seems to be the likely possibility at the moment and the direction the gun controllers are pointing their anger (well… one of the directions).

    Regardless, let’s go crazy and address a more relevant point. I’ll accept the possibility that he was shooting a gun that was (more or less) firing on auto. But, the question is… So What?

    1. Did full auto give him some massive boost to his lethality? Almost certainly not. The difference in time required to empty a magazine on full auto vs semi auto is insignificant. The extra time is offset by better aimed shots. If the dude had been shooting for a minute or two, maybe full auto would have made a difference. He was shooting for a half hour or so. At that point, the number or pre-loaded magazines is his limiting factor.

      So basically, full auto makes no difference other than increasing the pants-shitting of the ignorant.

      Fuck this guy, I hope he burns in hell. But that’s no reason to use stupid logic and lack of context to write useless laws.

      1. Full auto should make little difference if he was targeting individuals. If he was spraying a dense crowd, it would possibly be faster.

        In any case, let’s do something the Leftys can’t. Let’s wait for facts.

      2. The best way to kill lots of people – imo – would be to use a burst fire weapon and target individuals with a decent scope.

        1. Naw, the best way is bombs.

          Which are trivial to make and use.

    2. He was apparently firing at least one gun modified with a bump-stock.

      Bet on that sort of stuff being made illegal now

      1. Yeah, that’s where I was going with my second paragraph. I expect that will be a big target for legislation (probably more local than federal). And I don’t intend to waste too much breath arguing against it, but the mentality is what I was addressing with the second post.

        Why make it illegal? Because it’s scary? Because it’s (sorta) like the military? There isn’t any reliable info yet on how many rounds he fired or how long he was shooting. But, with any reasonable estimation, I don’t believe that the increased ROF from shooting auto vs semi had any significant impact on the results. But, it’s something for the gun-controllers to point at and say, “Are you f’ing kidding me? How can this be allowed?”

        1. He was firing for about 10 minutes – 17 minutes elapsed. That’s when cops arrived at the hotel door. For some reason, they didn’t breach for an hour – but he wasn’t firing after that. He killed himself when cops breached

      2. First pictures (assuming they’re legit) show AR-clones with high-capacity magazines. It’s hard to tell for sure from pictures but it looks like one is at least 40-round if not 100-round. Safe to assume those magazines will also be a target.

    3. Quote:
      “You leave out the possibility that it was legally modified to function similar to automatic.”

      There IS no such category. Either it fires one round per trigger pull, or it fires multiuple rounds as long as the trigger remains pulled. It is “one” or “more than one”. If a given firearm was built to fire “one”, it is highly illegal for anyone to modify it to fire “more than one”. Because this essentially creates a “new” fully automatic weapon that did not exist prior to 1986. Even if all of the parts were lawful to have assembled into that gun after 1986, as soon as someone modifies any one or more of them to create a previously non-existent fully automatic weapon the law as wrtitten has been broken. The ONLY full automaitc weapons that can be owned by private citizens were made, and made to function thusly, prior to 1986. No gettin around it.

  8. The same people whinging today about the NRA are also responsible for removing every trace of formal morality training in society. Not only do today’s children not go to Sunday School or Schul, they don’t even know any children who do. Nor is there any trace left in our Public Schools. Add to the mix the elimination of free-range kids channeled into a preoccupation with intensely violent video games and eventually violent pornography, and you have a breeding ground for psychopaths. There are simply too many guns in this country for added controls to have any meaningful effect other than to make you feel good that you’ve “done something” by tweaking the edges, and the notion of confiscating them all in a country this large with long-standing gun rights is absurd.

    1. Except the majority of studies I’ve seen suggest porn and video games decrease violence. And psychopath (the word you are actually looking for is sociopath) is so diluted to be almost meaningless, like fascism is used now.

      And the elephant in the room is that violent crime has gone down since the 50s, in which case I’d like more porn and video games please. If we can have boobs on broadcast tv, we just might reduce crime even further.

      1. so diluted to be almost meaningless, like fascism is used now.

        “Fascism” is now used to refer to what the fascists opposed.

    2. Not only do today’s children not go to Sunday School or Schul, they don’t even know any children who do. Nor is there any trace left in our Public Schools.

      I notice you conspicuously left out parents. Curious. Why does morality require some formal institution to instill it?

    3. Nor is there any trace left in our Public Schools.

      Nor should there be.

    4. I find the best part of the reflexive “but the NRA!!!” whining from people is that they simply assume the NRA is in favor of machine guns.

      As a “gun guy” and a Life Member of the NRA, I can assure them all that NRA, Inc. doesn’t give a flying goddamn about them.

      When I remember that for most people they literally just use the letters NRA as a substitute for “gun stuff” it helps, but I wish they’d stop confusing the two.

  9. “If black market activity in connection with the drug laws is any indication, a decades-long ‘war on handguns’ might resemble a low-grade civil war more than a law-enforcement initiative.”

    I sometimes wonder if progs perhaps see that as a feature, not a bug. I suspect that many of them harbor a secret (in some cases not so secret) desire to see “those crazy gun nuts” get stomped by a shiny jackboot.

    1. Exactly, for the anti-gun crowd such a scenario is their major jack-off fantasy.

  10. Just had a conversation with an acquaintance who said “We need to get all guns in the hands of the trained professional law enforcement officers.” My rejoinder, to which he had no answer: “Are you prepared to have Sheriff Arpaio and David Clarke and others like them be the only ones with guns? Except for the neo-Nazis and the inner city gangs who will hide their weapons rather than turn them in?” Why do progs imagine – after a shocking presidential defeat by someone they consider a Secret Nazi – that they will prosper in an unarmed citizenry?

    1. Intentions. Proggies have good intentions. If you disagree then you have bad intentions. They intend for the only armed people to be good cops like Officer Friendly.

    2. I don’t think they trust the state as much as they believe they are in the right and there’s no way the state would ever come after them once it has absolute control. Even as they decry police brutality, they want to give all the power to police. They got issues.

    3. As seen elsewhere, “six months ago the Left was all ‘this is the most fascist regime in American history’, today they’re all ‘give up all personal arms to the benevolent State’.”

      The various alternatives for parsing and resolving that conflict don’t make people look consistent or thoughtful.

  11. Everyone knows that in places like Texas, children can buy automatic bazookas at Wall Mart. We need common sense gun control.

    1. A snarky comment? And funny too? What have you done with the real John?

      1. Sometimes people surprise you.

  12. If we ban marijuana no one will be able to acquire marijuana. Banning things makes them go away. It is known.

    1. It is known.

  13. Poor Jimmy Kimmel; his heart has brainwashed him and he’s a droolingly emotional slob, now, like the rest of them.

    *Sniff ziggy zoggy ziggy zoggy hoy hoy hoy!

  14. Rather, they should look to building on other anti-crime strategies…

    Like repealing laws and prohibitions?

  15. Good intentions rule. If bad things come out of them, they are still good.

  16. I went to a gun show where some guy was selling a Ma Deuce for 10 grand. God, I wanted it so bad.

    1. 10 grand?

      So, it was a semi-auto?

      Or a post-86 dealer sample you couldn’t actually buy as a normal person?

      1. Yeah, a real Ma Deuce would not go for 10 G’s.

        Had to be a semi auto version.

  17. Has anyone heard anything about a motivation yet? Seriously, people don’t just shoot that many people then themselves without wanting to make a statement, and statements mean you say something somewhere.

    Did the fed ever say why they dismissed the ISIS connection? So far in all these shootings from what I’ve seen, ISIS doesn’t take credit unless the person is actually being motivated by wanting to commit Islamic terror.

    1. Maybe his motivations were strictly internal. Given his gambling habit and age, some degenerative brain condition could be the underlying cause. I’m not saying that it is, only that it’s possible.

      1. Brain condition could cause it, but it would have resulted in ranting at people first. His girlfriend at least should have heard something. Seriously, this guy must have talked to people beforehand. Who was he pissed at?

        ….actually, the police probably already know why he did it. Just waiting for things to settle down or to get some corroboration before releasing info. Guess the Vegas police are a little more practiced at keeping things under wraps than most major city police. Makes sense.

  18. Define work.

    When it comes to reducing criminal homicide, it does not work at all.

    When it comes to putting more black men in prison, it works very well.

    1. The unintended consequences that almost always accompany well-intended laws are often worse than the acts that spawned the law in the first place. But what’s a little collateral damage as long as we feel like we did good.

      1. Of course, for many people, these consequences are intended.

  19. More laws never work. The very people we wish would follow those laws usually don’t. People who are fine breaking laws shockingly have no problem break more laws. The rest of us not-so-happily submit to background checks, lines at the DMV, hours of painstaking work filing our taxes, permits, licenses, limits, etc. while the “bad guys” gleefully ignore all of it.

  20. Paul Ryan says the suppressor bill needs to be shelved now.

    Besides the silencer measure, House GOP leaders had been moving forward with a bill to allow people with concealed-carry permits to take their weapons to other states. Republicans had been upbeat about prospects for legislation, but votes on both measures seemed unlikely.

    Good job, Republicans. Thanks.

    1. Wait six weeks for the swell of thoughtless-left “gun control because reasons!” support and posturing to die down, because they still need a few Democrats to join in to pass anything?

      Sounds reasonable to me.

    2. Good job, Republicans. Thanks.

      Maybe we can revisit the issue where one man can kill hundreds of other people and/or commit hundreds of Americans to their death without Congressional approval.

    3. That was a close one. Without suppressors all those Las Vegans would still be alive.

  21. I can’t believe that a 64 year old multi millionaire decided to mow down a bunch of country music loving deplorables.

    This whole thing just smells fishy.

    1. But someone framing a 64 year old multi millionaire would not seem fishy?

  22. How can you say automatic weapons are heavily regulated when it is perfectly legal to buy a simple conversion kit to make your AR-15 continuous fire? Now that this clown has made the bump stock famous, we can probably expect many more events like this.

    1. Because it is not perfectly legal to buy such conversion kits (without going through the crazy hoops JD mentions), and even with a kit you need to do a bit of machining to the receiver.

  23. Nobody believe you, Reason. Machine guns and automatic weapons are ubiquitous in the American gun culture. You don’t need to study facts and statistics; you just need to watch movies and tv.

    Everybody in the hoods of South Side knows that it’s easier to buy a machine gun than a book.

    Even Obama knew that, and he was not really a homeboy.

  24. I have never had much interest in guns, though I did enjoy shooting targets with a .22 at summer camp. That said, what the progs seem to want is a gun-free society through a mandatory buy-back like they did in Australia. The argument for a well-armed citizenry is lost on them because they plan to hold on to power permanently and so will never need to be armed.

    1. but the proggies croak on, and always fail to mention that once the guns were melted down and turned into toasters, violent crime rates.. WENT UP because the Man on the street could not defend himself. Housebreakings, muggings, rapes…. and now the guvmint think all the guns are under control, the rates of gun crime is signficantly rising…. HOW SO? Seems the laws “preventing” commoners from having means of self defense have kept them from getting more guns…. but of late (past two years) it also seems there has been a HUGE influx of guns into the country… circulating mostly amongst the criminal element. Gun crime is sharply rising in Oz…. and the politicians are carefully avoiding mention of it.

  25. Strange, gun control laws appear to work in countries that don’t have mass shootings every day.

    1. Like Brazil?

      1. Like Norway? Or, Mexico?

        Or, for that matter, the US? Because the US has something like 20,000 gun control laws.

    2. “Strange, gun control laws appear to work in countries that don’t have mass shootings every day.”

      Yeah and they work in cities like Chicago.

  26. The Second Amendment should be strictly interpreted according to the intentions of the Framers. Which means it protects muzzle-loading muskets, rifles, and pistols; and you can add to that swords. That’s pretty much it. Ban everything else.

    1. The First Amendment should be strictly interpreted according to the intentions of the Framers. Which means it protects quill pens, parchment and charcoal; and you can add to that the human voice. That’s pretty much it. Ban everything else.

      An enforcer will be by the collect your computer shortly.

      PS: Fuck off, slaver.

    2. The second amendment according to the framers intentions was to have the citizenry out number the Federal or State army with longer range and accuracy. It is exactly what the United States did to the British Professional Standing Army and government represors who were well trained and experienced at war with France at that time. Local communities and well off citizens before and then under the second amendment had canon and explosives. The National Firearms Act of 1934 was the first restrictions against the citizens.

      So we the citizens should out number and out weapon the military (and federal law enforcement, posable second arm of a repressive government).

      In the Coast Guard as Federal Law Enforcement and as an Armed Force (Military) I got to fire every thing up to anti-ship missile, anti-air missile, anti-submarine, cannons 5inch down to 20mm, machine guns, sub-machine guns, assault rifles (if they are not automatic they are not legally “Assault”), semi-auto combat pistols and rifles, and my favorite riot shotguns. I also got to crew helicopters, aircraft, boats, and cutters (ships). Loved them all but I can not afford them.

      But I am sure as before communities and well off citizens still can (up to a point) still afford them (especially under the federal government give away of old and excess military equipment).

  27. Also, too: no need to ban guns, or confiscate them. Just end the open sale of ammo. It won’t be long before your machine gun is just a club.

    1. And communities and individuals can produce their own. It is not any harder to source material or make than street drugs. How well have we stopped that?

    2. It’s really not that difficult to manufacture (or especially reload) ammunition at home, especially if you only intend to purpose it towards shooting defenseless victims.

      Lead can be cast, easily. Black powder can be generated, and who knows what other modern substances could be made to function, given the need. Even primers can be effectively made with match heads.

      Guns are not magic. Ammunition is even less so.

  28. Guns do not kill people but people with guns kill more people

  29. Nothing works perfectly.. but to blithely say gun restrictions don’t work is plain nonsense. if they didn’t work, then other developed nations would have the same death rates as we do here in the US, and they obviously do not…. And clearly, the Aussie gun regulation after their one big massacre actually did work as evidenced by their declining death rate after that as shown in this chart:…..s-data.jpg

    1. They confiscated guns. That’s something many anti-gun folk claim they are NOT trying to do.

      So does common sense gun laws mean confiscation or not?

    2. Most gun violence is a product of drug prohibition, and as such could as easily rely on imported firearms as it does imported drugs.

      Mass shootings, on the other hand, are in some cases statistically more likely in countries with more-or-less outright bans on firearms, e.g. NZ.

      It’s extremely dishonest to talk about overall gun violence in the same context as mass shootings, as these have neither the same proximate causes, nor allowing factors, nor reasonable societal responses.

      1. Or, I should have said, being a victim of a mass shooting is, in some cases, more likely in countries with de facto outright bans, e.g. NZ.

    3. those data are old….. ended 2011. Seems since then they are finding a rather signficant increase in illegal weapons import, most of which are finding their way into the hands of the criminal element.

      Death rates by gun here in the US have also dropped sharply in the same time period, and continue to fall. To be honest, one must not include suicides, about one third of US gun deaths, because other data clearly establish that when one has decided to “end it all” if a gun is not present, something else will be pressed into service. Removing suicide by gun from US numbers reduces the rates even further. Canada’s suicide rate is all but identical to US’, but since handguns are very restricted there few of them are by gun. A signficant “factoid”/
      Further, what thse stats from Oz fail to reveal is that violent crime is on a sharp rise, particularly since the end of those numbers on your chart.. 2011. The criminal element are realising the unarmed citizenry are easy game for them… rape, mugging, housebreaking, violent assault, are all up 35 to 65 percent these past ten years or so. And non-gun deaths are not decreasing, as they do hjere, in spite of the fact there are over 100Mn gun owners in the US who collectively own over 400Mn guns. That’s more than one third of the adults lawfully within our borders.

  30. RE: Automatic Weapons Are Already Heavily Regulated and Gun Control Laws Don’t Work

    Of course gun control works.
    Just ask anyone who lived in Nazi Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Pol Pot’s Cambodia or Castro’s Cuba.
    They know from experience.

  31. Remember folks, people screaming “DRUMF IS LITERULLEE HITLER” are the same ones demanding that “LITERULLEE HITLER” disarm the public. Pointing this out to them makes their heads explode.

  32. Banning guns will work providing we also put a stop to gun manufacturing in Israel, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, England, Germany and many other places I cannot name here because my fingers are starting to hurt. After we destroy all the guns in the U.S., we could hire tens of thousands of border patrolmen to make sure that illegal guns are not smuggled into the states.

    Of course, we would have to put a stop to all U.S. weapon manufacturing except for military purposes and then pass a law that military personal cannot illegally sell weapons to non-military citizens. We have to have something that is illegal to give politicians a feeling that they are doing something, anything.

    Simple fix. Next problem….

  33. The LV shooter owned two airplanes. Think about the carnage if he’d chosen to use one as the weapon of choice. His choosing firearms must have some sort of symbolic value.

    1. Dint know that. Sure, full fuel tanks, dive bomb kamikazee style into the crowd. HOW could anyone stop that? By the time anyone realised what was happening it would be too late.. final approach at a steep angle….. probably could have taken out at least a couple thousand, maybe more.

      THEN would they scream background checks and permits to drive airplanes? OH, wait, they already are in place. I can’t drive an airplane cause I don’t got the Mother May I Card.

  34. anti-gun control supporter

    Apparently ‘assult looking weapons’ can be ‘easiely’ modified to become automatic. Is there any practical mechanical ‘fix’ available to prevent this being done ‘easiely’?

  35. By all accounts, the shooter had no criminal record that would have prevented him from legally purchasing a gun under current laws. He did, however, have an Indonesian girl friend with whom he was shacking up, and who quite possibly was sympathetic to Islamic ideology. So if Chuck Schumer et al really wanted to craft a law to prevent gun violence, it should be that if you are dating, shacking up or married to a Muslim, you can’t legally buy a firearm. But…… profiling!!

  36. Even if the progressive marxists repeal the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, we still have a natural right to keep and bear arms. From my cold hands.

  37. I highly recommend:

    “Gun Control and Mass Killers”

    In the category Politics.

  38. The idea that government is going to demand turn over of hand guns is a red herring. There are no politicians demanding this from any party, not even Bernie Sanders, who voted against the Brady bill.

  39. Strict gun laws only accomplish one thing, they create more criminals because most people refuse to comply. What aggravates progressives and anti-gun zealots the most is when people like me make it clear issues related to individual freedom guaranteed by the Constitution is where we make our stand. In their minds, if you pass a law, everyone will comply because THEY would comply. Of course most live in very large, heavily regulated cities where every action in their life is controlled by the government so the idea someone might no comply is unimaginable. Anyone who would disobey such a law is branded as a “nut”. Nothing shows how dangerous progressive ideology is to individual freedom more than how they react to events like Las Vegas and opposition to stricter gun laws.

    1. Vote libertarian and you nip Kristallnacht laws in the bud.

  40. The real problem is that the Communist Manifesto Income tax does not work against a population protected by the Second Amendment. When Herbert Hoover used that same tax to enforce laws making light beer a felony, citizens returned fire at dry agents. Several dry agents themselves committed suicide in furtherance of the repeal movement. Protestant and Catholic National Socialists were careful to disarm their Jewish neighbors via Kristallnacht laws before packing them of to death camps. There are two ways of asking about things that “work”…

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