I've been hearing a lot about how we need to ban assault weapons, but I'm finding that the same misinformation that was floated back in 1994 is being used once against to ramp up hysteria around semi-automatic rifles. So, the following is an explanation of terms and general discussion of the folly of so-called "assault weapon" bans.
What is an assault weapon? Well, the truthful answer is that there is no such thing as an assault weapon. The term was fabricated by gun control groups and the media to describe semi-automatic rifles that had 2 or more cosmetic features such as pistol grips and telescoping stocks--such as civilian versions of the AR-15 and AK47.
The term was created to intentionally cause confusion among the uninformed public and to create fear. The gun control groups wanted people think that we were banning fully automatic machine guns. When the truth is these civilian owned rifles were NOT machine guns. They LOOK like machine guns, but they do not FUNCTION like machine guns.
The "evil" Bushmaster AR-15 that we hear so much about is one such rifle. It fires one round at a time, it is no more a "rapid fire" gun than a revolver. It only shoots as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. It LOOKS like the military equivalent, but no military in the world uses it. Nor can it be easily converted to fully automatic.---If it was so easy to convert these rifles to fully automatic, why have none of the recent mass shooters used a converted rifle?
When the 1994 assault weapon ban was enacted, these evil black rifles were still available to the public, they simply had their cosmetic features removed--such as fixed stocks rather than adjustable telescoping stocks.
The ban was admittedly, "symbolic" and had no effect on crime. Think of it this way--It was like enacting a ban on spoilers on cars in order to reduce traffic deaths. No sane person would expect that changing a cosmetic feature on a car would have any effect on vehicular homicide, but that is precisely what an assault weapon ban is. It's a ban on cosmetic features. So instead of making our roads safer or punishing people who break traffic laws, we essentially banned spoilers, chrome rims, etc. and hoped to reduce traffic deaths and failed.
Also keep in mind that the definition of "assault weapon" varies by State. For example, the assault weapon ban that Rep. Acevedo tried to sneak through the Illinois General Assembly during the lame duck session would have classified certain revolvers as assault weapons.
The truth is that rifles (of any cosmetic appearance) are used in relatively few murders. The number of murders in the U.S. in 2011 committed with rifles: 323. In 2011, more murders were committed by knives (1,694), hands, fists and feet (728) and blunt weapons such as clubs and hammers (496), according to FBI data. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1
What does this mean? It means that in 2011 you were more likely to be killed with a hammer than a Bushmaster. It means that the people in the legislature don't really care about reducing violent crime. They want to ban guns. Period. As many as they possibly can. Where's the public outcry to ban assault hammers?
Semi-Automatic vs. Fully Automatic:
Again the media loves to confuse people over the difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic.
The only thing that is "automatic" about a semi-automatic firearm, be it shotgun, pistol or rifle is that upon firing a round, the casing from the spent round is ejected, the next round in the magazine is automatically loaded into the chamber. In order to fire another round, the shooter must RELEASE THE TRIGGER and then pull the trigger again.
Fully automatic means that once the trigger is pulled, the gun will fire multiple rounds until the trigger is released. These are "machine guns" and they are essentially already banned. You can't buy new ones and the ones that are available are subject to enough federal regulation to choke a horse.
Semi-automatic is just a type of technology and it's how "modern" firearms operate. If you were to ban all semi-automatic firearms you would be left with bolt action rifles (think World War I era), lever action rifles (think Old West cowboy era), pump action shotguns, and revolvers. (And if you're Rep. Acevedo, you'd be trying to ban those as well). These older technology guns require the user to manually eject the round and load a new round via a crank, lever, pump, etc.
Please stop calling them "clips." Modern firearms use "magazines" not clips. Every time a person, be it the media or Obama, opens their mouth and refers to a "high capacity clip" in reference to an AR-15, they are revealing how truly ignorant they are when it comes to modern firearms. A clip is a metal prong or strip that holds bullets, usually less than 10, the metal clip then feeds the bullets into a magazine that is usually built into the gun. Unless you're talking about a World War II era M1 Garand, you're probably talking about a magazine, not a clip.
Probably the loudest cry right now is to ban magazines that hold over 10 rounds. (Or 7 if you live in the People's Republic of New York.) The logic that goes into this is astounding. Essentially what gun control advocates are saying is that it's ok for 10 people to be shot before having to reload, but 11 is too many.
The number of rounds "allowed" in a magazine under an assault weapon ban is completely arbitrary, somewhere someone decided that "10" was the magic number of people that could be shot on one magazine. The reasoning, of course, is that the victims can "tackle the guy" while he's reloading, which is exactly how the shooter in Tucson Arizona was stopped. Fantastic. Kudos to those brave individuals who put their lives in harm's way to save others. Now, someone give me another example of when victims successfully "tackled the guy." What's that? Do I hear crickets?
Stop believing what you see in movies. It takes a fraction of a second to reload a handgun. The Virginia tech shooter had 2 handguns, and fired over 124 rounds. That means that he had to reload MULTIPLE TIMES! Why wasn't he tackled!?
The number of bullets in magazines is a false argument and everyone knows it. Does anyone really think that a crazed psychopath or a gang banger is going to care if some politician passes a law that bans magazines with over 10 rounds? Does anyone honestly think that a psycho is going to think, "Hmm, I'd like to commit mass murder today, but I better not use these 11 round magazines, that would be illegal." It's lunacy. The only thing magazine bans do is limit how many rounds a LAW ABIDING CITIZEN can carry to defend themselves, because law abiding citizens are the only ones that are going to listen to the idiot politician, who by the way is surrounded by armed guards all day.
Politics and Reality:
The NRA was lambasted for saying that, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."
Well it's true. With the exception of the Arizona shooter, every other mass shooter has been stopped by either armed law enforcement or an armed concealed carry permit holder. (Ironically the concealed carry permit holders usually stop the psycho before he can kill more than 2 people, so those events don't get actually get classified as "mass murder" and the mainstream media ignores them.)
Whenever an active shooter is confronted by armed resistance he either: gives up, is shot dead by the armed resistance, or commits suicide. That's how mass shootings end, these are the facts, they are unfortunate but true.
The current gun control debate is a farce. We need to do something about the horrible state of mental health treatment in this country. We need to improve security in our schools. We need to eliminate gun free zones. We need to allow people to defend themselves.
Guns are not the problem--In Switzerland, the citizenry is required to own and maintain a fully automatic Sig 550 Assault Rifle. (A REAL military gun, not a look alike) Switzerland doesn't have home invasions and they don't have mass shootings. Nor does Israel, where people walk around with machine guns.
I'm not saying that we need to start toting around machine guns, but what I am saying is that the current gun control argument is a giant distraction from the real problems that we have in protecting our children.
Finally, I think Rick Perry got this one right:
"The piling on the by the political left and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The Second Amendment to the Constitution is a basic right and cannot nor will not be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president."
In other words, if you don't like guns, just say so. If you want to repeal the second amendment, there is a process for doing so. But, please don't stand on the graves of children to move your political agenda forward.
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The above writings are my views and mine alone. They are not necessarily the views of any company or organization that I may be associated with. That being said, if you agree with the basic tenants of gun rights, I would encourage you to join www.illinoiscarry.com and http://www.isra.org/ if you have any interest in keeping your lawfully owned guns in Illinois.