If the last few seconds of this video don't have you laughing then you have no sense of humor. And who could forget former Vice President Joe Biden advising that the American people defend themselves by blinding firing a shotgun out of their front door?
The Washington Post recently embarrassed itself by publishing an article titled: The NRA and its allies use jargon to bully gun-control supporters. From the article:
"The phenomenon isn’t new, but in the weeks since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a lot of gun-skeptical liberals are getting a taste of it for the first time: While debating the merits of various gun control proposals, Second Amendment enthusiasts often diminish, or outright dismiss their views if they use imprecise firearms terminology. Perhaps someone tweets about “assault-style” weapons, only to be told that there’s no such thing. Maybe they’re reprimanded that an AR-15 is neither an assault rifle nor “high-powered.” Or they say something about “machine guns” when they really mean semiautomatic rifles. Or they get sucked into an hours-long Facebook exchange over the difference between a “clip” and a “magazine.”
Has this happened to you? If so, you’ve been gunsplained: harangued with the pedantry of the more-credible-than-thou firearms owner, admonished that your inferior knowledge of guns and their nomenclature puts an asterisk next to your opinion on gun control."
"Gunsplaining, though, is always done in bad faith. Like mansplaining, it’s less about adding to the discourse than smothering it — with self-appointed authority, and often the thinnest of connection to any real fact. (If gunsplaining had a motto, it might be Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher’s macabre old saw: “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”)"
If Mr. Weinsteinn was interested in good faith argumentation and "adding to the discourse", he wouldn't disregard the importance of factual accuracy by drawing upon the silencing tactics of radical feminists. How more transparent can one be in trying to censor a voice that happens to be male than by accusing them of "mansplaining" and therefore inherently not in possession of a valid perspective? Likewise, to accuse someone of "gunsplaining" is to admonish them for making the very valid point that the proponents of gun control almost never know anything about guns. The AR-15 is not high powered, it's not a machine gun, and neither it nor anything else is an "assault weapon". It is a semi automatic rifle, and the most popular one in the United States. It is almost never used in crime but it is used for sport by the millions. And it isn't going anywhere.
Naturally, if I'm going to advocate that people exhibit basic firearms literacy I should be careful not to make any mistakes of my own. The Post article makes that crystal clear, and at least on that point they're right to do so. For my part I consider myself only reasonably knowledgeable. I know the difference between semi and fully automatic, single and double action, centerfire and rimfire, and what it's actually like to fire one of these weapons. I am a competent shooter, but probably less so than a few others here. Firing a gun is in fact far less traumatic than that youtube clip would suggest. I also know, and can prove, that the 1994 ban on an arbitrary selection of firearms and firearm features was totally indefensible.
But first let's consider this gallery of bullets. There's not much rhyme or reason to the selection except to give some perspective as to what the ammunition of the AR-15 (.223 Remington) looks like next to various rifle, pistol and revolver cartridges. They are, in order: 7.62x39, .223, 5.7x28, .45, .44 Magnum, .44 Special, .357 Magnum, and .38 Special. Some of you may recognize the .357 as the bullet that mariomguy misidentified as the ".375" and wanted to be banned because of the noise it made. He might perhaps be satisfied to learn that shooting ranges tend to require the use of ear protection. The .44 Magnum was made famous by the movie Dirty Harry, which is an incredible film and not only because the villain was a depraved hippy, but I repeat myself. The main objective of this picture however is to show how much smaller the AR-15 cartridge is than that of the AK-47 (the 7.62x39)
Okay, okay, so maybe I should have led with this image. I just thought the Pink Knight would be a far more endearing reference item than a quarter and I've had that Dirty Harry joke in my head for weeks. Regardless, we can see here how small the .223 really is. The venerable 30-06 is so old that John Paul Stevens would have had the opportunity to be afraid of it before Jimmy Carter was even conceived, and yet no one ever calls to ban the "high powered" guns that fire these. That is probably because this particular bullet is most commonly associated with bolt action guns and wood grain finishes, though we could only imagine the horror of gun control advocates if they learned there were semi automatic rifles - some even with black polymer stocks instead of wood grain! - that fire an ancient cartridge like the 30-06. In fact, the .223 is restricted for larger game in many states because it's simply not powerful enough to be considered humane. True, it has no difficulty killing actual humans, but neither does the ubiquitous 9 mm, and indeed handgun rounds claim far more American lives than the .223 ever will.
So what about an Assault Weapon ban? Well, let's use the 1994 definition for reference.
Criteria of an assault weapon
Under the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 the definition of "semiautomatic assault weapon" included specific semi-automatic firearm models by name, and other semi-automatic firearms that possessed two or more from a set certain features:
An Intratec TEC-DC9 with 32-round magazine; a semi-automatic pistol formerly classified as an assault weapon under federal law.
Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
• Folding or telescoping stock
• Pistol grip
• Bayonet mount
• Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
• Grenade launcher
Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
• Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
• Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
• Barrel shroud safety feature that prevents burns to the operator
• Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
• A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.
Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:
• Folding or telescoping stock
• Pistol grip
• Detachable magazine.
The ban defined the following semi-automatic firearms, as well as any copies or duplicates of them in any caliber, as assault weapons:
• Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (AKs) (all models)
• Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil
• Beretta AR-70 (SC-70)
• Colt AR-15
• Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN-LAR, FNC
• SWD (MAC type) M-10, M-11, M11/9, M12
• Steyr AUG
• INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9, TEC-22
• Revolving cylinder shotguns such as (or similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12
As legalese goes, this is a fairly simple definition. This simplicity helps us understand how "assault weapon" is a meaningless term and why shooters don't recognize it, as it is useless except as an underhanded way of obfuscating the issue for an ignorant voting public. Seriously, look at what this does. They created a definition for "assault weapon" that is reliant mostly on a series of optional features. Bayonet mounts, pistol grips, barrel shrouds, and other thing that have little to nothing to do with whether or not the firearm can be used to murder innocent people. In addition to this the government included various firearms that may have models that don't necessarily fit the given definition. That way, for instance, you wouldn't be able to own an AK-47 that fell short of the minimum "assault weapon" feature requirements. The point of this was to ban scary black guns, as there were plenty of equivalents still on the market that, by virtue of appearance and lack of notoriety, were spared the ban. Not to mention that every pre-ban gun was also spared. The ban on "high capacity magazines" likewise spared pre-ban paraphernalia. This led to price gouging on the secondary market, and not much else.
So that's the definition of "assault weapon" laid bare, but what other deceptive terminology do gun control advocates in our media and government use? As most of you have probably noticed over the years I tend to focus on the way language is abused in the service of various political arguments, and despite what Adam Weinsteinn might think that's not pedantry. Here's an example most of us are probably sympathetic with: When we hear the words "hack the election" what we can see going on are people trying to conflate the DNC email hack with the notion that the Russians somehow "hacked" the mechanisms by which Donald Trump was elected. If you have any doubt of this, ask the people on this very forum that have used these words if they are willing to state unequivocally that they accept the legitimacy of Donald Trump's victory. Bonus points for noticing the hypocrisy of their hand wringing over Trump's supposed unwillingness to accept a hypothetical Clinton victory.
Case in point, a "high capacity magazine" is any magazine that can hold over ten rounds, according to the mercifully defunct 1994 law. Here's a startling revelation: Many (if not most) modern guns that aren't pocket pistols or revolvers have standard magazine sizes that large or larger. The Browning Hi-Power that your grandfather might have carried in WWII had a capacity of 13. That may have been big for the time, but hopefully this helps put in perspective how dishonest the term ultimately is. Then there's the notion of "military style" weapons, which refers only to the cosmetics of a gun. It is nothing less than a lie to suggest that semi automatic weapons "styled" after military versions are equivalent in any way that matters. As a point of contrast, there is no distinction between an AR-15 and the vague umbrella of a "hunting rifle" because it is a hunting rifle.
This is the Five-Seven, a semiautomatic pistol which appropriately enough shoots the 5.7 rifle cartridge and has a standard capacity of 20 rounds. Due to its visibility in popular culture and its infamy as the weapon of choice of the (first) Fort Hood shooter it ended up on a variety of Congressional chopping blocks. Going over why this was an eminently meaningless endeavor is, I hope, not really necessary at this point. No, the reason I offer pictures of this gun is because I went and bought it in 2013 in protest of Obama's own attempt at an "assault weapon" ban. This is the state of affairs right now: The more noise the proponents of bans make, the more guns we buy. The laws never materialize, but our horde of weapons grows ever larger. What is the reason for banning guns with bayonet mounts anyway? Surely it's not about bayonets, and no one wants to ban threaded barrels in order to prevent the nonexistent epidemic of crimes committed with sound suppressors. Does anyone opposed to collapsible stocks even know why they oppose it, if it isn't part of some ulterior motive? If going after rifle features is instead meant to make rifles essentially restricted, and if going after standard magazine sizes is likewise meant to limit the types of guns available for purchase, as I have argued, then the true objective of gun control becomes undeniable.
This pressure continues to build until the left can no longer maintain the façade. The New York Times recently exhumed former Supreme Court Justice Stevens for the sole purpose of lending as much weight as they could to this argument. In advocating for the repeal of the Second Amendment it seems to me almost as if Stevens tacitly admits that this is the one true safeguard against gun control. It's almost as if the entire Bill of Rights was written so as to limit government power rather than to grant power to government militias! If you're wondering what New York Times readers think of such a proposal, just read the comments section. This is what they want. This is all they have ever wanted.
The disconnect between advocates of gun rights and and advocates of gun control is the difference between high and low investment in the hobby and the difference in understanding of what firearms are, how they operate, and how they relate to the great American story. That is, we have everything going in our favor. That is why advocacy for gun control requires they shield their intellectual bankruptcy behind children, living or dead, why ignorance is handwaved and why they are so insistent on deceptive euphemisms like "assault weapon" and "high capacity magazine". How else are they supposed to get what they want, considering what they want is to get our right to bear arms stricken from the Constitution?
Despite all that, I encourage The New York Times and the Washington Post on their race to the bottom. Feel free to run articles calling for a constitutional amendment. Turn up the volume on David Hogg. Continue to put the camera on celebrities as they attend rallies and are beside themselves (or is that their armed security detail?) with incredulity at the notion that the rubes should ever want responsibility for their own lives. Get every British pundit you can find on the air in order to tell Americans how terrible their country is and how much better it would be if we were more like them, and everyone else besides. Make this your crusade. We have the opportunity to pit these two increasingly alien cultures against each other in the middle of an election year to see which one is more compatible with the modern American project. My bet is that if the left in our government and our media can keep up with the hostility they have exhibited for the foundation of this great country and their fellow gun owning citizens that they will only further marginalize themselves politically. Do you think they have the courage to attempt to prove me wrong? Now's the time to try. I'll see you in November.