The New York Times Wants To Ban Assault Rifles And They Are Right.

In just three mass shootings – Aurora, Sandy Hook and San Bernardino – the final toll is 147 killed and wounded.  Think about that number: 147.  That’s three busloads of human beings, two completely-full Amtrak passenger cars. The New York Times, in an unprecedented front-page editorial, is calling it a “moral outrage and national disgrace.”  The purpose of this column is to explain why I agree with them and why, if anything, the editorial board’s call for a ban on civilian ownership of assault weapons deserves to be supported in the strongest possible terms.

The gun industry has been promoting the sale of assault rifles for the last twenty years by advancing a big, fat lie; namely, that assault rifles are just another type of ‘sporting’ weapon which is no more dangerous than the old Remington or Winchester that Grandpa and then Dad used to lug out to the woods.  Until the 1960s, just about all sporting rifles loaded ammunition by the manual use of a bolt or lever, both of which considerably slowed the speed at which the gun could be reloaded and shot each time.  When semi-automatic sporting rifles began to be introduced in large numbers, the speed at which the gun could be reloaded increased, but the standard semi-auto hunting rifle, like the Remington 700 series, still only held 4 or 5 rounds.

What makes the AR-style rifle so different, so lethal, and so non-sporting is not the fact that it looks like a military gun (which it is); not the fact that it might be fitted with a laser which makes it extremely accurate, particularly in indoor, low light; not the fact that the stock can be folded so that the gun can be easily carried or even concealed; not even the fact that the front barrel lug can also be fitted with a bayonet, just in case a little extra oomph is needed to finish the job.

ARnew              No, what makes the assault rifle an assault rifle and not a sporting rifle is one thing and one thing only, namely, that it fires ammunition specifically designed to kill or maim military combatants (who happen to be humans, not sporting animals) and it can easily deliver 50 or 60 high-powered rounds in 30 seconds or less.  This is not to say that mass shootings involving scores of victims can only be accomplished with an AR; in fact, Seung-Hui Cho killed and wounded 56 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 using a Glock 19. But Cho’s attacks were spread over more than three hours; Adam Lanza killed 26 with an AR in an assault that didn’t last ten minutes.  Better coordination and communication might have saved many lives at Virginia Tech; in San Bernardino the carnage was over in five minutes or less.

What the Times calls a moral outrage and national disgrace is more than that; the ability of private citizens to get their hands on these highly-lethal weapons fitted out with high-capacity magazines is a risk to the nation’s health.  When two cases of Ebola occurred in the same hospital where a patient stricken with the virus had previously died, it wouldn’t have taken more than one or two more confirmed cases and the city of Dallas would have ceased to exist.  But the risk was recognized by the CDC and the threat was quickly brought to an end.

I am suggesting that the same situation now exists in the United States as regards the ownership and use of AR-15s.  How many more senseless slaughters are we going to endure while politicians dither around and pretend that they are truly concerned about 2nd Amendment rights?  The Constitution wisely gives government the right to institute comprehensive public health measures when the health of an entire community is put at risk.  If 147 dead and injured human beings in just three assaults with AR rifles doesn’t constitute a risk, then let’s save the taxpayers some money and close down the CDC.

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5 thoughts on “The New York Times Wants To Ban Assault Rifles And They Are Right.

  1. Do you still sell these evil contraptions in your store or did you stop a long time ago? What is missing from your definition is skill level. My bet is someone with the skill to change magazines in a handgun could shoot 50 rounds in 30 seconds or so and the definition includes handguns with ‘large’ magazines as well. Perhaps I misunderstand the ads for ammunition but 9mm hollow point ammunition sounds like it is designed for killing people as well as ‘stopping the threat’.

  2. Mike, I don’t understand why banning “assault weapons” — which are in some sense, basically “Barbies for gun guys” — is such a priority, against the backdrop that more people are killed every year in fistfights — and three times as many by knives — as by any kind of “long gun” (rifle, shotgun, etc., of which what people call “assault weapons” are an even smaller fraction). 248 people in 2014, for ALL rifles, of which things like what you’re talking about are an even smaller fraction.

    And this is the response to a terrorist attack mass shooting, for which the US death rate, while obviously “non-zero”, is statistically nil in a country with 320 million people?

    I don’t understand, unless it is, as one of my colleagues surmised, to be used as a stepping stone to go after other types of weapons. The NYT is not only arguing for a ban, but also *confiscation*, and everything that necessarily entails. And all to stop probably 10% of those 248 deaths, which are themselves declining?

    What is the motivation? Why?

  3. Agree 100%. All military grade guns and ammo should be banned from public sale or at least extra background checks and qualifications should be required, just like nitro and dynamite require a special permit for purchase. This includes hollow point ammo which I believe was illegal at one time. Of course the NRA is against any kind of regulation and simply says that criminals and terrorists will get the guns illegally. This argument is countered by saying that the selling of illegal arms needs to be enforced more strictly with enough money provided for the stricter enforcement. Criminals will buy guns legally if they can or will bypass background checks by buying at gun shows outside of the show or on the internet. They will only buy from a gun dealer on the street if they have to since the illegal seller can name their own price for the gun. Criminals will always look for the best deal just like anyone else. The stricter penalties for illegal sales will drive up the price of illegal guns thus decreasing the availability to the criminal element. If the price for a AR 15 is $1000 purchased legally and the price for an illegal AR 15 is $100,000 how many criminals and terrorists will be able to afford to buy an illegal AR 15?

  4. Who farted? Oh it was just Mike talking poop again.

    Come on Mike, I thought you were supposed to be some kind of “Gun Guy”. I have a couple of questions for you. Can you list for me the non-lethal rifle ammunition out there? Why was the .300 Blackout Developed? Does the M1903A3 Springfield fit the broad description of a “Weapon of War” people toss around? Weapons evolve Mike and when they do so does sport shooting, or have you not been to a three gun match? While firearms do lend themselves readily to sporting purposes that has absolutely nothing to do with their place on the Bill of Rights.

    The President reminded us last night that only the tiniest fraction of Muslims are ISIS (or his preferred ISIL) and we should not treat them as such. Much the same can be said about American “Assault Rifle” owners. Only the tiniest fraction of them are murderers.

    I am surprised you did not work in Mr. Colion Noir into this bit. Are you afraid of another spanking?

    SFC Robert R. McBride
    U.S. Army Retired
    Roscoe Texas

  5. Who farted? Oh it was just Mike talking poop again.

    Come on Mike, I thought you were supposed to be some kind of “Gun Guy”. I have a couple of questions for you. Can you list for me the non-lethal rifle ammunition out there? Why was the .300 Blackout Developed? Does the M1903A3 Springfield fit the broad description of a “Weapon of War” people toss around? Weapons evolve Mike and when they do so does sport shooting, or have you not been to a three gun match? While firearms do lend themselves readily to sporting purposes that has absolutely nothing to do with their place on the Bill of Rights.

    The President reminded us last night that only the tiniest fraction of Muslims are ISIS (or his preferred ISIL) and we should not treat them as such. Much the same can be said about American “Assault Rifle” owners. Only the tiniest fraction of them are murderers.

    I am surprised you did not work in Mr. Colion Noir into this bit. Are you afraid of another spanking?

    SFC Robert R. McBride
    U.S. Army Retired
    Roscoe Texas

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