What’s The Difference Between This Semi-Auto And That Semi-Auto? Plenty.

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Before the debate about a post-Vegas gun law collapses into a complete muddle as Gun-nut Nation tries desperately to stave off any significant attempt to impose even the weakest regulations on firearms, I thought it would be instructive and useful to clarify exactly what is and isn’t involved in turning a semi-auto rifle into a gun which will shoot upwards of 700 rounds a minute and therefore create a level of destruction which can only be experienced by using what we ordinarily call a machine gun, or full-auto gun.

bump              The attachment which may or may not have been on the gun used by Stephen Paddock (the Las Vegas Police Department is too busy trying to figure out what actually happened to be bothered figuring out what type of gun) was determined to be a legal accessory because it still requires that the trigger be activated for every shot, whereas with a full-auto gun, or what we call a Class-III NFA weapon, the trigger needs only to be pulled one time in order to completely empty the ammunition mag. What the bump-stock does is to use the gun’s recoil to pull and release the trigger each time, so the trigger is pulled and the gun fires at the rate which the bolt moves back and forth rather than by the speed at which someone can manually pull the trigger to shoot each round. Get it?

But here is where the confusion sets in. Because in fact there are many different types of semi-automatic rifles, but this doesn’t mean that a bump-stock will work with each and every one.  Here’s an AR-15:

AR

              Notice that the stock is actually just a cheekpiece which screws onto a tube extended from the gun but is not connected to the frame.

Here’s a standard, semi-auto hunting rifle:

browning

              Notice the stock is attached to the frame and if you want to remove the stock to stick on an accessory like a bump-stock, you basically have to cut away the back half of the gun. In other words, it can’t be done.

The gun industry has been trying mightily to convince consumers that the AR-15 is no different from any other ‘sporting’ gun. In fact, they have even invented a name for this product, they call it the ‘modern sporting rifle’ and they insist that there’s absolutely no difference between the gun pictured above and the gun pictured below because they both are semi-auto guns.

If one thing comes out of the debate about bump-stocks, it will hopefully be a recognition that the argument made by the gun industry to pretend that an AR-15 is no more lethal than any other type of legal firearm is an argument which will finally be put to bed.  Because what makes the AR-style gun so very different from traditional semi-auto rifles is not just that it can accept high-capacity mags that can be switched in and out without losing point of aim, not just that with a collapsible stock the gun is much more concealable and transportable than a standard-size gun, and not just that you can attach hand grips to the rails which makes it easier for the recoil to be controlled.

What makes the AR-15 too dangerous to be floating around is that it can easily and quickly be converted into, in effect, a full-auto gun.  Which is not the case with traditional semi-auto rifles like the Browning BAR rifle pictured above.

If Congress wants to really get serious about preventing the kind of terrible tragedy that played out last week in front of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, they should not just prohibit accessory products that can be fitted to an AR and turn it into a full-auto gun, they should also prohibit guns that will accept those kinds of products because here’s the dirty little secret you need to know.

Listening? There are instructions floating around for making and installing your own bump-stock on your AR, which would be [perfectly legal even if the so-called ‘ban’ is passed.

A New Law That Will Make Assault Rifles Easier To Own.

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I want to make a suggestion to my friends in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community and it goes like this. I think that every year on the anniversary of Sandy Hook, or maybe on the Wear Orange day, or maybe on the Concert for America day, the GVP should get together and give an award to the public figure who has done the most that year to promote gun violence. Maybe the award would go to a President, maybe to a Detroit police chief, maybe to someone who heads a pro-gun advocacy group, the usual suspects list is obviously quite long.

AR2              But for the inaugural award I want to nominate Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) who has just introduced a bill called – get this – the “Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act,” which has to rank as the single most dangerous piece of federal legislation which has ever been crafted to increase the violence caused by guns.  The bill is H.R. 2060, and I’ll get serious now and tell GVP that they better get their sh*t together and start working against this measure right now. Because if GVP doesn’t shove this bill up you know where and it becomes law, what happened at Sandy Hook and The Pulse will look like child’s play compared to the violence that a statute like this could cause.

What this bill basically does is prohibit the ATF from determining what kinds of weapons can be imported from overseas based on whether any particular gun meets the criteria for being ‘sporting’ or not. And if the ATF determines that a gun isn’t a ‘sporting’ arm, then it doesn’t come in. And what this means is that AR-style rifles, a.k.a assault rifles, don’t come in. You can import some foreign parts and assemble the gun over here, but those weapons can only be sold if they also contain a certain number of US-made parts.  Here’s the bottom line: if this bill becomes law, we will be flooded with cheap AR-15s and AK-47s, along with any other type of gun that could be used for ‘self defense.’

Now you might think that the attempt by Gun-nut Nation to pass a national concealed-carry law is a more serious threat to community safety and peace. But I actually tend to agree with the Gun-nut gang that there really isn’t a connection between gun violence rates and the fact that someone who has a clean background record is walking around with a gun. The connection is a little more incidental than whether CCW-holders commit crimes, because what’s really behind the push to validate national CCW is the expectation that such a law would increase the overall sale of guns. And the more guns that are out there, the more that get stolen or lost, the more that wind up in the wrong hands, you know the drill.

Which is exactly what would happen if every Tom, Dick and Harry manufacturer of assault weapons anywhere in the world could ship their products over here. Domestic ‘black gun’ manufacturers like S&W, Rock River and Bushmaster would drop their prices even further, dealers would discount both the guns and the ammo (and by the way, the bill also prevents ATF from deciding whether imported ammunition is ‘sporting’ or not) and the idea that an AR-15 or an AK-47 is a ‘defensive’ weapon would gain the upper hand.

Leave it to my friends in Fairfax, of course, to push this terrible piece of legislation by saying something which simply isn’t true, namely, that the ‘core’ purpose of the 2nd Amendment, as stated in the 2008 Heller decision, is self defense. What Heller says is that Americans have the Constitutional ‘right’ to keep a handgun in their homes to defend themselves; there’s not a single word about keeping an AR around the house.

I meant what I said that H.R. 2060 is the worst piece of pro-gun legislation ever introduced. Let’s not wait until a bunch of NRA toadies in the People’s House put it up for a vote. It needs to be stopped now.

My Little Gun Manual – Revised And A Section Added On Hi-Cap Magazines.

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dallas

 

Thank you all for your feedback yesterday.  In light of some responses, I have revised the manual slightly and added a section on hi-cap magazines.

 

I will probably add a brief reader’s quiz next.

 

You can download the new version here.

Comment On The Upcoming Senate Gun Vote.

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pulse           In preparation for the Senate vote on Monday which may or may not involve extending background checks to private transactions, I thought I would take a look at Armslist, a national website that allows, indeed encourages private sales of guns. And when you go to the website, the first thing that greets you is a ‘disclaimer’ which says that anyone using the site should follow all laws regarding the sale and transfer of firearms.  But what if there are no laws? What if you happen to live in one of the 40 states that does not require a background check except at the initial point of sale?

Here are some examples of what you can do.

  • A resident of Birmingham, AL, wants to buy a Glock 27, which holds 10 rounds of S&W 40 ammo and is less than 6 ½ inches long. So it’s a very concealable gun, the ammunition is extremely lethal, and if you want to ‘load up’ as we say in the gun business, you can get magazines that hold 13, 15 or 22 rounds!  Imagine that – a handgun that hold 22 rounds.  Slip into a club some night with this gun and 4 extended mags and you can equal the body count that was registered at the Pulse. The guy who wants to buy such a gun is named Josh and he says that he’s “not a paranoid gun owner” and will give someone $450 for the gun but doesn’t require a ‘bill of sale’ or a ‘photo ID.’ But we know he’s a law-abiding citizen because at the end of the notice he makes sure to add: “God Bless America!” and that takes care of that.
  • There’s a fellow who lives in Broward. FL, who wants to sell or trade his Bushmaster ACR. This gun happens to be a look-alike for the Sig MCX, except it has more design options and can be ‘adapted’ to more shooting environments, hence the acronym ‘ACR’ which means ‘Adaptive Combat Rifle.’ So if you’re ready to go into combat in a nightclub, or a schoolyard, or anywhere else where terrorists are running amok, just shoulder your Bushmaster ACR and you’re ready to go.  The seller of this gun says it “has never been fired” and he has “no practical use for it.”  Well at least he’s admitting that there’s no real reason for anyone to shell out $1,400 for this gun.
  • Maybe rather than an AR-15 or the ACR I’d rather like to go with a Yugo SKS.  I was always partial to the SKS because most AR-15 rifles shoot the .223 shell but the SKS takes a 30-caliber round which basically means more tissue damage for each pop.  And if I happened to live in Nebraska, there’s a guy in Central Nebraska who’s got a Yugo with a folding stock for $600 bucks.  And what makes this gun really neat is it also comes with a real bayonet, so if I run out of ammo I can still defend myself with this sharp, metal stick. The seller, incidentally, says that the buyer has to pay ‘shipping,’ and while the Feds say he can’t ship the gun directly to me if I live in another state, ho-hum, ho-hum, ho-hum.

Now don’t get wrong.  I’m not saying that anyone who buys or sells a gun on Armslist is trying to evade the law. Because the truth is that I have purchased 4 or 5 guns that were listed on Armslist and in every, single case the transaction not only occurred in a completely legal way, but the sellers all insisted that we fill out an online gun transfer form that is required for private sales in my state.

What I am saying is that requiring background checks for transfers of such lethal weapons as 22-round Glocks or AR and AK-style guns is in no way, shape or form a violation of 2nd-Amendment rights. Tell that to Senator Grassley. Yea, right.pulse

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

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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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