NYT: Say, what exactly is an “assault weapon,” anyway?

posted at 2:01 pm on January 17, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

That’s a good question — and perhaps one that should have been answered before New York jumped headlong into a ban on them.  The New York Times can’t quite figure out what the definition is, calling it “complicated”:

Advocates of an assault weapons ban argue that the designation should apply to firearms like those used in the Newtown, Conn., shootings and other recent mass killings — semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines and “military” features like pistol grips, flash suppressors and collapsible or folding stocks.

Such firearms, they contend, were designed for the battlefield, where the goal is to rapidly kill as many enemy soldiers as possible, and they have no place in civilian life.

“When the military switched over to this assault weapon, the whole context changed,” said Tom Diaz, formerly of the Violence Policy Center, whose book about the militarization of civilian firearms, “The Last Gun,” is scheduled for publication in the spring. “The conversation became, ‘Is this the kind of gun you want in the civilian world?’ And we who advocate for regulation say, ‘No, you do not.’ ”

But Second Amendment groups — and many firearm owners — heatedly object to the use of “assault weapon” to describe guns that they say are routinely used in target shooting and hunting. The term, they argue, should be used only for firearms capable of full automatic fire, like those employed by law enforcement and the military. They prefer the term “tactical rifle” or “modern sporting rifle” for the semiautomatic civilian versions.

They argue that any attempt to ban “assault weapons” is misguided because the guns under discussion differ from many other firearms only in their styling.

Modern armies don’t design semi-automatic rifles for use in theaters of war.  They supply their soldiers with fully automatic weapons, which have been illegal for civilians to own or purchase in the US ever since the Great Depression, with only a narrow exception with strict licensing and oversight.  Semi-automatic rifles produce one round per trigger pull, regardless of how “scary” the weapon looks.  I noted the same ignorance of military use in my TFT column today with regard to how Barack Obama attempted to sell his assault-weapons ban proposal yesterday:

Let’s start with the assault-weapons ban, which mirrors the ban Connecticut had in place at the time of the massacre. Obama insisted in his speech that “Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater,” but the weapons banned under this proposal wouldn’t be used in any theaters of war, either.

They are all semi-automatic weapons, which require one trigger pull per shot fired, just as revolvers do.  Weapons designed for theaters of war are usually fully automatic, at least for modern armies, allowing soldiers to produce rapid continuous fire on an enemy. Fully automatic weapons are already banned for most American civilians, either for sale or possession, by existing federal law.

This was a problem with the original 1994 legislation, too.  The law banned or allowed weapons that functionally were the same.  All of them produced one round per trigger pull, but the military flourishes — which do nothing to add or subtract from the lethality of the weapon — offended the senses of some enough to warrant their illegality.  It’s strictly a superficial, stylistic choice.

The New Republic‘s Bill Scher made the same point yesterday, as well as the 1994 law’s ultimate futility:

Most glaringly, though, the focus on assault rifles ignored the main source of gun deaths: handguns. In 2011, there were approximately 6,000 homicides from handguns, versus little more than 300 from rifles. (Another 20,000 gun deaths were intentional suicides, also primarily a handgun problem.) While mass shootings are nationally traumatic, they are a mere sliver of the gun problem. The 68 dead this year from such crimes is less than one-half of one percent of the 30,000 gun deaths from 2011.

Assault weapons may be more likely in mass shootings, but so are semiautomatic handguns, which were used in Columbine, Virginia Tech and Aurora. The killers at Columbine and Aurora also used shotguns. In fact, police in Aurora noted that the shooter could have done more damage with his shotgun than with his assault rifle equipped with the infamous 100-round magazines, partly because of the deadly spray effect of the shotgun pellets and partly because his 100-round magazine jammed, as they are known to do.

Scher linked to FBI statistics on homicides in the five-year period from 2007-2011 (inclusive), and in each year — well after the expiration of the 1994 law — the number of murder victims by firearms fell from the year before.  That is true of handguns and of rifles, as well as the overall number of murder victims in the country by any means. But let’s look specifically at “rifles,” of which the assault-weapons ban would only affect a subset, and see how those stack up against other means of murder:

First, if one wants to prevent murders, then going after rifles isn’t going to do much, since murders involving rifles only accounted for only 323 of the 8,583 firearms-related murder victims in 2011, according to the FBI. More homicide victims resulted from blunt-object attacks (496), and nearly five times as many from knives and other cutting instruments (1,587).

More than twice as many victims (728) resulted from “personal weapons,” defined by the FBI as “hands, fists, feet, etc.” More to the point, the 1994 ban didn’t reduce the rate of mass shootings; its expiration didn’t increase the rate, and many of those that did occur involved weapons outside of the scope of the ban, such as shotguns and handguns. Note too that homicide victims from firearms dropped in each of the last five reported years in both overall numbers and those resulting from rifles.

In other words, we’d have arguably better results by banning human arms than from banning a subset of rifles, at least in terms of murders committed … and probably just as much success, too.  This also points out the vapidity of the term “assault weapons”: any weapon used to assault someone else is an “assault weapon.”  Handguns produced 20 times as many murder victims as all rifles, and yet all of the focus falls on styles of semi-automatic rifles designed specifically for civilian use that simply look and sound scary to contemplate.

What does this tell us?  It says that politicians hyperventilating about the style of a few semi-automatic rifles are more interested in posing than in actually addressing the issues of violence in American society.


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In Brooklyn and da Bronx those used to be called crowbars and chains… better outlaw gas pipe while you’re at it…

viking01 on January 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

It’s even more sinister than that IMO. Pols nowadays aren’t interested in facts about guns, violence, crime, school shootings or any of it.

The goal is disarmament, not stopping violence. They will take every opportunity given them, even if they don’t get all they want,

They’re playing a long game, as they always have. Every imposition, restriction and new law makes it that much easier to extend their wants next time.

Obama got his tax increase on the wealthy. What does he want now? More tax increases on the wealthy and others.

Same with guns. Ban ‘military style’ firearms. The next time a massacre is committed with handguns, then they’ll go after the handguns, and so on.

It’s about disarmament and control. Nothing more.

catmman on January 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

An “assault weapon” is a gun that the left doesn’t like.

The left doesn’t like any guns.

Rebar on January 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I love this …

http://www.cafepress.com/rightwingstuff.45761743

Pork-Chop on January 17, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Say, what exactly is an “assault weapon,” anyway?

Whatever I say it is, subject!
- Feinstein, Boxer and Pelosi

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:09 PM

Fast legislation tend to be flawed legislation.

lexhamfox on January 17, 2013 at 2:10 PM

HA! Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Bmore on January 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

FACTS never get in the way of DEMOCRAT legislation!

TX-96 on January 17, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Fast legislation tend to be flawed legislation.

lexhamfox on January 17, 2013 at 2:10 PM

As I like to say, legislate in haste, repent at leisure.

Ed Morrissey on January 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Good article, with the exception that liberals are incapable of having a rational discussion of the matter and are immune to facts or logic.

Having said that, Ed, I do wish writers like you would get one thing straight – Machineguns cannot be legally sold over the counter, like standard rifles and pistols… but are in fact legal to purchase with certain requirements: Fingerprints, a photo, a signiture of the CLEO in the area and $200. It’s no harder to buy a machinegun than it is to buy a silencer.

John_G on January 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Fascists got to control…

d1carter on January 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

In Brooklyn and da Bronx those used to be called crowbars and chains… better outlaw gas pipe while you’re at it…

viking01 on January 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

My neighborhood is so tough, we don’t use guns; we shove bullets in you by hand.

Rixon on January 17, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Facts? We don’t need no stinking facts.

Tater Salad on January 17, 2013 at 2:15 PM

Bring back boiling oil. If the hoodlums don’t attack you can still make french fries.

viking01 on January 17, 2013 at 2:16 PM

HEY…all you dimwits who want to ban “assault weapons”

Here’s a bunch of SCARY looking ones!

Opposite Day on January 17, 2013 at 2:18 PM

NYT: Say, what exactly is an “assault weapon,” anyway?

…a “progressive’s mouth!”
…(when they talk to me…I feel a need to defend myself…I feel physically threatened!)

KOOLAID2 on January 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Such firearms, they contend, were designed for the battlefield, where the goal is to rapidly kill as many enemy soldiers as possible, . . .

Which also describes muskets. Rifles existed in 1776, but they were slow loading, about 1 round a minute. Muskets, you could get 3-4 rounds a minute.

rbj on January 17, 2013 at 2:23 PM

In New York one of those switch blade combs is now consdidered a lethal weapon. Don’t be caught combing your hair with one of those especially near a subway platform.

rsherwd65 on January 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Well, seeing as how my two kids and I all have black belts in karate, we’re all “assault weapons”.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

what exactly is an “assault weapon,” anyway?

Anything that looks scary to some liberal with a political science or womans’ study degree from a liberal college. Nevermind that the definition being thrown around does not include items with more lethal firepower or the fact that any decent hunting rifle could now, depending on interpretation of vague legal language, be considered an assault weapon. If it looks scary then it must be an assault weapon.

Personally, I think that this is one area where pro-Constitutionalists need to fight the war of definitions. An assault weapon in the hand of a citizen defending his home from an intruder is, in fact, a defensive weapon.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Nice caption (or sublede) Ed. Wasn’t it some line in some campy movie that the black-belt martial artist had to “register his body with the police” as a deadly lethal weapon? No, not just lethal. Deadly lethal.

John the Libertarian on January 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Like ‘Godwin’s Law’ I am creating a new law – called Michel’s Law – anyone who invokes the term ‘assault weapon’ to describe any semi-automatic rifle has immediately lost the argument. Period.

mouell on January 17, 2013 at 2:27 PM

I think a lot of folks are confused by the left’s mania about “assault weapons”.

It is simply a tactic, a wedge to drive between the hardcore gun owners and the “Fudds” – ie hunters who are only concerned about their hunting rifles/shotguns. It’s been a long time tactic of the left to try to get the Fudds on their side with the promise (which is a lie) that their guns won’t be banned, if they join with them to get rid of those “evil” semi-autos.

Most hunters aren’t fooled, but the progressive’s contempt for all gunowners keeps them from noticing this.

Rebar on January 17, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Wait till they find out that those weapons were still for sale under the terms of the last ban.

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 2:27 PM

In New York one of those switch blade combs is now consdidered a lethal weapon. Don’t be caught combing your hair with one of those especially near a subway platform.

rsherwd65 on January 17, 2013 at 2:25 PM

In Maryland, elementary schoolkids using their finger as a “pistol” to play cops and robbers is an offense worthy of suspension. Such absurdity by some liberal administrator with no sense of proportion makes ME want to use a finger- the middle one.

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Such firearms, they contend, were designed for the battlefield, where the goal is to rapidly kill as many enemy soldiers as possible, . . .

Which also describes muskets. Rifles existed in 1776, but they were slow loading, about 1 round a minute. Muskets, you could get 3-4 rounds a minute.

rbj on January 17, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Which means Adam Lanza could have gotten 60-80 shots off in the 20 minutes it took police to arrive.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM

NYT: Say, what exactly is an “assault weapon,” journalism anyway?

Flange on January 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Most hunters aren’t fooled

Rebar on January 17, 2013 at 2:27 PM

People who have fired guns tend not to be afraid of them.

John the Libertarian on January 17, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Assault Weapon as defined by the 1994 Standards(2 or more characteristics) –
Rifle

1) folding or telescoping stock
2) pistol grip that protrudes beneath the firing action
3) bayonet mount
4) flash hider or threaded barrel designed to
accommodate one
5) grenade launcher

Pistol

1) ammunition magazine that attaches outside the
pistol grip
2) threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel
extender, flash hider, forward handgrip, or silencer
3) heat shroud attached to or encircling the barrel
4) weight of more than 50 ounces unloaded
5) semiautomatic version of a fully automatic weapon

Shotgun

1) folding or telescoping stock
2) pistol grip that protrudes beneath the firing action
3) fixed magazine capacity over 5 rounds
4) ability to accept a detachable ammunition magazine

Taking the two words and looking them up in the dictionary you get:
Assault Weapon

any of various automatic or semiautomatic firearms; especially: assault rifle

Assault

a: a violent physical or verbal attack
b: a military attack usually involving direct combat with enemy forces
c: a concerted effort (as to reach a goal or defeat an adversary)

Weapon

: something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy

Military definition of Assault Weapon:

Assault rifles are short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges.
Assault rifles have mild recoil characteristics and, because of this, are capable of delivering effective full-automatic fire at ranges up to 300 meters.

Select fire means that there is more than one option for firing the weapon, i.e. single, burst, full-auto.

So, there are two definitions for Assault Weapon. One for the military, and one for the citizenry through legislation to disarm them. The thing is, they can ‘define’ assault weapon any damn way they want in legislation, that is the wonderment of the politicians in washington at the moment. It is anything, everything, and nothing all at the same time.

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:29 PM

And Ed, I don’t think it’s true that most rifles (carbines) issued to soldiers are full auto. I think the military prefers selective fire. The selector positions are safe, semi auto and three round burst.

Somebody who knows please chime in.

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

John the Libertarian on January 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

And remember Nicolas Cage in Con Air as the Army Ranger who took ou the guys about to attack him and his wife with nothing but Martial Arts. Remember, he went to jail because of his “skills” in taking out the bad guys.

Is life going to imitate are here? Or, have we already crossed that line?

rsherwd65 on January 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

three round burst.

Somebody who knows please chime in.

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

I thought it was four round. ???

John the Libertarian on January 17, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Having said that, Ed, I do wish writers like you would get one thing straight – Machineguns cannot be legally sold over the counter, like standard rifles and pistols… but are in fact legal to purchase with certain requirements: Fingerprints, a photo, a signiture of the CLEO in the area and $200. It’s no harder to buy a machinegun than it is to buy a silencer.

John_G on January 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Thank you saying this! When the gunshow came to Virginia a couple of weeks ago, they had NFA guns there for sale. Back in the day when they first made the $200 requirement, it was cost prohibitive for the majority of Americans to purchase that kind of weapon. Now it is less than the cost of the gun. I just don’t know why anyone would want something to shoot full auto, other than the chance to just waste ammo. But, to each their thrills.

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Must be a child that points his/her finger like a gun at someone when at school?
L

letget on January 17, 2013 at 2:34 PM

As has already been explained multiple times on this site (look it up libs), the true definition of militia was and is the average citizen being expected to report for defense with the commonly accepted equipment and arms of an infantryman. Therefore, I would expect the 2nd Amendment to allow everything that the modern infrantrymanperson carries:

http://thedonovan.com/archives/modernwarriorload/ModernWarriorsCombatLoadReport.pdf

Equipment Common to Riflemen:
A. Worn on Body/Uniform:
• M4 Carbine with PEQ-2 Laser/PAQ-4 Laser, ACOG/CCO, and 30 rounds of 5.56mm ball
ammunition.
• Desert Camouflage Uniform with Infrared Tape on left sleeve (1”x1”).
• Desert Combat Boots.
• Dog Tags.
• ID Card.
• Undershirt.
• Socks.
• Tactical gloves.
• Interceptor Body Armor with two Small Arms Protective Inserts.
• Advanced Combat Helmet with night vision mounting plate.
• Rigger belt.
• Notebook and pen.
• Watch.
• Knee and elbow pads.
• Sun, Sand, and Dust type Goggles or Wiley-X Goggles.
• Folding Knife/Multi-tool.
B. Worn on Fighting Load Carrier/Interceptor Body Armor:
• MOLLE Fighting Load Carrier with modular MOLLE pouches.
• 180 rounds of 5.56mm ball ammunition.
• Bayonet.
• Fragmentation grenade.
• 64 ounces of water in two 1-quart canteens.
• 100 ounces of water in a hydration bladder.
• Casualty and witness cards.
• Flex cuffs for personnel under custody.
• Night vision equipment (PVS-14/PVS-7).
• Iodine tablets.
The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load–Dismounted Operations in Afghanistan
18
• Lensatic compass.
• Flashlight.
• Chemlight.
• First Aid dressing and pouch.
• Canteen Cup.
• Earplugs.
C. Carried in Assault Rucksack:
• MOLLE Assault Rucksack or commercial assault rucksack, with MOLLE attachments.
• 500ml intravenous fluids bag with starter kit.
• 70 ounces of water in a second hydration bladder.
• Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
• Poncho and/or Bivy Sack.
• Poncho liner.
• Undershirt.
• Spare batteries.
• Two pair of socks.
• Polypropylene or silk long sleeve undershirt.
• M4/M16 Rifle Cleaning Kit.
• Personal hygiene kit.
• Rubber gloves.
• Sling rope with two snap links.
D. Carried in Main Rucksack: (Main rucksacks were rarely taken on operations during
study)
• MOLLE main rucksack with Sleeping Bag Carrier or Large ALICE rucksack.
• Modular Sleeping Bag (one bag per two men).
• Long Polypropylene Underwear of Fleece Jacket and Bibs.
• Two Undershirts.
• Two pairs of socks.
• Cold Weather Gloves.
• Knit/Fleece Cap.
• Additional ammunition.
• Two Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs).
• Sleeping pad.
Special Equipment:
• Lock pick (B).
• Collapsible Riot Baton (B).
• Bolt cutters (C or D).
• Metal detecting wand (C or D).
The Modern Warrior’s Combat Load–Dismounted Operations in Afghanistan
19
• 60mm mortar round (C or D).
• Combat Lifesaver Kit (C).
• Personnel Under Custody (PUC) Kit (sand bags, flex cuffs, trash bags, PUC cards, rubber
gloves) (C).
• AT4 Anti-armor Weapon. (C or D).
• SMAW-D Bunker Defeat Weapon. (C or D).
• Hooligan Tool. (C or D).
• Sledgehammer. (C or D).
• Entrenching Tool. (C or D).
• M18 Claymore Mine. (C or D).
• Pole-less Litter. (C or D).
• 200 rounds of 5.56mm linked ammunition for M249 SAW. (C or D).

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

New York pols pass idiotic legislation before they even know what the bill says simply because “By God, we have to show we’re concerned about the children”. They have no clue about weaponry or wound ballistics. The article is right. A crazy guy with a Remington 870 with an extended tube, a pouch full of 00 buck, and a little practice in front of a mirror, could do as much or more damage as a guy with an M4 and a 30 round magazine.

kam582 on January 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

rbj on January 17, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Which means Adam Lanza could have gotten 60-80 shots off in the 20 minutes it took police to arrive.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Has that 20 minute claim ever been proven to be true? It came from a single CNN “story” and since it came from them it suddenly became Settled Science.

But I’ve seen another transcript of police transmissions that seems to prove that the 20 minute claim was false. After all, the school is only 3 and a half miles from the Newtown Police Station. They had the cops getting there about 8 or so minutes after the first call.

Del Dolemonte on January 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Some types of rifles do have the three round burst, but most do not. Some have, as I wrote up the thread; single, three round, and full auto. I never had one that was three round, not even when I carried the MP-5 for Room Clearing when we did use the in the Teams. It was either single of full auto. Most soldiers in the Army and Marine’s get M-16′s that are only single and full auto as well.

I carried the M-4 on missions in Iraq, which is just an AR-15 with a shorter barrel and a collapsable stock, that’s all.

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Second Amendment supporters need to take a page from the book of the left. Rather than use the existing ban on fully automatic guns as some kind of badge of honor, (“See we already banned certain scary guns! See? See?”). Second Amendment supporters like myself should instead be shouting loudly to entirely end the ban on ALL assault weapons. (as I am right now!)

It’s time to truly support the Second Amendment, supporters! Why do I have to be finger-printed and be required to apply for what amounts to a federal security clearance just to own the same type weapon that some random (possibly barely passing the GED) LEO is permitted?

It’s time to not only end the madness of second amendment infringing gun “regulation” for civilian weaponry, but end second amendment infringements altogether.

Additionally the more time the left and their media talking heads spend attempting to preserve the ongoing infringements, the less time they have to think of new ones.

PoliTech on January 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Josh Sugarmann of the VPC conducted a misinformation campaign designed to make people believe the semi-auto looks scary rifles were in fact full-auto machine guns.

With the assistance of an ignorant and malicious press, he largely succeeded. Only now, many years later, is that lie being exposed in any significant way.

novaculus on January 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Bayonet lugs killing my peoples!!!!!

ButterflyDragon on January 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Whatever liberals think it is. If someone broke Dumbtes keyboard over his ugly head as a hint to shut the F*ck up and quit trolling, that would be an “assault weapon”.

MelonCollie on January 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Most soldiers in the Army and Marine’s get M-16′s that are only single and full auto as well.

I carried the M-4 on missions in Iraq, which is just an AR-15 with a shorter barrel and a collapsable stock, that’s all.

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Thanks for the info. AND your service.

John the Libertarian on January 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

PS I have been friends with Phil Peterson for years, and he is very knowledgeable. But he is not interested in the politics, and his comments about the origin of the term “assault weapon” reflect his unfamiliarity with Sugarmann’s efforts. I’m going to have to give him a call and have a chat.

novaculus on January 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

@Patriot Vet – On the military definition of “Assault Weapon,” you’ve missed a small nuance. The military calls them “assault RIFLES”, while the term in the gun control debate is “assault WEAPON.”

Mohonri on January 17, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Has that 20 minute claim ever been proven to be true? It came from a single CNN “story” and since it came from them it suddenly became Settled Science.

But I’ve seen another transcript of police transmissions that seems to prove that the 20 minute claim was false. After all, the school is only 3 and a half miles from the Newtown Police Station. They had the cops getting there about 8 or so minutes after the first call.

Del Dolemonte on January 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

(in best Piers Morgan voice) Waaaahhh??!?!?!? You doubt CNN?!? How dare you!!!!!111!!11!!

Fine, so he could only get 24-32 shots off before the police arrive. That makes me feel so much better.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Sounds about right. I usually carried over 300 rds of .223, though. You can never have enough bullets! I also carried lots of demo since I was also one of the breachers, so you can add;

4 x 15 inch slap charges
3 x grenades
4 x flashbangs
4 x stay-behind charges

Boy, those were the times!

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Why hasn’t New York taken steps to ban the subway. In the last few weeks, 3 people have been killed by subway trains. No matter the inconvenience, subways have to go. After all, it’s worth it if they can save “just one life”.

catsandbooks on January 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM

The US is the only country ever to have fielded standard-issue semi-auto rifles in their armed forces, that was the M1 Garand in WWII and Korea. The Garand is excluded from all current or proposed “assault weapon” bans, even though it could correctly be called a “weapon of war” and the banned firearms are not.

Speaking of Garands, it could get pretty interesting in New York under the new prohibition against magazines capable of holding more than 7 rounds. Is the 8-round clip (not magazine) of the Garand banned or not? How about stripper clips?

Socratease on January 17, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Bayonet lugs killing my peoples!!!!!

ButterflyDragon on January 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Oh, for a minute there I thought you were quoting Eric “Obama’s d*ck” Holder: “Bay Area thugs killing my peoples”

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:48 PM

What is an ‘assault weapon’?

ANYTHING A LIBERAL POL SAYS IT IS!

Now keep your hands were I can see them, AND MOVE AWAY FROM THAT BIG GULP!

GarandFan on January 17, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Boy, those were the times!

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:44 PM

And a thousand thank-yous for your service!

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:49 PM

One of those “unintended consequences,” of the “limited” magazine laws, will be to have gun totting persons use more lethal ammunition.

We had the story recently about the woman who defended herself and her children, pumping 5 shots into an intruder … and he lived.

Next time, he won’t.

J_Crater on January 17, 2013 at 2:51 PM

The US is the only country ever to have fielded standard-issue semi-auto rifles in their armed forces, that was the M1 Garand in WWII and Korea.

????

I could name several, but the ubiquitous SKS leaps to mind.

novaculus on January 17, 2013 at 2:52 PM

I don’t think it’s true that most rifles (carbines) issued to soldiers are full auto. I think the military prefers selective fire. The selector positions are safe, semi auto and three round burst.

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

You mean the movies have lied to us?

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

The M16A2 I was issued was select fire – semi or 3 round burst.

That was during the “cold war” though, more recent versions might have changed it.

Rebar on January 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Translation:

Assault Weapon = Any rifle similar to what gov’t would use to control you
Murder = Choice
Hate Speech = Any speech liberals don’t like
Racism = Disagreeing with a liberal’s point of view
Social Justice = Rob the rich, give to the poor
Let Me Be Clear = I’m about to dump a WHOPPER of a lie on you
Unsustainable = It won’t fix anything but give me what I want
Investment = Spending, mostly on cronies and supporters
Can’t Afford To Spend Money We Don’t Have = Don’t want to cut taxes

And so on…

The Rogue Tomato on January 17, 2013 at 2:57 PM

You mean the movies have lied to us?

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

No way. It’s totally real-life when some guy starts spraying his machine gun back and forth while laughing maniacally (sp?) and standing in up-focused lighting.

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

You mean the movies have lied to us?

Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

*snerk* No, combat consists of everybody going “YAAAAAAH!” and firing full-auto from the hip.

MelonCollie on January 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Mohonri on January 17, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Yes, you are correct. The point I am making is that silly and pendantic position that the Left takes when calling a weapon that isn’t used by the military and ‘assault weapon’, or lately, a ‘weapon of war’ when it most certainly is not. If they want to call something an assault weapon, it is anything and everything. But they are always on this kick about how it ‘looks just like the military weapons, so we must ban them all since they look soooo scary!’ Well, the weapon that the military uses is select fire, which the civilian models are not. So, if the military weapons are ‘assault (rifles) weapons’, then the ones that Joe Public has can not be.

I never, ever, in my life have called any weapon that I have shot an ‘assault weapon’. F@cking stupid! Only from a Liberals mind!

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

What does this tell us? It says that politicians hyperventilating about the style of a few semi-automatic rifles are more interested in posing than in actually addressing the issues of violence in American society.

You know what else it tells us?

Politicians do not care about minorities, who are the overwhelming majority of victims (and perpetrators) of gun crimes.

And, they are not alone, as we saw yesterday when….

chumpThreads — inadvertently — let the racist cat out of the bag…

Homicides committed in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012: 27.

That is the statistic that has changed everything.

chumpThreads on January 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Duly noted that the 512 murders of primarily minorities in Chicago last year CHANGED NOTHING in your estimation.

It takes dead WHITE children to light a fire under the arses of Proggies.

*******

I will add to my post from yesterday in response in chump:

It takes dead WHITE children from WEALTHY areas in states like Connecticut to light a fire under the arses of Proggies.

Minorities in urban areas killed by handguns that are sold on the street and, thus, never subjected to background checks, are SOOL.

Resist We Much on January 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Translation:

Assault Weapon = Any rifle similar to what gov’t would use to control you
Murder = Choice
Hate Speech = Any speech liberals don’t like
Racism = Disagreeing with a liberal’s point of view
Social Justice = Rob the rich, give to the poor
Let Me Be Clear = I’m about to dump a WHOPPER of a lie on you
Unsustainable = It won’t fix anything but give me what I want
Investment = Spending, mostly on cronies and supporters
Can’t Afford To Spend Money We Don’t Have = Don’t want to cut taxes

And so on…

The Rogue Tomato on January 17, 2013 at 2:57 PM

1st Black President = 44th White President

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

It’s about disarmament and control. Nothing more.

catmman on January 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

It’s about disarmament and control. Nothing more.

FIFY. Disarmament is simply the means towards the control.

bofh on January 17, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Yours is the first time in any of the discussions where I have seen true assault weapons mentioned. Case in point, when everybody talks about assault weapons, we immediately get shown some version of the M-16 or maybe the M1A. As is used in the crimes, which have only the single fire select or safe. Even we in the military for a standard battle rifle carry the M4/16 and it isn’t full auto, yes 3 round burst, but that is vastly different from the SAW that you mentioned which can in fact go full auto. I say good for you for pointing out what small arms every person should be able to have based off the true interpretation of the 2nd Amendment!

MarshFox on January 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

A lot of people build up their own ARs. It’s a pretty easy thing to do. It’s a very modular system. What are the feds going to do? Ban all metal and polymer of any shape everywhere in the country? The whole thing is absurd. A lower receiver is just a slab of aluminum essentially. Anyone could just buy or make the parts and put it together themselves. Or keep them disassembled to be in compliance and reassemble them in cases that might require such a firearm. (If they had enough forewarning.) What are they going to do? Arrest someone for owning a spring?

WhatSlushfund on January 17, 2013 at 3:03 PM

combat consists of everybody going “YAAAAAAH!” and firing full-auto from the hip.

MelonCollie on January 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Oh, I know, I saw Arnold in Commando. Or was it Stallone in Rambo?

John the Libertarian on January 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Nutstuyu on January 17, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Good list for a “Bug Out Bag”. Ima sending myself an email!

Substitute heavy duty zip ties for cuffs, and your meds for the grenades.
Add TP, cash (same thing these days) flares and jumper cables.

Good to go!

PoliTech on January 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

To get hold of “true” military-style weapons, such as AK-47′s and generic M-16′s, you need to be Mexican and belong to a drug cartel. Then you could receive these weapons from the U.S. government.

TarheelBen on January 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM

An assault weapon is a weapon that is utilized in the assault of people or things.

paulsur on January 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM

What “assault weapon” bans really prohibit are not weapons, but rather a variety of cosmetic weapon features such as pistol grips, flash suppressors and bayonet lugs.

Thus, I would suggest that opponents of such prohibitions simply observe that pistol grips, flash suppressors and bayonet lugs have never killed a singe person and do not fit President Obama’s threshold for taking action.

Bart DePalma on January 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM

NYT: Say, what exactly is an “assault weapon,” anyway?

It’s actually pretty simple. The liberal definition of “assault weapon” is: Anything that can be used to harm a child.

Basically, anything that doesn’t start with the word “Nerf.”

logis on January 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM

As I like to say, legislate in haste, repent at leisure.

Ed Morrissey on January 17, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Except they rarely if ever repent and the legislation results in the narrowing of our sphere of freedom.

chemman on January 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM

TEQUILA is a salt weapon.

MikeA on January 17, 2013 at 3:26 PM

There’s nothing ‘complicated’ about it.

An ‘assault RIFLE’ is a select-fire carbine or rifle in an intermediate cartridge, capable of either single shot, burst fire, or full auto firing via means of a selector switch.
They are classified as ‘machineguns’ by the ATF and subject to tight controls, registration, a $200 tax and massive artificial price inflation via their availability being capped in the 1986 FOPA.

An ‘assault weapon’ is an artificial term, a propaganda construct, designed to demonize and inflame and smear and as such its use in legislation and media is malpractice and malfeasance.

rayra on January 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Can anyone imagine if the tables were turned, if the RIGHT was as stultifyingly ignorant and/or misinformed as to what constitutes an automatic versus a semi-automatic weapon, as the LEFT is? But from the top on down, when the LIBS are called on it, they blink, shrug, and keep right on spreading the disinformation. It is absolutely of no concern to them in their ‘ends justify the means’ world…

CaptFlood on January 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Personally, I think that this is one area where pro-Constitutionalists need to fight the war of definitions. An assault weapon in the hand of a citizen defending his home from an intruder is, in fact, a defensive weapon.
Happy Nomad on January 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

I agree. No conservative should feed the meme. They are defense weapons every bit as much as they are assault weapons.

samuelrylander on January 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

TEQUILA is a salt weapon.

MikeA on January 17, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Okay, I LOL’d. Plus I think I may have to steal that.

John the Libertarian on January 17, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Well, tomorrow I get leave Cairo and board a ship and protect the high seas from piracy. Me and the guys I work with will board the vessel in Port Suez, Egypt, and then sail on through the Red Sea to the ports of the middle east.

Of course, we each will have a DPMS AR-15, and a Glock. I brought along my Reflex and 4X Amplifier to put on my weapon. We may even have an AR-10 for really reaching out and touching someone! Back in 2007, here is what happened when pirates tried to attack a ship being guarded by the company I work for. This was the second attack of the day, coming at right before sundown.

Yes, he should have maybe stopped shooting earlier, but they were receiving fire as well. The underside of the bridgewing had bulletholes in it from armor-piercing ammo. Needless to say, they didn’t stop to provide assitance.

This just goes to show those retarded Liberals that these ‘assault weapons’ just what is needed to keep the ruling class in check if need be!

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 3:44 PM

In a tangentially related issue; the 2a is not about self defense. However, there is a need to address the claim that we don’t need large capacity magazines.

I like to point out that the NYPD missed 78% of their shots in the study by the post. How would you like your chances against two shooters if you had only seven rounds? And if you’re carrying extra mags, how many will you have? Remember that you’ll have to extract them from deep concealment too if you’re carrying concealed.

Furthermore, what sort of magazines are the bad guys going to carry? And really, the self defense scenario we should be planning for is not Lubys or Columbine. It’s Beslan or Mumbai.

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Some types of rifles do have the three round burst, but most do not. Some have, as I wrote up the thread; single, three round, and full auto. I never had one that was three round, not even when I carried the MP-5 for Room Clearing when we did use the in the Teams. It was either single of full auto. Most soldiers in the Army and Marine’s get M-16′s that are only single and full auto as well.

I carried the M-4 on missions in Iraq, which is just an AR-15 with a shorter barrel and a collapsable stock, that’s all.

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 2:39 PM

The Marines M-16A2 has semi and three round burst. There is no full auto setting.
Their M-16A4 is essentially the same rifle with a removeable carry handle / rear sight assembly, which exposes a full length picatinny rail providing a more suitable mount for optical sights.
The Marines haven’t carried a full-auto rifle since the Vietnam-era M-16A1. The -A2 was adopted in 1982. Mine was already worn to shit at boot camp in ’87.

The M-16A3 is single shot and full auto, in a full length rifle. Most of the Army and many Marines are issued the M4 Carbine now. semi and full auto.

rayra on January 17, 2013 at 3:50 PM

I like to point out that the NYPD missed 78% of their shots in the study by the post. How would you like your chances against two shooters if you had only seven rounds?

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 3:45 PM

I trained withe several SWAT Team members when I was in the Teams at a breaching course in Horn Lake, Mississippi – TEES.

The instructors there would have us Team Guys go to one of the houses on our own, set up targets and practice shooting and doing runs through the house while they worked with the SWAT breaching officers with their ‘shooting’ skills. While we were doing runs, we heard a ‘BANG!..shoot again…BANG!…shoot again…BANG!…shoot again…BANG! So, being curious, we all walked over to see what the heck was going on. This officer was standing not more than 15-20 feet away from and silhoutte target, and missing each time! NO BULLSH!T!

After, I asked the guy, “is that normal?” He said that if you ask them to shoot ten times, they will miss ten times. Unbelievable! It may be different for SWAT other than breachers, but I don’t believe it is much better. Since I also trained them when I worked for the State Department. One of them was even using an HK UMP 45 and was missing!

Patriot Vet on January 17, 2013 at 4:07 PM

I could name several, but the ubiquitous SKS leaps to mind.

novaculus on January 17, 2013 at 2:52 PM

You’re probably right. I thought the SKS was just for training, but the Soviets evidently issued it for a short time before it was supplanted by the AK-47, and a few other countries adopted the SKS for a while.

Socratease on January 17, 2013 at 4:23 PM

Say, what exactly is an “assault weapon,” anyway?

Completely misses the point, as usual.

The problem liberals have, and the one they can’t even admit to themselves, is not the weapon, it’s who has the weapon. The peasants have the weapon! The “hobbitses” and the “chuckleheads” have the weapon!

The sense of outrage that liberals feel is nothing more than their total revulsion at the very notion that ordinary Americans (i.e. the “Great Unwashed”) are armed with enough lethal weaponry to say “Hell No!” to authority and make it stick. Liberals firmly believe that they and their friends and servants are the only ones “enlightened” enough to possess the physical ability to defend themselves.

As the self-appointed “Best and Brightest”, they reserve to themselves the right of self defense, and most certainly not to the peasantry.

Lew on January 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

No matter how one defines “assault rifles” they are still arms, and the right of the people to keep and bear them shall not be infringed!

Why do we let ourselves get caught up in this argument over the definition of assault rifles?

topdog on January 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

I laugh whenever I hear the left condemn “assault weapons” because their sole use is “killing people.” That is, in fact, the whole purpose of the 2nd Amendment – to be able to do bad things to bad people who threaten you with violence. Neither hunting, skeet shooting, nor any other use of weapons was discussed in the majority opinion by the Supreme Court in Heller.

Moreover, when you get down to it, “assault weapons” are nothing more than semi-automatic weapons, a technology that has been around for 125 years. And indeed, the AR15 itself has been around for almost 50 of those years. The Supreme Court in Heller clearly held that the 2nd Amendment protects a right to modern weapons. We haven’t seen a challenge yet to a state assault weapons ban get to the Supreme Court, but if it does before the Court gets packed by Obama, assault weapons bans should be deemed unconstitutional.

All of that said, there are about 3.5 million AR15 class weapons in the U.S. They are popular for a number of reasons, one of which is that they make the most family friendly weapons for home defense.

The AR15 has several characteristics that make it an eminently practical weapon for self defense. One, it has virtually no recoil, thus making it something that most anyone of any level of strength can use to fire multiple shots with good accuracy. Two, while an AR15 fires a small caliber bullet – 5.56 – it does so with very high muzzle velocity, 3,110 feet per second. It’s stopping power comes causing significant cavitation in the body. In other words, pinpoint accuracy isn’t required.

By comparison, the M9 9mm handgun fires a larger bullet, but does so at 1,250 fps. Like virtually all pistols, it has a fairly significant recoil that a weaker individual might have trouble with. To reduce recoil, you have to go to smaller caliber weapons and smaller loads. The smaller the caliber and muzzle velocity, all other things being equal, the less effective will be the weapon when it comes to self defense against a determined attacker.

Wolf Howling on January 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Why do we let ourselves get caught up in this argument over the definition of assault rifles?

topdog on January 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Indeed!
Why do we allow ourselves to be sucked into these boneheaded arguments about the “usefulness” of our rights? Our rights are NOT contingent upon some utilitarian calculation, and once we concede that they are we are well on the way to being argued out of them. We have these rights because we are human beings, children of God, with rights built in by virtue of that fact, from the very first second of our existence.
At the end of the day, we have whatever rights we are willing to defend with our lives. All of the laws and Constitutions and lawyers on earth can’t preserve our rights one minute past the point we decide not to die for them. And it’s the fear of that willingness, on the part of our government, that preserves that right beyond any aridly intellectual notion of “usefulness”.

Lew on January 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

I like to define “assault weapon” as the weapon of choice carried by soldiers. Consider this a brief history in semi-chronological order:

Rock

Stick or club

Large animal thigh bone

Atlatal

Sling

Spear

Bow and arrow

Lance

Pike

Sarissa

Sword (short, long, broad, curved)

arquebus and other matchlocks

Muzzleloading Smoothbore muskets

Muzzleloading rifles

Single shot cartridge rifles

Repeating cartridge rifles

Bolt action brass cartridge rifles

Magazine fed semi-automatic rifles

Magazine fed semi and fully automatic rifles

You get the picture. I also despise people who refer to “high powered rifles” as if there’s something especially heinous about them. Is there such a thing as a “low powered” rifle?

RobertE on January 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

TexasDan on January 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

That’s how it was in 2005, I have no reason to believe it would have changed.

Mr. Grump on January 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

Ok, I know this is deep down in the comments and no one may ever see this, but why do we mock the libs for their lack of knowledge and then correct them? Apparently, the distinctions between auto and semi-auto, real assault weapons and cosmetically enhanced nasty black rifles have finally gotten through to the brilliant, nuanced minds at the NYT, which means that all those other subtle thinkers over there on the left will eventually figure it out. Have we simply guided them on to the path they thought they were on all along? Why not just let them wander in the dark, not knowing what the hell they were doing? Let ‘em ban pistol grips on rifles, it doesn’t affect the function of the gun one little bit. Give ‘em collapsible stocks. Who cares? Instead, now we have Cuomo restricting magazine sizes. 10 days ago he didn’t know the difference between a clip and a magazine.

Let them have the unimportant stuff, the flourishes, so we can keep that which makes a gun a gun.

DaveyNC on January 17, 2013 at 6:26 PM

When I was in the Army, part of the Battle Dress Uniform was cargo pants.

Cargo pants should be outlawed for civilian use. Nobody needs that many pockets.

malclave on January 17, 2013 at 7:11 PM

No matter how one defines “assault rifles” they are still arms, and the right of the people to keep and bear them shall not be infringed!

Why do we let ourselves get caught up in this argument over the definition of assault rifles?

topdog on January 17, 2013 at 5:00 PM

.
BINGO ! . . . . . . . . someone finally cut-to-the-chase on this “terminology” business.

I’ve got no problem calling them “assault rifles/weapons”. If law enforcement has them (on ANY level), so should common citizens, no matter what they’re called.

* BTW, the National Guard doesn’t count as “law enforcement”.
They are MILITARY.

listens2glenn on January 17, 2013 at 9:57 PM

An ‘assault weapon’ is an artificial term, a propaganda construct, designed to demonize and inflame and smear and as such its use in legislation and media is malpractice and malfeasance.

rayra on January 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

.
My son and I had this debate (civil discussion, actually) recently.

He insists that ANY hand-held light weapon designed specifically for combat, should be called an “assault weapon/rifle.”
He considers the AR-15 to be just as much a “designed for combat” rifle as the M-16. Being limited to semi-auto fire only doesn’t disqualify the terminology, in his mind.

Oh … and BTW, he is all FOR private ownership of semi-auto, civilian models of military rifles, complete with military capacity magazines and ammo.

listens2glenn on January 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM

It’s not about a type of firearm, it’s about creating a precedent. If they can ban a particular type of gun, then you’ll see a gradual expansion of the term “assault weapon.”

Soon a bolt action with a scope will be a “sniper rifle.” Then they’ll go after pump action and semi-auto shotguns “because real sportsman don’t need that kind of firepower to shoot a bunny rabbit.”

xstatic on January 17, 2013 at 10:45 PM

A machine shop is really appealing to me as of late.

Bmore on January 18, 2013 at 12:43 AM

Modern armies don’t design semi-automatic rifles for use in theaters of war. They supply their soldiers with fully automatic weapons…

Not quite true Ed. M16/M4 rifles are selctable from semi to full. The newer variants are semi and burst, of three round because they realized that “spray and pray” was a huge waste of ammo as it was fired indiscriminantly or if fired straight ahead, the recoil would cause barrel climb; again causing wasted rounds. So, in fact, the military does use combat weapons that have semi-automatic fuinctions.

Big John on January 18, 2013 at 8:29 AM

Well, uhhh . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 ?

listens2glenn on January 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM

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