Archive for the ‘NRA’ Category

Assault Rifle: What’s In a Name?

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

“Assault Rifle” or “Modern Sporting Rifle” … It doesn’t really matter.

I’ve seen social network postings and blogs, authored by both the well-intentioned and by wingnuts, attempting to discredit the media and the current public sentiment by saying, in effect “It’s not an assault rifle because it can’t be used as a fully automatic rifle.”.  (Meaning many rounds fired as long as the trigger is kept in the firing position — as opposed to semi-automatic, where only a single round is fired for each trigger pull, but the action of the weapon discards the spent casing and chambers the next round.)

But basing an argument for or against increased controls (or a complete ban) on assault rifle on such a parsing of the definition is a fool’s errand.

“Modern Sporting Rifle” is a term invented by the gun industry because continued use of the term “Assault Rifle” (and its association with “AR”) was becoming bad for business.  (This quote from the National Shooting Sports Foundation web site:  “Unfortunately, some anti-gun organizations have worked hard to mislead the public by calling the civilian versions of service rifles, “assault weapons.” This anti-gun strategy is a clever ploy, much in the same way that prohibitionists labeled alcoholic beverages, “demon rum.” True “assault weapons” are in fact light machine guns capable of fully automatic fire.”)  So we have the invented definition “Modern Sporting Rifles”.  Thank goodness for the NSSF to keep us all straight on this.

(Use of the term “sporting” introduces other connotations.  To some, sporting involves patronage of, shall we say, venues of ill repute.  To others, the sporting life includes horse racing and fox hunting.)

However, “Assault Rifle” can (or has) become a definition in law.  If statute, code, or regulation defines a weapon with certain characteristics as an “Assault Rifle”, then it is.  If you are suspected of violating the law, that’s what you are going to be charged with.  (I find it a bit odd that some of the postings I’ve read have been by federal, state, or local law enforcement officers.  Theses LEOs should be the first to understand that no matter how your hobby defines a weapon, it is what the law of a specific jurisdiction says it is.)

(For you policy wonks out there — watch for delaying tactics by the gun industry over just this definition, should bills start popping up in Congress and the various state legislatures.)

But in the end, quibbling over the definition just doesn’t matter.

How an Assault Rifle is defined.  (From USA Today)

How an Assault Rifle is defined. (From USA Today)

Share on Facebook

That’s it, NRA? Armed guards in every school?

Friday, December 21st, 2012

After a week…That’s the best you could come up with?

And, meanwhile, the NRA is satisfied to blame everyone else?

Wayne LaPierre was scarey to watch on TV when he came up with his solution.  Put armed guards in each of the 98,817 public elementary and secondary schools in this country.

So lets walk the dog on this one.

Pay a salary of between $30K and $40K a year.  Training and uniform.  Benefits.  If roughly 1/3 of the schools already have police or resource officers, that’s going to cost between $3 billion and $4.5 billion (that’s “illion” with a “B”) if we staff at 1.2 officers/guards per school.  And that isn’t counting admin costs, etc.

And do you want just a single officer at a school?  A single officer presents two interesting scenarios for the shooter:  (1) The officer becomes the first target or (2) when the shooter knows exactly where the officer is, the shooter knows exactly where he/she isn’t.

A countering argument is that the guard/officer is optional for the school.  Great!  So if there is any deterrent value in the guard/officer, the shooter is deflected to the school that doesn’t have a guard/officer.  Is the NRA actually proposing to increase the risk to some schools?  Remember the NRA comments that “Gun Free” zones are actually a magnet to criminals?  That’s exactly the situation with voluntary school armed guard participation.  That’s a hugely cynical way of trying to get support for their “program”…Threatening to increases the risk to innocent school children in order to gain support for the NRA’s political agenda.

Finally (back to the cost) — who will pay the billions of dollars every year?  The NRA is offering a little planning support, but remained remarkably silent on the money issue.  To me, the answer is obvious.  Owners of Modern Sporting Rifles (assault rifles) and high capacity pistols are afraid that these weapons will be taken away from them.  Fine.  I’m sure that owners of those guns will graciously pay those billions through taxes on ammunition, pay a user fee to keep and bear those weapons, and pay an increased transfer fee for some types of weapons — perhaps several hundred dollars per transaction.  After all, it is for the safety of the children.

Share on Facebook