Monday, February 4, 2013

Assault Weapons

According to a recent article in National Review on-line ( Senator Chuck Schumer is quoted as saying “While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech, no one has a right to falsely shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater. Likewise, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms also comes with limits.” 

Thus, Schumer told the Senate hearing, we can ban “assault weapons” with little trouble. Senator Schumer needs and education in firearms and logic.

The shouting “fire” falsely in the crowded theater and therefore banning “assault weapons” because one was used to kill people in a theater (or anywhere) analogy is flawed. There is nothing inherently dangerous about the word “fire” and I doubt that Senator Schumer is suggesting that saying the word “fire” should be banned outside a theater or gagging patrons in a theater is the way to limit the use of the word “fire”, but isn’t he saying just that regarding “Assault Weapons/Rifles”?

Words are important because they have meaning and that meaning can be twisted to fit a narrative, branding or discussion.  So, what is an “Assault Weapon/Rifle”? According to Urban Dictionary ( it is a term coined by Violence Policy Center head Josh Sugarmann to describe civilian semiautomatic firearms with a military or fearsome appearance, yet with no more lethality than lesser weapons. Derived from the term "assault rifle", which means a fully automatic, selective fire rate firearm used my military and police personnel. See here for another history of the term “Assault Weapon/Rifle”
Senator Feinstein wants to ban over 100 guns with a “military or fearsome appearance, yet with no more lethality than lesser weapons”

Ruger offers a rifle for sale that is on the banned list, the M-14/20CF, yet also sells 3 variants of this rifle not on the banned list. A close look at the 3 rifles reveals to anyone who has seen a WWII movie that those rifles look like the rifle used by the US Army and USMC back then.
Contrary to popular belief, the “Assault Weapons/Rifles” that both senators want to ban are illegal for US forces to carry in war. That’s right, illegal. The so-called “Assault Weapon/Rifle” (a term stolen from the German designed military rifle) is commonly known and sold as the Modern Sporting Rifle. They indeed “look like military” weapons from a different historical period and in fact fire the same way; one shot for one pull of the trigger.

The Modern Sporting Rifles are popular today for a variety of reasons; lighter weight than other civilian hunting rifles, they fire smaller and cheaper rounds than other rifles, they have less of “kick”, the length of the rifle by adjusting the stock can accommodate women, young adults and children. The Modern Sporting Rifle has spawned a cottage industry of accessories that has allowed enthusiasts to customize the rifle to suit their needs and yet retain semi-automatic fire. For these reasons the Modern Sporting Rifle has become one, if not the, most popular rifle sold in America today. We need to get the words right. They matter. Correct anyone using the term “Assault Weapon”. There is no such thing as a civilian “Assault Weapon/Rifle”.

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