A Bullet Point Primer on Guns

bullet_points

As the debate about “guns” heats up and the administration is on the cusp of making their recommendations, I’d like to add my two cents and help frame the issue so that we are asking the right questions and seeking the solutions that we can all agree on:  reducing firearm related mass shootings.  After all, these tragedies are what has propelled the issue back into the national spotlight.

Let’s start with my prejudices:

  • I’m a registered Democrat and proud liberal
  • I’m a supporter of the second amendment
  • I’m a FORMER member of the N.R.A.
  • It’s my opinion that the N.R.A. believes promoting fear is their best strategy for keeping their constituents, the gun industry and millions of law-abiding gun owners, happy and secure in the “knowledge” that draconian government storm troopers will not be knocking their doors down to confiscate their weapons (I’m not making this up folks)

Let’s frame the debate:

  • We all want to stop these tragedies, but how?
  • This blog succinctly frames the overarching issues in this debate…is it about gun control or people control?
  • After considering the points listed in the blog cited above…now what about the guns?
  • A gun is an inanimate object…period.

Two of the most politically sexy methods of stopping these mass shootings are by banning “Military Style Assault Weapons” and the purchase/use of high-capacity magazines.

Let’s define these terms and look at some irrefutable facts:

  • This is a weapon commonly identified as a “Military Style Assault Weapon” 

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  • This is a weapon that is commonly identified, simply, as an autoloading hunting rifle:

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What is the COSMETIC difference between these two rifles?   

  • The assault rifle has a protruding handle for the right hand, the hunting rifle does not

What is the FUNCTIONAL difference between these two rifles?

  • NONE…they both fire one bullet each time the trigger is pulled.   I repeat, there is NO functional difference between these rifles

What is the downrange, or end use damage difference between these two rifles?

  • The assault rifle pictured (like the majority of the classified assault rifles, including the Sandy Hook weapon) are a .223 caliber weapon
  • The hunting rifle pictured is a .308 win caliber but is configurable in other calibers all more deadly than the .223
  • So the facts are that the hunting rifle, one not heretofore entered into the ban discussion, is actually a deadlier weapon than the so-called “assault” weapon (those experts on ballistics and terminal velocity will excuse my oversimplification)

Fact:

  • By a two-to-one margin, the majority of deaths in mass shooting are carried out by handguns
  • High-capacity magazines are classified as clips that contain more than 10 bullets.

I had my son time me this weekend.  How long, I wondered, would it take me to change the magazines on my .45 cal Semi-Automatic pistol:

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  • It took me 4.2 seconds, to clumsily I might add, change magazines and effectively double the capacity of this weapon.  Experienced marksmen, or those with even a little practice, can do this in under two seconds.
  • Two seconds (or 4.2 for a 51 y/o man with no practice) is what we are buying with the high-capacity magazine ban…fact

Some definitions and facts for those unfamiliar with firearms:

  • Automatic weapon:  trigger pulled once and gun fires a rapid stream of bullets
  • Semi-automatic weapon: trigger pulled once and gun fires one bullet.  It is not an automatic and cannot be legally modified as such
  • Single action weapon:  an additional function must be performed prior to pulling the trigger and firing one bullet (examples are pulling the hammer back on a single action revolver or pumping <racking> a pump-action shotgun)

Summary:

  • These mass killings make me sick to my stomach and makes my heart ache and I too want solutions
  • I am in favor of, and demand, background checks and waiting periods for any firearm purchase
  • I am willing to entertain bans on certain firearms if the argument is fact-based
  • Reducing these killings will require a multidisciplinary approach, but as it relates to firearms, unless the parties are willing to agree upon the aforementioned indisputable facts, the firearm component of this debate will continue to be steeped in prejudice and misinformation and further polarize extremists on both sides of this issue.
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About Conversations With The Moon

Divorced father of two amazing young adults. College student, plodding away at a liberal arts degree. Formerly a Fire Captain and Paramedic. Dabbler in fashion. Liberal. Believer in Karma. View all posts by Conversations With The Moon

8 responses to “A Bullet Point Primer on Guns

  • The Prophet

    Excellent summation of the hardware portion of this issue. I can only hope some of my commenters read this as well. It would serve them well.

  • kingmidget

    You know, in your opening description of what you are, I fit every category except being a former member of the NRA. I’ve never been a part of the NRA. I’ve never fired a gun. Never even held a gun. Other than the guns in the holsters of police officers, I’m not sure if I’ve even seen a gun live and in person. I have absolutely no interest in them. I believe your summary is spot on. The only quibble I have is with your downplaying the significance of outlawing higher capacity magazines. Yes, there may be a people out there with the skill to change a magazine in two seconds, or four or six. But most people probably can’t do that. And, in the timing of that exchange, did you include the time it takes to take the magazine out of a pocket or wherever else the magazine is stored on the person?
    One more question … are you opposed to banning fully automatic weapons?
    I generally shy away from the idea of trying to ban specific weapons, although I see no legitimate hunting or sporting or defending need for an automatic or semi-automatic assault style weapon. I do believe the solution lies with thorough background checks, registration and waiting periods for all gun transactions.
    And, ultimately, none of this will matter unless there is the multidisciplinary approach you suggest.

  • Conversations With The Moon

    I mentioned in an earlier post that I left the NRA as they became more politically extreme; they really drifted from a firearms advocacy/safety group to a K Street lobbyist group.

    I had to laugh at your question about the magazines, because yes I did…I had the spare in my left rear pocket and fumbled getting it out and ended up starting to put it in backwards, and still it was only 4.2 seconds. You’ll have to trust me when I say that with simply very little practice, getting it down to 2 seconds is quite easy.

    Fully automatic weapons are already banned (I neglected to mention that)…that level of weaponry truly fits the definition of military.

    And at the end of the day, I assert that it’s not really about guns (with the caveat of responsible regulation) in my opinion. It’s about mental health funding, the political will to address and fund the root causes of what causes a human being to go on a murderous rampage.

    If you ever make it down to So Cal, I’ll take you out to the range…you might be pleasantly surprised.

  • Dear Mr. Obama… « Conversations With The Moon.

    […] be realistic about the manner in which you approach the issue.  Guns, in and of themselves are simply instruments used by madmen to attain their sociopathic goal.  If banning weapons would solve the issue alone, […]

  • How The N.R.A. is Taking Our Guns « Conversations With The Moon.

    […] will be banned.  And more people will die.  This well-intentioned yet ill-conceived and uninformed law will NOT reduce the kind of violence that ironically was its […]

  • After Further Review… | Conversations With The Moon.

    […] have previously posted my position on guns and gun control. I maintain my core belief that firearms are a tool and that […]

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