Very Good Read, similar to what I am sending to my Congressmen and Governor.......
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet….” This well known quote by Juliet in Romeo & Juliet, written by William Shakespeare is intended to convey the message that the names of things do not matter, only what things are, matters. This still hasn’t kept some people from (re)naming some things to promote a more positive image – and others a more negative image, where the media and politicians are masters at the art.
Military Style Weapon - President Obama said that “… weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theatres don't belong on our streets.” What type of weapon would that be? Flintlock muzzle loaders, percussion cap muzzle loaders, lever action rifles, revolvers, pump action shotguns, a bolt action rifles and semi-automatic rifles/pistols are all types of weapons which have been used in war – but are readily available to the citizens of the US for sporting and self-defense purposes. Some current military rifles are automatic/select fire. Automatic firearms have been heavily regulated in the US since the 1930’s – and are so expensive that typical US citizens simply cannot legally own one. As an example, a rough condition M16 legal for civilian ownership (registered with ATF prior to 19 May 1968) was ~$18,000 and a good condition example would bring over $25,000 (prices prior to the current buying spree – I’m sure they are higher now).
Politicians primarily focus on cosmetic features of a firearm, such as a pistol grip, an adjustable stock or a barrel shroud – without even knowing why. Such as Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) who proposed gun legislation in 2007 which would make firearms with a barrel shroud illegal. When asked what a barrel shroud is, after avoiding the question at least twice, she finally answered “I believe it is a shoulder thing that goes up.” This means that she doesn’t know what a shroud, barrel or stock really is. And these are the politicians writing the legislation which will determine what firearms the law-abiding citizens of the United States will be able to own?
Why should a US citizen be able own a “military style” firearm if they so desire? (1) The government, and firearm manufacturers, make quite an effort to insure that the design is very reliable, which is a benefit to the sporting and self-defense consumer, (2) the manufacturers generally produce high quantities of these firearms, resulting in “economies of scale” and diluting development and tooling costs resulting in a lower cost to both the military and the consumer, which is a benefit to the sporting and self-defense consumer, (3) usually there are several suppliers of very similar designs which fosters pricing competition and a variety of price points in the consumer market, which is a benefit to the sporting and self-defense consumer, (4) the majority of suppliers manufacture the parts to a particular specification to insure parts interchangeability from manufacturer-to-manufacturer, which is a benefit to the sporting and self-defense consumer, (5) the military uses significant amounts of ammunition in training which, in-turn, creates a significant supply of cases (“brass”) for individuals, or commercial producers, to reload resulting in lower ammunition costs for the consumer, which is a benefit to the sporting and self-defense consumer, and (6) the sales of once-fired cases is a revenue stream for the military, which is a benefit to the taxpayer. (Allow me to clarify that the consumer AR-15 is similar to, but does not have the same function as the military rifle M16, or M4. Parts which make the firearm select fire, fully automatic, and/or burst mode in the M16 or M4 are not interchangeable with the civilian AR-15. Further “AR” is not an abbreviation for “assault rifle” as often stated – it is an abbreviation for the original manufacturer of this type of rifle, Armalite Rifle.)
Assault Weapon – According to the military definition in use years before the Clinton AWB, an assault rifle is defined at a rifle (or carbine) with all three of the following: (1) an intermediate caliber cartridge, (2) a detachable magazine and (3) fully automatic (or burst, typically 3-round) select fire mode. An intermediate cartridge is a less powerful cartridge than what is typically used for infantry, and more powerful than the standard issue pistol cartridge. In fact, using the “power factor” calculation (a common momentum calculation of the mathematical product of the mass of the bullet in grains and its velocity in fps) several pistol calibers, such as the .357 (year - 1935), .45 acp (year - 1905), .45 Colt (year -1872), are more powerful than the ultra-powerful super-deadly 5.56/.223 AR-15 ammunition (as described by the “expert” media and politicians).
But leave it to the politicians (they are firearms experts after all) to redefine some semi-automatic firearms as assault weapons primarily based upon cosmetic features and country of origin. They could have called these rifles “comforting home defense companions that don’t eat dog food” – but that wouldn’t portray the evil image they desired.
As noted in the previous section, a civilian can own a true “assault rifle” if they are willing to pay five-digit prices. In order to purchase a fully automatic firearm, or fully automatic parts (contrary to media reports – even the “automatic” parts are an NFA controlled item), the applicant must not live in one (1) of twelve (12) states which disallow a fully automatic/select fire firearm, must pay for the firearm/parts in-full but shall not take possession, must pay a $200 non-refundable application fee, must submit fingerprints and photograph, undergo federal background check, the local chief law enforcement officer must approve and sign-off, if the firearm is in another state, and the purchaser must pay a Class 03 to Class 03 dealer transfer fee. Once all requirements are fulfilled, approved and the applicant has taken possession of the firearm or parts, the BATFE can require you to produce the registration paperwork at any time without notice. How many crimes have been committed by true “assault rifles” - in the last 75 years, three (3).
Of course any weapon used to commit the act of assault should be considered an “assault weapon”, but then there would be assault hammers, assault baseball bats, assault rocks…. you get the idea. And by the way, there are more homicides committed each year using assault hammers, assault baseball bats, assault rocks, etc. than all categories of rifles. (for 2011: all rifles – 323; assault bludgeoning instruments – 496). But once again that doesn’t fit the agenda of many politicians and most of the media.
The Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health estimates that 33% of firearms owned by civilians are rifles, and there are 283M firearms in the US, which means there is an estimated 93,390,000 rifles. Even if we assume that (1) all rifles are “Clinton AWB described assault weapons” (which we know is an over estimate), (2) all homicides are committed by “Clinton AWB described assault weapons” (which we know is an over estimate) and (3) we assume only one homicide was committed per rifle (which we know is an under estimate) the percentage of rifles used to commit homicide in the US is about 0.00035%. No rational person, using logic rather than emotion, would suggest banning an item where there is such a low association rate. Based upon the number of rifle homicides and the population of the US, a 70 year old, over their lifetime, has a ~0.0073% chance of being killed by a rifle (of any type). The American Cancer Research Institute estimates that for persons in the US the risk of cancer from grilled foods for the average person is 0.01% to as much as 2% for people who eat large amounts of well done grilled meats. If you eat a lot of grilled food, the chance of getting cancer is ~274 times greater than being killed by a rifle in your lifetime – where is the outcry from the politicians and media for banning bar-b-que grills?