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Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:31 PM

Thinking about the Assault Weapons Ban

Predictably, the NRAers unanimously believe that the AWB is pointless because it only bans "cosmetic" features.

However, the NRA crowd is usually wrong about most things. For example, they don't believe that gun ownership increases suicide risk. They don't believe that gun ownership rates are positively correlated with homicide rates. They don't believe that gun control can reduce the availability of guns to criminals. There is pretty strong evidence for these facts, so, as a rule, the fact that the NRA crowd believes something means very little.

But when it comes to AWB, the pro-gunners have some valid arguments. Bayonet lugs do not make guns more dangerous. On the other hand, even if it is not easy to define, there definitely is a difference between a hunting rifle, and a rifle designed for combat. There's a reason that these mass shooters pick AR-15s. The question is, whether there is any way to define "assault weapons" meaningfully.

By the way, this kind of problem comes up in other areas besides guns. One example that comes to mind is Wall Street regulations. The so-called Volcker rule seeks to prevent banks from making speculative trades -- the idea being that banks shouldn't be hedge funds: they shouldn't be taking risks and trying to profit by predicting markets. The problem is, not all trades or investments are speculative. Some are legitimate hedges, designed to reduce risk exposure, and those kinds of trades should not be banned, because they actually reduce, rather than increase risk. So there's this problem of how do you figure out if a trade is speculation or not. And, predictably, the banks say there's no way to tell, so you just have to allow any kind of trading by banks and that's it.

The AWB debate is similar, in a way. The NRA will insist that there's no way to tell an "assault-style" semi-auto rifle from a "regular" semi-auto rifle, so we shouldn't even bother and try. But they are wrong. There is a difference between the "assault-style" guns and the "Fudd" guns, even if it's not easy to define.

A final note: even if the AWB were purely cosmetic (and it's not: at the very least, high-capacity magazines are non-cosmetic, nor are pistol/thumbhole grips), that still doesn't mean it can't reduce crime. Forcing guns to look less "cool" could well reduce the demand for such guns, resulting in a lower amount of ownership of assault-style guns.

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Arrow 41 replies Author Time Post
Reply Thinking about the Assault Weapons Ban (Original post)
DanTex Dec 2012 OP
gejohnston Dec 2012 #1
DanTex Dec 2012 #7
gejohnston Dec 2012 #12
DanTex Dec 2012 #20
gejohnston Dec 2012 #22
ManiacJoe Dec 2012 #33
HALO141 Dec 2012 #13
krispos42 Dec 2012 #29
Puha Ekapi Dec 2012 #35
the antigun Dec 2012 #2
gejohnston Dec 2012 #4
the antigun Dec 2012 #5
gejohnston Dec 2012 #11
Puha Ekapi Dec 2012 #16
the antigun Dec 2012 #18
gejohnston Dec 2012 #21
arely staircase Dec 2012 #25
gejohnston Dec 2012 #27
arely staircase Dec 2012 #28
gejohnston Dec 2012 #32
arely staircase Dec 2012 #37
gejohnston Dec 2012 #39
GreenStormCloud Dec 2012 #3
ManiacJoe Dec 2012 #6
Puha Ekapi Dec 2012 #8
the antigun Dec 2012 #9
Puha Ekapi Dec 2012 #10
the antigun Dec 2012 #14
Eleanors38 Dec 2012 #26
DanTex Dec 2012 #15
Puha Ekapi Dec 2012 #17
Pullo Dec 2012 #24
Kaleva Dec 2012 #40
gejohnston Dec 2012 #41
GreenStormCloud Dec 2012 #31
spin Dec 2012 #19
Pullo Dec 2012 #23
krispos42 Dec 2012 #30
bobclark86 Dec 2012 #34
Pullo Dec 2012 #36
krispos42 Dec 2012 #38

Response to DanTex (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:43 PM

1. OK, I get the magazine

but how about the thumbhole or pistol grip a bad thing? Please don't insult anyone's intelligence with the "spray from the hip" nonsense because that is not the function nor is it more ergonomic for that than a traditional stock. We (the military) were not taught to spray from the hip, or spray at all. We were taught to aim with the peep sights and use only semi auto.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:58 PM

7. My point is that a pistol grip is obviously not just cosmetic.

Do you agree? It is clearly a functional feature, not a cosmetic one.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:05 PM

12. while functional,

it doesn't make it more deadly. Neither doesn't anything else, other than maybe the magazine.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #12)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:15 PM

20. This is where the whole "the NRA crowd is wrong about almost everything" comes into play.

Of course you will say that. However, the fact of the matter is that it is a functional feature, and not a cosmetic one. And, there must be a reason that the rifles issued to soldiers have pistol grips. I don't hunt and I've never fired a rifle with a pistol grip even at a target. So I can't speak from personal experience.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #20)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:28 PM

22. it seems more ergonomic firing from the shoulder

Or, it could be out of tradition like adding keeping stuff that is useless like the bayonet lug. I have found that the anti gun crowd is wrong about everything, often out of dishonesty.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #22)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:34 PM

33. Yes, more ergonomic firing from the shoulder.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:06 PM

13. I would [b]not[/b] agree that it makes a rifle any more deadly

so what's the point?

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Response to DanTex (Reply #7)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:39 PM

29. It is functional. It is more comfortable, generally speaking.

I mean, people want shooting guns to be as painless as possible, generally speaking. For some, they prefer the pistol grip. I'm not used to it, so I'd rather have a straight grip. But stating that they should be banned having one makes a gun an 'assault weapon' is pretty lame.

I mean, really? This:






is okay, but this:



is something that needs to be banned?

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #29)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:12 PM

35. But but but...

...it looks meaner!

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:45 PM

2. Something more to look at

I live in rednecksville Wyoming and i can tell you that the ban, if it is the same ban, will do nothing. In the previous ban there was a loop hole that allowed you to buy "Kit guns". These guns were shipped to your house (with out the use of an FFL transaction) disassembled. All you will have to do is assemble the gun to your liking. It goes from being an assault rifle to a do it your self kit rifle. I have several friends who bought their CAR-15 rifles that way during the first ban. Also high cap magazines would also be sold on the market if they were made prior to the date of the ban. I would say one of my friends is a "moderate" collector of such things and he has 15 30 round mags for his CAR-15. So these have already been mass produced and they will be on the market far longer than the ban could be legally set in place.

Unfortunately it is true about the previous ban; about it being just cosmetic stuff. "The term, assault weapon, when used in the context of assault weapon laws refers primarily (but not exclusively) to semi-automatic firearms that possess the cosmetic features of an assault rifle (which are fully-automatic)."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban

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Response to the antigun (Reply #2)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:48 PM

4. that is because the lower receiver is the part

which is legally a gun, and must be shipped via FFL. If the lower receiver was shipped directly without FFL, please call the ATF hotline and turn him in. For a handgun it is the frame, any other rifle or shotgun it is the receiver.
BTW, where is Rednecksville? I grew up in Wyoming, don't believe I have been there.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #4)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:54 PM

5. ammoreclaim.com

Cheyenne is rednecksville. I honestly think i am the only one here that doesn't own a gun or a pair of cowboy boots, but that doesn't mean that they are not good people.

As far as the receiver goes i am not sure. I think you may be right on that. However you can order uppers, barrels, stocks, hand grips, and all sorts of stuff through Midway.com.

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Response to the antigun (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:03 PM

11. to me Cheyenne is the big city

and Yeah, you probably are the only one who doesn't own a gun. Yes, the lower receiver is the part with the serial number, making it legally a gun.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_W._Byrd
his dad was a Newark police capt until he became Chief of Police in 1966 until his retirement sometime in the late 1970s or early eighties. Besides being a slur against rural people in general, working class rural in particular. I find it even more offensive given that race relations in Wyoming were light years ahead of even LA in those days.

Personally, I agree with everything in the state party platform
http://www.wyomingdemocrats.com/2012-platform2010-bylaws

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:09 PM

16. Wyoming...

...has long been a very forward looking state. Their Democratic platform is one I'd like to see widely modeled.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #11)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:12 PM

18. First place to let women to vote too

Something a friend of mine likes to say is "We live in the best state in the world. Even our Democrats make hard core Republicans else where look like sissy Democrats."

Personally i really do like living here. I don't live in the best of neighborhoods but we all seem to get a long. The economy is good, the job market is fair, and we even treat people nicely. But i still think it could all be done with out the guns.

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Response to the antigun (Reply #18)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:23 PM

21. part of the culture

celebrate our diversity just like you would anyone elses.
Also had the first woman governor, a Democrat, in 1924. IIRC, that is her statue in from of the capitol building.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #21)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:46 PM

25. and sent dick cheney to congress

wyoming is beautiful but it makes texas look like Massachusetts politically.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #25)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:54 PM

27. not hardly

Perry couldn't get elected in Wyoming, too religious and too extreme. The place doesn't care for either extreme. That is like judging California based on Issa or Bob Dornan. Wyoming is also a bit more socialistic than either.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #27)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:02 PM

28. in texas

obama won 41 percent of the vote; he got 28 percent in wyoming in 2012.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #28)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:58 PM

32. but has nothing to do with right or left

One of the problems the national party has is being perceived as anti rural. How politics works within any given state is more complex than the simplistic "red or blue". One problem someone like Perry would have is that Wyoming is more religiously diverse. As I understand it, Texas is either Baptist Anglo or Catholic Latino. Wyoming is Catholic, Mormon, high Protestant depending on where you are at. Even within those regions, they are slight pluralities.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #32)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:58 PM

37. im not saying perry could get elected there

i am saying wyoming is more conservative. and i think the percentage obama got in each state is strong evidence of that. obama won every major city and its county in texas (except Ft. Worth) did he carry any large towns up there?

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #37)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:03 PM

39. define large

it doesn't work that way either. It is more complex and diverse than even that. IIRC, he carried Laramie County, which is Cheyenne, and Teton County which is Jackson. Last Election the carried Albany County, which is super rural and Laramie.
For example in Texas, it is easy to find climate change deniers in the suburbs. Wyoming has no suburbs, and even the most conservative people see first hand. If you give a poll on "how you feel about xyz" the answers would not be right wing. The problem is that folks have been sold the idea that one party reflects the value system more than ours. While conservative is accurate in the traditional sense is accurate, the modern sense isn't so much. I don't know about Texas, But Arizona politics have been taken over by reactionaries from other parts of the country like California and New Jersery. Brewer is from California and Arpiao is from New Jersey.
To sell the party better, one has to show how our party reflects the value system better than the other guy. Of course, that can easily be destroyed by the "they drive trucks and have guns because they have small dicks" crowd.
In other words, the party brings it on itself, kind of like Republicans and African Americans.
http://www.wyomingalmanac.com/wyoming_politics

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:47 PM

3. What is wrong with pistol grips or thumbhole stocks on a rifle?

We can talk about the other stuff later. One thing at a time.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:55 PM

6. Ergonomics is a good thing.

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Response to ManiacJoe (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:59 PM

8. For a competent rifleman...

...the presence or absence of a pistol grip or thumbhole stock is neither a hindrance or an enhancement. I can shoot a traditionally stocked rifle as well as one with a pistol grip. I daresay that most people can.

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Response to Puha Ekapi (Reply #8)


Response to the antigun (Reply #9)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:03 PM

10. And you would know that...

...how?

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Response to Puha Ekapi (Reply #10)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:07 PM

14. I wish there was a quote button

6. Ergonomics is a good thing.

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Response to Puha Ekapi (Reply #8)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:47 PM

26. They are increasingly common for "turkey" shotguns.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:08 PM

15. My point is that it is not just a cosmetic feature.

It actually affects the way a gun handles.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:12 PM

17. IMO...

a pistol grip may be nice and handy, but it won't make you a better shot or make the gun more lethal. For me it's neither an advantage nor a disadvantage.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:42 PM

24. Most of the Fudd semiautos are much more powerful than "assault" weapons

Your ban will not have the type of impact you desire

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Response to Pullo (Reply #24)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:21 PM

40. Depends on how one defines "more powerful".

A person armed with a bolt action .30-06 would be at a disadvantage in a close range shootout facing another person armed with a .223 Bushmaster and loaded with a "standard" magazine.

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Response to Kaleva (Reply #40)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:24 PM

41. unless of course

the guy with the bolt action is better cover and is a better shot.

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Response to DanTex (Reply #15)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:55 PM

31. But why is it a bad feature that needs to be banned?

You are supporting it. Tell us what is wrong with it.

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Response to GreenStormCloud (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:12 PM

19. Mainly because Dianne Feinstein, who possesses great wisdom for beyond the common person, ...

has determined pistol grips or thumb hole stocks on rifles are dangerous and undesirable.

Ronald Reagan was another extremely wise politician who realized how important "trickle down" economics was for the future of our nation.


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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 06:31 PM

23. By trying to ban them, you are making "assault weapons" ULTRA COOL

It is the best advertising campaign possible. The anti-gun crowd is doing what the gun industry could only dream of doing.

And when the effort to ban these guns inevitably gets stymied by congress next year, sales will remain white hot. The first AWB had already turned the AR-15 into the best selling center-fire rifle in the United States. Now, I expect sales of these firearms to absolutely EXPLODE in the coming year as production ramps up.

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Response to DanTex (Original post)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 07:49 PM

30. Wall Street used to have a very simple law in effect.

Commercial banks were separate from investment houses, which were separate from insurance companies, which were separate from commercial banks.

When those walls were eroded, all the jury-rigging in the world couldn't stop rampant speculation and other disastrous things from happening.


So there's a simple solution to your problem, a hard-and-fast rule to the problem of what is an assault weapon and what isn't.

Here it is:


Define (redefine, rather) an "assault weapon" as a semiautomatic rifle or shotgun.


Wasn't that simple?


The terms "semiautomatic", "rifle" and "shotgun" have very specific meanings, and are very well understood legally. There is no "go around". You can't grind off a bump, or braze on a piece of metal, or weld a stock in the "extended" position to get around those three very precise terms.


"An assault weapon is defined as any semiautomatic long gun. All new assault weapons are banned for sale to the general public."


There. Done. Problem solved.

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Response to krispos42 (Reply #30)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 08:43 PM

34. And it will get shot down

just like the handgun ban in DC.

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Response to bobclark86 (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 09:49 PM

36. Exactly. Most guns sold today are semiautomatic.

What he is advocating won't do a thing to address gun violence(and it doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of passing anyway), but it WILL result in strong and lasting Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

Must be the goal, then, as that's about the only thing such a measure would accomplish.

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Response to bobclark86 (Reply #34)

Thu Dec 27, 2012, 10:02 PM

38. Not necessarily

Understand that I'm not in favor of such a thing, but since it is not a ban on all guns, or even most guns, and there exists sufficient alternatives, it would probably work.

DC could probably, for example, ban semi-auto handguns. And I'm kind of surprised they haven't tried to.

The precedent has already been set by Congress and the Courts that *some* semiautomatics can be prohibited from being sold, so I don't see why this can't be at least passed, then fought over in the courts. If the ban is upheld, then the it's upheld and the pro-control side gets their victory. Of course, it won't do anything measurable, but doubtless Schumer, Feinstein, McCartney, and other will flog this as a major achievement.

If it's rejected, we have a new precedent for the pro-gun side.

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