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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 04:09 PM
Number of posts: 12,027

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Both are semi-controversial consumer products that lead to some deaths from abuse,

and which a minority of zealots who don't personally like them wish to outlaw.

The Federal government puts annual alcohol-related fatalities at 100,000, but let's assume that number is overestimated by a factor of two, so say 50,000 deaths annually from alcohol for the sake of argument. All rifles combined account for less than 350 murders annually (extrapolating from the FBI UCR) and a small number of accidental deaths, with semiautos probably responsible for roughly half. So say 250 semiauto-rifle deaths annually, all told. That's a ratio of 200:1.

Small question: Do you personally drink alcohol? Or do you believe in total abstinence and prohibition?

I like bikes, and I've commuted to work on one before, when I lived closer.

One of my hobbies is riding singletrack on my old GT iDrive.

My point is that the scope of rifle misuse is vastly exaggerated by those who want to coerce their neighbors into living by their philosophical/religious beliefs on the topic, and being honest about the magnitude of rifle misuse would undermine your case. So instead we get rhetoric about "weapons of mass destruction" and "epidemics of violence" and even (in this very forum) intimations that a bloody fight for confiscation would be justifiable.

Many states have *zero* rifle homicides in any given year. The vast majority of states are in the single digits. Massachusetts, which just outlawed the most popular civilian rifles by executive fiat, averaged less than 1 rifle murder per year in the last 8 years for which we have data.

Murder, by State, Types of Weapons, 2015

Total murders...................... 13,455
Handguns............................ 6,447 (47.9%)
Firearms (type unknown)............. 2,648 (19.7%)
Clubs, rope, fire, etc.............. 1,671 (12.4%)
Knives and other cutting weapons.... 1,544 (11.5%)
Hands, fists, feet.................... 624 (4.6%)
Shotguns.............................. 269 (2.0%)
Rifles................................ 252 (1.9%)

To put that into perspective, bicycles accounted for 722 deaths in 2014, the most recent year for which I could find stats.

If you don't think bicycle deaths are an "epidemic" that requires coercive solutions and prohibition (never mind, say, swimming pool deaths, or knife deaths, both of which kill an order of magnitude more people than semiauto rifles do), yet you use that level of rhetoric about non-automatic, small-caliber civilian rifles and threaten coercive action against their owners, then you are being disingenuous.

To quote the gun-control lobby, back when rifle murder was *twice* the problem it is now:

"(O)ur organization, Handgun Control, Inc. does not propose further controls on rifles and shotguns. Rifles and shotguns are not the problem; they are not concealable."

--Nelson T. "Pete" Shields, Guns Don't Die--People Do, Priam Press, 1981, pp. 47-48).

Yup. They're not "on the streets"; they're "in citizens' homes".

Almost exclusively in the homes of the lawful and responsible, if you correlate the FBI Uniform Crime Reports with ownership and sales statistics...

Do you call the guy in your avatar a Democrat?

Because he was a gun enthusiast who avidly enjoyed shooting semiauto rifles, and personally owned an AR-15, an M1 carbine, and a Garand. And rifle homicide was probably higher back then than it is now, since it has been at historic lows in recent years.

Was Eleanor Roosevelt a Democrat, with her concealed-carry license and her views on armed self-defense?

I'd also point out that prior to the first Clinton administration, when the Third Way types decided to go hard on gun control as a way to appeal to right-leaning law-'n-order types (thereby shooting the party in the foot in 1994), support for gun control was an urban/rural thing, *not* a liberal-vs.-conservative thing. Most gun control prior to that time had been instituted by conservatives seeking to centralize power in the hands of elites, and keep guns out of the hands of people with the wrong color skin or the wrong ethnicity. That's true of the Mulford Act in California (signed by none other than Ronald Reagan), NY's Sullivan Law (aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of immigrants), and the Jim Crow gun control in the South, vestiges of which still stand today (like NC's law allowing sheriffs to deny handgun ownership on the basis of subjective "moral character", which was originally code for "has the wrong color skin").

The modern gun-control lobby is primarily funded by a single Wall Street billionaire who believes in stopping and frisking brown people without warrant, among other illiberal police-state positions he advocates.

Given that 50-60 million people own semiauto rifles,

I think the fact that they kill *fewer* people than shotguns, revolvers, knives, clubs, and even bare hands---making them among the least misused of all weapons---demonstrates that the obsession with rifle stock styling, and criminalizing responsible ownership thereof, is wrongheaded and counterproductive.

As to the nukes analogy, a .22 caliber non-automatic civilian rifle is many orders of magnitude less dangerous than a nuke, both in terms of storage and in terms of accidental or intentional misuse. I think banning alcohol is a better analogy than nuclear weapons, since alcohol and guns are both popular consumer products that are commonly enjoyed by a substantial fraction of the population, but with a very small percentage of misuse as well, and which a minority wish to outlaw on moral or pragmatic grounds---except that alcohol kills about 250 times as many people annually as rifles do.

As to banning only modern firearms, I don't think you'd really be OK with us owning guns from the 1830s through the 1870s either, since rate of aimed fire with a lever-action is pretty comparable to that of a modern semiauto, and I believe pumps go back to the mid-1800s as well.

The small-caliber competition rifle that the Newtown shooter stole from his mother....

is one of the safest rifles on the market, with one of the best and most robust manual safeties out there, and one of the safest in the event of a case rupture. It's also one of the safest to customize, since the headspace is determined by the barrel extension itself and not by the receiver-barrel interface.

The gun control lobby doesn't want to ban AR-15's because they're not safe, or because they're powerful (they're the least powerful of centerfire rifles), or because of their rate of fire (ROF and capacity are the same as a Ruger Mini-14, which they say they don't want to ban), or because of their rate of misuse (rifles are the least misused of all weapons). They want to ban AR-15's because of their looks, primarily the shape of their handgrips.

Bicycles kill three times as many people annually as semiautomatic rifles do....

and rifles as a class are the least misused of all weapons. Even the Liberal Gun Club forum is dominated by semiauto rifle shooters. I think you are either misinformed about the scope of rifle misuse, or in deep denial about the prevalence of semiautos in U.S. homes, including Dem and indie households.

Not just the USA, either; semiautos are legal and popular in Canada, most of Europe, New Zealand, etc., and even UK residents can own semiauto shotguns and semiauto .22LR rifles of unlimited capacity, if they so choose.

It's ironic that your avatar is a picture of an avid semiauto shooter who was murdered with a bolt-action.

The thing is (and I pointed this out in another thread), if all semiautos were banned (not going to happen), the professional gun-control lobby would simply switch to demonizing "Saturday Night Specials", "Vest Busters", "Big Boomers", "Sniper Rifles", "Combat Shotguns", "Riot Guns", "Silent Killers" (.22LR assassin's weapons, dontchaknow), and "Cop-Killer Bullets". Pumps and levers fall under the "assault weapons" catch-all, anyway.

Or would you be OK with people owning this pump-action?

Only a tiny minority of gun owners hunts, FWIW, so the hunting canard is irrelevant. If other guns were banned, you'd be saying "You can hunt with a bow, nobody needs a military-style sniper rifle" anyway.

I'm sure you would. And undoubtedly revolvers, and "riot guns", and "sniper rifles"...

If all semiautos were to magically disappear overnight, the professional gun-control lobby would dust off their "Saturday Night Special" talking points (nobody needs small, low-powered revolvers, ban them); their "Vest Buster" and "Big Boomer" talking points (nobody needs large, high-powered revolvers, ban them); and their "Sniper Rifles" talking points (nobody needs high-powered bolt-actions, ban them). Then there'd be "Combat Shotguns" and "Riot Guns" (nobody needs .729 caliber military-style weapons of mass destruction, ban them), and "Silent Killers" (nobody needs .22LR assassin's weapons, ban them), and "Cop-Killer Bullets" (nobody needs any modern rifle caliber at all, ban them).

I'll pass. We'll keep our Title 1 civilian guns, thanks. All of them.

You have been advocating banning people's rifles all up and down this thread,

while studiously ignoring the fact that you're talking about banning guns that even Canada and most of Europe don't ban.

If you mean you haven't advocated banning *all* rifles, true. Just like the Volstead Act didn't ban *all* alcoholic beverages. But you are asking to ban a majority of rifles, e.g. detachable-mag semiautos, even though they account for less than 250 murders a year out of 13,500+.

Plus, since detachable-magazine pump-actions and lever-actions can deliver comparable rates of aimed fire to a semiauto, your putative semiauto ban would be pretty useless if you didn't also ban detachable-mag levers and pumps, too. Here's one detachable-magazine rifle that would be completely exempt from your proposed ban:

Pump-action, 5.56x45mm or 7.62x51mm, STANAG magazines, folding stock since it has no buffer tube.

The Australian gun-control lobby got pump shotguns banned for exactly that reason (rate of fire), and started going after lever-action shotguns hard last year. Australians can still own pump rifles like the Troy PAR on an ordinary Class B certificate, though, and the prohibitionists are very unhappy about it.

That you consider rifle ownership to be comparable to human trafficking and child porn...

pretty much explains where you are coming from on the whole ban-rifles thing. And again, most developed nations don't view rifles that way.

One of the founders of the modern gun-control lobby had something to say about rifle restrictions, back when rifles killed more than twice as many people annually as they do now:

"(O)ur organization, Handgun Control, Inc. does not propose further controls on rifles and shotguns. Rifles and shotguns are not the problem; they are not concealable."

--Nelson T. "Pete" Shields, head of what is now the Brady Campaign 1978-1989 (Guns Don't Die--People Do, Priam Press, 1981, pp. 47-48).

I think a more relevant comparison is probably alcohol, even though alcohol kills 250 times as many people annually as rifles do. The initial attempt at prohibition, the resulting civil disobedience and political backlash, and the shift away from prohibition toward a "responsible use with enforcement to deter misuse" model is instructive for those who do actually care about reducing harm from violence.
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