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Gender: Male
Hometown: Eastern North Carolina
Home country: United States
Current location: Eastern NC
Member since: Wed Dec 1, 2004, 03:09 PM
Number of posts: 11,482

Journal Archives

As an AR owner...nice thought, but I think I'll pass, thanks.

As part of a fun-n-games fundraiser, it's a neat concept, but not in the context of trying to bait me into compliance with somebody else's Authoritah. Besides, I'm very relationship oriented, so a kiss from a woman who is only trying to get me to comply with her employer's dictates...nah, I'll pass.

But I would like to revisit a statement you made upthread---that you couldn't understand why any reasonable gun owner would want to own an AR. That statement boggles my mind as much as my AR ownership apparently boggles yours.

You do realize we're talking about a non-automatic, small-caliber rifle here, yes? A Title 1 civilian centerfire .22. Not a heavy-caliber weapon, not a gun that fires faster than "regular" civilian guns, not a "badass" gun.

The civilian AR-15 platform has been on the civilian market since the early 1960's (JFK owned one), and there are good reasons why it been the top selling centerfire rifle in the United States for a decade now. The AR-15 *dominates* competitive centerfire target shooting in the United States. It's the most common defensive carbine in U.S. homes. It's the #1 centerfire plinking rifle in the United States. There are reasons for that---accuracy, ergonomics, reliability, economy, versatility, familiarity---that aren't going to be changed by manipulative advertising.

So you know where I'm coming from, I shoot a Rock River .223 AR for fun and competition, currently set up for 0-200 yard shooting with a holographic sight, and it's also my stand-in for a 12-gauge since I have little interest in shotguns. FWIW, I'm not an NRA member; I used to be, years ago, but dropped them when they got too cozy with some affiliates of the Religious Right.

Finn M39 on a 1905 Izhevsk receiver still bearing the Romanov crest,

Yeah, & you're not machismo eh? is that a mosin nagant, or I think that was russian made, doubled as a good pole vault (pole for vaulting, not for vaulting poles).

"Machismo" is a noun. The adjective form of your insult would be "macho", would it not?

In any case, on the macho-vs-geek spectrum, I'm very much at the geek end (technical writer, Perl wonk, Guild fan) and very proud of it.

Yes, a Mosin...a very nice Finn M39 on a 1905 Izhevsk hex receiver still bearing the Romanov crest, rebarreled and converted to M39 configuration in 1942 at VKT in Jyväskylä. A fascinating piece of history, in my opinion, and not your garden variety M1891. Best group so far is 1 3/8" at 100 yards, which isn't too shabby for a rifle that's 108 years old.

How many gunowners have a personal gunsmith? I never did, not too many do

Neither do I. That's one reason the AR is so popular. You can rebarrel, change caliber, change stocks, free-float, install a match trigger, install optics, install a light, install a sling, change length of pull, and anything else you'd want to do yourself without every having to pay someone else to do it for you. That's a key difference between an AR and (say) a Mini or a Remington 7400.

IN FACT, in good part, people who'd understand you above would be ex army/marines & some law enforcement

Knowing what the hell you're talking about when it comes to firearms, firearms law, and the shooting sports is not a radical position. Distressingly rare, perhaps; radical, no.

People who'd understand what I said would be target shooters, competitive shooters, and people interested in the technical aspects of guns and shooting, instead of just bleating about what a gun looks like or how well it kills Bambi or what kind of noise it makes when you cycle it or what Cletus on TV says about it.

People who understand things like sight offset, ballistic coefficient, muzzle energy, how momentum affects recoil, and such. The people who know the difference between a rimfire and a centerfire cartridge, or know how to use a ballistic table. *Those* are the people who understand why a non-automatic civilian centerfire .22 isn't some uber-superweapon. It's a rifle, period. A non-automatic rifle, and a small-caliber one at that.

Bottom line, you're fighting to outlaw the most popular civilian target rifles and HD carbines in the United States and you don't even seem to realize it. But you're in good company, far too many legislators are laboring under the same misconception, and it is going to hurt the party in 2014.

Umm, the AR-15 absolutely dominates centerfire target competition in this country...

Hardly a weapon you would need for target practice, home defense or hunting anything besides humans.

Umm, the AR-15 absolutely dominates centerfire target competition in this country. The only disciplines it *doesn't* dominate are those in which it is too physically small to dominate (I'm thinking F-class benchrest here). It not only is a target rifle in its many iterations, it is the top selling centerfire target rifle in the United States.

The AR also dominates centerfire recreational shooting, and the rimfire variants are making inroads on the ubiquitous (and functionally identical) Ruger 10/22.

As far as home defense goes, it's a centerfire .22. With JHP in the 50-62 grain weight class, it penetrates less in wallboard than either shotgun 00 buckshot or 9mm JHP, while giving better precision and less recoil than the shotgun, and far more more precision than the handgun. So, yeah, it's a darn good alternative to a 12-gauge, assuming you go with a 16" barrel and not a 20" or 24" long-range barrel. And it's easier to mount a light on an AR than it is to mount one on my old Mini-14.

As far as hunting, the AR isn't widely viewed as powerful enough for most deer hunting unless you step up to a bigger caliber upper than .223, and the power of the rounds it can feed is limited by the AR's small magwell. 6.8mm Remington or 6.5mm Grendel would make pretty good deer calibers, as would the .30 Remington AR, but the overwhelming majority of AR's are chambered in .223, a coyote and prairie-dog round in the hunting world.

What it's *not* commonly used for is "hunting humans." Rifles are the least misused of all weapons in the United States, as you well know. And to this day the worst mass shooting in U.S. history used an ordinary 9mm and a backpack full of low-capacity magazines, as I recall.

You could buy 2 excellent rifles for the price of an AR-15.

Prior to the current ban-fueled buying frenzy, you could get a Smith & Wesson AR for $600. I'd love for you to show me "two excellent rifles" you can buy for $600 total. You could hardly buy a bare-bones Ruger Mini-14 for $600, never mind two higher-quality rifles. Heck, even a cheap-cheap Remington 770 at Walmart is, what, $450?

You've been spun, and hard.

A perfect case in point.

Assault rifles in america are bought generally for one or both of two reasons. Either the pretext of fear, or to assuage a machismo ego.

That perception is *exactly* why the gun control lobby keeps shooting itself in the foot on the subject of rifle bans.

Dude, I shoot an AR and two 9mm's competitively (local USPSA), and the smaller of the 9mm's is a Smith & Wesson Lady Smith. I'd love to hear your "machismo" take on that.

The AR-15 platform is the most popular centerfire target rifle in the United States not from "the pretext of fear, or to assuage a machismo ego", but because it is far and away the best small-caliber centerfire carbine on the market. Period. Compare a Ruger Mini-14 and a Smith & Wesson AR, which are identical in terms of capacity, caliber, rate of fire, and tell me why for the same money you'd choose a less-accurate, less-ergonomic, less-configurable, less-durable, less-weather-resistant gun for the same price. Show me another single gun you can use for F-class benchrest, IPSC/USPSA, .30-caliber deer hunting, .22LR squirrel hunting, *and* as a less-penetrative, lighter-recoiling stand-in for a 12-gauge in the HD role simply by swapping components with no gunsmith required.


Exactly, they want to own military style firearms, without ever having to serve one, single, day, in a militia, or army - so as to pretend they are just as good.

Heh. My AR is a Rock River, in a configuration that has never been used by any military on this planet. It no less "civilian" than a Remington 700 deer rifle (aka "M24/M40 Sniper Weapons System") or a Winchester Model 70 (military-style Mauser derivative that served as the standard-issue USMC sniper rifle in Vietnam). FWIW, I own one and only one military rifle, and that one is a bolt-action made in 1905 that helped kick both the Soviets and the Nazis out of Finland. My 9mm's are both Smith & Wessons.

The gun control lobby made a huge miscalculation when they assumed, based on the arguments put forward by Diaz et al that you repeat upthread, that "black rifles" are fringe guns mostly purchased by Walter Mittys, and acted accordingly. The AR is the Winchester .30-30 of my generation (Gen-X) and subsequent, and will undoubtedly surpass the total sales of the Remington 870 within a few years. Face that fact or not, it's no loss to me, but it might keep your side of the argument from stepping in it quite so badly.

That might have been the case a couple years ago; probably not now, I think.

Universal background checks and improved reporting would be a compromise that would likely pass without greatly angering most gun owners.

That would have been the case until fairly recently, back when it appeared that gun-owner rights were seen as pretty safe from new AWB's and magazine bans. Now, I think such a move would be considered an attempt to proactively add teeth to the gun/mag bans being pushed at the state and national level, since without mandatory recording of transfers, such bans are completely unenforceable.

That's the boat I pretty much find myself in....OK with background checks for private sales in theory, but absolutely opposed in the current environment. NY, CA, and MD, and the Bloomberg machine have shown where they want this bus to go.


1. The assault weapons ban restricted sales from 1994-2005. Now that sales are booming, it's only logical that in time those guns will find their way into criminal hands, and then be put to criminal use.

The. AWB. Did. Not. Restrict. Sales.

I don't know how I can make this any clearer. The AWB easily *tripled* AR-15 and AK sales. It merely required that all those new AR's/AK's being manufacture and imported had to have smooth muzzles, pinned rather than screwed on brakes, and pinned stocks.

Do I need to post BATFE sales figures? AR and AK ads from the late '90s/early '00's? My AK receipt from 2003? Those were the boom years for those guns.

I also question using the rifle categorization as an assessor since it includes things like hunting rifles we aren't concerned about.

Rifles of any type aren't significantly represented in U.S. homicide stats. Period. All rifles combined don't even reach 3% of recorded homicides most years.

You are in serious denial if you think that rifle homicide at <3% means that nontraditional looking rifles are a Menace To Society...

Have you seriously asked yourself the simple question of what will happen to all these guns in time?

Yep. The thing about guns is that if they are taken proper care of and not shot too much (or have worn-out parts replaced as needed), they last for many decades, or even centuries. Some will wear out, and those that don't will be passed down to heirs or sold back to gun dealers to re-enter the lawful retail market, just like civilian guns have done for the past 300 years. You are acting as if this is new, or as if a rifle with "Rock River Arms" on the side is qualitatively different from one that says "Winchester".

I currently shoot a rifle that is 107 years old. There's no reason my grandchildren's children can't enjoy shooting it a century from now, either.

Furthermore, the logical extension of the arguments made by those who think we should be allowed to carry arms wherever, whenever, we want is to de-emphasize the ability to conceal and to re-emphasize firepower. I'll call this the Wild West scenario where a society has gone from a stage where it doesn't have to address the problem of the public carrying arms to the point where you have to check your gun in with the Sheriff in Tombstone. Where does this "madness" (Bill Clinton's words, not mine) end if we are to have whatever gun rights we believe we ought to have irrespective of any possible social consequence?

No, not happening. The "open carry" movement started as pushback against California's lack of equitable concealed carry licensure, and were it not for that would IMO not exist.

Clinton's harshness on gun ownership was an attempt to triangulate law-and-order conservatives by looking "tough on crime". That was a serious miscalculation, as Clinton pointed out in his autobiography, and Dems paid for it by losing the trifecta for a decade.

{much drivel about the Confederacy, Red Dawn, and whatnot omitted}

Please don't put your delusions about what "real" gun owners think in my mouth. I haven't tried to use you as a sockpuppet; please extend the same civility in return.

4. I think the pro-gun lobby needs to ask itself how legal possession of guns becomes illegal possession of guns; for some reason (understandable), the pro-gun lobby doesn't want to engage this question in any meaningful way.

Since the gun-control lobby is primarily focused on banning the lawful and responsible ownership of the most popular civilian guns and rolling back CCW licensure, rather than specifically addressing diversion to criminal hands, I don't think you can exactly blame gun owners for that.

You wish to radically change the status quo, and enact sweeping new restrictions on the Title 1 civilian guns we may lawfully own. The answer to that is no. If you wish to discuss methods to reduce diversion from the legal market to the illegal one, let's talk.

This of course is understandable considering it makes for a great case for the true meaning of the Constitution, that the Second Amendment exists to create "a well regulated Militia" that can be called up to put down domestic insurrection or foreign invasion; rather than carte blanche gun rights.

Revisionist history that was eventually reversed in academia and shot down in U.S. v. Heller, which is now the law of the land. The 2ndA is an individual right that protects guns "in common use for lawful purposes." Next case.

5. I've already said I want a better written law so the gun manufacturers can't slither around the intent of the law.

The intent of the 1994 law was look "tough on crime" to law-and-order conservatives without alarming gun owners too much (hence the sunset clause and the fact that the law didn't actually ban any guns). Even so, it was a vast overreach, and the backlash all but destroyed the U.S. gun control lobby, gave us 49-state CCW, and made "assault weapons" the top selling guns in America by September 2004.

If you want to lobby for a far more restrictive law, in what is now a vastly less favorable political climate than in '94, when the guns you wish to ban now define the mainstream of the shooting sports, then go right ahead. Gun owners will ultimately thank you for it, as your movement follows the WCTU and the Temperance Party into the political dustbin.

I don't care about the gun porn; that weapon has no purpose in independent hands, not connected with service in the Militia, other than to be, what I humorously call a "death spewer."

You are free not to own one. It's a free country. But if you wanted the gun control lobby to remain relevant, you might want to try to have your positions reflect reality in 2012, rather than a Field & Stream fantasy from 1951.

As a movement, though, taking the position that the dominant sporting rifles in the United States have no sporting purpose, or that the top selling civilian rifles in the USA are not civilian rifles, is sheer idiocy from a pragmatic standpoint. It was exactly that sort of blind groupthink that led the gun control lobby to fall on the AWB sword a decade ago. I suppose I should be relieved to see that you guys are determined to stay on that sword until your movement bleeds out.

Meh, whatever. I'll keep shooting matches, going to the range, and taking friends and my kids shooting with the guns I supposedly can't do those things with. No worries.

6. Killing other human beings; it has no legitimate sporting or self-defense purpose on its own merit.

I think you must have accidentally deleted some words here.

FWIW, re: Roosevelt, I notice that Eleanor Roosevelt was a competent handgun shooter, owned a revolver, and had a New York concealed carry license. I see that the Hanley-Fake bill was an attempt to repeal the Sullivan Act; I'll bet there is a deeper backstory there than your source is telling.

....Here's the crux of the matter: we're not talking about rifles; we're talking about assault weapons. I would never deny your right to ownership of weapons for hunting, self-defense, and sport. But when your choice of weapons present a clear and present danger to the safety of the public and their officials, despite the best efforts of law enforcement, I believe you have exceeded any Constitutional mandate to not have your rights "infringed."

Ah, notice the date: 2004. Back before Senator Kerry lost gun-owning Dems again, just like Gore had in 2000, just like the congressional leadership did in 1994, and before the DLC/DNC leadership began soul-searching to discover how they had managed to alienate gun-owning Dems so badly.

It wasn't until circa 2006 that the party began to get informed on the issue, discovered that (oops!!) "assault weapons" are civilian rifles (and the most popular ones, at that), and began to backpedal on the AWB, such that by 2008 the American Hunters and Shooters Association was confidently assuring gun owners that Obama had no interest in pushing for another AWB. They were right.

Legislating 19th century firearm aesthetics is dead. Handgrips that stick out are here to stay. Deal with it.

Or as a competitive shooter.

Here's a local IPSC match in Sweden.

Thoughts, at some length...

You're right, it's not that widespread in the United States yet...

Yet? The rifle crime rate is going *down*, not up, and the overall violence rate is going down and has been for quite some time.

The shift toward smaller-caliber, higher-capacity civilian rifles has been going on for decades; my local Walmart sold Colt AR-15's and Norinco AK's circa 1988, and the AR first hit the market circa 1961 (JFK owned one). But the greatest increases in AR/AK ownership occurred 1994 to the present, and have coincided with a long decline in rifle crime and of gun violence in general.

I'm certainly not going to argue post hoc ergo prompter hoc here---I think it was other social factors at work---but more widespread "assault weapon" ownership has certainly not been associated with an increase in violence. Quite the contrary, actually.

...but in other countries and especially those less developed they are the weapon of choice.

Anywhere concealability (and to a lesser extent, portability) are irrelevant, rifles do make more sense as both offensive and defensive weapons than handguns do. That condition may be found across large parts of Africa, parts of Mexico, etc. The fact that the Warsaw Pact flooded large portions of the Third World with mass produced AK's (real ones, not civilian lookalikes) during the Cold War certainly didn't hurt the rifle/handgun balance, either.

The more developed and organized a region becomes, though, the more things shift from rifles toward handguns when out-and-about, as people trade range and capacity for concealability, portability, and convenience. I'd point out that rifles were once the personal weapon of choice in *this* country, too, back when it was almost exclusively rural.

I think that as more enter the market, and more are diverted to criminal use, you'll see the number of incidents in rise.

Why would they? Rifle availability on the criminal market has not increased in the last 50 years and isn't increasing now. Any criminal who wanted a box-magazine-fed semiauto rifle or carbine in 1910, or 1940, or 1970, or 1990, or 2000 could get one. Thing is, they don't often choose them, for the reasons I've described at length in this thread.

But don't just take my word for it; look at period of sharpest increase in AK/AR sales, e.g. beginning in 1994 and continuing to the present day, and plot it against rifle homicide and overall homicide rates. Violence rates peaked well before the sales surge began and have been declining steadily since.

You're actually making a really good case for hand gun control.

Well, by any objective standard, handguns in criminal hands *are* more of an issue than rifles and shotguns are. That, historically, is why handguns are more tightly controlled by Federal and most state law than rifles and shotguns.

You do need to distinguish between handguns in criminal and noncriminal hands, though; failure to do that was one of the gun control lobby's big strategic mistakes.

I again go back to this weapon, which since the expiration of the assault ban is now legal.

Umm, civilian AK's were legal 1994-2004; the Feinstein law banned no guns. AK's and 20/30-round magazines were just as legal in 1997 or 2002 as they are now.

The catch was that after 1994, *new* guns with folding stocks had to have the stocks pinned or tack-welded in the open position, the muzzle brake (if present) had to be pinned on rather than screwed on, the little protrusion on the bottom of the gas block couldn't be finish-machined, etc. But civilian AK's weren't banned, and neither were folding stocks; it's just that if you put a folder on a post-1994 AK, you could have theoretically gotten into trouble if someone noticed that the gun was post-'94.

My own AK and magazines are ban-era; here's how to tell by looking.

What is the purpose of its design?

What aspect? The square-ish receiver? Curved magazines? Handgrip placement? Folding stock?

To understand what drove the actual military AK, you have to look at what it was designed to replace, namely the PPSh submachinegun and the Mosin-Nagant rifle. The AK-47 was designed to exactly split the difference between the two guns, allowing both of them to be phased out in favor of a single compromise design. At the flick of a switch, it could either spray bullets at 10 rounds per second, or fire one aimed shot at a time, therefore fulfilling the submachinegun and rifle roles passably well.

Civilian AK derivatives have only the one-shot-at-a-time mode, like other civilian rifles, and lose the rapid-fire capability. They retain the original's legendary reliability, durability, looks, and ergonomics. The intermediate cartridge gives it less recoil and higher capacity than larger caliber rifles and makes it cheaper to shoot, and the basic construction makes it affordable on a working-class paycheck.

From a civilian standpoint, you can think of it as a ruggedized Winchester Model 94 in .30-30 feeding from 20- or 30-round detachable magazines, and capable of similar accuracy and terminal ballistics. Excellent reliability, good capacity, decent performance, excellent price (mine was $379 in 2003). A Ruger Mini Thirty (same capabilities) was going for $600-$700 at the time.

Simplified sociological arguments do not always trump questions of public safety. Why do you need to be able to outgun the police?

An AK or AR doesn't "outgun the police." Police officers have access to Title 2 restricted machineguns and submachineguns, Title 2 restricted assault rifles (including actual M16s and M4s), restricted armor piercing ammunition, grenades, armored vehicles, body armor, yadda yadda yadda. A medium-caliber Title 1 civilian rifle doesn't "outgun the police" just because it looks like a police/government Title 2 automatic weapon.

Having said that, if a police officer shows up to a dwelling with only a pistol and the occupant has a shotgun or centerfire rifle of any sort, then yes, the officer could be considered "outgunned" until he/she goes back to the cruiser and breaks out the long gun. But the police can have rifles and shotguns that you get you or me 10 years in Federal prison for simply possessing.

But here's the crux of the matter---rifles are the least threatening to public safety of all U.S. firearms, as demonstrated by the firearm assault and firearm homicide data. Call it simplistic if you want, but when all styles of rifles combined account for only 3 murders out of 100, then anyone claiming rifles are a menace is simply selling fear.

Doing great, thanks!

Here's my superhero sidekick on his way to his most recent cardiology checkup at Duke Children's:

He's gained back most of his pre-surgery weight and is totally back to baseline in most respects, except for being on a small amount of Lasix to deal with some residual lung effusion. The heart surgery was totally successful, but they do need to go back in with a balloon catheter and dilate some stenoses in the distal pulmonary arteries, which they can't reach surgically, so I'll be taking him back to Boston Children's in a couple months for that. (We knew about that going in, so this isn't unexpected.)

His RV-PA conduit looks great and it's big enough that it should last him till the valve wears out, and it's designed to accomodate one transcatheter valve replacement (Melody valve). So it's not unreasonable to speculate that he could go 20 years on this conduit, unless calcification is worse than expected or something.

He also made out like a bandit on Christmas presents, as might be expected. Although I didn't fulfill one request....he asked me a few weeks ago for a semiauto-only PPSh to keep in the safe for range trips.

Yes, there are.

Have you considered that there are other standards of lethality than ballistics?

But if you are comparing rifles with and without pistols grips,

-- Accuracy is the same.
-- Capacity is the same.
-- Rate of fire is the same.
-- Conceability is similar (slight edge to straight stock).
-- Portability is the same.
-- Ease of reloading is similar.

What it comes down to is that you wish to outlaw civilian rifles that *look* a certain way, and a ban on handgrips that stick out is one way to codify that wish into law.

But have *you* considered that if rifles were as amazingly lethal and suited for criminal violence as you say they are, then rifles would account for more than 3% of U.S. murders?
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