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benEzra

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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: 11,459

Journal Archives

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?

Except you are very insistently confusing NON-military-grade weapons with actual

military-grade weapons---which are already very tightly controlled under existing law.

You've been had.

The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weaponsóanything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gunócan only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons. In addition, few people can envision a practical use for these weapons."

--Josh Sugarmann, Assault Weapons and Accessories in America, 1988


That was written by the lobbyist who popularized the "assault weapon" meme, in the paper that launched the whole "assault weapon ban" crusade and ultimately destroyed the gun control movement in the United States.

We are not talking about military-grade weapons. We are talking about non-automatic, small- and intermediate-caliber *civilian* rifles that (1) have handgrips that stick out, or (2) look (but do NOT function) like military grade weapons.

Let me remind you what the gun control lobby *used* to say about Title 1 rifles like mine.

Let me remind you of what the gun control lobby *used* to say about Title 1 rifles like mine.

"(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).

That statement is no less true now than it was then. Rifle crime was far worse when he said that than it is now. And when he wrote that, the AR-15 had been on the market for two decades and the M1 carbine for four decades.

It wasn't until 1988, when Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center popularized the "assault weapon" bait-and-switch as a means to build momentum for a ban on handguns, that the gun control lobby embarked on the rifle-ban crusade that would ultimately be its undoing.

What I have is a strong desire for a safer, saner society

And how, exactly, does advocating for cosmetic restrictions on the least misused of all U.S. weapons translate into a "safer, saner society"?

How does replacing this gun:



with this gun:



change rifle misuse one iota? They are the same gun. And the black-stocked one is less concealable, to boot.

...in which one does not believe he needs such weapons of war for "self-defense."

I have posted a picture of exactly one weapon of war in this thread. This one, originally designed to kill human beings at extreme ranges:



That's a military rifle made in Izhevsk, Russia for the Imperial Russian army in 1905, which was converted to M39 configuration in 1942 at the Finnish VKT arsenal in Jyvaskyla, and which likely saw action in two world wars. The sights are graduated from 100 meters to 2 kilometers, the latter for volley fire. It's also the archetype of the modern deer rifle, but it's the only military gun I own.

The other gun pics I posted are exclusively civilian guns that are not used by any military on this planet, as I'm sure you'd realize if you stopped to think about it. And the AR-15 just *any* civilian gun; it is the most popular civilian centerfire sporting rifle in the United States.

hostility to those who emphasize with the suffering of others

I'm not sure if you're referring to the other poster, or opponents of the "assault weapon" fraud in general, but if the latter then you simply have no idea. Empathy can be simultaneously blessing and curse, but I choose empathy and heartache over ignorance and bliss anyday.

But tell me, O empathetic one who would likely toss my ass in jail over the shape of a rifle stock, what do cosmetic restrictions on the *least* misused weapons have to do with "the suffering of others"?

No problem at all; we're all human here.

Sorry, wrong thread. I was posting from new phone rather than desktop. It doesn't display posters names well. I'll watch that closer in future.

No problem at all; we're all human here. Large threads and tiny screens have lead to cross-thread confusion more than once...

BTW -- I like the ACLU's position on meaning of 2A for sure.

Will you like it as well when the Santorums and Fischers and Vander Plaats types apply it to the First Amendment?

"We believe that the Constitution contains no barriers to reasonable regulations of the press. If we can license and register cars, we can license and register the press.

Most opponents of press control concede that the First Amendment certainly does not guarantee an individual's right to own child porn or detailed plans for nuclear weapons. Yet these, like novels, manuals, and even encyclopedias, are publications.

The question therefore is not whether to restrict the press, but how much to restrict it. If that is a question left open by the Constitution, then it is a question for Congress to decide."

FWIW, I think the national ACLU is slowly coming around. Its position on the 2ndA is inconsistent with its high view of the rest of the Bill of Rights; one cannot logically find a right to privacy in the text of the 4thA, and not find a right of the people to keep and bear arms in the text of the 2ndA.

No, just the West Germans. :-b

Nope, that's a death spewer. You're very clearly ready for ze Germans to attack....

Не, только Западногерманские, да?

Mine must be defective then, because it works like an ordinary NFA Title 1 civilian rifle. Exactly like this one, in fact:

http://www.ruger.com/products/miniThirty/models.html



Same ammunition, same range of magazine capacities, same accuracy, same rate of fire (one shot at a time), Oh, wait, that one doesn't have an evil handgrip, so it's OK.

Seriously, that total indifference to what is real---extreme rhetoric ("death spewer") in spite of the low level of rifle misuse, the functional distinctions between NFA Title 1 and Title 2 weapons, the fact that the guns you want to ban are less misused than the ones you don't want to ban---is exactly why your side lost the debate on this topic years ago, and why the "assault weapon" fraud eventually imploded the gun control movement in this country.

Civilian guns with protruding handgrips---AR's, Kel-Tecs, civilian AK's, FN's, what have you---are no longer just "in the mainstream" in the United States; they ARE the mainstream, thanks in part to the 1994 non-ban. In most of the country, you can once again buy AR-15's at Walmart, and AR/AK/M1A ammunition probably outsells all other centerfire rifle calibers combined.

Yet gun crime, and rifle crime, are about as low now as they've been in the last 50 years. Think about that.

You *do* have to index a rifle at any realistic distance.

First, point blank range:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point-blank_range

It means, in shooting, the distance at which drop due to gravity hasn't become a major factor yet, and in forensics and popular culture it has come to mean ~1 meter from the muzzle, almost a contact shot. Beyond that distance, indexing (coarse, then fine) is necessary as distance increases. And yes, you *do* have to aim a rifle; that bullet is within 1/30 degree of the sight line laterally, and within three inches vertically, for two hundred yards. There is a reason that even when using automatic weapons at inside-the-room distances, the military and SWAT use Aimpoint and Eotech sights.

I've mentioned, I shoot USPSA matches. Due to the layout of our local range, stages are usually *close*, as in 2 to 20 yards, with lots of movement. Blasting away without aiming will make a lot of noise and a big fat zero on your score, but I'd love to take you to the range yourself and let you try it. It doesn't work like it does in the movies. Your scenario has not played out in the real world, and shooting real guns at a range would quickly demonstrate why.

FWIW, if you look at the worst mass shootings in the United States, the common denominators tend to be slow, deliberate shooting (enabled by trapped victims and a long delay for countervailing force to show up), and lots of reloading from a large stash of spare magazines (often low-capacity ones; the Virginia Tech shooter reloaded more than a dozen times). "Surprise trench coat ninja with a rifle at arm's length" just isn't what one generally sees, and there are reasons for that.

So again, we circle back to the fact that rifles, including pistol-gripped rifles, are the least misused class of firearm in the United States. There is simply no getting around that fact; the meme and the facts do not correlate.

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl20.xls

Total murders...........................12,996.....100.00%
Handguns.................................6,009......46.24%
Firearms (type unknown)..................2,035......15.66%
Other weapons (non-firearm, non-edged)...1,772......13.63%
Edged weapons............................1,704......13.11%
Hands, feet, etc...........................745.......5.73%
Shotguns...................................373.......2.87%
Rifles.....................................358.......2.75%


Or, with the "type unknowns" rolled into the other categories using the same breakdown:

Total murders...........................12,996.....100.00%
Handguns.................................6,950......53.48%
Other weapons (non-firearm, non-edged)...1,772......13.63%
Edged weapons............................1,704......13.11%
Hands, feet, etc...........................745.......5.73%
Shotguns...................................431.......3.32%
Rifles.....................................414.......3.19%


Based on that, please explain how protruding rifle handgrips are such a menace in the real world, to the extent that requires banning the most popular civilian rifles in the United States.

Actually, I don't.

But you are so wedded to the idea that no sane, thoughtful person could POSSIBLY own (gasp!) rifles with (shock! horror!) modern styling, that you have to make up all sorts of BS in order to fit people like me into your narrow worldview.

No, I don't read or post on townhall.com. Hmmm, let me Google that for you:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=site%3Awww.townhall.com+benezra
http://lmgtfy.com/townhall+benezra

I *do* read the ACLU blog (Blog of Rights), Right Wing Watch, Religious Right Watch, and the Agitator, among other things, and you can read between the lines about what that says about me (hint: I don't like authoritarian busybodies who think that Gawd has told them to run my life for me). And it's funny, the confluences one can find between the hardcore anti-gay fundies, the anti-muslim fundies, and some anti-gun fundies...

BTW, I see that you haven't been able to address a single point that I've made in this thread, which is the only reason you went straight for the smear. Nice try, but you might want to go for a rebuttal of the actual issues instead, if you can address them.

Dude, I'm a 41-year old geek.

Aviation technical writer, part-time Perl monkey, and amateur competitive shooter, who happens to enjoy shooting rifles designed in the last 50 years. Heck, I read all 4 Twilight books, and *liked* them; they'd kick me out of Seal Force Recon Delta for that.

As I mentioned in the OP, I own one and only one military weapon---and it's 107 years old.



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