Regulating Assault Rifles – a how-to primer for non-shooters
Many gun rights advocates imagine themselves to be three things: brave, knowledgeable and patriotic. Like the skewed-polls guy, this self-superior attitude leads to lots of insular, self-serving and circular logic about freedom. On the other side, gun control advocates (who may never have even touched a gun) seek public disarmament. That’s an unrealistic proposition, both because the country is flooded with over 300 million guns and because many, many people have a legitimate reason to have one.
As both a lifelong shooter and a gun control advocate, I’ve lived on both sides of the fence. And I believe the main problem with guns is that they attract people who are paranoid and delusional (though most shooters are not deranged.) The other problem with guns is that it is perfectly legal to buy a perfect tool for mass killing.
It is true that guns don’t kill people, people do. But that little bit of flimflam ignores the other truth: guns make killing much easier and much more likely. Harvard found the same thing in 26 developed countries – more availability of guns leads to more murder.
Rifles have certain characteristics that make them suitable for various purposes. Big calibers are better for shooting larger animals. Scoped rifles with floating barrels are better at shooting far distances. Shotguns are better for shooting flying targets. Some guns are easier to carry, and some are easier to shoot.
Some guns are designed for shooting indoors, for delivering a lot of bullets quickly and for aiming quickly and while moving. They are perfect tools for mass murder. The Bushmaster AR used in the Sandy Hook murders is designed to quickly aim and deliver lots of bullets. They’re conceitedly called defensive weapons though their real purpose is offensive. (Shotguns are better for self-defense.)
But the design is not unique to Bushmaster. The company is just one of dozens of manufacturers making nearly identical copies of the military M-4. The M-4 is the military’s latest iteration of the M-16 platform (developed some 50 years ago during the Vietnam era.) It has a short barrel, a large magazine and a collapsible stock for killing in tight quarters. They are (selectively) automatic. The civilian versions are semi-automatic: one trigger pull, one bullet.Continued on the next page