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A real explanation of "assault weapons" and the myths perpetuated by the uninformed

A truthful and honest discussion of gun politics, with an explanation of the mechanics of guns and why everything you've heard in the mainstream media is a lie.

I've been hearing a lot about how we need to ban assault weapons, but I'm finding that the same misinformation that was floated back in 1994 is being used once against to ramp up hysteria around semi-automatic rifles. So, the following is an explanation of terms and general discussion of the folly of so-called "assault weapon" bans. 

Assault Weapons:

What is an assault weapon? Well, the truthful answer is that there is no such thing as an assault weapon. The term was fabricated by gun control groups and the media to describe semi-automatic rifles that had 2 or more cosmetic features such as pistol grips and telescoping stocks--such as civilian versions of the AR-15 and AK47.

The term was created to intentionally cause confusion among the uninformed public and to create fear. The gun control groups wanted people think that we were banning fully automatic machine guns. When the truth is these civilian owned rifles were NOT machine guns. They LOOK like machine guns, but they do not FUNCTION like machine guns. 

The "evil" Bushmaster AR-15 that we hear so much about is one such rifle. It fires one round at a time, it is no more a "rapid fire" gun than a revolver. It only shoots as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. It LOOKS like the military equivalent, but no military in the world uses it. Nor can it be easily converted to fully automatic.---If it was so easy to convert these rifles to fully automatic, why have none of the recent mass shooters used a converted rifle?

When the 1994 assault weapon ban was enacted, these evil black rifles were still available to the public, they simply had their cosmetic features removed--such as fixed stocks rather than adjustable telescoping stocks.

The ban was admittedly, "symbolic" and had no effect on crime. Think of it this way--It was like enacting a ban on spoilers on cars in order to reduce traffic deaths. No sane person would expect that changing a cosmetic feature on a car would have any effect on vehicular homicide, but that is precisely what an assault weapon ban is. It's a ban on cosmetic features. So instead of making our roads safer or punishing people who break traffic laws, we essentially banned spoilers, chrome rims, etc. and hoped to reduce traffic deaths and failed.

Also keep in mind that the definition of "assault weapon" varies by State. For example, the assault weapon ban that Rep. Acevedo tried to sneak through the Illinois General Assembly during the lame duck session would have classified certain revolvers as assault weapons.

The truth is that rifles (of any cosmetic appearance) are used in relatively few murders. The number of murders in the U.S. in 2011 committed with rifles: 323. In 2011, more murders were committed by knives (1,694), hands, fists and feet (728) and blunt weapons such as clubs and hammers (496), according to FBI data. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-1

What does this mean? It means that in 2011 you were more likely to be killed with a hammer than a Bushmaster. It means that the people in the legislature don't really care about reducing violent crime. They want to ban guns. Period. As many as they possibly can. Where's the public outcry to ban assault hammers? 

Semi-Automatic vs. Fully Automatic:

Again the media loves to confuse people over the difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic. 

The only thing that is "automatic" about a semi-automatic firearm, be it shotgun, pistol or rifle is that upon firing a round, the casing from the spent round is ejected, the next round in the magazine is automatically loaded into the chamber. In order to fire another round, the shooter must RELEASE THE TRIGGER and then pull the trigger again. 

Fully automatic means that once the trigger is pulled, the gun will fire multiple rounds until the trigger is released. These are "machine guns" and they are essentially already banned. You can't buy new ones and the ones that are available are subject to enough federal regulation to choke a horse.

Semi-automatic is just a type of technology and it's how "modern" firearms operate. If you were to ban all semi-automatic firearms you would be left with bolt action rifles (think World War I era), lever action rifles (think Old West cowboy era), pump action shotguns, and revolvers. (And if you're Rep. Acevedo, you'd be trying to ban those as well). These older technology guns require the user to manually eject the round and load a new round via a crank, lever, pump, etc. 

Magazines:

Please stop calling them "clips." Modern firearms use "magazines" not clips. Every time a person, be it the media or Obama, opens their mouth and refers to a "high capacity clip" in reference to an AR-15, they are revealing how truly ignorant they are when it comes to modern firearms. A clip is a metal prong or strip that holds bullets, usually less than 10, the metal clip then feeds the bullets into a magazine that is usually built into the gun. Unless you're talking about a World War II era M1 Garand, you're probably talking about a magazine, not a clip.

Probably the loudest cry right now is to ban magazines that hold over 10 rounds. (Or 7 if you live in the People's Republic of New York.) The logic that goes into this is astounding. Essentially what gun control advocates are saying is that it's ok for 10 people to be shot before having to reload, but 11 is too many. 

The number of rounds "allowed" in a magazine under an assault weapon ban is completely arbitrary, somewhere someone decided that "10" was the magic number of people that could be shot on one magazine. The reasoning, of course, is that the victims can "tackle the guy" while he's reloading, which is exactly how the shooter in Tucson Arizona was stopped. Fantastic. Kudos to those brave individuals who put their lives in harm's way to save others. Now, someone give me another example of when victims successfully "tackled the guy." What's that? Do I hear crickets?

Stop believing what you see in movies. It takes a fraction of a second to reload a handgun. The Virginia tech shooter had 2 handguns, and fired over 124 rounds. That means that he had to reload MULTIPLE TIMES! Why wasn't he tackled!?

The number of bullets in magazines is a false argument and everyone knows it. Does anyone really think that a crazed psychopath or a gang banger is going to care if some politician passes a law that bans magazines with over 10 rounds? Does anyone honestly think that a psycho is going to think, "Hmm, I'd like to commit mass murder today, but I better not use these 11 round magazines, that would be illegal." It's lunacy. The only thing magazine bans do is limit how many rounds a LAW ABIDING CITIZEN can carry to defend themselves, because law abiding citizens are the only ones that are going to listen to the idiot politician, who by the way is surrounded by armed guards all day. 

Politics and Reality:

The NRA was lambasted for saying that, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Well it's true. With the exception of the Arizona shooter, every other mass shooter has been stopped by either armed law enforcement or an armed concealed carry permit holder. (Ironically the concealed carry permit holders usually stop the psycho before he can kill more than 2 people, so those events don't get actually get classified as "mass murder" and the mainstream media ignores them.) 

Whenever an active shooter is confronted by armed resistance he either: gives up, is shot dead by the armed resistance, or commits suicide. That's how mass shootings end, these are the facts, they are unfortunate but true. 

The current gun control debate is a farce. We need to do something about the horrible state of mental health treatment in this country. We need to improve security in our schools. We need to eliminate gun free zones. We need to allow people to defend themselves.

Guns are not the problem--In Switzerland, the citizenry is required to own and maintain a fully automatic Sig 550 Assault Rifle. (A REAL military gun, not a look alike) Switzerland doesn't have home invasions and they don't have mass shootings. Nor does Israel, where people walk around with machine guns.

I'm not saying that we need to start toting around machine guns, but what I am saying is that the current gun control argument is a giant distraction from the real problems that we have in protecting our children.

Finally, I think Rick Perry got this one right:

"The piling on the by the political left and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The Second Amendment to the Constitution is a basic right and cannot nor will not be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president."

In other words, if you don't like guns, just say so. If you want to repeal the second amendment, there is a process for doing so. But, please don't stand on the graves of children to move your political agenda forward. 

Join a Group:

The above writings are my views and mine alone. They are not necessarily the views of any company or organization that I may be associated with. That being said, if you agree with the basic tenants of gun rights, I would encourage you to join www.illinoiscarry.com and http://www.isra.org/ if you have any interest in keeping your lawfully owned guns in Illinois.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

McCloud January 19, 2013 at 02:29 PM
Sure, why not prohibit you from posting comments, after all things have changed, the founding fathers had no idea when they wrote the first amendment that the internet would one day be the vehicle for free speech.
Sully January 19, 2013 at 02:39 PM
Grow up McCloud. You are a ridiculous little man. Or in other words, a child.
McCloud January 19, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Awww come on, admit it, you enjoy getting destroyed with logical observations. Otherwise you wouldn't read my comments.
Brian L. January 19, 2013 at 03:28 PM
If jail and prison aren't meant as a deterrent and reform institution, why do we let people out after their term is over? They are supposed to be either frightened they may end up there again or "fixed" so they won't commit crimes again. And why does everyone supporting guns refuse to answer on how the ban on machine guns has worked or not worked? If bans always fail then we should have more people dying under machine gun fire...right? So we all agree that criminals by definition break the laws. So we need to do more to stop them from easy access to weapons, along with many other things we can change to help stop the problem. Bans wouldn't work because we have too many people of the "cold dead hands" mentality, but what's inherently wrong with some more requirements nationwide for deeper background checks, longer waiting periods to produce those checks, just asking a few more questions when someone purchases large quantities of ammunition, shutting down gun show direct sales, better gun owner education, among other things. I'm not talking a ban there, I'm not talking about no CC, just things to perhaps put in place to identify the wrong owners and stop even a few of these rampages where guns were acquired legally.
McCloud January 19, 2013 at 03:47 PM
You are assuming that criminals are deterred from participating in a crime due to laws? You are also assuming that criminals are reformed after serving a prison sentence? You are also assuming that deeper background checks, longer waiting periods has never been tried before? Perhaps you should speak with a resident of Englewood some time. You would hear from them that after a shooting, nobody talks to the police. Why you may ask? Because they all know that the criminal, even if convicted will be out on the street in little time, and the next target would be them if they talk to police.
Brian L. January 19, 2013 at 03:53 PM
The internet isn't free speech. Free speech is an intangible idea that is put to use through many channels, including the internet. Nothing about the internet affects the nature of the first amendment other than the fact that you can offend more people at once. Firearms continue to become more powerful and (I.M.O.) somewhat less practical. We now have an army with several branches to protect our borders from military invasion. We have police and private security firms to protect us from some dangers. But we still have a country where you can buy an item purpose built to easily kill something (I know there are other uses now as well) and people still demand that it should be as easy as possible for anyone to buy. There is a reason we require tests and practice for the chance to drive a car. If you don't know how to operate it, your odds of harming others with your ignorance go up. More testing won't stop nearly everything..but a step towards eradicating some deaths. @Kevin, if you are such a stringent opponent to any changes to the constitution, then shouldn't all the amendments be evil as well? The bill of rights were amendments (albeit added as a very close second), the abolition of slavery changed the constitution, women's rights..they tacked that one on as well. Are you against those? My hope is no. My point is that it can be modified to the times. The US isn't stuck in the 1700's.
Brian L. January 19, 2013 at 04:01 PM
I'm absolutely not assuming that criminals are deterred by laws. The opposite is what I was stating. There is no natural deterrent for someone hell bent on doing wrong. So throwing him in jail still means he will be back out. No, he isn't after the person who didn't talk, but someone else may get shot. We can't keep him in prison for his life. That's just as far fetched in America as a complete gun ban, and you seem smart enough to realize that. The reason you always mention that keeping guns out of bad hands is impossible is because you have no desire to try out of fear you won't get your guns instead. Yes, no matter what we do some people will still come by guns, but putting in measures to methodically erase the back channels will stop some people. They may then go and buy the war hammer or swords...or whatever, but at least with those you can't just point, squeeze, and end someone's life. Oh yeah...still stands. Has the machine gun ban worked to keep people from dying by their use?
McCloud January 19, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Can you stop and try to think for just one moment? You transition from "So we all agree that criminals by definition break the laws" to "what's inherently wrong with some more requirements nationwide for deeper background checks, longer waiting periods to produce those checks" These requirements are already in place, try google it may help you read about places like Wash DC, Chicago, Detroit. Good grief man you need to educate yourself. What machine gun ban? I thought the guy in Colorado shot up the theater with one.
Just Sayin January 19, 2013 at 04:30 PM
McClown...Logical observations? That's a hoot. Your comments are read because people enjoy comedic relief. You provide us with a brilliant, yet disturbing, view into the mind of the overly simplistic every man repleat with numbskull observations and unsavory political prat falls.You are the Patch's resident Jerry Lewis. You are everyone's drunk uncle. It's even humorous how you honor yourself. So if you won't go back into hiding...which is truly unfortunate...go ahead and keep us laughing. That sir...is what you are best at McClown.
McCloud January 19, 2013 at 04:58 PM
I'd like to see things from your point of view but I can't seem to get my head that far up my ass.
McCloud January 19, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Thanks Barack, al-Qaida is on the run, the economy is in full recovery. That probably explains 19 dead hostages this morning, and job unemployment number on the rise. Can we get some kids to accompany you in this afternoon's press?
RationalTht January 19, 2013 at 08:28 PM
RB - if it is keeping the guns from the bad guys, why are they not TARGETING THE GUNS THAT MOST BAD GUYS USE? Most bad guys aren't going out and shooting people with the guns the media and such are labeling "assault weapons", yet those are the ones that are being targeted. Besides stupidity, why is that?
RationalTht January 19, 2013 at 08:30 PM
@Danette - is it really a "thoughtful" discussion when politicians go out and try to ban weapons that are not even the ones involved in most of the crimes here in the US, just because they "look" scary? There was no "thoughtful" discussion proposed by Obama / Biden and the rest of the Democrats - it was just fear mongering and belittling of people that think a CAUTIOUS / THOUGHTFUL approach should be taken.
RB January 19, 2013 at 09:20 PM
I finally figured it out. McCloud IS Schulte! He's not done so well down there in Florida and the free wifi at McDonald's won't allow him to surf and post all the links. That's the main difference that I can see. Same taunting nonsense with fewer links and quotes.
Just Sayin January 19, 2013 at 10:38 PM
HaHaHaHaHa...who did you steal that worn out joke from?
Just Sayin January 19, 2013 at 11:15 PM
RB...While I can see that they are both cut from the same cheap cloth...I really don't think the clown and the Schulte are the very same idiot. Schulte was far more verbose and the clown can't seem to string together more than seven sentences...albeit none cogent, which is, reminiscent of Schulte. Personally, I don't think the clown even knows how to post a link. He does conjure the occasional quote but I think he picked those up from rush while driving to CVS for Depends, whereas Schulte liked to alien himself with dead presidents and major generals. That was his delusional signature. The clowns signature is far more pedestrian. The syntax is also off. I do like the idea of Schulte hunkered down at a corner table for one at McDonalds trying to figure out how to log on to their wifi and bitching that the hash browns are too cold. Probably closer to reality is that Rent-A-Center has repossessed his lap top along with his mattress, ottoman and hot plate. Ahhhhh...to fall so far.....
McCloud January 19, 2013 at 11:21 PM
It is finally time for you to come out now and admit your secret love for Schulte. Don't be shy, you know all the liberal nonsense is all about Schulte's attention.
Just Sayin January 19, 2013 at 11:23 PM
McClown...At least they allow children near Barack. Has that restraining order been lifted yet or are you still legally ordered and obligated to remain at a full six block distance from all school zones? Just wonderin'.
Nightcrawler January 19, 2013 at 11:27 PM
RB - I know Rich Schulte. I posted with Rich Schulte. I shot gators in the backyard and dined on roadkill with Rich Schulte. And I can tell you - McCloud is no Rich Schulte.
RB January 19, 2013 at 11:51 PM
Well, he's not shooting Gators any longer....that Bushmaster was the last thing he pawned.
McCloud January 19, 2013 at 11:54 PM
I feel like Chuck Norris. Three liberals are still no match in intellect thus the resort to ad hominem.
McCloud January 20, 2013 at 12:07 AM
I can just see the goatees being stroked with last night's dinner crumbling from them. Let's see, maybe I can use the word "pedestrian" again make it sound more acerbic.
McCloud January 20, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Yes, I can just see the goatees being stroked as I type. Let's see, how can I use the word pedestrian again and sound more acerbic and wise. After all, that's all you have left.
Bringin' Down Briarwood January 20, 2013 at 12:38 AM
As usual, the Feinstein quote is totally out of context ... http://www.infowars.com/video-dianne-feinstein-says-prepare-to-turn-in-your-guns/ (BTW, you're welcome for helping you do YOUR homework.) And Feinstein's quote is my WHOLE point, there will NEVER be ANYTHING CLOSE to enough support for outright ban of all guns. So let's stop portraying this myth for a cheap scare tactic.
Just Sayin January 20, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Too funny...
Just Sayin January 20, 2013 at 12:56 AM
McClown...None of the us want to visualize what you stroke with your left hand while you type with your right...but...at least it's nice to know that the left (aka liberal) gives you a some pleasure. Time for you to finally admit it's more than verbal masterbation that keeps you coming back.
Just Sayin January 20, 2013 at 01:02 AM
It's not secret love and there is nothing to admit...other than it is still a thrill to kick him around...even though he is long dead. Is this to be your fate? LoL
RationalTht January 21, 2013 at 04:39 AM
Wow, that sounds like libel...
Brian L. January 21, 2013 at 05:28 AM
Alright...so a guy used that on me here a few weeks back...that is really not cool. Yeah, it's just a board post but making insinuations like that is obscene and can actually get questions started about people.
Brian L. January 21, 2013 at 05:34 AM
Pretty sure he only used a semi-auto....but i could be wrong, I wasn't there. Educate myself on what? So a few cities have these checks. When you can still go to your local gun show in a random state with your foid card and pick up a gun, those city to city laws don't do much without a nationwide net. You can call me uneducated all you want if it makes you feel better, but it doesn't make you any smarter. I'll say it once more. The FBI can raise flags on people that purchase large amounts of things like fertilizer because it can be used to make a bomb. What's wrong with them raising flags on someone who buys bulk ammo? If you're not using it to kill your neighbors, then the flag means nothing to you.

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