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benEzra's Journal - Archives
Posted by benEzra in Guns
Tue Dec 06th 2011, 04:47 PM
...primarily target shooters, competitive shooters, and shooters under 40ish. The AR-15 platform is the most popular civilian sporting rifle in the United States, and has been for years.

I'm sure you're fully aware that the "baser instincts" you speak of are the desire for reliability, accuracy, capacity, and ergonomics. We are talking about non-automatic centerfire .22's and short .30's, after all---civilian small arms---not WMD's or torture devices or something.

And, since you're talking about me, among others, I'd love to hear your reasons why you think I'm such a menace to society compared to owners of wooden-stocked carbines or your oh-so-friendly shotguns.

I'm 41 years old as of this fall, have never hurt anybody (not even a fistfight, so far). My sole "run-in with the law" was the time I forgot to renew my car's registration on time and got a ticket, which was waived as soon as I remedied the oversight; no speeding tickets or other moving violations. CERT volunteer, CPR certified, Red Cross blood donor, dad, technical writer, Perl geek, Lady Gaga fan. The only militia I belong to is the same one you likely do, i.e. the one defined in 10 U.S.C. § 311 (U.S. citizens between 17 and 45).

I'm also not one to go around slinging hate-filled innuendos and stereotypes against those I disagree with, which is a corollary of the whole "gets along well with others" thing. Live and let live, and all that.
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Sun Dec 04th 2011, 08:17 PM
are among the least likely to be actually misused. But you knew that.

For those who have not read the FBI data on gun use in homicide, I'll repost here...

http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime...

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%


If one assumes that the handgun/shotgun/rifle breakdown in the "firearm, type not recorded" row is similar to the breakdown where the type was recorded, then the percentages with "unknowns" rolled in would look something like this:

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%


FWIW, as long as the gun-control lobby's #1 goal is to outlaw the ownership of popular civilian gun models by people with clean records, they are going to continue to fail spectacularly. One would think that the utter failure of trying to legislate 19th century rifle aesthetics would have sunk in by now...
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Thu Oct 13th 2011, 07:08 PM
I refer you to the BATFE Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative dataset, tables 2 and 4, and the associated figures. These cover *possession*, not just misuse.

http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/y...

Check out Table 2, which is possession data. 76.7% of guns possessed by criminals (even nonviolent ones) were handguns. Only 11.3% were rifles of any type (including deer rifles, rimfires and "assault weapons") and 10.5% were shotguns.

The long gun data is further broken down by weapon type (rifle or shotgun) and caliber, which give broad outlines of what classes of rifles and shotguns we're seeing. From Table 4:

Long Gun Type and Caliber - All Ages

Shotgun 12 GA...........6,854...............35.5%
Rifle .22...............4,076...............21.1%
Rifle 7.62mm............1,729................9.0%
Shotgun 20 GA...........1,277................6.6%
Rifle .30-30..............616................3.2%
Shotgun .410 GA...........615................3.2%
Rifle .223................599................3.1%
Rifle 9mm.................412................2.1%
Rifle .30-06..............410................2.1%
Shotgun 16 GA.............409................2.1%
Top Ten Long Guns......16,997...............88.0%
All Long Guns..........19,311..............100.0%


Oh my, it appears that the 12-gauge shotgun tops the list. And to the further detriment of the "assault weapons are of the debbil" meme, .22 rimfires took the #2 slot, by a wide margin. (Note that .223, the dominant centerfire .22, is listed separately, so that #2 slot is rimfires). The .223 caliber, of course, includes AR-15's, mini-14's, SU-16's, .223 AK's, and such; those are way down in seventh place.

The 7.62mm category (third place) includes both the low-powered 7.62x39mm (AK, SKS, Mini Thirty) and the higher powered 7.62x51mm/.308 Winchester, a common hunting/target caliber that is also used in a few protrudy-magaziney rifles like the FAL, Springfield M1A, and such. .30-30's are lever-action cowboy-style guns in the mold of the Winchester Model 1894, which traces its lineage to the 1861 Henry Repeating Rifle.

And I know this is not new data to you; we have discussed it many times previously.
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Sat Oct 01st 2011, 12:46 AM
Which boils down to banning civilian rifles (usually lower-powered ones) with handgrips and magazines that stick out, nontraditional muzzle accessories (flash suppressors instead of brakes or compensators), etc. on the grounds that they are an existential threat to public safety, "the weapons of choice of criminals", "only useful for mass murder", etc. Contrary to the media meme, they're rarely used in homicides.

The difference between "assault weapons" and "sporting rifles"...




I shoot this centerfire .22 (Rock River Arms LAR-15), so I do have a direct interest re: proposed rifle bans.




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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Sat Oct 01st 2011, 12:15 AM
I'm going to be out of the loop for a few weeks, but I wanted to post this first. The FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2010 are out, and I am always interested in the breakdown by weapon type (usually Table 20 in the UCR).

There's not much change from the last few years. Once again, rifles are the least likely class of weapon to be used in homicides, ranking behind shotguns, fists/feet, blades, impact weapons, and handguns.

Table 20 - Murder, by State, Types of Weapons, 2010

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%


If one assumes that the handgun/shotgun/rifle breakdown in the "firearm, type not recorded" row is similar to the breakdown where the type was recorded, then the percentages with "unknowns" rolled in would look something like this:

Total murders...........................12,996.....100.00%
Handguns.................................6,950......53.48%
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...................................431.......3.32%
Rifles.....................................414.......3.19%


The 6-year trend in rifle homicides, 2005-2010:

2005: 442
2006: 436
2007: 450
2008: 375
2009: 348
2010: 358


I don't have much commentary here, except to say that I think the AWB concept is dead beyond resurrection.
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Posted by benEzra in The DU Lounge
Sat Oct 01st 2011, 12:12 AM
and for me and his mom also, in the next couple of weeks. He's scheduled for heart surgery next week at Children's Hospital Boston---angioplasty Wednesday, heart surgery Friday, if nothing changes. The goal is to upgrade his RV-PA conduit, which he's outgrown, patch a residual ASD, and stretch his pulmonary branch arteries (former aortopulmonary collaterals, very small and knotty) to handle the increased flow.

If I have wi-fi and presence of mind while in the hospital, I'll post periodic updates here.

The man himself, from this past July 4th:



I'm hoping he'll be a little less blue than that in a few weeks...please keep your fingers crossed for him. This is not routine by any means, but Boston Children's is arguably the best in the world at this. It's still damn scary though.

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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Sat Sep 17th 2011, 10:57 AM
Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Formula 1 Race Car



An SKS is a relatively low-powered, short-range rifle, not a sniper rifle. I think the correct scaremonger term you're supposed to use for the SKS is "assault weapon" or somesuch; get your cue cards straight.

1952 Tula SKS Ultra Leet Scawwy Sniper Rifle




It's the closest a lot of gunners can get to having a SNIPER rifle

Your aspersion is kind of silly, since anyone with a clean record and some cash can buy an actual "sniper rifle," e.g. a high-powered bolt-action set up for precision shooting, ranging from a $500 Remington M700 .30-06 to a $5000+ Accuracy International .338 Lapua Magnum.


Here's a basic Remington Model 700 deer rifle, with a bipod attached to the forward sling swivel:




The U.S. military issues the Model 700 as as the M24 and M40 Sniper Weapons Systems:




Here's a commercial Winchester Model 70 deer rifle, based on the German Mauser infantry rifle. A Model 70 was the primary issue weapon of legendary USMC sniper Carlos Hathcock:




Sako TRG chassis rifle, made in Finland and available even in gun-control utopias like Australia and AFAIK the UK:



Australian plinking at 1000 yards with a TRG-42


And here's a top-of-the-line Accuracy International chassis rifle, made in the UK, yours for only $5,844.99:



http://www.impactguns.com/accuracy-interna...
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Wed Sep 14th 2011, 06:32 PM
including rifles, and that rifles come in last, behind *ALL* other classes of weapons, including knives (also tools of the criminal trade, and owned/used as such far more often than rifles are), clubs (ditto), bare hands (ditto), shoes (ditto), and shotguns (ditto).

How often are blades found in possession of drug dealers, compared to rifles? How about shotguns, compared to rifles? How about impact weapons, compared to rifles? I think the government stats on their use in criminal violence makes that pretty clear, and that's not even accounting for the inherent Von Restorff bias in the differential reporting of rifle presence at crime scenes vs. the presence of handguns, blades, and impact weapons.

But that's OK. Keep wasting considerable hours of your time lambasting the sheer moral perversity of a country you don't live in allowing its citizens to own objects you disapprove of. (You do have your precious rifle bans in your country, right?)

I do think if you were to shoot rifles much yourself, you would probably come to find (perhaps grudgingly) that an inline-bore, adjustable-stock, direct-impingement, pistol-gripped .223 is a far more pleasant gun to shoot than the old-fashioned, offset-bore, larger-caliber guns you tacitly defend. But your choices are yours, mine are mine, and (thankfully) they will stay that way.

I think our right in this country to own rifles with handgrips and magazines that stick out is pretty secure now; that horse left the barn a long time ago. Rifle bans are just about as dead as alcohol prohibition; I think in the future, you'll eventually see the U.S. gun control lobby come around to focusing on criminal possession/misuse rather than lawful use, just as the alcohol control lobby did after the 18th Amendment and the Volstead bait-and-switch were finally consigned to their rightful place.

In the last month or two, I've possibly spent more time actually shooting my little oh-so-evil carbine than defending my right to own it, which is a rather nice state of things, actually. I'll have to take a bit of a hiatus from shooting next month (my son has another surgery scheduled at Boston Children's) and I may be a bit more active around the 'net then, but overall it's nice to not have to worry about new bans. Live and let live, and all that.

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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Tue Aug 09th 2011, 07:22 PM
As much as it pains me to say it, Hoyt is correct that the term "assault weapon" as advertising preceded the anti-gun movement's use of the term. Some one did a piece on it and I read it with a bit of shame.

I knew I have seen that claim before, so I did some digging in some old threads, and for readability will rehash some of that discussion here. In my opinion, that claim is largely bunk.

I strongly suspect that the article you're thinking of is Tartaro, "The Great Assault Weapon Hoax" (1995), written years after Sugarmann's screed "Assault Weapons and Accessories in America" (1988). Not only does Tartaro fail cite a single instance of a pre-Sugarmann use of the term in gun marketing, but he doesn't come across as particularly well informed on guns overall, IMO.

Here's Tartaro's claim:

The idea of calling semi-automatic versions of military small arms "'assault weapons" did not originate with either anti-gun activists, media or politicians. The term "assault weapon" was first corrupted by importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers in the American firearms industry to stimulate sales of selected "exotica"--firearms which did not have a traditional appearance.(10)


And here is Tartaro's sole citation for that claim:

(10) See SHOTGUN NEWS and other firearms publications beginning in the early 1980s.


Shotgun News, at that time, was a tabloid-format weekly of mostly classified ads posted by individual gunsmiths/collectors or mom-and-pop businesses---and he can't even seem to cite an instance ("see half a decade's worth of WEEKLY classified ads, or maybe some other magazine, but trust me on this"). Maybe he recollected accurately, and maybe he didn't, but it looks like he pulled the citation out of his head, and if he's a lawyer you'd think he'd own a copy of the MLA Style Guide.

He wrote that article in 1995; Josh Sugarmann had been popularizing the term in the pro-bans literature for years by that point. Color me skeptical.

Another passage from Tartaro flatly contradicts much of what he implied in the first cite:

First, the term "assault weapon" is erroneously applied. Assault weapons are by military procurement definition "selective, fire (full auto continuous or burst fire plus autoloading) arms of sub caliber." Since fully automatic and selective firearms have been severely restricted, taxed and licensed---and owners screened by local and federal law enforcement---since 1934, real assault weapons have been strictly regulated by federal as well as state laws for sixty years. The firearms which are targeted by recent laws and current legislative proposals are mostly semi-automatic (requiring a single trigger pull for each shot) or, in the case of the Street-Sweeper type shotgun, functional revolvers. They are indistinguishable in operation from other semi-automatic firearms used for self-defense, pest and vermin control, sport hunting and recreational shooting since the turn of the century.


He here applies the term "assault weapon" to NFA Title 2 restricted full autos (contradicting the other cite); the National Firearms Act restricts assault rifles, not "assault weapons." He also conflates the term "assault weapon" with "assault rifle" (Sturmgehwer); the definition he cites is the DOD definition of assault rifle, not "assault weapon."

I also see this passage that suggests Tartaro was way out of his depth when he wrote that:

The ballistic data for the .30-06 and M1 carbine cartridges, the .45 ACP used in World War II and Korea, and the .308 (7.62 X 39) M-14 individual infantry arm used by some units in Vietnam are substantially more powerful than the 5.56mm (.223) U.S. small arms cartridge of the M16 or 5.45 X 39mm Soviet Russian cartridge fired in current AK47 military small arms and their semi-automatic civilian derivatives.


Now, he's right that a .30-06 is twice as powerful as the little .223 Remington. But .45 ACP is a pistol cartridge, even further down the power spectrum; .30 carbine is also less powerful. The M14 was 7.62x51mm, aka .308 Winchester and similar to .30-06; 7.62x39 is a much lower-powered Soviet-era round similar to .30-30 Winchester. Not to mention 5.45x39 is the AK-74 cartridge, not that of the AK-47. In short, he apparently isn't terribly familiar with twentieth century military calibers, and appears to be talking out of his posterior.

And it is indisputably Sugarmann's 1988 pamphlet and subsequent rehashing by the gun control lobby that popularized the term. It is *possible* that Sugarmann lifted it from an obscure antecedent, but I have never seen any such antecedents cited. I had personally never heard it until it was used by the proponents of a ban circa 1989. It's also indisputable that today, "assault weapon" is a term used to demonize popular civilian rifles with handgrips that stick out, or firearms that exceed 10 (or sometimes 5) rounds capacity.

Once the term entered the media, you can find occasional gun owners and sometimes even gun sellers using the term, but I have never seen any that predate Sugarmann 1988.
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Thu Aug 04th 2011, 09:23 PM
That takes me waaaay back. Long wrote a lot of small, quickly-written paperback books in the mid-1980s about this or that firearm. I bought his book Mini-14: The Plinker, Hunter, Assault,* and Everything Else Rifle in the late '80s, and Long recycled that info in the book Sugarmann is citing. That's why the description of the mini's niche, and the semiauto rifle market in general, is so dated; that description was written in fricking 1986, before SKS's and civilian AK's were common, and many years before Sugarmann and Feinstein would together make the AR-15 platform the top-selling civilian centerfire rifle in the United States.

Today, there are 30 or 40 companies making AR's and prices start around $599, but back then only one or two companies made them and they were insanely expensive (IIRC close to $1K back when you could get a decent new car for $10k). So the very retro mini-14 was indeed a cheaper path to a .223 carbine than an AR was *at that time*. I paid $450 plus tax for my mini in 1989, if I remember correctly, and that was below MSRP I think.

Once the SKS floodgates opened in the late 1980s/early 1990s, though, the $79 SKS took whatever place the mini had as a blue-collar intermediate-caliber semiauto. You could literally buy four or five nice SKS's for the price of a mini, making the concept of the mini as a "poor man's rifle" pretty laughable by that time, IMO.


*Yes, Long is using the term correctly, as Long's book covers the select-fire AC-556 assault rifle (of "A-Team" fame) in addition to the civilian mini's.
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Tue Jul 26th 2011, 06:53 PM
the mini is a warmed-over M1 Garand, scaled down to half the power and set up to use an old-fashioned rock-and-lock detachable magazine like the Garand-derivative M14/M1A instead of an en-bloc clip. The Garand design dates to the mid-to-late 1920's.

M1 Garand:


Mini-14 Ranch Rifle


And yes, the one in the second photo above is (was) mine, which I originally bought over twenty years ago (it was my first centerfire firearm). It was absolutely reliable, but 5.5 MOA wasn't up to my expectations, so I sold it a few years ago and bought something more modern...
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Tue Jul 26th 2011, 06:36 PM
Today's popular guns aren't "fun." They are marketed for capability to kill a lot of folks quickly.

Au contraire. They are *more* fun than your traditional, overpowered, kludgy-gripped, hard-kicking "traditional" guns.

My "fun gun", competition gun, plinking gun, target gun, and HD long gun is a Rock River Arms 16" midlength carbine (non-automatic centerfire .22, for non-gunnies).



And I'd love for you to show me where Rock Rivers are "marketed for a capability to kill a lot of folks quickly." Which is BS anyway, since rifles are the least misused weapons in America and you know it.
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Thu Jun 16th 2011, 07:26 PM
and not because of the (very small) gun industry. Nor because of the NRA's existence, if you get down to it.

I've mentioned this before, but owners have political power because there are so many of us (circa 80 million at last count), we tend to be more connected than average, and we vote at higher than average rates. That is a very potent combination.

"Assault weapon" owners alone outnumber people on the Brady Campaign mailing list by more than 400:1, and owners of over-10-round guns outnumber Brady Campaign subscribers about 800:1. There's also the fact that the shooting sports are a very participatory and often social activity that draw tens of millions of participants annually, whereas anti-gun activism is not.
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Wed Jun 15th 2011, 07:23 PM
So was his granddad's.


Does this style of gun look familiar to you?




How about this one:




Or this one?




The bottom two (Winchester Model 70 and Remington Model 700) trace their lineage to the top one, the Mauser bolt-action military rifle, designed to kill human beings at extreme ranges. All three served as front-line military weapons, and the Model 700 still does.



Going a little further back, does this style of rifle look familiar to you?



Yup, military weapon, with a 15+ round magazine. That's an early 1860's Henry, predecessor of the 15+ round Winchester Model 1873 and the 30+ round Evans repeating rifle of the 1870's.


Or how about this one?



Yup, military rifle.



And then you have this one:

An exclusively civilian gun, a .22 centerfire that shares some military heritage but functions like a civilian Remington Model 1908 or Ruger Mini-14:



That's my competition rifle, a Rock River Arms 16" midlength carbine, never used by any military on this planet.



Today's gun market is military-derived weapons with virtually unlimited ammunition capacity resulting in heightened lethality.

Heightened lethality, huh? Funny, then, that rifles are now the least misused class of weapons in the United States, and that rifle homicide is now at or near an all-time low.

http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/tabl...

Total murders...........................13,636.....100.00%
Handguns.................................6,452......47.32%
Firearms (type unknown)..................1,928......14.14%
Other weapons (non-firearm, non-edged)...1,864......13.67%
Edged weapons............................1,825......13.38%
Hands, feet, etc...........................801.......5.87%
Shotguns...................................418.......3.07%
Rifles.....................................348.......2.55%
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Posted by benEzra in Guns
Wed Jun 15th 2011, 05:41 PM
that a mixed bag of "terrah terrah terrah" legislators, both (D) and (R), have been pushing every year since the Bush team first proposed it.

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/terror/RL33011.... (originally from the Congressional Research Service, 2005)

(T)hree issues emerged regarding Brady background checks following the 9/11 attacks. First, should approved firearm transfer records be maintained on a temporary basis to determine whether persons of interest in counterterrorism investigations had previously obtained firearms improperly? Second, should terrorist watch list checks be incorporated statutorily into the Brady background check process? Third, should persons watch-listed as known or suspected terrorists be prohibited statutorily from possessing firearms?

(snip)

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has directed the DOJ Office of Legal Policy to form a working group to review federal gun laws---particularly in regard to Brady background checks---to determine whether additional authority should be sought to prevent firearms transfers to known and suspected terrorists.

In the 109th Congress, several related pieces of legislation have been introduced that are related to NICS procedures and terrorist watch lists. The Terrorist Apprehension and Record Retention Act of 2005 (S. 578/H.R. 1225), introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative John Conyers, would authorize the retention of all related records for at least 10 years, among other things. In addition, Representative Peter King introduced H.R. 1168, a bill that would require the Attorney General to promulgate regulations to preserve records of terrorist- and gang-related record hits during such background checks until they were provided to the FBI. Representative Carolyn McCarthy introduced H.R. 1195, a bill that would make it unlawful for anyone to transfer a firearm to a person who was on the “No Fly” lists maintained by the Transportation Security Administration.

Note the Bushism "known or suspected terrorists" to describe those on the then-Bush blacklists.

BTW, Peter King (R-NY) is the same guy who held a bunch of witch-hunt hearings about American Muslims.


Here's a later news story from 2007, from the "war on terrah" cheerleaders at Fox News:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,269007...

Justice Department, Senator Endorse Bill to Bar Gun Sales to Terror Suspects

Friday, April 27, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department and a Northeastern Democrat have formed a rare alliance intended to restrict gun sales to terror suspects.

The bill, introduced late Thursday by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., after two years of study produced an endorsement by the Justice Department, would give the attorney general power to block gun sales to persons on terrorism watch lists. In some instances, the attorney general could let a sale go through — for example, when stopping the sale would hinder a terrorism investigation.

(continued at link)

Note that that is the Bush Justice Department.


For those who have so conveniently forgotten:

U.S. Government "No Fly List" Is Unconstitutional and Ineffective (ACLU)

Unlikely Suspects (ACLU)

No-fly blacklist snares political activists

Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota

Infants on the Terrorist Watch List
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