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With gun safety at the center of public debate, it's understandable that gun-related terminology is flying fast from all directions. So here's a brief compendium of some basics about guns, ammo, and potential areas of regulation.

One quick item: A bullet is the slug that actually moves down the barrel, comes out the end, and delivers a godawful mess of kinetic force to whatever it hits. The shiny brass thing that contains the bullet, the explosives that drive the bullet, and the mechanism that sets it off is a cartridge, or "shell." For convenience sake, I'm sometimes going to say "bullet" when talking about the whole cartridge. Purists beware.

Automatic, Semi-Automatic and Other
The bit of information most likely to be mangled in any reporting on a mass shooting involves the action of a gun. That is, once the gun has been fired, what action does it take to make it fire again?

Many older guns require manual intervention to eject the spent cartridge, load a fresh cartridge, and make the gun ready for firing. Rifles, including military rifles made before the 1950s, are often bolt-action. They work by pulling back on small handle that's attached to a long "bolt." The gun fires, the shooter raises and pulls back the handle, causing the old cartridge to eject, he then shoves the handle forward to bring a new cartridge into place and brings the handle down for firing. A skilled operator can do all this very quickly. Likewise, many shotguns use a pump action. You've probably seen this in movies where Our Hero is going up against a vampire, terminator, or similarly tough beast. Pulling back the handgrip sends a spent shell flying, while pulling it forward again readies the gun for a new shot. It also makes a very cinematic series of clicks.

Automatic and semi-automatic weapons don't require help in tossing out the old shell and loading up the new. They get their energy from the firing of the cartridge, capturing the energy or gases of the spent shell to bring the next cartridge into position. The difference between a fully automatic weapon and one that's semi-automatic is simple: A fully automatic weapon begins firing when the trigger is pulled and keeps firing until you let off the trigger (or run out of bullets), a semi-automatic weapon fires once for each pull of the trigger.

How quickly you can fire a semi-automatic weapon depends partly on the design of the gun, partly on the speed of your reactions. Most of the time, the answer is Very Damn Fast. As in multiple shots in a second. That's unlikely in a real-world situation, but with a semi-automatic the next shot is there when you're ready. How fast you can move your finger is generally the biggest limiting factor.

Fully automatic weapons (which most people tend to think of as "machine guns", though the Army reserves that term for larger weapons) are not legal for private citizens in most cases. You may see fully automatic weapons available to test at a gun range, or in use at special events. But you will rarely see one at all. None of the mass shootings in the United States within recent decades has involved a fully automatic weapon. They are regulated, and that regulation appears to be working.

Semi-automatic weapons are extremely common. Yes, these weapons have been used in many mass shootings, but they are also an increasingly popular type of rifle for hunting. Semi-automatics have also become a very popular form of shotgun. And of handgun (revolvers are not semi-automatic because the mechanical motion of the trigger positions the next shot).

Some semi-automatic weapons are based directly off fully automatic military models. These guns may have cosmetic differences with their military relatives, but in the same way that a Cadillac and a Chevy may be the same under the sheet metal, they share the same bones as the military guns. They are not fully automatic, and (for the last couple of decades, at least) it has been extremely difficult to convert them to become fully automatic. However, these weapons share many other characteristics with their military cousins. In the United States, there are many variations on a rifle called the AR-15, which is a semi-automatic version of the military M16. Many variations as in dozens, from several different manufacturers. And the AR-15 is just one category. There are semi-automatics that descend from the ever popular AK-47, the Chinese QBZ-95 and several more. These weapons are often able to accept accessories that were originally designed for the military version, or to accept modified versions of those accessories. This includes tripods, extended magazines, laser sights, night vision scopes, and all manner of ridiculous extras that those fearing the looming economic / racial / zombie apocalypse can bolt on to make their guns look meaner and kill more readily. It's these military-derived semi-automatic rifles that are most commonly called "Assault Rifles."

What can we do here? Eliminating or restricting all semi-automatic weapons may seem like the most obvious choice, but it would also be extremely unpopular with hunters, with target shooters, and with gun owners in general. These days, semi-automatic isn't just the first thought of anyone going in to buy a rifle or shotgun, it's almost the only thought. Legislation aimed at all semi-automatic weapons would be difficult to pass, no matter how strong the political tailwind. What can be passed is severe restrictions on semi-automatic weapons based off military models. Nearly half the killers involved in mass shootings over the last 30 years have carried assault rifles. They should be the clear target of any legislation.

The weapon carried in most mass shootings? Semi-automatic handguns. Often more than one. Banning those would be a much tougher fight.

(Continue reading below the fold.)


This is a line-up of pistol and rifle cartridges. From left to right: en:9 mm Luger, en:.40 S&W, en:.45 ACP, en:5.7x28mm, en:5.56x45mm NATO, en:.300 Winchester Magnum, and a 2.75-inch and 3-inch 12 gauge.
Any story involving guns is sure to bring with it a set of strange numbers: .223, 9mm, 12 gauge, etc. These numbers represent the caliber of the weapon. In simplest terms, it's the diameter of the bullet the weapon fires.

There are three common systems for measuring caliber. When you see someone talking about a .223 or a .44, the caliber is in inches. A .22 rifle fires a bullet that's 0.22 inches in diameter. 9mm or 10mm is just what it sounds like—a gun chambered to fire a bullet 9mm or 10mm in diameter. If you remember your metric conversions, you can do the metal gymnastics to swap them around. A .44 caliber bullet is a bit larger than a 10mm. A .357 and a 9mm are close enough that some guns will fire either size.

If you see the term "gauge," you know the weapon in question is a shotgun. Shotguns can fire a single bullet (usually called a "rifled slug") but most of the time a shotgun fires a number of small metal pellets. Shotgun gauge is ... complicated and the numbers we commonly use mix up two different ways of calculating the size. Just remember that in general, the smaller the number, the larger the shotgun diameter. So a 12 gauge is bigger than a 20 gauge, and a 20 is bigger than a .410. Those three are the only shotgun sizes you're likely to encounter, so it's not too hard to keep straight.

As you might expect, if all things are equal, a larger bullet carries much more impact. However, all things are almost never equal. Speed, bullet design, cartridge design, the type of gun used, they all make a big difference.

Take a look at the picture again.

The first three cartridges on the left contain bullets sized at 9 mm, .40 and .45. All are designed for handguns, and all of them deliver devastating impact. Next to them is a 5.7mm. Compared to the big lugs on the left, the 5.7 (the skinny, pointy one) might seem like a pipsqueak, but that long cartridge below the small bullet helps to give it a very high velocity. It's a bullet that was specifically designed as a military anti-personnel round, designed to offer more "terminal performance" than the 9mm round it replaced. That's military speak for "more likely to kill whoever it hits." The 5.72 round is also designed to penetrate body armor. It's used in militaries around the world, and by the U. S. Secret Service. It's also available at your local store.

When it comes to bullets, there is no "safe" caliber, and smaller does not always mean less deadly. There are bullets designed to tumble so that they rip paths through flesh, bullets designed to shatter on impact, bullets that can cut not just through body armor, but through walls. High penetrating rounds, made from hardened metals, don't only pass through walls or windshields, they also pass through people, so that one bullet can strike more than one victim. In addition to terminal performance, you'll also see terms like ballistic trauma and hydrostatic shock. They're all measures of a bullet's ability to royally f*ck you up in different ways.

Cartridges designed for a rifle have the same range of variability. The smaller of the two rifle cartridges above is a 5.56mm while the larger is .30 caliber. In fact, it's not just a .30 caliber, but a .30 caliber magnum meaning that the cartridge is proportionally larger than a standard .30 caliber and delivers more oomph. Cartridges of this size were used by many World War II era military weapons, and variants on the .30 are popular today with hunters. A modern .30-06 cartridge used in big game hunting actually delivers around 3,000 ft-lbs of energy, allowing hunters to take down a large animal at 300 yards or more.

Back to that little 5.56mm. It looks kind of puny next to the .30. Did I mention that it's also called a .223? That's the cartridge that's fired by the M16, AR-15 and the Bushmaster rifle used to such horrible effect at Sandy Hook Elementary. Where the .30 is a WWII era military round, this is a modern cartridge. The 5.56 is NATO's combat round. It's designed to penetrate deep into soft tissue. It delivers high hydrostatic shock causing damage even in parts of the body not struck by the bullet. The .223 Remington cartridge (which is likely what was used on the victims at Sandy Hook) actually delivers almost exactly the same amount of energy to target as a big .30 magnum and can be used in hunting, but a lot of hunters don't like it. It's unreliable an inaccurate at long range, and at short range it tends to tear things up. (Note: in comments, several people have defended the .223 as being a better round for hunting in brush).

What can we do here? Regulating ammunition by type would by no means be a cut and dried approach. Just cutting out bullets above or below a certain size wouldn't really work, and targeting specific cartridges would lead to a kind of whack-a-mole effort as new variants appeared.  But it should be possible to restrict cartridges that are designed to penetrate body armor, those using hardened materials (like the so-called "cop-killer" bullets) and those pistol bullets designed to fragment on impact.

Magazines & Clips
While bolt and pump action guns generally store their ammunition directly in a chamber inside the gun, automatic and semi-automatic weapons use magazines or clips. These can be small and completely contained within the body of the gun (the clips of many semi-automatic pistols hide within the gun's grip) or they may curve down, up, or sideways to allow for higher capacity. The basic purpose of magazines is to allow for extended capacity and rapid reloading. On many guns, the magazine can be released quickly, and a new magazine put into place. A skilled user can switch magazines in a matter of seconds.

Many pistols have standard clips that contain between 10 and 15 cartridges. Semiautomatic rifles are more typically sold with larger magazines. The AR-15, one of the most common platforms, most often comes with a box magazine holding either 20 or 30 cartridges arrayed in column that curves down and slightly forward. Optional box magazines hold 40-50 cartridges.

However, this is just the start. Both drum and STANAG (a NATO design) magazines are available with capacities of 90-100 cartridges. These large magazines often make the weapon un-wieldy, but the STANAG variety are more compact than the older drums.

This is a Bushmaster Adaptive Combat Rifle equipped with an extended capacity STANAG magazine. Though it differs from what's been in the news, I suspect this arrangement is similar to what students and teachers saw last week.

What can we do here? This is simple: Make the sale of extended magazines illegal. In fact, we should reduce the size of standard magazines. Magazines are already available that limit the capacity of AR-15 and other military-derived rifles to 5-10 cartridges. Make those mandatory at time of sale.

Net result if we can pass legislation that will restrict the sale of semi-automatic rifles based off fully-automatic military designs, limit the availability of bullets that are designed for high mortality, and strictly reduce the size of magazines that can be used with semi-automatic weapons we'll have taken a good step. And this sensible step will not affect anyone's ability to hunt or defend themselves.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Shut Down the NRA.


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Comment Preferences

    •  A Couple Of Pragmatic Strategy Points (18+ / 0-)

      As long as I got the first comment.....

      Pundits demanding a bill this week make me doubt how much common sense they have about politics or even crossing the street.  At best, it would create chaotic mess of unintended consequences.  Rushing out something like Prop 37 (GMO labeling) that lacked specifics will generate resistance even among potential allies.

      Overall success will depend on answering the generic questions that should go with any project:
      1) Who pays for it? (a major issue for the Brady Bill)
      2) Who enforces it at the local level? (see #1)
      3) Who does it effect and what are the unintended consequences?
      4) What can you trim off to simplify the regs (I suggest excluding 22's since nobody has ever done a mass killing with one).
      5) What about ideas that are merely dumb but which seem to make perfect sense to a group of people who refuse to shut up?  (jumping from gun regulation to bullet bans for instance)
      6) Don't use screechy celebrities who disdain rural America but who travel with armed bodyguards.
      7) Be sure to get buy in from organizations like Duck Unlimited and the hunters that provide billions of dollars annually in conservation money (see #3,5,6).
      8) Don't try to get your way by making all shooting prohibitively expensive (see #5,7)

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:05:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Possession of assault rifles, sniper rifles should (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        old possum

        be a felony.

        RTKRC - Right to keep and raise children. Trumps RTKBA - Right to keep & bear arms.

        by hideinplainsight on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:50:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what designates a sniper rifle? (8+ / 0-)

          I used an old .303 British rifle as my hunting rifle for years when I was a teenager.  This was a WWII era sniper rifle with a 6 shot magazine.  Is that a sniper rifle?

          My 30-30 can accurately place a bullet in a 6 inch circle at 200 that a sniper rifle?

          My .270 can put a bullet accurately within 6 inches at 500 yards?  Is that a sniper rifle?

          For the record, 500 yards is a good range to be sighted in for when elk hunting in Wyoming....its hard enough to get that close to a group of elk, when both you and the elk can see anything moving outwards of 2 miles away.

          Obama saw this a**hole coming a mile away.

          by MusicFarmer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:06:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sniper Rifle=Hunting Rifle. See? Sooo Not Helpful (6+ / 0-)

          Only difference being that a real sniper rifle would be conventional rifle plus an additional $10,000 in hand tuning which would not do the average shooter one whit of good.

          Your comment is cringe-worthy on so many levels.  

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:18:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Semi-auto firearms with high-capacity magazines. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            That is a military grade weapon as far as I'm concerned and belongs only in the hands of trained military personnel.

            Hunters can use a three round magazine max. I rather it be single shot only but I could live with three.

            I suppose explaining that a magazine is not a clip (see M-1 Garand for an example of a clip) is a lost cause but to me it makes liberals sound ignorant when they conflate the two.

            Reaganomics noun pl: belief that unregulated capitalism can produce unlimited goods for unlimited people on a planet with finite resources and we the people can increase revenue by decreasing revenue.

            by FrY10cK on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:30:55 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My Hunting Rifle Box Magazine Holds 4 Rounds (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Massconfusion, fuzzyguy, annieli

              And with one in the chamber (which is how one hunts) that's 5 shots all together.  I once shot 3 rounds at a deer (one miss followed by two through the neck).

              Also, many hunting rifle magazines cost $25 and up.  Mine were $34 I think.  

              Going back to the pragmatic points I raise, is that really an issue worth pursuing given the relatively high cost/benefit ratio where the benefit may approach zero?

              There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

              by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:49:13 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  ban auto-load with removable magazines (7+ / 0-)

          Australia (recently, since 1996) and the UK more or less did this, and other countries.  Their gun homicide rates (even gun suicides) are 10:1, 20:1, 100+:1 lower than ours.  And they have similar crime rates otherwise (I'm not looking at Japan, Sweden, etc).

          If the gun is autoloading - meaning you can shoot as fast as you pull the trigger, since it reloads itself - PLUS it has a removable (quick change) magazine, then outlaw it. Period. Rifle, pistol or shotgun.   I say this as someone who has owned such pistols (Sig P226, XD40) and shot/borrowed/target-shot all manner of assault rifles (AR15, AK47, Uzi).  Fun to shoot? Yeah. Really needed for hunting or self defense?  Hell no.  I hunted nearly 40 years.  Never needed more than the 3+1 shots my bolt action rifle had, or the 5 rounds in my pump action shotgun.  Need an autoloader - fine, buts its tube fed or internal magazine.  No 30 round .223 clips, no 15-shot pistol clips, or 20-round detachable shotgun drums.  Need a pistol? Great. Live with a 6 shot revolver. Home defense?  If a 5-round pump shotgun isn't enough home protection, you're living in a fantasy world.  Walking Dead or Red Dawn are fiction - not documentaries.

          The sniper rifle is an issue, as many/most deer hunting rifles would qualify due to their long range accuracy and muzzle energy. Even there, you could require most urban residents not keep those in the house (check them out from police dept for target shooting or hunting).  Maybe let rural/farmers keep them, with background checks & permits.

          •  If you're a small woman, a pump-action 12-gauge... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ichibon, Habitat Vic, KVoimakas, fuzzyguy

   unlikely to be your weapon of choice for home defense.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:52:42 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  there are other options (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              badger, eztempo

              I gave one of my shotguns to a smallish girlfriend for self defense. It was a 20-gauge side by side that she had no problem with (after some practice).  There are also youth guns in smaller, low recoil calibers, with smaller overall size and recoil.  .410, low-load 20-gauge, hell, a 22-auto (tube fed) for that matter.  A "purse gun" like a light pull .38 revolver (loud as hell though), or smaller caliber.

              My point is, I think there are other options for self defense for an 80#, 5 foot  woman without having to give up on outlawing auto-load magazine equipped guns, IMO

              We'll have to agree to disagree.

              •  I don't think you'll ever get approval for... (9+ / 0-)

                ....banning semi-autos. At least not in my remaining lifetime. The vast majority of weapons sold in the past 25 years fit into this category, and many of them are hunting weapons.

                Banning assault rifles and high-capacity magazines is, however, doable right now, imo, along with other controls.

                Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:36:48 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  And Most Semi-Autos Are .22s, Which I Say Ignore (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Habitat Vic

                  And for home defense a .22 with 10 rounds would do the trick.

                  Here's a jovial old guy having some fun with one.

                  There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                  by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:17:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  looks like he's got a 25 round clip though (0+ / 0-)

                    Agree about a 10-shot auto 22 being a tolerable self defense gun (for small woman per this thread). First gun I got at 12 years old was a Ruger 10/22 like the one in your video, so I knew it well.  Mine was a ten shot carbine (smaller overall frame).  That guy is holding one with a 25 shot clip - which I would be fine with outlawing even for a low power load like a .22 as well.

                •  you have a different viewpoint (0+ / 0-)

                  It may seem as though the "vast majority" of weapons sold in the last 25 years are semi-auto, but I don't get that impression myself (and I have gun nut friends and relatives that own 50, 100 or more firearms). I guess dollar-wise, I've spent more on semi-auto pistols than revolvers (my Sig was twice the cost of my Colt, or Ruger revolvers).  In the rural/hunting world of Wisconsin, sure I see AR-15s  and Glocks (more for target shooting, self defense), but they are not the majority of guns that I see out there (especially taking away tube fed semiautos). And that includes hunting, the shooting range, and just friends that like to show off their guns.  Maybe I'm wrong.

                  California is not Wisconsin, and for that matter the guns my relatives own in Chicago are not what I had growing up in rural Wisconsin. FWIW, per the NRA, the estimate is that 15% of the 250M firearms in the US are semi auto.

                   I agree that it may be impossible to get magazine-fed semi autos outlawed.  I thought your rebuttal point was about a small woman not being able to handle a 12ga pump (agree, BTW).  What's politically doable is another story.

                  •  The 250 million firearms in the U.S. include... (5+ / 0-)

                    ....guns that are more than 25 years old. Nobody knows what the actual number of guns is, in part because the NRA has helped making tracking them difficult. But at the 88.8 firearms per 100 people in the U.S. counted by the 2007 Small Arms Survey, the total is now closer to 280 million firearms. In 1995, there were an estimated 200 million. So I strongly question that 15% number for the total. But, it's been in the past couple of decades that the emphasis has been on semi-auto purchases, pistol, rifle and shotgun.

                    I haven't hunted for many years, and I never saw any AR-15 platforms when I did. But, there are definitely people who do, often with specially loaded .223s or customized to different calibers. Why? Beats me. When I did hunt, it was with a lever-action Winchester model 94, a .30-.30 hand-me-down from my grandfather, serial #789,903 (made around 1926). If I were to hunt now, it would be with the same rifle.

                    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                    by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:49:51 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  there are hunting traditions (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      NoGW, Aramis Wyler

                      Far different from survivalist/militia fantasies.  My first deer gun was the same Model 94 you used, though only handed down from my older brother.  Bought new in the late 50s, early 60s.  Hunting was meat in the freezer and everyone getting together for the season.  You learned to handle a weapon starting with your first BB gun, to your first hunter safety course, through to your own guns as you got older. You knew & respected the power of firearms by seeing the death they caused.  I remember being amazed how easily our neighbor killed a 400# pig for slaughter with a tiny .22 revolver.

                      From the beginning, anytime we heard someone shooting 3, 4, 5 or more times (or multiple hunters), we figured they were lousy sportsmen in addition to poor shots. I actually got a call from the NRA once (I belonged when I was younger, but wised up) trying to drum up support for 30 round clips for "hunter flexibility."  No hunter worth a damn needs more than 10 rounds. 5 really.

            •  Petite Woman Can Shoot Low Recoil 12 g Loads (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Habitat Vic, sargoth, annieli

              There are even 12 g shells that are quite short for self defense work.   Apparently they cycle OK in a pump action.

              There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

              by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:31:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Actually, it's a great choice (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sargoth, Habitat Vic, annieli

              The sound of a pump action shotgun is universally recognizable. Working the action on one of those is enough to end most conflicts before they start.

              It's not 11th dimensional chess; it's just chess. And he's KICKING YOUR ASS.

              by pneuma on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:10:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Arguably... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Habitat Vic

              a shotgun is the best firearm to use for home defense.  Buckshot tends to stop when it hits something, whereas rifle (and some pistol) rounds can remain very lethal even after striking a wall.

              •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                And the sound is pretty much the same on a smaller frame, 20ga or .410 pump.  I had a FOAF (female, inexperienced with guns) that I borrowed a .410 coach gun (18" double barrel) and a youth 20ga pump (think it was a Bantam Mossberg 500 series).  I also let her try my 9mm pistol and a small frame .38 revolver.

                She hated the pistols (noise and/or kick), but the shotguns were easy for her to control and get used to.  She also liked that she didn't have to aim very well and the gun looked and sounded more intimidating. Plus buckshot (or a less lethal bird load) wouldn't go through her wall to a neighbor's house.

                My experience has been that some people -  whether small frame, or just too intimidated by guns in general - should consider alternatives: a dog, bear pepper spray, burglar alarm, etc.  If a gun, they should get some training and practice.  If anything, having a small pistol that you've literally never or rarely shot as your defense weapon may be worse than the alternatives.

            •  90% of women don't own a gun in the first place. (0+ / 0-)

              So really, the female firearm of choice is nothing.

        •  The purpose of this piece was meant to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          educate readers about guns so we can ask for intelligent legislation and make educated requests. Did you read what was written because it does not sound as if you did...

      •  No. 4 is inaccurate: (6+ / 0-)

        In 1976, a custodian at Cal State University, Fullerton, used a semi-automatic, .22 cal rifle to kill seven and wound two.

        In 1979 in San Diego, the school principal was killed and eight children wounded with a semi-auto .22.

        In 1995, a teacher and student were killed in Lynnville, Tennessee with a semi-auto .22

        In 1997, three killed, two wounded in Paducah, Kentucky, with a .22 semi-auto.

        In 1999, two killed and two wounded in Salt Lake City with a .22

        Just this year, three were killed and three wounded in Chardon, Ohio, with a .22 semi-auto.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:02:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're Right, I'm Wrong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          But if you'll permit to use a rather cliched rationalization (which would actually apply here), those crimes could have also been committed with any rusty old revolver.

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:28:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  What about firing rate? (0+ / 0-)

        It seems the two most important factors in these mass murders is magazine capacity and the rate one can fire the bullets.  Those two combine into basically the 'murder rate' of the weapon.

        I haven't heard any talk of limiting the firing rate of a semi-automatic weapon.  Is it even technically feasible to limit a gun to, say, one shot a second?  Do people agree that would help?

        •  It's not really feasible (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The firing rate is determined by the mechanics of the action; there's no reasonable way to store and release that energy over a longer period.

          Besides, the firing rate isn't all that important - it's (as you say) magazine capacity and loading time.

          My shotgun can hold 3 shells (more originally, but in certain hunting situations you're required to limit it, so there's a filler plug that prevents loading more). My deer rifle holds 5 (I think? never filled it up) plus one in the chamber. Either could be reloaded in 5-10 seconds - but I imagine it would be very hard for someone to do that with shaking hands and a full on adrenaline rush; and 5-10 seconds would be an eternity to be fumbling with something.

          Point being - limiting magazine size is the key, IMHO.

        •  That Would be A Bolt Action nt (0+ / 0-)

          There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

          by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:18:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Number 4 is incorrect, bernard. Go here. (0+ / 0-)


        In 1976 Ed shot nine people, seven fatally, in a homicidal rampage at the library at Cal State Fullerton where he worked as a janitor. Not a marksman, Eddie used a .22-caliber rifle to shoot his victims at close range. Found not guilty by reason of insanity, the killer has been confined to the Atascadero State Hospital. [bolding mine]
        On July 12, 1976, Edward Allaway opened fire with a .22-caliber rifle in the California State University, Fullerton, library. [source, bolding mine]

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:00:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Body Armor (0+ / 0-)

      This is an associated issue,so I hope you don't consider it off topic, but is there any reason why law abiding citizens should be able to buy body armor?

      Let's ban the sale of body armor as part of any gun safety legislation.

      •  sounds fishy (0+ / 0-)

        - defensive measures are always peaceful by nature. Nobody can use body armor to kill his spouse in a fit of rage.
        - there are (private) citizens who really need body armour
        - I'm not aware of any mass shooting where body armor played any kind of role. You?

        "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

        by cris0000 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:21:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Aurora Colorado (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Southern Lib

          Shooter had full complement of armor, including neck protection as I recall.

          •  non sequitir (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ... which is irrelevant. He didn't kill anybody with his body armor, and nobody shot at him (and thank God for that).

            As another commenter pointed out, there has been at least one shootout between police and heavily-armed bank robbers that was prolonged due to the body armor the bank robbers wore. I'm not sure that comparison between that and mass shootings like Aurora and Sandy Hook is valid.

            Regrettably, there are indeed private citizens who need body armor, usually due to their occupation.

          •  Not true. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            annieli, Aramis Wyler

            He was wearing "tactical gear"... basically black nylon with lots of pockets. Sounds scary.... it isn't. You'd get better protection from a leather jacket.


            "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees." -- Emiliano Zapata Salazar
            "Dissent is patriotic. Blind obedience is treason." --me

            by Leftie Gunner on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:38:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Does a bank robbery count? (0+ / 0-)

          I'm pretty sure it was a major factor in the so-called North Hollywood Shootout.

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:41:40 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I've got a buddy of mine who'd be dead (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sargoth, KenBee

        had he not been wearing his body armour his mom scraped up money to buy him. He works for a chain of convenience stores trying to save up to go to school. The eight people I know who work at convenience stores all wear body armour. All of them have been robbed at some point.

        Body armour is a peaceful measure to guard against harm. There is absolutely NOTHING compassionate about trying to take that away.

  •  Interesting (26+ / 0-)

    but I think that we have to be careful not to get sucked into the idea that we need to know all of this stuff to have a voice in t he debate. The pro gun people have been playing the 'expert' card for too long now and it is, at the end of the day, just a distraction.

    Bottom line:
    Gun = object for propelling a lump of metal into the environment at a stupidly fast speed.

    Bullet = lump of metal designed to significantly damage whatever it hits.

    •  Except that I think it is important... (52+ / 0-) order to get past just a simple "we want more gun control" into talking about what that would actually mean.

      That's even more the case if we're trying to enact laws that keep guns like the Bushmaster out of people's hands while not restricting responsible hunters and sport-shooters—something that is important to me not only because I think penalizing responsible gun-owners is bad policy, but also because anything that restricts hunting in particular would likely be a complete political non-starter.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:12:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can play into their hands if you like. (8+ / 0-)

        and responsible gun owners can find themselves a new hobby as far as I'm concerned. That may sound drastic and unfair to you but it is exactly what has happened in other countries.

        •  If nothing else... (32+ / 0-)

          ...let's be honest about the politics here.

          There is absolutely no way in hell that any gun control policy that bans the guns most commonly used by hunters and sport-shooters is going to be enacted.

          If we're looking at what "other countries" have done, I think Canada's policies are a good direction to go in. Hunters and sport-shooters in Canada haven't had to "find themselves a new hobby," but they have had to register, take safety courses, and otherwise demonstrate that they're responsible.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:44:34 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hunters would be fine (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TomFromNJ, CayceP, JVolvo, ichibon, eztempo

            Hunters hunt for the sport of hunting.  There is a reason things like primitive bow hunting and black powder hunting are gaining popularity - people enjoy the challenge of it.

            I imagine getting off a second shot at a running deer with a bolt action rifle takes more skill, and thus is more sporting, than just kablammowing away with a semi-auto.  

            Thanks for the well written diary - very important primer for the coming days.  Personally I would be for melting down all semi-automatic weapons, but I realize that a total ban is not feasible.  However, we can NOT let this just become about assault rifles, and I am glad to see high capacity clips being mentioned in pending legislation.

            •  Hunters also hunt for food... (13+ / 0-)

              Your comment about hunters hunting for the sport of hunting should not be taken as all inclusive. In many areas of the U.S., hunters hunt for food. The deer, elk, antelope, geese, turkey, pheasant, and other game animals may be the majority of the meat that the family has in their freezer. I know people who depend on that game meat as they can't afford beef on a regular basis.

              I eat what I hunt and I don't hunt for a trophy to hang on my wall. I also don't hunt with semi-automatics. If you can't hit something with the first shot, you shouldn't be taking that shot.

              •  Good point (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JVolvo, ichibon, BachFan

                As you said, though, you eat what you hunt, and you don't hunt with semi-automatics.  

                I have no idea of the actual number, but I would guess there are not a lot of people who rely on hunting for subsistence AND would be upset to go back to using the same type of gun their father used before them.  Heck, more than likely they HAVE the gun their father used.  

                •  I've hunted with a semiautomatics (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fuzzyguy, MPociask

                  But it certainly wasn't some Rambo-wannabe AR-15 and besides a .223 is too small for deer and too big for almost anything else you'd care to eat.  I have a semiauto .22 (very common, good for squirrels and rabbits) and a semiauto 12 gauge shotgun.  I actually wanted a double or a pump, but the ones in my budget at the time were cheap POS whereas the used semiauto I bought at a consignment shop was only a little more money and of obvious superior quality.  Never had more than three shells in it; most places for hunting you need the magazine blocked so a shotgun can't have more than three.  People also do hunt large game with semiauto rifles, most often old World War II M1 Garands and Browning semiautomatics, but both are much less common than bolt or lever action rifles.  Neither has a high capacity magazine (4 for the Browning) or clip (8 for M1).

              •  Agreed, most sensible hunt-to-eat hunters don't (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ichibon, jts327, BachFan, SoCalJayhawk, cany

                want to be scraping ground chuck off the trees after they kablammo their meal with 10-20 rounds.

                So I strongly dispute the "hunters want/use large capacity clips for hunting" position that many (not you) gun-apologists invariably use.

                Paraphrasing you and Habitat Vic above, needing more than a 3+1 isn't skilled hunting, it's macho overcompensating KABLAMMO overkill.  And that is wildly inconsistent with the killing for the meat ethos.

                And don't get me started on the 'big game penned into limited area so Mr Weekend Big Dick can get him one pick your trophy' kill ranches.   Ugh.

                As someone else stated above: Beware the muzzle velocity, WWII model-quoting and grain weight parsing of the fetishists, here and elsewhere.  It's a distraction.

                20 KIDS were butchered because this loon - and the many before him - could indiscriminately spray bullets faster than you or I can blink.  

                Fuck that shit and the fetishists who defend it.  Full Stop.

                The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

                by JVolvo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:06:46 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  How many hunters need semi-auto and 10+ (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            round clips?  Really, how many?  None that I know.

            The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

            by JVolvo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:45:12 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hunting Feral Hogs In Brush Is A Public Service (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fuzzyguy, annieli

              "Open season" on pests means generally no rules and hogs are both tough and dangerous.  probably many counties wish they could more people to do it.

              There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

              by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:57:18 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I've seen rounds ricochet off of hog skulls. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bernardpliers, annieli

                Those 600lb brutes are terrifying in east TX. You can find them even in the suburbs. They are a serious problem for both humans and forestry management and they are everywhere. Most hunters I know won't go after them, too dangerous.

                •  And They'll Rip You Open With Their Tusks (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fuzzyguy, sargoth

                  So we assume you are  agreeing there is at least one legitimate use for an SKS/AK type weapon?

                  There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                  by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 02:34:02 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You and I are on the same page. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    sargoth, bernardpliers

                    I'm liberal in regard to the entirety of the Bill of Rights. Hunting feral, invasive hogs with less than 10 rounds is a death sentence. I don't think the folks on Kos have a whole lotta empathy or much experience dealing with wildlife that big, dangerous, destructive, and powerful.

                    Hell, I'm a socialist too. I think the government should provide free health care, mental care, fire arms training, and locks/safes for individuals who have weapons.

                    •  How many more kids getting butchered tips (0+ / 0-)

                      the scale for you?  When is it enough?

                      Hunting feral hogs?  Really?

                      Now I've seen every excuse.


                      The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

                      by JVolvo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:20:13 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Don't be a dick. (0+ / 0-)

                        The rest of the US isn't Madison, WI. There are large swathes of this country that aren't much better off than rural China and Mexico, but still have megafauna present. I've been around and seen this shit myself, lived in it.

                        White people generally don't notice that though in their cute little communities where bad shit isn't supposed to happen to them and when it does, "HOLY FUCKING SHIT! WE GOTTA PASS A LAW NOW, AND FUCK ANYONE WHO IS WHATSOEVER FUCKING CRITICAL!!111!!!eleventyone!11! WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA AND BABIES!1!!1!!111!!!"

                        Give me a fucking break.

                        Hunting feral hogs?  Really?

                        Now I've seen every excuse.


                        Yeah, fuck people who have to deal with that shit being in their front lawn, killing their dogs, threatening their family, destroying their property, and the citizens are being tasked to kill the INVASIVE SPECIES, not wildlife management or the police. I'd like to see you try and kill a 600+ lb animal that will fucking kill you and eat you if it feels so inclined. Fuck the forests being destroyed by both the hogs and the deer running rampant and wiping out whole understories and causing all kinds of problems with wetland and stream maintenance resulting in cultural eutrophication and fuck the impoverished people who live in those areas. The same bullshit know-nothing, hyper vigilant vegetarians make the "don't kill the cute animals" argument, but don't bother to learn about environmental conservation or reintroduce fucking cougars and wolves to control exponential population growth and crashes, because "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN1!!1!"

                        Don't be a dick and belittle a situation you know jack and shit about. Your attitude is why so many rural liberals and progressives, along with the fucking back pedaling of our leadership with CPI and Social Security, don't fucking trust the party and don't come out in vote. Your only fucking concern is with white, yuppie, suburban and urban liberals. Fuck the poor and minorities. The whole fucking Democratic party has been on a "Fuck the poor and minorities" streak since Clinton. Lotta good that has done turning votes out in the south.
                        Why should I be fucking be surprised when the party leadership and the online activists don't have a fucking ounce of empathy or care about those who live in vastly different cultural and environmental locales and fucking write off those concerns because, hey white people in the north and in urban and suburban centers don't have those problems. I bet you have fucking responsive police protection too.

                        So you all for the Patriot Act too then? Since you are all for restricting rights based out of fear and a need for "security"? Do there need to be restrictions weapon? Probably, but we need to actually fund the enforcement of the laws we actually have first to see if they fucking work before we pass more. We also need a fucking social safety net so people don't feel so god-damned fearful that they are going to be completely fucking crushed.

                        •  Dumb rant. Urban liberals + Patriot Act + me (0+ / 0-)

                          wanting to restrict rights out of fear?  You just missed the broad side of the barn, pardner.  If you were a better shot you a) wouldn't have missed therefore b) wouldn't need high capacity mags.


                          Try fighting the fucking ReThugs who enjoy grinding you into dirt.

                          Even with some of your points being valid you fucking screwed the pooch with this:

                          "WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN1!!1!"
                          Fuck.  Off.

                          The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

                          by JVolvo on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 10:40:50 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Your witty retort! (0+ / 0-)

                            Is most convincing.

                            Dumb rant
                            If you were a better shot you a) wouldn't have missed therefore b) wouldn't need high capacity mags.
                            Were particularly compelling arguments, especially since I don't shoot, except for my camera, and don't own any guns, but have seen one of those hogs take 12 in the ribs before even slowing down. One could even use the googles and look this stuff up, but that is hard and we are "reality" based here.
                            Was also another salient point!
                            Fuck.  Off.
                            Some how I think I got that idea across much better without the need to type it out. I will give you points for your brevity though.

                            I'm done here. This is a dead diary and there isn't any further discussion to be had with you.

                          •  HEY LOOK! ANOTHER GUN NUT JUST KILLED 2 (0+ / 0-)

                            firefighters!  Ha ha set a fire then shot them as they arrived!  WOOO AMERICA!!111

                            Four volunteer firefighters responding to an intense pre-dawn house fire were shot Monday morning, two fatally, leading to a shootout between a suspect and police in suburban Rochester, N.Y., police said.

                            "One or more shooters" fired at the firefighters after they arrived shortly after 5:30 a.m. at the blaze near the Lake Ontario shore, just east of Rochester, Town of Webster Police Chief Gerald Pickering said.


                            The West Webster Fire District received a report of a car and house on fire on Lake Road, on a narrow peninsula where Irondequoit Bay meets Lake Ontario, Flynn said.

                            "When they got there, they stated to take on rounds and the initial responders were struck," the sheriff said


                            When the fuck will you gun fetishists realize that we are getting mowed down by freaks who have guns?  Your extra-extra-rare feral hog situation (you are right, I can't relate to it) DOES NOT = we all have to suck it and get shot by freaks.

                            Oh, wait...firefighters should be armed, right?  Every fire engine needs a SWAT team to hit the scene first before they fight the fire, right?

                            Do you agree with NRA?

                            NRA calls for armed guards in schools to prevent gun violence NRA calls for armed guards in schools to prevent gun violence

                            The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

                            by JVolvo on Mon Dec 24, 2012 at 09:13:47 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

        •  New Hobby: Politics (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FrankRose, theboz

          You may get that for which you wished.

          We can have change for the better.

          by phillies on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:20:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree. I'm a gun owner and I have been thinking (17+ / 0-)

        the last couple of days, just how I would feel if semi automatics were banned.  I'm not a 100% sure, I would comply myself...even though I had always said I would, if it happened. To be honest, I'm not even 50% sure. My husband is even more set in that belief.  I'm ok with reinstating the assault weapons ban and enforcing the laws we have now with an iron fist....but I just don't know how I would feel if it other severe bans and restrictions were to take place against law abiding gun owners.  Just being honest about it.

      •  I agree (17+ / 0-)

        I'm a lefty gun control supporter (within reason). I'm a hunter. Everybody gets grumpy with me.

        I mostly cringe when I see people write pro gun control pieces because they are often so profoundly misinformed. Part of it is that it lets the 2nd amendment fetish types be dismissive (not that they wouldn't be anyway). My bigger concern, though, is that when people who don't know anything about guns propose new regulations, they typically propose things that wouldn't be effective. Given that "Ban all guns" is not going anywhere, I think it is incumbent on supporters of increased gun control to be conversant in how these things work.

        The big problem with the current debate in the wake of the most recent tragedy, is that people focus on the superficial (erhmagerd, it's a "Military style Assault Rifle") and lose sight of the more important issues. The old Assault Weapons Ban was not particularly useful because most of what it focused on was cosmetic, rather than functional. An AR15 looks like a military weapon, but is functionally no different than any other semi auto with a removable magazine. That functionality is what makes it dangerous, not that it looks like something for killing Viet Cong. This isn't to say I think people should have 30 round magazines in semi autos, but focus on the real issue.

        While some guns are more dangerous than others, the bottom line is, a gun is a gun. .22 will kill you. It actually kills a lot of people. A revolver will kill you. A hunting rifle will kill you (Probably faster. A typical deer cartridge violates the Hague Convention as a hollow point). In the end, focusing on limiting access, cleaning up the black market, etc are going to save lots more lives than so much of what I've seen proposed lately.

        •  Excellent. But IMHO, it's way more important to (15+ / 0-)

          keep scary people away from guns than to keep scary guns away from people. But, hardware legislation is not going to be as effective as any legislation that includes mandatory firearms safety training, registration and screening (& profiling) of buyers and most importantly (to the point I think it's a national security issue now) Universally available and affordable (if not free) mental health care.

          "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

          by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:44:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yuppers (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            adamsrb, eztempo, fuzzyguy, sargoth
            keep scary people away from guns than to keep scary guns away from people. But, hardware legislation is not going to be as effective as any legislation that includes mandatory firearms safety training, registration and screening (& profiling) of buyers and most importantly (to the point I think it's a national security issue now) Universally available and affordable (if not free) mental health care.
            THat is a much more succinct version of what I was trying to say.
          •  I would like this comment (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eztempo, fuzzyguy

            more than once if I could - I see no issue with firearms safety training - in fact they touch on the basics of this when you take your hunter education course in Missouri.  Anyone born after 1965(?) is required to take this course prior to obtaining a hunting license - cost is nominal $10-15 bucks and a weekend, its good for a lifetime (the certification, not the hunting license)

            Do something in this style, make it cost convenient so you don't create a poor tax, and this could be an option that wouldn't hurt.

            Better federal databases for screening would be helpful as well - and a complete revamping and  overhaul of the mental health care system would be the best thing of all towards stopping these kinds of incidents.

            Obama saw this a**hole coming a mile away.

            by MusicFarmer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:24:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  That's the point I make (7+ / 0-)

          People get too wrapped up in what the weapon looks like versus what it does.

          For instance, consider the old M-14. It's a fully automatic, selective fire assault rifle, but in its base configuration, with its traditional wooden stock and layout, except for the box magazine it looks superficially like any old hunting rifle (

          AR-15 knockoffs, with the collapsible stocks and the plastic grips and the rail for mounting accessories, looks scarier, and I bet people would sooner ban them than the M-14, even though the M-14 is the gun that can put more bullets downrange much faster.

          There are really only two important things you need to know about a firearm (putting aside the ammunition) when you want to talk about reducing harm.

          1. How many bullets come out each time you pull the trigger?

          2. How many shots can be fired before you have to reload the weapon?

          That's where the debate should be right now. If you want to talk about semi-autos versus other single-shot mechanisms, that's something that can be discussed later. The most important thing right now is automatic versus everything else, and magazine size. You get a handle on that, you've dealt with maybe 90% or more of the problem. Everything else is noise.

          •  Marketing Aspect (5+ / 0-)

            I understand the arguments that we should focus on the actual capability of the rifle rather than the cosmetic aspects, but I also wonder if attending to the "look" of these guns wouldn't also help.  

            "Military-style" or "assault" rifles, while in most respects no different from semi-automatic hunting rifles, appeal to a different constituency than their cousins.  Military wannabes, New World Order fantasists, disgruntled avengers, disturbed teens eager to translate their video game experiences into the real world....and these are the people who are the problem.  The cosmetic aspects of the weapon play some role--maybe a big role--in the fantasies that underlie mass-killing episodes.  They also feed into the paranoid paramilitary gun culture that has developed over the past three decades and partly supplanted the hunting gun culture that preceded it.

            I realize that a ban on military-stye weapons wouldn't place a functional limit on a killer's capacity to do damage, but maybe it would place a cultural limit of sorts?  We didn't ban tobacco, but we did limit the way it was marketed and the circumstances of its consumption, eventually changing the culture.  Same deal with drunk driving.  

            Anyway, I'm really interested to hear what you think about this element of the issue.


          •  Yes, however, how many M14s are available (0+ / 0-)

            out there vs cheap AR-15 knockoffs with their expanded clips?

            M14 was 1959-1970, replaced by the M16 in 1970; less than 2 million M14s produced.

            This is a minor distinction without changing the big picture.

            The GOP says you have to have an ID to vote, but $ Millionaire donors should remain anonymous?

            by JVolvo on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:37:58 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, it's not a minor distinction (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              If you try to ban something based on looks, you're wide open to someone exploiting the loophole of changing the look while not changing the function, which is really what you want to deal with.

              Take, for instance, the suggestion I've seen some people make about banning rifles with "pistol grips". Well okay. Suppose that passes. Everyone knows what a pistol grip looks like, right? Well, what about the design of an FN P90? Is that a pistol grip? Similarly, I've seen custom wooden stock for regular bolt-action rifles with thumbholes allowing for a more comfortable grip, so it looks like what you'd see on a P90. And if you allowed the loophole, I can see M-14 knockoffs making a big comeback.

            •  FYI (0+ / 0-)

              There is also a civilian version of the M14, the Springfield Arms M1A.

              Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

              by EthrDemon on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:45:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Mother Jones said (9+ / 0-)

        "Sit down, read and educate yourself for the coming conflicts." I bought my first gun when I was attacked and had a gun pointed at my head. I was lucky that a bystander asked "should I call the police?" This spooked the would be gunman and he ran. I bought a few handguns and got training. This training taught me that my gun is more likely to make a bad situation worse. I target practice and if I feel that I need a gun to be secure in a certain situation, I ask myself "do I really need to be in this situation?"

        My ideas? Require liability insurance, ban magazines more than 10 rounds with buybacks and the ability to swap banned magazines for legal ones and heavily regulate NATO rounds (5.56 and 7.39) which are used in AR-15 and AK-47s to the same degree as owning a fully automatic weapon. FYI, sportsmen are not fans of "sporting rifles" in general. These changing are at least possible.

        Kill them with kindness. If that fails, just kill them.

        by JesusQ on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:11:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Minor point: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The 7.62x51mm NATO round fired by the M14 (and virtually identical to the .308 Winchester round) is not the same as the 7.62x39mm Russian round fired by the AK47

          Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

          by EthrDemon on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 12:47:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Leave Anti-Intellectualism To The Other Side (71+ / 0-)
      I think that we have to be careful not to get sucked into the idea that we need to know all of this stuff to have a voice in t he debate.
      This is the standard excuse for putting gut feelings on a pedestal above the facts and calculations of those pointy-headed professors with their eevilution and globaloney warming and whatnot. It's the rhetoric of the other side, and we don't want to get sucked into adopting it ourselves.

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:12:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (45+ / 0-)

      I found the primer to be extremely useful -- because a ban that sounds simple will end up effecting too many animal hunters and end up with too much opposition and might not pass.  

      Similarly, I now understand that a ban on "bullets that are bigger than 'x'" is silly.

      I.e., it's not as simple as your bottom line.

      The author did a good job.

    •  Take Time To Avoid Another Prop 37 Mess (7+ / 0-)

      I think anyone can write something in 5 minutes or less that will please the hair-on-fire crowd, and the appeal of that approach seems to be multiplied if the proposal is an obvious tar-baby of unintended consequences.

      There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

      by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:28:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not knowing this stuff is why the AWB (17+ / 0-)

      was almost useless, and why lobbying for reinstating it will do absolutely nothing to prevent another Newton, Columbine, Thurston, Aurora, Virginia Tech...

      Shoot blues -> Tell Vile Rat

      by CayceP on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:28:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lyvwyr101, Sandino, ltsply2, eztempo

        The fact that we go down these rabbit holes is what screws us over every single time - regardless of whether the subject is gun control, health care, fiscal cliffs or anything else.

        •  Understanding is not a rabbit hole. nt (12+ / 0-)

          Shoot blues -> Tell Vile Rat

          by CayceP on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:45:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Your attitude reminds me... (10+ / 0-)

          ...of when Herman Cain said that all laws should be three pages or less.

          Policy is necessarily complicated—and if we're not keeping an eye on the details, those who are more organized and more well-funded (like the NRA or ALEC) will be there to set them in such a way as to make any restrictions completely toothless.

          "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

          by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:02:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  But (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            old possum, cany

            We aren't writing laws. We are advocating.

            Congressmen or legislative PAs or whoever need to know all the detailed policy wonkish details. Activists just need to know "guns propel bullets", "bullets inflict damage".

            I don't need to know all the details about how a bomb works to know that I don't want my neighbors to have one.

            That said, it doesn't hurt to know those things, it just isn't necessary. The bigger problem is that we are negotiating with ourselves on gun control (just like we are criticizing the President for doing with the fiscal cliff).

            Take it easy, but take it.

            by ltsply2 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:53:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Still don't think it's a sound position (5+ / 0-)

              First, saying that you don't want your neighbors to have a bomb is pointless unless you define what a bomb is. Do you include fire-crackers? If so, how large can they be before they count as a bomb. You clearly have to have some definition of what you plan to limit/ban.

              Second, current political realities are that saying "Anything that propels a bullet is illegal - deal with it!!!!!" is not going anywhere. Given that a 100% ban is not practical, you have to have enough knowledge to be able to say "Mass shootings are carried out by these types of people, using these types of weapons. We need to limit the access of those people to those weapons, using the following strategy: "

              •  Right (0+ / 0-)

                Someone has to define what a bomb is if you're writing a law, but I'm not writing a law. I'm just saying that I don't want someone to be able to hurt me. When you get into the definitions then it becomes a slippery slope.

                As far as "political realities"... I don't care. My goal in this is not to come up with a policy that I think should be the fair middle ground. We've seen how this goes when President Obama negotiates with himself on the fiscal cliff. We may very well end up somewhere in the middle, but that's not I'm advocating for. I'm advocating for no guns.

                Take it easy, but take it.

                by ltsply2 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:06:23 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Talk about a slippery slope... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fuzzyguy, ebohlman
                  I'm not writing a law. I'm just saying that I don't want someone to be able to hurt me. When you get into the definitions then it becomes a slippery slope.
                  That's the same kind of thinking that leads to things like the Patriot Act. "Just do whatever you need to do so I can't be hurt."

                  Activists especially need to know what the issues are and know what specifics to push—or else they'll be surprised when something like the Clean Air Act is written for the benefit of polluters.

                  "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

                  by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:55:02 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  "No"? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy, ebohlman

          Lack of informed discussion on the issue was precisely why the AWB was almost useless. It doesn't take a three-blackboard logical proof to demonstrate why. It's merely a statement of fact.

          For you to counter, again, with some handwaving about "rabbit holes" is unconvincing at best. I really don't understand your opposition to informed discussion on the issue, beyond your personal fear that you might personally get in over your head.

          This primer has established an essential baseline of firearms knowledge that is not difficult for the average reader to understand.

          Please, give us credit for being able to understand. We are not served by attempting to "dumb down" the topic in order to limit discussion. It is precisely that impulse that has led us down false avenues before or ... if you will ... rabbit holes.

    •  I wouldn't make that mistake (14+ / 0-)

      one of the best ways to make a gun enthusiast tune you out is to make what he will regard as basic mistakes when it comes to guns. Jason Alexander got himself into a bit of trouble in this regard when he was criticizing the availability of assault type weapons. he made false assumptions about the original intent and military uses for these weapons, and showed that he didn't really know their history.  to ordinary people are these details are arcane and irrelevant, but to people that live for this shit they expose him as a guy who doesn't know what he's talking about.

      I also think its important to approach this issue holistically. banning clips, individual weapons (with the inevitable lobbyist created exceptions) and the like will come across to these people as the usual bureaucratic nonsense. what is needed here is a cultural change on the part of the gun crowd. the paranoid fantasy life they've created for themselves has to be broken. a way into that world is to speak their language enough to get them to see that their hero fantasies are creating more anti-heros with way too much firepower.

      •  Purely Strategic (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, eztempo, sargoth, ebohlman

        I see this as purely strategic question.  (I'd say tactical, but I'm in no mood for cutesy puns.)  It's not that only firearms experts can have a say in the debate--that virtually assures the status quo--but that we should use every means possible to reach out to reachable gun owners.

        We need to fracture the pro-gun constituency into two groups: the hunters and responsible enthusiasts on the one side and the 2A fundamentalists and crazies on the other.  The NRA has done a great job of keeping these boundaries blurred, but Newtown might just be enough to get the first group to realize that they don't actually share interests with the second.  For those who would like to see some sane gun laws, that means not giving group A reasons to identify with group B, like broadcasting ignorance about firearms or issuing dismissive verdicts on gun owners as a group.  

        Once we've made this fissure, we can marginalize the dead-enders and continue to discuss reasonable firearms regulation that respects the 2A and the regular folks who value gun ownership.

      •  And how and when do we change that culture? (0+ / 0-)

        If anything is illusive, that surely is.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:26:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Couldn't disagree more... (26+ / 0-)

      As a hunter and gun owner I think it is extremely important that everyone understand what we are talking about.  Your bottom line above is far too simplistic for a serious conversation about gun control.   This isn't calculus.  You can learn some of the most important concepts in about an hour.

      This primer is a good start.

      •  what would you, as a gun owner, say to: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        llywrch, semiot, eztempo

        consider these individually or all together:

        Required classes on gun safety and equipment to get a weapon permit.  Require yearly or every two year refreshers.  Concealed Carry licenses require much more regular refreshers and very close scrutiny.

        limit civilian magazines to 10 bullets, both pistol and rifle.

        Outlaw any weapon based on a military design created since 1960. -- many hunting rifles still use WW1-WW2 era .30-06 caliber bullets.

        allow a cash-for-turn-in grace period on both the now outlawed guns and magazines.

        require inventory of ammo use:  As part of licensing, you must include an inventory of all bullets owned, including receipts, as well as monthly notification of all ammo fired and all ammo purchased. Can be as simple as 'bought 1 box of .45ACP, fired off same box of .45ACP at local range.'

        Allow exceptions in a 'collector's license' with much higher costs and regular BATF inspections, which will allow museums, movie studios, and those who are genuinely collectors to retain their collections, much like they do now.

        We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

        by ScrewySquirrel on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:59:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  And more that don't require expert knowledge (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eztempo, cany

          to opine about.

          For example, I was surprised to find that the NRA actively campaigned against a law banning guns from bars. Yes, this was in Tennessee, but anyone who thinks mixing guns & alcohol is a good idea has lost any standing for participating in a conversation on gun control.

          Five other examples of the NRA fighting reasonable controls on guns can be found here. Such as fighting background checks or the right of businesses banning guns from their premises.

          The problem is worse than we realize. :-(

        •  And I'd add that some prevision be made to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Azazello, cany

          internalized costs of gun ownership that are now being externalized in incidents like Newtown. Gun owners, like car owners, ought to be required to carry liability insurance.

          Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

          by semiot on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:04:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I would say... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sargoth, ebohlman

          The horrific tragedies that get the headlines in the paper still pale in comparison the the sum total of gun deaths in this country every year... gun deaths that are inflicted many times with a single shot from any of the wide variety of firearms mentioned in the Primer above.  

          So I struggle with this as much as anyone.  I am no different than the millions of other responsible firearms owners in this country who would never contemplate harming another human being with a gun.  This is like many other things in life.  The stakes are just higher.  Every rule is created because some asshole feels the need to go against societal norms.

          So the sad truth is that the only way to eliminate all gun deaths is to eliminate guns... and that isn't going to happen.  Even in Australia, where restrictions have demonstrated a significant reduction in gun deaths, there are still people who die by the gun.

          If our first goal is to curtail mass shootings, then we need to curtail the things that make them possible.  We need to quit with this "assault weapon" silliness.  It doesn't matter what a firearm looks like or from where it derives its origins.  If it is semi-automatic and can deliver dozens of rounds without reloading then it is a problem.  So the logical conversation starter on this issue is to either limit the number of rounds a magazine can hold, or... better yet, eliminate the ability to exchange magazines in a rifle (or shotgun). Semi-automatic pistols are another issue altogether.  There is no other viable loading alternative, but limiting the capacity of the magazine would be a good start.

          To answer your other questions...  Firearms safety should be a no-brainer.  It is a requirement for a hunting license in this state and should receive wide-spread support.  This should include the proper storage and securing of firearms... locking safes, trigger locks, etc.  I would support a law making a person liable if one of their firearms is involved in an accidental death or if it is stolen and used in a homicide.  

          Limiting a firearm by caliber does not make sense.  Again, the original design is meaningless.  30-06 is probably the most popular caliber for big game hunters because of its effectiveness in that context.  The firearms getting the attention in recent events are generally the smaller .223 caliber weapons.

          Limiting the quantity of ammunition a person can purchase makes some sense, but anything beyond that seems impractical.  If you've limited the ability to fire dozens of rounds without reloading, then how many rounds a person has available is probably not relevant.

          This could go on and on, but the point I hope to convey is that there are certainly rational limitations that many gun owners are willing to accept.   I do not count myself in the crowd that believes that when the government takeover begins I will just text my buddies and we will somehow fend off the predator drones and highly trained troops with our vast collection of semi-automatic weapons.  

      •  god, i have been saying this for days... (0+ / 0-)
    •  I couldn't agree more. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We can't discuss the easy access---- and gross availabilty of guns in this country ----without being experts on firepower--make---velocity---ammunition---blah---blah---blah-blah?

      Who gives a shit?

      Dead is dead---isn't it?

      Nobody dead will be here---- to use the technical terms--- that gun enthusiasts insist we must use.

      Now gun enthusiasts get to control the discussion--too?

       Implying that no one can discuss the spiraling----out---of control---gun violence in this country----without a complete and detailed knowledge of firearms--- is a way of shutting down the conversation and---frankly---it is such bullshit---it's incredible.

      The gun enthusiasts do this---every---friggin' time---and this time:

      NO SALE-

      "If it were up to me, I'd take away the guns."--Cheryl Wheeler

      by lyvwyr101 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:26:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  If you aren't willing (11+ / 0-)

        to learn about gun owners issues then you're simply going to be sidelined in the debate. That's where Bloomberg is right now essentially because he has almost no real knowledge about guns. He banned guns in NYC, big deal. He won't get that in GA, AL, or MI where guns are literally a way of life. People shoot the Bushmaster and AK's and such for fun out here. Right here in Columbus GA, I can go down to the shooting range in the city and shoot the Bushmaster (or something like it). Alot of these folks have no understanding of hunters, or gun-enthusiast culture.

        We HAVE to deal with them, they are a huge constituency that makes up this country and their representatives aren't going to allow legislation to pass that is unfair to them. In the same way that we want expanded mental health laws, we wouldn't want people at the table that aren't even trying to give two shits about that issue.

        Generally, I think a law that bans the Bushmaster and other types of guns like it for individual consumption are almost assuredly going to pass. You'll probably have to go to a shooting range to use it after this (much like you have to go to specialized ranges to shoot the minigun), and I'd wager 60% or more of the country would agree with that .  

      •  The diarist was simply trying to help you... (7+ / 0-)

        If a NRA guy started discussing this with you and said that guns are not available over the internet, you would immediately shut him down, provide evidence why he was wrong and then have no respect for anything he said after that.  And you would be right to do it.

        That is how a pro-gun advocate feels when he or she talks to someone who says that all machine guns need to be banned or something as equally ignorant, they shut down and do not see any point in discussing anything further.  If you want to make an impact, know what you are talking about and make educated suggestions.

        "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

        by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:26:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Mark's little essay IS extremely important in (6+ / 0-)

      combating the great ignorance of the non-shooting public:  many, for example, this a 'semi-automatic' is a machine gun, a firearm that keeps shooting as long as the trigger is depressed.  People need to know more so they can make informed decisions about what approach to this problem they should take. Otherwise, they often call for ridiculous restrictions that would accomplish nothing.  It's dangerous to oversimplify.

    •  If you advocate gon control reform (8+ / 0-)

      in any realistic way, you will learn about the subject; at least enough to know the language, general categories, have  a sense of what you don't know, & where to get the information you don't have. If you're not willing to this, go have a seat in back.

      "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

      by DJ Rix on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:56:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In any debate, the best position is to know... (5+ / 0-)

      In any debate, the best position is to know your opponents argument better than he or she does.  

      The author of this diary has done a great job of educating everyone here which is absolutely necessary before an intelligent "conversation" can begin.  Arguing about something you do not understand will get you nowhere.  

      Look at how many mass killings we have had since Columbine and ask yourself, with all of the collective outrage why no effective gun control legislation has been accomplished?  If you say the NRA, you are giving them way too much credit.  I believe it is because gun control advocates have tried to over-leverage their position to do too much at once without a firm understanding of the scope of the issue.  Guns are like a drug that give people the sense of power in a world where many people feel powerless.  It is because of fear that they own the weapon in the first place and it is that fear of losing the false sense of security it provides that drive the opposition to any gun control at all.  Coming out too strong will fail because their sense of security (real or imagined) is more important to them than their empathy for your right to be safe from them.

      One step at a time towards reasonable standards starts by to knowledgable sides having a conversation about progress.  Mutual respect and understanding will get you farther in a debate than righteous demands and ignorance.  That is what the other side does and just look how well that worked out for President Romney.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:12:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, the debate should focus on access (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, sargoth

      Wanna buy a gun? Get a background check. No more Internet sales, gun shows or private sales. Go through a licensed dealer who looks the buyer up on a national registry. Have a background check paid for by the buyer. If the check results take more than a day, oh well. Waiting periods would be nice. We're not talking about baseball cards here.

      No more bulk ammo sales. They go through a dealer too. Limited quantities. Provide ID. Write it down and keep permanent records.

      And smaller magazines. Only a true jerk-off wants a giant clip or drum.

      i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

      by bobinson on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:20:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry, but it is always important to know (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      badger, Batya the Toon, Azazello, annieli

      what you are talking about. Being willfully ignorant is self-identifying. I will probably never own a gun, but I'd like to know what I'm talking about when I flap my jaws, just as I'm not a member of Congress but want to know what is going on there.

      "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

      by high uintas on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:45:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But no matter what level of knowledge one has, (0+ / 0-)

        the gun person will have more which means the discussions always end up technical and fail to cover the actual points we need made which is gun violence is killing people and it needs to stop.

        EVEN IF most could be technically sound, they still would not win with MOST gun owners who own guns and want to be able to knock off 30 rounds.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:32:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not all cany (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Some gun owners are really into their hobby, they are uber-technical and spend a lot of time talking with others like them.

          Others are into their guns for other purpose, they are interested in the particulars but don't consider themselves experts.

          Some RKBA people like me don't own a gun and are members because they believe in protecting what's left of all the rights we've been given and to learn.

          mr.u goes out target shooting with our hunting friends and they have 10 shot magazines (iirc) and at least one I talked to is in total agreement with most of what has been proposed here.

          mr.uintas loves to shoot clay pigeons with a shotgun. He loves it.  

          IMO, most gun owners can't be generalized anymore than most redheads.

          "The scientific nature of the ordinary man is to go on out and do the best you can." John Prine

          by high uintas on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:41:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've seen it here repeatedly, unitas. (0+ / 0-)

            It's all over this very thread and all over others.

            202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

            by cany on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:50:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  You don't have to be an expert, but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      high uintas, BachFan, ebohlman

      you also shouldn't be wilfully ignorant about a subject that you propose to regulate. I also think there is a huge difference between being an expert on different flavors of Assault Weapon X and knowing the basic difference between fully-automatic and semi-automatic guns. As the diarist points out, the majority of guns sold today are semi-auto, with the exceptions of bolt-action rifles, revolvers, and some shotguns. Banning all of them, especially right away, isn't going to happen, so you might want to be able to focus on regulation that has a chance.

      It's not clear to me that an assault weapon ban will really work, because 1) the line is pretty fuzzy and 2) the whackos who commit these crimes pick those weapons because they look the most macho. If they are not available, they'll be picking long-barrel .44 Magnum revolvers (a la Dirty Harry) and hoping you try to make their day.

    •  One more reason to talk in specifics, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is because any future gun control legislation will be overturned by the courts if the law is vague and ambiguous.  If anyone wants to be involved in the discussion of new gun laws, it necessarily requires understanding the language, and the mechanics of firearms and projectiles.

      Some things will be easy, such as magazine capacity limits.   If the limit is 10 bullets in a magazine, a magazine with a capacity of 10+ is per-se illegal.

      Defining the firearms that are illegal is much more difficult.   Look at CA's bullet button, which circumvented the California AWB.  An overly broad law will be found to be unconstitutional, as will a law that is not specific enough.

      One could use terms such as "gun" and "bullet" to refer to every firearm and projectile, but this will work only if the intent is to ban every type of gun, and every single type of ammunition.  

      Maybe your intent is to ban all guns and ammunition.  That is fine, that is your view.  I would just point out that this view is as extreme as the view of someone who wants to eliminate all gun laws.   Neither are going to happen, so we may as well start talking about specifics.

      ...someday - the armies of bitterness will all be going the same way. And they'll all walk together, and there'll be a dead terror from it. --Steinbeck

      by Seldom Seen on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:23:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But as is so very evident in the comments here, (0+ / 0-)

        for every detail, someone puts forward, someone comes along and corrects it. And these points often come from people with a lot of knowledge.

        It's like some kind of hierarchy.

        202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

        by cany on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 05:34:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  yeah. Knowledge is optional (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      favorite american principle:

      I don't have to know the fuck what I am talking about to make the rules here. Ignorance is bliss, experts are overrated snobs anyway.

      "Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss - weiß noch nicht dass er tanzen muss", Rammstein, "Amerika"

      by cris0000 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:24:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this. (28+ / 0-)

    Given the amount of terminology flying about, it's good to have an authoritative piece on what these terms really mean... and how complicated these issues can get.

    My only wish is that you'd also covered "accessories" like scopes, pistol-grips, etc... maybe the next installment? :-)

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

    by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:08:27 AM PST

  •  thanks, great article (7+ / 0-)

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:10:13 AM PST

  •  Bullets, cartridges, chamber... (32+ / 0-)

    I'm afraid that anything more i say will only make it more confusing, or that I'll mangle terms more than I already have. Caliber is the diameter of the bullet fired by a gun, a cartridge is the assembly that holds the bullet, explosive and firing cap, and the chamber is where the cartridge sits for firing.  A gun is "chambered" to hold different sizes of cartridges, so not every 9mm can fire every 9mm cartridge and a .30 caliber rifle may or may not be able to fire a .30 magnum cartridge.

    Pop quiz: in the ammo picture, which of the two cartridges on the right is for a .12 gauge shotgun? Answer, they both are, and many (but not all) shotguns could handle either cartridge.

    Truthfully, regulating these things is going to be a mess. If I thought it was possible, I'd go for no semi-automatic, solid copper-jacketed bullets only, and no magazine allowed to hold over 5 cartridges. I'm not sure it's possible. Which doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

  •  "whack-a-mole effort as new variants appeared" (23+ / 0-)
    Winchester discontinued the Black Talon line completely in 2000. The “Ranger SXT” ammunition sold later by Winchester is very similar to the Black Talon though without the black Lubalox coating on the bullet. Among shooters, a running joke is that SXT stands for “Same eXact Thing"
    •  sort of like designer drugs... moving target. nt (6+ / 0-)

      Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

      by IreGyre on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:28:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That coating... (12+ / 0-)

      I remember that it drove me a little crazy a few rounds of debate back because people kept writing as it the Teflon coating is what gives the bullets penetrating power. The truth is that the bullets are made from hardened metals, and they would otherwise tear up the gun barrel. The Teflon protects the gun, it doesn't help the bullets cut through armor.

      Which doesn't make them any less dangerous.

    •  This is what worries me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Maybe we can get a good - short description of what the prior assault weapon ban covered - and most importantly, how it was worked around (like the ammunition example above cited). A brief history on what happened last time we had an assault weapon ban could be useful in helping determine if proposed new legislation covers what we need it to, or what other legislation may be needed (sales to a person for many weapons at once etc...).

      •  I do not support (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        renewal of the AWB in any form.

      •  The best thing to do (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        would probably have a board like the FDA to approve and disapprove new and recent gun/bullet designs according to a set of guidelines. There are ways to engineer your way around certain things to get characteristics you want. Having a board approve general designs is probably the best way to go.

        I'd also recommend a Federal licensing system to replace the states bullshit licensing systems using the "well regulated" part of the Constitution (as well as the commerce clause, and the taxing authority, if need be) similar to driver's licensees. C, B, and A. At the lowest level is the common gun license for everyday use in the home and hunting. "B" is for like weapons like the Bushmaster and is for dealers and shooting range owners that want to have that gun available for use at their range Concealed carry would fall under this too...maybe. "A" would be for manufacturers and high-end gun ranges for fully automatic weapons and machine guns that the law allows you to have.

        The FDA-like board would rate guns to match the license system so that citizens could only own guns that matched or were below their licenses. There would also be federal laws against stupid shit like guns on college campuses, hospitals, theme parks and national parks (unless that park allows hunting?).

      •  short description: nothing much (0+ / 0-)
  •  a cartridge (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Apost8, exatc

    ... is the package of the shell, bullet, powder and primer all together before firing. Not the shell along. You're not getting off on a good start.

    If it's convenience you want, you could have simply said "round" in place of "bullet" when you wanted to describe the whole thing. Purists nothing, this is about being accurate in your reporting. If you can't get that right, you have no business writing a primer on firearms.

  •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, kkjohnson, MPociask
    There are semi-automatics that descend from the ever popular AK-47, the Chinese QBZ-95 and several more. These weapons are often able to accept accessories that were originally designed for the military version, or to accept modified versions of those accessories. This includes tripods, extended magazines, laser sights, night vision scopes, and all manner of ridiculous extras that those fearing the looming economic / racial / zombie apocalypse can bolt on to make their guns look meaner and kill more readily. It's these military-derived semi-automatic rifles that are most commonly called "Assault Rifles."

    When someone is impatient and says, "I haven't got all day," I always wonder, How can that be? How can you not have all day? George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:13:21 AM PST

  •  Seems to be a new tack .. (28+ / 0-)

    .. for the gun folks to start verbal wars over gun semantics. Gun control advocates should be educated on the correct terminology so that we can counterpoint & move on to the real issues. This is a good start. I've been scolded on facebook for the calling the AR15 an assault rifle.

  •  Very accurate. (10+ / 0-)

    The only major change I'd make is change assault rifle (when referencing semi-auto military look-a-like rifles) to assault weapon.

    I am curious though. Why do you single out semi-auto firearms that look militaristic? Did I miss that?

    Here's a good YouTube video explaining the differences if you'd like to embed it.


    Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

    by KVoimakas on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:14:10 AM PST

    •  shhh, they want to believe that "military" looking (3+ / 0-)

      means more dangerous or at least what the phobic obsess upon as fetishizing, and which is what has been at the core of the recent events which at least leaves folks with non-military appearing semi-auto, pump and even lever action rifles alone. FSM forbid discussing the Henry as a 19th Century "assault weapon".

      yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

      by annieli on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:34:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well. I was waiting for someone from RKBA to say (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wonmug, semiot, annieli

        it. Solutions, if you have any? We're looking to you guys for this because, honest to god, we don't know.

        •  gotta get beyond appearances in all cases (0+ / 0-)

          and specify solutions that make sense: BATF providing national guidelines that will shape state and local laws

          yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

          by annieli on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:18:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I know. But I want to know what these nat'l (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            guidelines should be. I'm trying to read up on the subject, but it's frustrating, I haven't seen someone actually propose something better than either whack-a-mole or focus on cosmetics (which will have some effect, but can be adapted to easily.)

            •  California current law which needs revision (0+ / 0-)
              Illegal to possess, import, or purchase assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles, unless such weapons were acquired by the owner prior to June 1, 1989. Legally defined assault weapons and .50 BMG rifles listed by make and model by the DOJ must be registered. Their sale and transfer is prohibited. Military look-alike rifles that are not chambered for .50 BMG and are not on the DOJ roster are legal to purchase or possess, with some restrictions in configuration—known as "banned features." Active-duty military members residing out of state and assigned to duty in California may bring personally-owned assault weapons into the state. The military member's residence must be in a state that permits private citizens to own and possess assault weapons, and the firearms must be registered with the California Department of Justice prior to the servicemember's arrival in California by submitting the registration form with a copy of the member's Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders.

              yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

              by annieli on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 08:21:23 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Or the excellent WWII Garand. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fuzzyguy, KVoimakas

        "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

        by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:07:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I believe that military looking means (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Sumner

        more dangerous, because a big part of the misuse of weapons revolves around the fantasy of being someone like Rambo or Tony Montana or whatever favorite character has established dominance or control and solved all his problems with a weapon and/or mass murder.

        I don't think my single-shot, bolt action, .22 caliber Springfield Jr. is going to stoke anybody's neuroses enough the set them on a rampage like any of the recent killers.

        It's in the same category as friends of mine who can't ride a bike or jog without wearing spandex, or cook a meal without thousands of dollars worth of pots and useless appliances. You can't go to a slaughter without the proper weapons and accessories.

        For any reasonably sane gun owner/shooter, the form of the weapon probably doesn't make a lot of difference, although there are still a lot of irrelevant attributes people think are important, just like the stereo afficianados who spend $100 on a speaker cable. But we're not talking about sane people here for the most part, and if simply banning some cosmetic features can save even a single life or two, are you going to argue that eliminating useless decoration isn't worth it?

        In Soviet Russia, you rob bank. In America, bank robs you.

        by badger on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:33:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Perhaps arms that look military (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YoloMike, badger

      are just much more appealing to unstable, fantasist types. Maybe if they were less sexy they would be abused less, like giving your kid an old brown stationwagon instead of a red sports car might actually lead to safer driving. OTOH if they just focus on cosmetics, then why would serious shooters oppose such regulation?

  •  Thanks. (5+ / 0-)

    Very informative.

    I'm not always political, but when I am I vote Democratic. Stay Democratic, my friends. -The Most Interesting Man in the World

    by boran2 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:16:42 AM PST

  •  thanks, Mark, it will help those with an open mind (4+ / 0-)

    others not so much since they seem quite engorged in their diffidence but maybe we will get back to I/P pie fights which is where the cycle will return in time

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:16:46 AM PST

  •  Don't forget the musket, powder and ball. (16+ / 0-)

    That's the firearm that  the writers of the Second Amendment were empowering..

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:18:26 AM PST

  •  Excellent primer. One small nit though. (17+ / 0-)

    You interchange the term "magazine" and "clip."  They're really two different things.  I suspect you were just trying to avoid getting too detailed, but for those  not in the know: a magazine is spring loaded, where as a clip is not.  The most famous weapon that utilized the clip was the WWII-era M1 Garand.  Indeed, clips are pretty much a relic at this point.    All modern semi-automatic pistols and rifles use magazines.

    So, when you're talking to a gun nut, using the term "clip" will typically result in derision.  Use the term magazine and they're more likey to listen to your argument.

    "Give to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself." - Robert G. Ingersoll

    by Apost8 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:18:36 AM PST

  •  Bullet Regulations Are Like OWS Drum Circles (11+ / 0-)

    Although they seem to make sense to some people (as do perpetual motion machines) they are a waste of time and energy.  In the context of gun regulation, they have an virtually limitless potential to alienate sportsmen who would otherwise support assault rifle regulation.

    A couple points:
    1) Military ammo is less lethal than sporting ammo, because it is designed to penetrate rather than expand to give better performance against thin skinned vehicles and light cover (like brush).  In the context of industrial scale mayhem it is actually preferable to wound a soldier than to kill him because the wounded soldier will tie up vast resources for his rescue and care.
    2) The use of more lethal hollow point ammuntion is required by law for hunting.

    PA Game Code, Title 34, Chapter 23, section 2322. "Prohibited devices and methods."
    (a) General rule.--Except as otherwise provided in this title or commission regulation, no person shall hunt, kill or take or attempt, aid, abet, assist or conspire to hunt, kill or take any big game, except wild turkey, with any of the following devices or methods: ...
    (4) Any projectile which is not all lead or which is not designed to expand on contact
    That mean hollow point ammo, since "all lead" projectiles are usually limited to obsolete designs, revolvers, shotgum slugs, and muskets.

    3) There are vast amounts of military ammo out there which is surplused.  Nations keep warehouses of this stuff, and once its past its expiration date it gets sold.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:19:29 AM PST

    •  How about this as a list of ammo regulations? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MusicFarmer, annieli

      1) outlaw Internet sales of ammunition

      2) require an ID at time of purchase, and require that purchasers be over 21

      3) add a new ammunition tax that goes to public education and health care of shooting victims

      4) limit the ability of manufacturers to advertise their product

      5) restrict sales of bullets using hardened alloys and pistol bullets designed to fragment

      This is similar to how we treat cigarettes. That last would run afoul of those who hunt with pistols. I can live with that.

      •  I'm At Best Indifferent To Ammo Regulations (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        How stringent would ammo restrictions have to be to prevent a mass shooting?   Generally these incidents involve less than 100 shots.  What does it matter if they have 200 bullets at home or 10,000 except maybe they would have gotten in a bit less range time? So how stringent would restrictions have to be to have any effect?

        I have about 1,500 rounds of 40 year old military surplus 8 mm Mauser ammo, because I picked up  surplus Yugoslavian bolt action for practice shooting.  I probably paid 12 cents a round for this plinking ammo.   That surplus ammo is no longer available, and if I want more I'll have to pay 70 cents a round for new stuff.  I could probably sell the stuff I have for 20 cents a round.

        People do this because they enjoy it and, pragmatically speaking, what would it accomplish to prevent it?   What would the level of effort be, and how many otherwise friendly people would it alienate?

        If I might speak freely, I think there's some self righteous  and self indulgent indignation about someone else  having "too many" bullets.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:59:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't limit purchases (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Just make sure they're not going to a nimble-fingered third grader with his mom's credit card. And it might be nice to number shells going forward, more as an aid to law enforcement than anything else.

          Spitzer had a bit where he pushed for ammo sales "only to licensed gun owners." I'm wondering who he thinks those would be, and how he managed to have a legal career.

  •  made me smile. thanks. AND (4+ / 0-)

    reminds me why i asked to skweeze into RKBA.
    it feels good learning stuff from smart people.

    wow. hard to believe, innit.

    * Join: The Action: End the Bush Tax Cuts for Richest Two Percent * Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:21:39 AM PST

  •  Very informative diary. Personally, I think we (8+ / 0-)

    need to begin to take control of the language in order to shape the debate.

    "Assault weapons" are more defensible than "Childkillers."
    "Magazines" and "clips" more defensible than "deathpacks."

    That's not fair!  Eh, "partial-birth abortions," anyone?

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:23:11 AM PST

  •  What about liability insurance? (16+ / 0-)

    Isn't there also another way to approach the issue?  Not -- to be clear -- instead of the sorts of restrictions mentioned above, but in addition to them.  Does the option exist to require that anyone who owns a gun (or, if want, a legal semi-automatic weapon) to carry $xxx in liability insurance?  And to prohibit their leaving the gun shop (or gun show) where they purchased the weapon until they've demonstrated proof of insurance?  Or, maybe better yet, what about requiring anyone purchasing ammunition -- or whatever type -- to show a generic insurance card demonstrating that they've got a liability policy?  Such measures wouldn't stop gun ownership and wouldn't limit legitimate hunters/target shooters from acquiring guns/ammo, but it would limit impulse buys and stop a thief (i.e., someone who's stolen the weapon) from quickly and easily getting the bullets he needs to use it.  Just wondering.

    •  That is a side (9+ / 0-)

      I hadn't heard.  If guns are cars (because so many gun folks love to talk about how cars kill more people) let's treat them like cars.  You have to carry $500k in liability for each handgun and $2mil for each childkiller.  Just in case, you know, the gun does what it is supposed to do.

      Kill people.  You know.  

      I'm sure the rates will be very reasonable.  After all, the vast majority of gun owners are responsible.  And I'm sure the insurance companies will take a very long look at those buying the policies, because they would be on the hook for any payout.  (GEICO now covers your guns!  With our multi-weapon discounts and gunsafe discounts, insuring your arms is now a breeze.  Because even Gekos should be able to shoot back!)

      I'm a mushroom. Kept in the dark and know

      by The Voice from the Cave on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:41:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mandatory Jail Time (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How about laws that bite
    5 years (No Parole) for use of a gun in a crime
    10 years (No Parole) for the discharge of a gun during a crime
    15 years (No Parole) for the discharge of a gun causing injury during a crime
    20 years (No Parole) for the discharge of a gun causing multiple injuries during a crime
    No ifs, ands or buts
    If you use a gun that's it.  All other charges would be on top of these manditory sentences.
    This leaves open hunting and recreational range shooting.

    These laws would be no more than laws against speeding or traffic violaions.
    If you speed you'll pay the price
    If you use a gun wrongly you'll pay the price

    It's a start.  There are smarter people that can articulate this better, I'm just trying to start the conversation.

    Conservatives say if you don't give the rich more money, they will lose their incentive to invest. As for the poor, they tell us they've lost all incentive because we've given them too much money. -GC

    by cobaltbay on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:26:48 AM PST

    •  I don't know what that could do... (10+ / 0-) stop mass shootings like the one in Newtown, though.

      In most of those cases, like in Newtown and at Virginia Tech, the last bullet the killer has fired has been the one that took the killer's own life. I don't think the threat of 20 years' jail time is really going to deter someone with that mindset from going forward.

      Even if a mass killer were to survive, like the guy in Aurora did, they'd be looking at multiple life sentences anyway—so another 20 years isn't going to make a whole lot of difference on top of multiple concurrent life sentences.

      Keep in mind that I don't disagree with your premise at all, and I do agree that gun crimes should be punished more severely—it's just that I don't think that your premise can be justified by the Newtown massacre, where it's difficult to imagine that your proposed laws would've made any difference.

      "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist." --Dom Helder Camara, archbishop of Recife

      by JamesGG on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:34:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is a common misconception: (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Over the Edge, lyvwyr101, mkor7

        all of this is to stop a Newtown-like massacre.

        It is partly that.  But it is MOSTLY to stop gun violence.  Period.

        Some of us have been at this a lot longer than since last Friday.  Some of us have been trying to curb gun violence of every kind for many years.

        Project Exile, FACE and other programs worked.  Make the penalties harsher, get the word out, and follow through and gun violence is reduced.

        David Koch is Longshanks, and Occupy is the real Braveheart.

        by PsychoSavannah on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:52:59 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Because we'll have a better society (9+ / 0-)

      ...where fewer people are moved to kill others, by putting more people in jail.  God knows that people traumatized by the justice system are much kinder to others, what with the wonderful prospects they have on release.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:35:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not a fan of mandatory sentences, (12+ / 0-)

      I oppose them. Florida has some really screwy sentence mandates, such as the mandatory 20 year sentence given to Marissa Alexander, mother of three, for firing a warning shot in her own home when she felt threatened; no one was hurt. Two men are already serving 20 year sentences for separate but similar circumstances. Others have been charged and plea bargained, are now tainted with a felony conviction.

      That from a state with the infamous Stand Your Ground law.

      The sh*t those people [republicans] say just makes me weep for humanity! - Woody Harrelson

      by SoCalSal on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:54:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We have those laws already (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, NoMoJoe, mkor7, fuzzyguy, George Hier

      In the federal sentencing guidelines.  If you brandish a gun during the commission of a crime, that's seven years.

      Mandatory sentencing is bad policy.  So is forgetting how long a year really is.  You're suggesting 15 years in jail for a scared 17 year old kid that shoots a gun while robbing a gas station, which ricochets and scratches someone's shoulder, for example.

    •  This sort of thing didn't do much to deter (0+ / 0-)

      violence in Jamaica, if I recall correctly.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:15:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well said (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, MPociask, OIL GUY, BachFan

    Now me, I have a 20 gauge loaded with #9 shot. If it's good enough for Dick Whittington, it's good enough for me.

    I don't know what a handgun is for, except shooting people, myself. One can have fun sport target shooting and running about in a maze, etc., but I'm not sure that a handgun is necessary for that, and one could conceivably hunt with a handgun (and lose out on accuracy over even the cheapest rifle or .410), and they are actually useful if one is in a snake filled area, but that leaves the numbers and types pretty darned low.

    I know: self defense is sacred (which is why a 20 gauge with #9 shot), but more people would be better defended, and live, if folks were using wide scatter pellets than high velocity bullets.

    People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

    by The Geogre on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:27:07 AM PST

    •  I prefer dogs, but shotguns are much easier (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Over the Edge, The Geogre

      to hit somebody with than handguns and they look scary as hell.

      Big problem is that they are, well, big.
      Hard to just grab and go.

      Might be a feature, though.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:04:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The "chik-chik" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The other reason I think people would be better served with shotguns is that the pump action, as Hunter says, is "cinematic." It is also famous.

        Scenario 1: "I've got a gun, and I'm not afraid to use it!"
        Scenario 2: chik-chik

        I believe that the second scenario would cause an intruder to run, which should be the ideal solution. It's certainly what I'd prefer.

        People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

        by The Geogre on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:36:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wouldn't you be better with 4 shot for self (0+ / 0-)


      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:17:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't want to kill (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Solarian, Mark Sumner

        My feeling is that someone who gets a chest/face/groin full of #9 (I should have said "wide choke") at close range and keeps coming is someone I would rather run from.

        Essentially, I don't own anything that is worth the most worthless person's life, and that include my self. However, for protecting others in the house, I would want to deter. It's just that there, I believe three chambered shots of bird shot would incapacitate virtually anyone and not kill.

        If I don't have to kill, then I won't. I'd hate to find out that it was a drunk who thought he was coming home.

        People complain about dirt, but I'd like to see them make some.

        by The Geogre on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:33:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Great post (4+ / 0-)

    It gets at the heart of the matter regarding gun policy and regulation and the inherent difficulty of banning classes of weapons.  It helps to know what you are talking about before trying to implement legislation.

    However, even with this greater awareness and knowledge, implementation of laws specific enough to only target 'military-light' weapons would be a challenge.  As you note, semi-automatic is the norm today.  The capacity to shoot something several times accurately at 100 yards over the course of 10 seconds is what hunters/sportsmen want.

    Limiting the number of bullets available between reloads seems a prudent place to start, but after that, I do not envy the committee that must come up with a line between illegal "assault rifle" and legal "semi-automatic rifle".

    Just because they aren't built to look like an AR-15 or M4 doesn't mean they can't be utilized as such.  I'd fear that they would conclude as much, and try and push folks back to bolt action.

  •  Thanks for this information... (12+ / 0-)

    though I'm shaking my head because after reading it I'm further convinced that there isn't much we can do to prevent the next gun tragedy.

    And let me add another depressing story to the mix: My brother is the mayor of our small city. Once a month, residents can go to our town's City Hall to acquire gun permits instead of making the trek to the county seat, which is about a 45-minute trip.

    He told me that yesterday the line was out the door for folks to acquire permits.

    Yes, apparently the takeaway from Friday's senseless massacre for some folks is "let's get more guns on the streets."


    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:27:53 AM PST

  •  Anyone care to weigh in on body armor? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've heard it mentioned in a lot of these shootings but there may be some reason that it can't be banned or limited to law enforcement.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:30:39 AM PST

    •  regulating body armor could be a way of (4+ / 0-)

      indicating intent as in the case of Aurora, although it is available much more widely as newer variants and military surplus become available, and if one works in a convenience store, I wouldn't want to deny them some limited degree of protection

      yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

      by annieli on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:40:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good answer. That's what I hoped for. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, pengiep

        I never considered clerks and other high-risk jobs. Body guards and security I could see but that was about all.

        "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

        by sceptical observer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:49:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But this is similar to the way carry permits were (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fuzzyguy, sceptical observer, annieli

          awarded back before people became damn fools about them. One had to have a valid reason for the item and the sheriff or some other functionary would issue the permit if warranted. I'd not mind returning to those days.

          "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

          by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:20:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •   Sales Boom for Kids' Body Armor (3+ / 0-)

      Mother Joneshas an article on this. Kids body armor in the form of a backpack. Not sure how helpful that would be.

      How awful that we're a country where some parents feel they have to provide body armor for their kids - if they can afford it of course.

      •  this concept has been around a long time (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sceptical observer, pengiep

        there was in the 1980s a boutique in NYC that specialized in designer kevlar including kidswear and there are specialty clothing designers who do business suits primarily for those who favor bodyguards and armored limos

        yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

        by annieli on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:00:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Mark, do you know anything about how states (0+ / 0-)

    classify weapons as "assault?" I was hearing on some news show that NRA has had a hand in definitions.

    BagNewsNotes: Visual Politics, Media Image Analysis

    by ksh01 on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:32:27 AM PST

  •  Affordances, a concept by Don Norman. (7+ / 0-)

    OK, I have been thinking of this with regard to the issues of guns or any other weapon used in a crime.

    Don Norman is the author of many books about industrial design, in particular user interfaces and the way that visual or tactile elements are made more available to users in any kind of environment.

    For example, you don't go through a hedge if there is a break in the hedge available. If there is a bridge across a stream, you will go a few meters over to use the bridge instead of wading across the stream where you are.

    Likewise, a doorknob says to you, twist me, whereas a "European" door handle says to you, push me down. Also, a metal pad on a door or a crashbar says to you, push here to open the door.

    These are what Norman calls AFFORDANCES. See?

    Now with regard to violence, mental illness, eyes, hands and guns:

    Imagine a person wanting to exact revenge, back-payment or something on a LAPTOP that has malfunctioned for the last time! If there is a metal butter knife, a hammer/mallet, or a gun on the table next to the laptop, what would a person use to take revenge on the laptop? A silly person might insert a butter knife and get a shock. A mentally ill person might use the gun. I would use the hammer, if I had exhausted tech support and the machine had finally failed.

    Norman says, you use what is visually and both tactilely available to interact with an environment. You use the nearest, most obvious, easiest and most logically effective AFFORDANCE to effect your plan.

    Thus, in this psychology of tool-using, guns DO kill, because they are present. Hammers do also, but you have to exert more force. Butter knives can work, but you have to know where to plunge the object. Bottom line is if you have a gun as an AFFORDANCE, you could very well use it, when you have decided that the consequences are no longer meaningful to you (you are insane).


    Not to reflect badly on my friend, Don Norman, but this is the most important point about guns, their PRESENCE.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:33:33 AM PST

    •  Great comment, thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unclebucky, BachFan

      This reminds me too of the adage, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."  This is a key point regarding American's exceptional culture of violence made indirectly in films like "Bowling for Columbine."  It fits into a deeper argument about why we need to limit access to the deadliest weapons.

  •  Sensible (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, dinotrac, MPociask

    Though there is one more picture that might help -- a modern revolver and a speed loader.  There's a history of technology aspect to this, in that humans are awfully good at making stuff that kills, and a lot of gun technology has been very sophisticated and very stable for close to a century.   While giant magazines can be banned and guns that have a rambo-esque feel to them made harder to get, it is hard to imagine anything realistic which would make them less common.

    What we can do, I think, is make guns hella less cool.  A fat tax might help with that.  So would information which makes people who stroke their guns and cackle seem absurd.  Unfortunately, the current sacred frenzy makes guns all the more desirable to folks, as symbols of evil or freedom or what have you.  

    I think the NRA is basically right that people, not guns, kill other people -- with the equally important caveat that guns make the impulse to kill orders of magnitude more effective, and more damaging.  I fear the current discussion leaves out the human brain, and the way people stew and rot in isolation until some percentage of them act out with the most effective means to hand.  I have now heard 100s of screeds about guns or about mental health.  I have read only two articles that talk about what kind of society makes the person pointing a gun at another into a sacred symbol, a part of the language of our thoughts and dreams.  And I fear that by externalizing the matter, by putting it all on things and rules, we avoid looking at ourselves.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:33:36 AM PST

    •  That is one thing that I don't think people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, high uintas

      understand --

      Mark may be reserving semi-automatic for those weapons that use exhaust gas to expel the spent cartridge, but the salient point of a semi-automatic is that you get one shot each time you pull the trigger, and you don't have to do anything between pulls. Revolvers use a different mechanism, but deliver the same result.

      And -- compared to that .223, somebody with a couple of 8 chamber magnum .357 revolvers could do very serious damage.  

      8 rounds to relead instead of ??, but very deadly rounds.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:08:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The tax argument is a bad one. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A fat tax might help with that.
      What that does is ensure that only the wealthy get to exercise a right protected in the constitution. Most minorities aren't wealthy. Using costs as a means of furthering restriction will have classist and racist consequences. It will restrict fire arms only in that poor people and people of color will have less rights than wealthy, white, suburban communities. I have a problem with that idea.

      Everything else you said seems sensible, but please, please, please, think of the repercussions if the use of rights are determined by wealth, and thus by skin color. This is why we have a discussion after all :) So we can look at all of the consequences of proposed legislation and come up with laws that accomplish the aim of reducing violence without infringing upon progressive ideals and liberty.

      •  well (0+ / 0-)

        A 100 percent tax on a 200 dollar shotgun makes it a 400 dollar shotgun.  I think in either case its a one time purchase.   A good handgun (one that won't misfire) is between 600 and 1500 bucks now.  The low end moves up.

        But where I disagree is on the level of rights.  I've been perfectly comfortable living in places with draconian bans (NYC, NL) and while gun ownership may be a civil right under the constitution, I make a distinction between American constitutional rights and human rights (and you may strongly disagree).  I do think that you can't move from a gun-happy society with 300 million firearms to any sort of ban without mucking with things that are human rights -- a society so criminalized makes human dignity a hard proposition (as we're currently demonstrating, over and over).   More rules!  More laws!  It seems like that's our solution to everything, a preoccupation that will spare us no sorrows nor give us any understanding, at great price.  But a tax on them?  If it was housing, medical care, a car, political contributions, housing...I'd agree with you.  But we're arguing I think from different conceptions of rights.

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:40:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lots of great info here.. thanks! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't see how you could ever get legislation passed banning semi-auto handguns.. rifles? Yes.. possible.

    There needs to be additional legislation tracking owners, however.  Given the one common factor in most of these mass shootings is mental illness, there has to be a way to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.  That has all sorts of implications into privacy of doctor/patient relationships, etc.  But we will never stop Sandy Hook type mass killings until we can keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally impaired.

  •  One point came across for me (0+ / 0-)

    I already knew the difference between automatic and semi-automatic.   But reading the phrase "a semi-automatic  weapon fires once for each pull of the trigger"  made me unexpectedly nauseous--it brought up a visual of the Newtown gunman deliberately pulling the trigger how many times...

    But I didn't know that semi-automatics seem to have become the standard for buying a weapon.  That's the part I can't understand--I understand the convenience of automatic reloading but why would a civilian need such rapid firing?  

    So, a question:  Why not design semi-automatics to slow down their rate of firing?  

  •  We need to outlaw the following characteristics (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for assault rifles, carbines and shotguns...

    1.    Adjustable stock
    2.    Removable magazine
    3.    Load capacity of over 5 rounds
    4.    Pistol grip handle
    5.    Unacceptable Minimum barrel length

    Note that these are for the civilian assault knockoffs of the M16 (AR-15), its carbine the M4 (IXM-15) and the various forms of hybrids as the Bushmaster ACR pictured above.

    In a convoluted sort of way, this may actually be of benefit to hunting and sportsman enthusiasts as weapons may be designed and developed that may actually be of benefit to large game, small game and bird hunting.  Also that of target and skeet shooting.

    The jungle and close quarters, urban warfare weapons now being made are of benefit only for destroying mass human targets.

    •  Why? (9+ / 0-)

      1. You want people to be more uncomfortable when they shoot? What do you think an adjustable stock does?
      2. Ok, I can see why but I think you'd have major issues enforcing this.
      3. See 2.
      4. Why?
      5. There are already limits on this. 16.5" for rifle, 18 (or 18.5", can't remember) for shotgun.

      Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

      by KVoimakas on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:41:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of the following (0+ / 0-)

        The adjustable stock is used on the M4 and knockoff for close quarter fighting.  Would it be so much to ask an enthusiast to secure a weapon that fit them properly?

        Quick changing magazines are the hallmark of rapid and indiscriminate firing.  Why would it be hard enforcing this?  Manufacturers would have to retool for internal gun capacity and make it impossible for the weapon to accept removable magazines without major machining.

        Again, the pistol grip is a major feature of weapons used for quick and indiscriminate burst firing and is used to control the upward movement of the barrel.  Why would this be needed in a hunting rifle?

        The length of barrel restriction is one of potential concealment


        •  The adjustable stock is used (5+ / 0-)

          for many reasons, not just CQB. One of the very few things that I liked about the AR was that I could adjust it to the shooter when I brought people out shooting.

          Magazines: there are millions and millions and millions and millions of magazines for millions of firearms. This is what I'm talking about. Not new production, but all the old stuff out there. My 1911 is 100 years old and it has magazines that can be changed out quickly.

          Pistol grip is useful for ergonomics and comfort. I'd also like to point out that it's not the pistol grip that keeps the muzzle from rising (that's what the foregrip is for). Also, have you seen the thumbhole stocks that look like someone took a pistol grip and ran a single strip of material from the bottom of the pistol grip to the stock. No more pistol grip.

          Like I said, there are already limits on barrel length.

          Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

          by KVoimakas on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:17:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  pistol grips (0+ / 0-)

        when rapid-firing a semi-auto rifle, it's easier to control a rifle with a pistol grip than it is with a more classic butt grip.

        That's an "in general" statement.  Someone experienced with a standard butt stock grip will have less or no problems.  But the average person will have a harder time hitting what they're aiming at, when rapid-firing.

        What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

        by gila on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:28:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fuzzyguy, George Hier

      1. That makes absolutely no difference
      2-3. These would probably help with mass shootings, but given that there are a ton of removable magazines out there already that are grandfathered in, good luck.
      4. This makes absolutely no difference
      5. There have been laws about shotgun length since the 30s. Ditto for rifles.

  •  Regulate gunpowder? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why not make gunpowder a controlled substance? That way it would still be available in a minimum quantity to hunters and sportsmen but only in large quantities to law enforcement and gun ranges. Distribution methods would need to be changed to provide accountability and record keeping. I would hope  that the ATF already has the authority to track large quantities of gun powder; so a new law wouldn't be necessary, just a revision of an existing one.

    Anyone having more that the minimum allowed quantity in there possession would be subject to arrest and have there stock seized.

    Ammunition would need to be sold as a controlled substance; the larger powder charge in a round, the fewer of those rounds one would be able to possess. Rounds would need to be marked with their powder content so law enforcement could determine whether a person has more than the minimum allowed quantity.

    •  Isn't it fairly easy to make your own though? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Marko the Werelynx, George Hier

      Maybe not anything you would want to use in your own guns, but still, the components are dirt cheap.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:08:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Gunpowder has been passe (0+ / 0-)

        since roughly the Grant administration, except as a historical curiosity (Yes I do realize our army went into the Spanish-American war with totally obsolete rifles.)

        We can have change for the better.

        by phillies on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:24:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Black Gunpowder, Not Smokeless (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Sumner, semiot, Pale Jenova

        An individual might be able to make up something which would approximate black gunpowder, but even a high level of art exists there.  Black gunpowder's success depends greatly on the grain size to which the constituent elements are ground and mixed.  Too coarse and nothing happens, too fine and it just sizzles.  An individual would have considerable difficulty making the smokeless gunpowder used in modern munitions.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:36:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Darn stuff is hard to make (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan, annieli

          Even for a teenage miscreant like myself (myself, long, long ago) who had figured out the manufacture of thermite and iodine nitrate, plain old black powder was maddening inconsistent.

          •  Not to mention inherently pretty dangerous. (0+ / 0-)

            "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

            by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:25:16 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In my youth... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Azazello, annieli

              I once burned off my eyebrows and knocked a chunk out of my ear (lesson: don't make the ramrod of your homemade cannon out of steel) and once blew a fist-sized hole through the wall of my parent's garage (lesson: no, a couple of rugs and an old chair will not allow you to test fire a black powder pistol in the garage).

          •  Well, I'm not going to Google it (0+ / 0-)

            I'd have Big Brother down on me faster I could yell "Terrist!"

            And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

            by Pale Jenova on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:16:48 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Great. I think you do need to know all of this (4+ / 0-)

    technical stuff to engage in a debate on the subject.

  •  Thanks, Mark, for the information. (3+ / 0-)

    I knew quite a bit of it already and learned a few new things.
    It's always good, when taking part in a debate, to have enough info to know what you're talking about.

    I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it. - Paul Krugman

    by Gentle Giant on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:45:48 AM PST

  •  Very informative. Minor dissagreement here. (9+ / 0-)

    You say..

    Eliminating or restricting all semi-automatic weapons may seem like the most obvious choice, but it would also be extremely unpopular with hunters, with target shooters, and with gun owners in general. These days, semi-automatic isn't just the first thought of anyone going in to buy a rifle or shotgun, it's almost the only thought.
    In my experience that's not necessarily true.  Bolt action rifles tend to be more accurate because they're simpler and the added complexity of the semi-auto energy capture interferes with the fine-scale physical repeatability that long-range shooters try to master.  Bolt actions are probably still the most commonly used and sold big game guns.

    High end shot-gunners probably do opt for semi-autos but pump actions are still common and useful and may be more reliable.  Also, there's a class of hunters that takes pride in hunting with fine break-action shotguns (only 2 shells in the gun at a time).

    I only bring this up because I am not ready to concede to the argument the that hunters somehow NEED semi-automatic weapons.  

  •  In my opinion, the most important consideration is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How many people can be jailed for not turning in the new contraband? Taking stuff (newly outlawed guns and magazines) away from currently legal owners will require a substantial increase in jail cells. How many more prison cells can we build and keep occupied? Asking people to turn in contraband will be as successful as asking/begging them to contribute higher taxes or "Just Say No". The resident population will have to be threatened with lengthy jail sentences to get results.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:52:46 AM PST

  •  Mark I hope you will update for any important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ConfusedSkyes, high uintas

    corrections and if so.

    I think this part.

    they are also the most popular type of rifles used for hunting.
    is actually not correct. Bolt guns are by far the most common. More accurate, easier to clean, stronger action, cheaper. I don't know the statistics but I'd guess it would be overwhelming. I've seen hunters at the range with semi autos they were going to take hunting but I can't remember one in the field. Rarely a lever gun, almost all bolts.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 06:53:36 AM PST

    •  should have given full quote for context (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Sumner, high uintas
      Semi-automatic weapons are extremely common. Yes, these weapons have been used in many mass shootings, but they are also the most popular type of rifles used for hunting.
      Eighth paragraph I think.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:53:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  See if the revisions look reasonable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock, high uintas
        •  Thank you though I feel funny getting technical on (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mark Sumner, high uintas

          you in the first place. The most important parts you covered in detail. Semi versus full, speed of bullets, etc.

          I'd want to check the stats as to what type of long gun sells the most. I'd think bolts first by a huge margin and pump shotgun second.

          I talked to the owner of a store that sells "assault" type guns exclusively and what he told me was that the profit margin on your typical zombie killer is huge, the competition on hunting rifles and low cost of high quality hunting rifles makes them much lower profit margin. He was selling black guns like hot cakes. Of course when I go in the big box stores they sell mostly hunting type scoped rifles.

          How big is your personal carbon footprint?

          by ban nock on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:43:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Semi-auto shotguns (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, Wordsinthewind, high uintas

    or "autoloaders" as I usually hear them referred to, are popular as I understand it because of the reduced kick compared to other kinds of action.  That kick is not only punishing, but over time it can lead to flinching which makes the shooter miss.

    I've never fired one as I have only breaking guns (action where the gun is hinged and the action is opened up to remove/insert cartridges), but my understanding is that they normally do not fire very many rounds.  When used for waterfowl hunting, they have to be modified to hold a maximum of three cartridges without disassembling the gun.  That is a change owners can make (or undo), however.

    The reason I am posting this when I'm not better informed is to make the point that the shotguns so beloved of waterfowl and bird hunters are quite different from other guns grouped as "semiautomatic."

    •  Breaking guns... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      political mutt, high uintas, BachFan

      Always make me think they should come with a tweed cap and a water spaniel. Like old revolvers, there's a certain romance to the things.

      My shotguns are all pump, and are "plugged" to limit them to three shells. That semi-autos are now the norm came from talking with a friend who is much more gun-informed and from a call to a local dealer/range. I looked for, but could not find, a national sales breakdown.

      By the way, my only duck-hunting experience involved a dark and sleety morning, a cold wet blind, wind, more cold, and few signs of a duck. Like deer hunting, I took it off the list of Things to Try Again.

      •  It's cold--that's my problem with it (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pengiep, sweatyb, high uintas, BachFan

        I'm fine when I'm moving around, but you have to sit still waiting for ducks, and I've found no way to keep the cold from getting to me.  I do it for the dogs.

        We have breaking guns because it's my husband's preference and he got me into this--but I really like their safety, simplicity, and reliability.  A safety can fail; other actions can make it easy to overlook a cartridge, but if your breaking gun is open there's no way it can go off by accident.

  •  Overall, this is really good (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, MPociask, George Hier

    I've got a few minor quibbles here and there, but nothing serious. In particular, I don't think that semi automatic has become the standard for hunting or shotguns (although I shoot trap with a semi auto shotgun myself). I don't have sales figures handy, but IIRC, the two most popular shotguns are both pumps (Mossberg 500, Rem 870), although more waterfowl shooters are switching to semi autos largely because they have less recoil.

    For hunting rifles, It would depend on the what you are hunting. For deer, semi autos still seem pretty unusual (bolt action is most common). For "Varmints," otoh, semi autos may well dominate.

  •  CT has assault weapons ban but Lanza's gun didn't (5+ / 0-)

    meet the criteria. I think it shows how difficult this may be since manufacturers make little changes so that the weapon doesn't fall under the ban.

    From the Hartford Courant:

    In State With 'Assault Weapons' Ban, Lanza's Rifle Still Legal

    Connecticut has an assault-weapons ban, modeled after a federal law that was enacted in 1994 before expiring a decade later. But it takes more than a dark fiberglass body and a menacing shape to fall under the ban.

    The Connecticut law restricts semi-automatic rifles — those capable of firing a bullet with each pull of the trigger — only if they include a detachable magazine as well as at least two of five specific features. One of those features — a pistol grip — is ubiquitous on military-style weapons. But to be banned, an AR-15-style rifle would also need to include a folding or telescoping stock, a bayonet mount, a grenade launcher or a flash suppressor, a device typically screwed on to the end of the muzzle to limit the bright flash caused by gunpowder that ignites outside of the muzzle.

    Aware of the restrictions in some states, weapons manufacturers have modified some models to stay within the laws. Bushmaster, for example, offers a "state-compliant" model with a telescoping stock that simply has been pinned in the fully open position, making it legal for sale.

    Connecticut tried to ban high capacity clips in 2011 and limit the capacity to 10 bullets. The gun lobby was able to defeat the bill. Hopefully there would be a different outcome this time.
    •  interesting article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I didn't know this.

      I saw the EXACT same language in Diane Feinstein's 2007 AWB bill (looked it up the other day).

      I'm interested to see the language in the current bill she is going to propose during the next session of congress.

      Obama saw this a**hole coming a mile away.

      by MusicFarmer on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:25:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think (5+ / 0-)

    Any effort to ban all semi automatics is doomed to failure.

    I think the AWB might have helped a LITTLE.

    Restricting ammo or ammo sales really will never pass because I and many like me buy in bulk to save money.

    I think probably the best approach, and the one that would pass legal muster would be to either ban or severely restrict the sale of large capacity magazines.

    One of the reasons I think that the AWB as previously passed was less than effective was that while it banned PRODUCTION of extended clips, it did not ban sale, so basically all thru the AWB period clips were more expensive but not unavailable.

    Also it's a good point about handguns.  When I was a kid the largest capacity handgun that I can remember was the Browning Hi Power which held like 12 or 13 rounds.

    The High Power was named so because it held a lot of rounds.

    I have several semi auto pistols, mostly military but all collectors items and most only hold 8. I have 1 holds 12, but 12 and above is the norm these days.

    I really think a good place to start as far as things that actually would prevent something like this is to ban further production and SALE of  magazines that hold over 10 rounds.

    OR the gov't could require that any high capacity magazines  sold have a serial number and a person has to go thru psych testing and have a special permit and say, pay $500 for the permit and $100 tax on each magazine. That way basically they would still be available, like true machine guns are, but the cost and red tape would discourage people who would buy them on a whim. Since sale would be illegal exsisting magazines would possibly change hands illegaly from individual to individual, but with public sale banned the flow of them would be slowed.

    Also I think the gov't should 100% subsidize the sale and delivery of gun safes, since several of the recent shootings have involved guns being taken and used, and a lot of the guns criminals use are stolen.

    Closing the gun show loophole should also considered, but a system of background checks at gun shows that would not be tough for private sellers should be introduced.

    Another thing is on the instant check. It needs to be tweaked.

    I'm not sure that anybody with a mental diagnosis should be prevented from owning a gun, but I do like the idea of them being initially screened out till their psychologist or treating source says they are safe.

    Another thing is anybody who gets Social Security Disability or SSI and it declared totally disabled for mental reasons I believe should not be allowed to own a gun.  This is just common sense.

    Those are the things I see that would  do the greatest good right off.

    As far as banning actual military knock off rifles it would help some. But I don't think as much as what I've said above.

    I dont' own any of those guns. Never wanted to. I mean to a collector military guns are cool, but an AR15 is not a military gun, a sem auto AK is not either. Not a collectors piece.

    But I think the image of these rifles and what they were originally intended for is really more dangerous than the guns themselves to people prone to mass shootings.

    If we DIDN'T ban them is would be good in my way of thinking if they were banned from public display. Like cigarettes. You have to order one at your gun store.

    I've said this before, but when I used to go to a gunstore as a kid, the only semi auto military rifles were semi auto military rifles. Now I go to my gunstore and they are the majority of guns there. I think getting them out of public view where people buy them on a whim and then there's one more in the stream is a good ideal.
    Banning them may run afoul of Heller IMO, but certainly restricting public display and trying to reduce impulse purchase of them is a good idea.

  •  Bullet Control (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, mkor7

    As Chris Rock used to joke this is what we need and reading this piece I think he was right.  That's not to say I don't support an Assault Weapons ban b/c I do.

    However, if you limit the damage of the bullets and the number that come out of a cartridge to 5-10 you could have a major impact on the ability of these gunmen to commit these horrible crimes.  More frequent reloading gives people a chance to intervene and/or escape.  

    The Gabby Giffords shooter was tackled as he tried to reload his gun.  Both the Sandy Hook Elementary principal and school psychologist were killed as they tried to tackle the shooter.  If he had 5-10 bullets in the magazine instead of 30+ chances are one of them would have succeeded.

    From a pure political standpoint, limiting the types of bullets and cartridge size may also be the easiest argument to make.  It's hard to argue that maximum damage bullets or large magazines are designed for hunting or shooting ranges.  And is it really that big an inconvenience to ask someone hunting or at shooting range to reload a little more often if it makes everyone else a little safer.

  •  One of the problems many gun control... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, pengiep, BachFan, ebohlman

    ...supporters have is they don't know a lot about GUNS. Except for what's depicted in movies, which is often wildly exaggerated, they haven't any experience with them.
    And the other side loves it.
    They'll latch onto the slightest error in terminology or technical knowledge and expand it into a dismissal of the entire argument.
    This "primer" is worth a read.

  •  Let's not get too excited about 'semi-automatic' (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pengiep, MusicFarmer

    weapons, a label that TV anchors use in hushed tones when reporting on a crime.  The truth is, this type of action has been around since the late 1800's and constitutes a huge percentage of hunting weapons.  If we banned all semi-automatic firearms, most of the farm boys in American would be without a rifle to squirrel or rabbit hunt.

  •  Great primer. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, exterris

    There is a lot of confusion out there, for plenty of reasons, some of them historical.

    When I was a kid, the term "automatic" when applied to shotguns, would be what we call "semi-automatic" now. But when applied to rifles and handguns, "automatic" had the same meaning as it does now, but we'd usually say "fully automatic"

    "Auto-loader" means the same thing as "semi-automatic" does in shotguns, but has an entirely different meaning if you are talking crew-served weapons (e.g., howitzers, tanks' guns, etc.)

    In shotguns gauge is the number of lead spheres (i.e., balls) the diameter of the barrel that weigh a pound, so that a 10-Gauge has big balls, and a 20-gauge has little balls, an Dick Cheney's 28-Gauge has the littlest balls of all, except for the .410 shotgun, which is a caliber rather than a gauge, and would be about a 69-gauge, except that historically, it was referred to as a 36-gauge.

    If a 12-Gauge were a caliber, it'd be a .729 cal.

    "There is just one way to save yourself, and that's to get together and work and fight for everybody." ---Woody Guthrie (quoted by Jim Hightower in The Progressive Populist April 1, 2012, p3)

    by CitizenJoe on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:19:20 AM PST

  •  Comment (5+ / 0-)

    The summary of basic background info on firearms is useful, especially since the MSM usually gets this wrong.

    Here is the regulatory challenge.  A lot of this hardware really is dual-use.  Not AK47s or high capacity police sidearms, not cop-killer (armor piercing) bullets.  But my uncle owned a .223 deer rifle (he was into his deer hunting enough that he had several different kinds of rifles for different terrain and conditions).  The .223 was apparently for shooting through underbrush; it had the same itty bitty bullet as in your picture but optimized somehow that tree branches, leaves, and stuff like that wouldn't bother it but it would take down the deer rather unambiguously.

    I would personally be content to ban everything but firearms clearly optimized for hunting or target shooting use, which eliminates all semiautomatic weapons and most handguns in general.  But there is no consensus for that in the United States -- should I really be telling someone who just got a restraining order against her violent ex and who lives 50 miles from the nearest police station that they can't have a police 9mm for self defense?

    What I don't get is the refusal to enact strict licensing and registration rules for all firearms.  (Right to keep and bear arms?  Maybe.  But these same people never complain about having to register their cars.)  Graduate the licensing, e.g. a license for non-semiautomatic rifles and shotguns is less stringent than for an AR-15.  And treat non-registration seriously, and require that all firearms produced or imported have a manufacturer's certificate of origin.  If you buy a gun new, you have to file that certificate with your registration and get a title certificate; if you sell the gun you have to file a transfer of ownership statement that clearly identifies the buyer.

  •  Thank you for an excellent and clear article (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jrooth, exterris, BachFan

    It was really well done.

    We can have change for the better.

    by phillies on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:25:58 AM PST

  •  How about a federal buy-back program (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    for the banned items?

    “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

    by jrooth on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:26:14 AM PST

  •  This is a well thought out article. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I've owned guns for hunting and very infrequent target shooting.  I've never felt the need to own any military style weapons.  In fact I prefer the retro look of weapons that might have been used by sportsmen in the 1950s or before.

  •  For better or worse, semi-automatic weapons (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, semiot, BachFan

    are not going away. The one thing that makes sense to me is to limit the number of rounds that can be fired without reloading, defining reloading as inserting one cartridge at a time into the magazine.

    A shooter, equipped with a number of detachable magazines, is limited only by the number of magazines he can carry. (Note that I didn't say "he or she".) If I understand them correctly, a detachable magazine can, with practice, be changed in something less than 5 seconds.

    I would start with a law against detachable magazines and weapons that can accept them. Would this pose an enforcement problem? You bet. Every law poses enforcement problems. When we outlawed armed robbery we took on a big enforcement problem, and we didn't prevent all armed robberies. Still, nobody seriously advocates repealing laws against armed robbery.

    Next, we should limit the number of cartridges that a fixed magazine can accommodate. I would lean toward a small number such as four, or perhaps more in a bona fide hunting environment. For target shooting that requires larger capacity magazines, we could require that those weapons be kept under lock and key by the target range.

    The aim should be to severely limit the number of rounds that some lunatic can fire without reloading. A handgun that fires just four bullets before reloading is not as great a public danger as one capable of firing 20 or more.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:33:24 AM PST

  •  I appreciate your statement............... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    that "smaller does not mean less deadly" as I understand the current preferred handgun for gangland assassins is a silenced 22 cal. automatic.

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:35:49 AM PST

  •  semi-automatic "bump" shooting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    AR15 semi-automatic assault rifles can be modified to fire at near fully automatic rates by adding a (legal) "bump-shoot" stock. Look on youtube to see what I'm talking about.

  •  Need a clear cut line... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, Catte Nappe

    We can't piecemeal this legislation. We need to make a clear cut line on the types of hardware that can be out in the hands of the public. If it requires a nationwide buyback program then so be it. We need to reclassify semi-automatic rifles right along with fully automatic rifles. This will piss off about 300,000 staunch NRA nutjobs, but when you compare them to the millions of Americans out there that are fed up with their gun hobby I would say it's not as hard a sale as you may think.

    Gun Owners by and large agree with what you are recommending. I don't know many people that would be upset if these assault weapons just vanished from the market overnight. They are not something most hunters would even go for except to play with at a range if they had a chance.

    Banning semi-automatic rifles that can be easy handled for killing purposes need to be banned or heavily regulated. Period.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:44:21 AM PST

  •  BumpFire is the issue that needs to be addressed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, Azazello

    Google it and you will find people who are not experts but able to convert a semi-into an automatic.  This is especially relevant when taking about the AR-15.  Anyone who tells you a converted bump fire is not the same is not being honest.  In the past, homemade bump fire conversions were sloppy and led to a decrease in accuracy.  Of course accuracy is not relevant for the shooter who is just trying to randomly kill.  However, to make the situation worst, corporations are manufacturing bump fire conversions that maintain accuracy.  Basically, people now have auto's.  Although it is technically not an auto-it functions like an auto.  You can look at youtube videos and judge for yourself.  Everyone should look at the videos.  Although the bumpfire does not peel off as many rounds per second as an auto, the difference between the two weapons is not perceivable-meaning that the eye can not detect a difference and one would need high speed footage to capture it.  When you are able to peeling off 100 rounds in 60 seconds with a semi-bumpfire conversion, it really does not matter that a full auto peels of 110 to 120 in the same time duration.  The problem is that fact that you can peel off so many in such as short period of time.  When people try to tell you the conversion is not a loophole the are full of shit.  Just watch any video and it will be obvious to you that when we see our first mass shooting with a person using bumpfire conversions the mass shootings we have seen thus far will be small.  Additionally, if they have even marginal skill it will be a real horror show.  One could easy pack 3 100 round clips in a backpack and kill over 100 people in a public place before the police responded.  Additionally, the police would be at a major disadvantage once they arrived.  The conversion to bump fire is ideal for a person who wants to kill many people and does not need skill.  You can get a mag that holds up to 100 rounds and peel of the clip in under 60 seconds.  This combination (semi-bumpfires) needs to be highly illegal and people in possession need to be incarcerated.  You might have the right to own a gun, but you do not have the right to own a gun with any type of capability that you want just as I can not own a car or other object with any type of capability I want.  The gun control issue needs to be framed in terms of how powerful and what types of capabilities are legal for the average individual to own.  It also needs to be framed in terms of punishments for those who do not secure them adequately or are in possession of illegal conversions.  Put them in jail, they are worthless human beings.  They are dangerous because they are willing to put the rest of us at risk for their hobby.  I have never understood why others would be willing to purchase or have objects that, if in the wrong hands, are really really dangerous.  I do not know how they sleep at night knowing that they are selfish POS's.  We need to shame them into compliance for being so selfish as to demand the possession of weapons that are designed for war.  All so they can make youtube videos where they celebrate their Rambo hobby.  Great, you have a sense of powerlessness that you compensate for with a machine gun and you are stupid enough to make a video that makes that obvious.   You can't own a White phosphorus 50 cal. either, because....ya know, the round enters a structure and immediately increases the temperature to like 500 degrees or some crazy shit like that.  People who make decisions such as these are what jail was original designed for-you can not play nice-we need to separate you.   When they act shocked that we want them to turn the conversions in, we must attach them on moral grounds.  How dare you request to keep sometime that serves no defense or hunting purpose at the expense of the rest of us because you want to have fun playing rambo.  We need to call them out and identify it for what it is, entertainment.  These conversions are not self defense conversions or hunting conversions.  They are conversions that simulate the capabilities necessary for military tactical advantage when taking positions against a multitude of enemies.  They were designed for creating tactical advantage in war.  They have no place in society.  

    •  I think you've fetishized "bump firing" here. I (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      actually had not heard of this technique until today. But I studied it a bit and and the consensus is that  it seriously degrades accuracy rendering it ineffective. Most of the time it's used just to get a feel for what firing an automatic weapon might be like. But it is wasteful and inaccurate. And your statement about putting the cops at a disadvantage rings more than a bit false. The cops will come in force and quite well armed. Remember the LA bank bandit attack in which the cops were outgunned? That was not because of bump shooting, but because the perps were using fully automatic AK's and wore heavy duty body armor. But the end result was the same. The cops took those guys down. My niece was one of the LAPD involved in that incident. You can see video that shows her with her shotgun over the hood of her squad car. She said it was very scary and definitely NOT fun, but that she had no doubt that LAPD would win.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:07:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I already addressed that issue (0+ / 0-)

        The factory bumpfires do not decrease accuracy.  You have not looked into the issue.  There are many videos on youtube of people demonstrating the accuracy of factory bumpfires.  But, accuracy is not relevant considering mass killers spray heavily populated areas.  Fetishizing is an interesting term to use considering I am critical of these devices and usually that word refers to people who are excited about something.  Bumpfire is an auto.  There are videos of people with autos and bumpfires demonstrating this very point as well as addressing accuracy.  Look at the videos and stop reading blogs that are trying to justify their use.  As far as the idea that your niece was involved in a shot out and you have not heard of bumpfires until today, Im calling bullshit on that.  Besides, your missing the point.  The cops might eventually take down the perp, but in the process a lot of people would die.  By the way,  why would someone need to "get a feel for what an auto" is like to fire.   This is exactly the type of weak arguments gun nuts have been making for years.  So, we should not close a dangerous gun loophole so that gun owners can get a feel for how to fire a gun they are no longer allowed to purchase.  Really?... you guys are going to lose this time.  Your 30 year experiment playing GI Jane and Joe is over.  Sorry, your fun is not worth our pain.  

  •  Ban manufacture/import first, then sale (0+ / 0-)

    And finally, restrict possession to registered gun clubs only. All with reasonable time periods to allow for manufacturers to retool, and users to join the clubs and park their semi-automatic weapons.

    Consumption is not the answer.

    by Lexpression on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:54:26 AM PST

  •  A Few words (0+ / 0-)

    Instead of BAN, ALLOW...

    These are the guns you can buy or own, not on the list, so sorry.

    These are the bullets/shells/cartridges you can buy, not on the list, so sorry.

    These are the clips/magazines you can buy, not on the list so sorry.

    Also limit on the amount personal ammunition you can have in you possession. I don't know what this number would be, but it seems that most hunters wouldn't need the ammo stock that we've seen recent shooters possess. This can be limited by bar-coding shell casings or what not. In order to have more ammo, you must return your old shell casings. If you want to lay down 500 rounds at a gun range, you need to buy and use those rounds at that facility. In the end, what would it be, 50 or so rounds you can keep on your person? Whatever the number, pick a number and go with it.

    Close the gun show loop hole; you buy a gun at a gun show, and they do their check, and mail it to the nearest licensed gun shop of your choice after the check is complete.  

  •  It's the function, not the form! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner, BachFan

    Banning a firearm because it "looks evil" is silly: you get all of the paranoids upset while not discommoding the psychopaths.  If someone wants to pretend he's Rambo or what not by having a military lookalike, fine.  Let's just make it truly harder for him become one of the not-to-be-named swine that creates another massacre: the victims don't care whether the weapon of their destruction was an AR-15, an AK-47, a Glock or some new unbanned but equally effective model.  Going with an "assault rifle" ban is to be sucked into a swamp and we've been-there-done-that: let's not get fooled again.  

    First try outlawing the possession of  high-capacity detachable magazines and firearms with high capacity internal magazines (some 30 short "pistols" holding 30 rounds of .223 were created after the previous ban).  If that's not enough we'll have to turn the screws a little tighter but lets make a real rather than cosmetic first step this time around.  Maybe we'll end up having to ban semi-automatic weapons.  For hunting firearms that wouldn't be a problem, contrary to the author's assertion (except politically).  Long before the popularization of semi-automatic guns, people using lever-guns, pump-actions  and bolt-actions managed to nearly wipe out the wild game populations on this continent.  Hand guns might be a bit harder since semi-automatic firearms are the norm these days.  However, until the past few decades even the police didn't carry automatics because of their unreliability; going back to revolvers wouldn't leave the population effectively disarmed.  

    If banning semi-automatics turns out to be the only solution, then I'll willing sell mine back to the government.  That would be a sad day, but not nearly as desolate as the days following the increasingly frequent massacres—this week I have to keep shutting the radio news off and my son has taken to sleeping with the light on.

    My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
    Give 'em hell, Barry—Me

    by KingBolete on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:57:12 AM PST

  •  Why? (0+ / 0-)
    Legislation aimed at all semi-automatic weapons would be difficult to pass, no matter how strong the political tailwind.
    Is there a link to polling data? What do the polls and trends look like?
  •  Tax Ammunition (0+ / 0-)

    It's as simple as that. We put ever-increasing taxes on cigarettes, why not on bullets? And, for the same reason:  to discourage their consumption. We could tax some kinds of ammunition but not others; adjust tax rates so nobody could afford to shoot assault rifles; tax things like reloading equipment...

    Not to mention, in these hard times, it would be a revenue source.

    Just sayin'.

    •  Because many people use their firearms to feed (0+ / 0-)

      themselves and their families.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:09:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  that would only affect sport shooters (0+ / 0-)

      who use a large volume of ammo.

      It wouldn't have any effect upon someone intent on crimes, or a one-time event like a school-shooting.

      The key to getting gun control passed in this country will hinge on allowing sport shooters to continue with their sport (unfettered in how many rounds they can shoot).  But getting to them on them the need to exercise restraint in what arms are available outside of the military, for the greater good of our communities.

      What's wrong under Republicans is still wrong under Democrats.

      by gila on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:44:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  EXCELLENT discussion (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, BachFan

    In my dreams, all the "commentators" and "news anchors" would be required to undergo a couple of days of firearms training so they have a clue as to what they are talking about.

    Thank you for this diary . . . and I agree with your conclusion that the place to start is with limiting magazine capacity.

    I own several firearms, both pistols and long guns.  My hunting rifles have 4-round magazines.  Hunters understand if you don't hit a deer with the first shot, he's not going to stand around waiting for you to get off 29 more rounds.

    I did modify my pump shotgun with an extended magazine so it holds 7 rounds -- one in the chamber, 6 in the mag -- that's because ducks and geese tend to just keep on flying even when you're banging away at them.

    As for the 13-round mag in my .45 semi-auto pistol -- I've never fired more than 3 rounds at a time -- at a rabid raccoon  and a rabid fox.

  •  Read the book "Glock" (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner, kutting, pengiep, BachFan, jop

    I picked that book out of the new book section at the library just out of curiosity. I am not a gun owner at all. But the book was quite interesting. A lot of it is about the inventor, Glock, and the gun but there is also a few chapters on gun regulation.

    One of the Glock VPs worked to start a manufacturers group that would have been in contrast to the NRA. It would have supported regulation, for example. It didn't survive but indicates that manufacturers, and a number participated, saw they needed to act responsibly.

    More important are the chapters on how Glock used the assault weapon and extended magazine bans to their advantage. The grandfathering laws allowed Glock to take back weapons owned by police and give new weapons to the police. Glock then sold the taken back weapons and magazines since they were grandfathered. Similar actions were taken with assault weapons. The end result was more magazines and weapons on the street than without the legislation.

    A lot of the previous assault weapon ban was on cosmetic features of the weapons. The manufactures took the same basic design, stripped the cosmetics off, and the weapon was legally fine.

    Any legislation needs to consider these secondary affects. That is why gun-control advocates need to really understand the material in this article, and more, to be effective.

  •  Old-timers used to say that driving was much safer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RandomNonviolence, BachFan

    back before the automatic transmission was invented... because the only people operating operating vehicles were physically coordinated and attentive to the task.

    I'm not sure we can make a wholesale return to bolt action rifles. I can even imagine lawsuits based on the Americans with Disabilities Act in that regard.

    Perhaps there's a way to construct a trigger mechanism so that you have to pull twice to fire a second shot, three times for the third, and so on.

    What I'd prefer to see is an entirely new class of "self-defense" handguns produced for the general public: Single-shot, single-use, non-reloadable weapons.... (OK, maybe two shots). That's all you need to deter a rapist, burglar, carjacker, abusive spouse or what-have-you.

    I'd be even be comfortable with concealed-carry of such weapons by adults - But I'd want the guns to be fitted with a loud "beeper" (like the backup warning on trucks) that sounds when you flip the safety off.

    Reloadable handguns would have to be kept in the vault down at shooting range, like they are in England. Reloadable hunting rifles would be licensed with mandatory renewals.

    I know that people who suffer from gun addiction feel that they must have enough firepower to prevail in any shootout with any adversary. But crime prevention is much more about deterrence than lethality.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 08:47:55 AM PST

  •  Hogwash (0+ / 0-)

    No, I don't need to go all out to inform myself on guns.
    Most people know little about climate change (greenhouse gases, global warming yadda yadda yadda), about banking (derivatives, melt down etc), about economics (Keynesian, stimulus, then what?), about unemployment (outsourcing, tax incentives, supply and demand). No - we inform ourselves to a certain extent sure, but mostly we see the pernicious effects and we damn well want them to stop, and we try to elect credible people and ask reliable experts to help craft a policy to do that.  Guns - we know damn well what guns, together with idiots, together with the mentally ill, can do that is pernicious. Make it stop.  It's complicated? More complicated than global warming, more complicated than economics, more complicated than tax policy? Come on.

    I like the lovely array of bullets up there, and those assault rifles look pretty cool, but I sure as hell don't need to know, let alone worship, all their history, and their individual quirky intricacies of flight and impact effect.  Others might, and that's fine and their opinions help inform the discussion. But make it stop, or at least make it better.  That's about all I know. Now let's see what the sanctimonious cowards we elect to office can do about it.

    Bold at inappropriate times.

    by steep rain on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 09:05:21 AM PST

  •  Model Legislation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Sumner

    The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has model legislation. Does do the dozen bills here address the concerns people are expressing here? What would be better?

    I see that their legislation only ban magazines with more than 10 bullet cartridges. Should it be fewer than that?

  •  A proposal re: high capacity magazines (0+ / 0-)

    What about regulating them like silencers?

  •  Didn't we cover this after JFK? (0+ / 0-)

    A skilled person can make a bolt action rifle, or a lever action Winchester like "The Rifleman" TV show,  operate as fast as semi-auto.

    Banning something on the LOOK and not the function is nutz, assuming a ban is required.

    The Geneva Conventions and other treaties REQUIRE bullets designed for MORTALITY. It is considered INHUMANE to design to wound, and the USA is a signer. The phrase "Full-Metal Jacket" comes from this.

    What exactly are we going to do when handheld LASER pistols become a reality? Or magnetic rail guns?

  •  Excellent effort (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One of the best I've seen by someone admittedly not fully schooled on the subject, and I mean that in the best possible way.

    A couple of nits, some already referenced (magazine vs clip—bullet vs cartridge, round, ammo), but what I believe is the biggest red herring in the whole debate: any phrase that begins with "assault".

    There is no accurate definition of such a term, but in the public conscience, it almost always involves a semi-automatic capability, high count magazine capacity, and an amorphous notion described by a friend as SBR (scary black rifle).

    In point of fact, the physics of a shoulder arm involve a receiver (the nuts and bolts of a firearm, which includes the chamber, the trigger, the firing pin, the sear, the chambering mechanism, and much of the magazine structure), a barrel, a structure behind the receiver to displace it from the body, and a structure forward of the receiver to support the barrel and isolate the shooter's off hand from the barrel.

    The two support structures are commonly referred to as the stock, when connected, or stock and forestock, if separated. Traditionally the stock was made of wood, which, while often very decorative, isn't the most durable material under many shooting conditions. Thus, an alternative has evolved from the field of plastics.

    With plastics came the possibilities of ranges of colors, and while initially woodish like browns were used, grays and blacks became common, too. The point of all this is that stock/receiver/barrel are universal elements of shoulder arms, and neither their base material nor their color have anything to do with their function nor with their label.

    Finally, one other definitional nit—pistol does not mean all handguns. A pistol is defined as a handgun whose barrel is integral with the chamber. Consequently, virtually all semiautomatic handguns are pistols, and virtually all revolvers are not (example: the 19th Century and dangerous-to-shoot Pepperbox—see Mark Twain—search "George Bemis" and "Allen").

    •  The only context where the term (0+ / 0-)

      assault rifle makes any sense in military history, viz. the StG-44 and the post-war transition from the battle rifle to the assault rifle.

      The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

      by Azazello on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 11:37:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks. Now please do a primer on SSRIs (0+ / 0-)

    One common  thread that runs through most, but not all, mass shootings is that the shooters are on prescription mood-altering drugs, especially selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs).  This needs to be part of the discussion.  

  •  Semi-automatic (0+ / 0-)
    Eliminating or restricting all semi-automatic weapons may seem like the most obvious choice, but it would also be extremely unpopular with hunters, with target shooters, and with gun owners in general.
    Yes, that's the point. This is where the conversation should start. Always open a negotiation by asking for the moon.

    Complete retroactive ban on all semi-automatic weapons. That seems a good opening, mmm, shot?

    I deal in facts. My friends are few but fast.

    by Farugia on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:42:17 AM PST

    •  Yeahm that's a good opening shot... (0+ / 0-)

      ... if your goal is to destroy your own credibility and get the right to paint you and others on our side of the aisle as the bunch of gun-grabbing commie socialist islamofascist authoritarians that they have been warning about for decades.  We would (almost) literally become the zombie hoards that they have feared for years while hiding in their bunkers (read: parent's basement) fapping to SOF magazine.  Want to see someone like Jim Demint, Steve King, or God forbid Sarah F'ing Palin get elected some day?  Easy.  Just grab everyone's guns.  Hell, even I wouldn't vote for dems for several years if they did that, and I volunteered hundreds of hours working for President Obama's reelection campaign, phonebanked thousands of calls, knocked on over a thousand doors, recruited a dozen volunteers, and jumped for joy when he thoroughly kicked Rmoney's ass by winning 10 of 11 battleground states.  See the problem with your plan?  

  •  A few corrections and comments (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry to be a nit-pick but I think it's important that we get these things right if we are going to have an informed and frank discussion about this issue.  

    1) A semi-auto weapon can fire double-digit shots in a second!?  Not to be impolite, but let's just say that it's possible you might have unconsciously introduced a small amount of exaggeration in the heat of writing this post.  Many full-auto weapons can't achieve a double digit per second rate of fire, and even an AK-47 maxes out at 10 (600 rounds/min).  

    2) Semi-auto weapons are the most popular type of hunting rifles!?  No.  Bolt-actions are more popular, and pump shotguns are faaar more popular than semi-auto shotguns.  

    3) "A .357 and a 9mm are close enough that some guns will fire either size."  No, not unless you know of some special magical handgun I have never heard of.  I grant you that a .357 revolver can shoot .38 rounds, and there are semi-auto handguns that can shoot either .357 SIG OR 9mm if you switch out the barrel, but there is no single gun configuration that can shoot both because the chamber size and shape is very different.  

    4) The .223 Remington cartridge (which is likely what was used on the victims at Sandy Hook) actually delivers almost exactly the same amount of energy to target as a big .30 magnum...:  Again, no.  The .30-06 you discussed in the previous paragraph delivers more than twice the energy that the most powerful .223 round will.  

    A little later when I have time I'll write another comment about what I think can and should be done to reduce gun violence.  I think addressing access to and the cost of mental health treatment should be a big part of the solution, as well as reducing the stigmatization of mental health problems.  I support a 10-round cap on magazine capacities because, honestly, who on earth really needs more than 10 rounds to get the job done whether it's hunting or self defense or anything else?  I support requiring extensive gun safety training for all gun owners, requiring proof of ownership (store receipt?) of a gun safe or whatever else is necessary for someone to responsibly store their guns (the back of the closet doesn't cut it), elimination of gun sales loopholes, and registration of ALL firearm sales and transfers including private ones.  And of course, I support severe penalties if the above laws/regulations are broken.  

    On the other hand, I think that trying to ban only certain semi-auto weapons that are chosen based mostly on cosmetic features (read: "ASSAULT WEAPONS" whatever the fuck THAT means. :/ ) is an ineffective, counter-productive, and politically an incredibly stupid idea.  Do you know the difference between a semi-auto hunting rifle and a semi-auto "assault weapon"?  NOT... MUCH.  And it's mostly stuff that is cosmetic or irrelevant to the issue of gun safety.  Trying to ban particular rounds or accessories is even dumber, IMHO.  Just my .02, ymmv.  Peace Out.  

    •  JBinMD is pretty much right on the money there. (0+ / 0-)

      I like this article, and I think it's a good one.  It may require some editing or updating though - I mean really, firing more than 9 shots a second with a semi-auto?  What is it firing, hairpins?  I figure this is a typo, and maybe was refering to full auto.

      For reference, with my semi-auto Glock 22 (.40 caliber) I can accurately fire out to 10 meters at a rate of 1 bullet per second and a half, or 2 bullets/3 seconds.  I supposed I could erratically fire off rounds at closer to 1-1.5 shots a second, but they'd be all over the room.  

      JBin explains the other points adequately so I will not.

      Also, there's a different between assault weapons and assault rifles.  Assault weapons is a pretty broad and poorly defined term that can usually be construed to mean most anything with a magazine.  Assault Rifle is a category of rifle that can take advantage of burst fire mode (not mentioned in this article) or fully automatic mode.

      “In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy.” - Fran Lebowitz

      by Aramis Wyler on Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 02:27:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  clips and magazines (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A short note, not all magazines are clips, in fact, clips are removable magazines. Many guns comes with fixed magazines, the Winchester 30-30 is a good example. The magazine is built into the stock, shells are fed one at a time into a slot in one side of the stock.

    Most shotguns have fixed magazines, usually 5 shot. Most states limit hunting to 3 shots in the shotgun, so the hunter places a 2 shot "plug" in the magazine. Get caught hunting without a plug in the magazine and be prepared to lose your shotgun. It's funny how hunters have lived with this limitation for years without a complaint but we have to continue to supply 30 shot clips for military style rifles that never go hunting.

  •  Thanks. More information than (0+ / 0-)

    I honestly care to know, but it helps to be able to speak the basic language.

    So let me get this straight now.

    Your recommendation is that we go for banning assault weapons, that are a slight step down from military grade weapons, along with high capacity magazines, because semi-automatic handguns and rifles would be virtually impossible to ban.

    So in other words, a gunman can kill maybe 2-10 people in a span of a few minutes instead of 26.

    Um, okay.....

    And hunters use semi-automatic handguns to shoot deer as well?

    Why gun owners need semi-automatic handguns, again?

    I almost get why they would want semi-automatic rifles, although it just seems like game hunting cheating to me.

  •  One request... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I would suggest removing or changing your ominous last sentence.  It gives credence to the "slippery slope" claim.

    My dad practically defines the term "right wing nut" and owns several guns and has said in the past that the government can take them from his cold dead hands, but he totally surprised my wife and I when he admitted over the phone after this latest tragedy that there is just no reason for civilians to have access to military-style semi-automatic weapons.

    There's a real opening here for meaningful change, and we need to grab it while we can.  This column provides an excellent foundation to start building a concensus, but I think the ominous tone of that last sentence undermines that somewhat.  It keeps me from sharing this as much as I otherwise might.

  •  half million dollar liability insurance (0+ / 0-)

    mandatory, per gun owned.  Easy enough, by my estimation.  Don't want people to lose their guns, just pay for the consequences of their dangerous hobby.  

    "Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you"

    by TheFern on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 10:56:42 AM PST

  •  Very informative article. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Georgia Logothetis
  •  It's ABSOLUTELY CRAZY that there are limits (0+ / 0-)

    on the ammo capacity of guns used to hunt game (it's only 3 shells for migratory birds!) but a 60 round magazine is legal.  That's some tortured logic--apparently it has to be sporting when you're shooting woodcocks, but not when you're shooting people in a movie theater.  

    Political compass: -8.75 / -4.72

    by Mark Mywurtz on Wed Dec 19, 2012 at 07:45:52 PM PST

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