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Guns, Violence, and Deliberate Misrepresentations

I stole the following photo from The New York Daily News and I’m quite frankly appalled by it.

newtown-guns-12152012-390

I’ll take each weapon in turn and tell the truth.

1. Bushmaster. The weapon is little different, except in the visual department, from any .223 (5.56 mm) rifle used for hunting. The biggest difference, the 30 round magazine, is little advantage because the time it takes to change magazines is hardly worthy of consideration. As far as the pistol grip that seems to be a defining feature of so called “assault weapons” merely provides comfort, a more ergonomic position to have ones hand in.

What about this weapons design makes it suitable only for military and law enforcement use, I have no idea, and that is coming from a former soldier.

2. Sig Sauer 9mm Handgun (model unknown and irrelevant). Of course it’s easy to conceal and carry, that’s why police are issued handguns and why people choose them for both concealed carry and for home defense. Where this nonsense of being able to fire “5 bullets a second” comes from, I have no idea. It’s certainly possible, but the speed at which bullets can be discharged is decided by how quickly you can pull the trigger over and over, not by any design feature of the firearm.

3. Glock 9mm Handgun (model unknown and irrelevant). All the same stuff as with the previous pistol.

People need to understand that the term “semi-automatic” only means that the spent casing is ejected and a new bullet is chambered after every trigger squeeze. Revolvers essentially do the same thing, even though they are not considered to be semi-automatic.

This is not honest discussion, this photo, while true, is as misleading an image as I have ever had the misfortune to see. At best it could be considered propaganda. I’m happy to have discussions about gun control and what laws we might impose to reduce tragedies in the future, but I’m not happy to have a discussion if it involves, if not outright lies, then deliberate misrepresentation of the facts.

We do not need bans on particular styles or calibers. We do not need gun free zones unless armed protection is provided to those within the zone (court rooms for example). We do not need onerous registration schemes of the kind that Canada just did away with.

What we do need is more effective screening of those who are mentally unstable. We do need to hold people responsible who secure their weapons in ways hazardous to their children. We do need laws that do a better job of keeping violent offenders from buying weapons, with the understanding that 90%+ of the weapons used in crime are gotten through illegal means anyway.

I carry a concealed weapon whenever and wherever  I can. I’ve also had several legitimate opportunities to make use of it. Twice with regard to threats to my person or those around me and many times to dispatch obviously sick and aggressive animals, including two rabid raccoons just last year and a deer that was hit by a minivan the year before.

I have a really hard time understanding why people still support gun free zones, given the fact very nearly every mass shooting takes place in one. Supporters often try and argue that shooters don’t consider whether a place is supposed to be gun free or not, to which I reply, “are you fucking stupid?” These shooters are never totally irrational, to imagine that these people give no consideration to the potential of armed opposition is what is irrational. You cannot rationally claim that with exceptional amount of planning most shooters do, they ignore the glaring fact that they will be the only armed individual.

I’ve been hearing nonsense about ammunition also, how hollow points are intended to cause “huge damage”. Well no shit. That’s why hunters often use them, along with police and civilians like me. In the case of the latter two, the fact that they cause massive wounds is secondary to the fact that they are less likely to penetrate walls and other barriers and are very likely to remain inside of the person being shot. That means there is less risk to bystanders and less risk of ricochet. I have my suspicions that the reason hollow points are banned in warfare under the Geneva Convention is that since jacketed, non-hollow point, rounds are less likely to kill, the number of people taken out of battle by a single soldier being shot, grows to three or four, with a dead soldier, it’s just the one. The effect should be shorter, less deadly wars.

So, I am more than happy to see discussions, and join into them, about what kind of gun control we need, but only when those on the opposite side of the issue are being honest and fair. Additionally, keeping and bearing arms is a right we have in the US, and restrictions placed on rights must be both necessary and effective, and in some cases, even need and effectiveness must be ignored.

We could avoid many riots and much other violence by restricting free speech, we could ensure more criminals are held to account for their crimes by restricting peoples rights against search and seizure, and we could reduce gun crime by restricting people right to keep and bear arms. But, the restrictions placed on these things have to be limited, irregardless of the consequences. Would it be okay to limit free speech because a video caused a riot in Libya (it didn’t but assume it did)? Limit search and seizure protections because an almost certainly guilty person walks away? Limit our right to bear arms simply because a few (very few) firearm owners commit infamous acts?

I say no on all counts. Millions of videos cause no riots, millions of criminals are convicted, and 300 million guns killed no one in the US yesterday.

UPDATE: As it happens, the Glock handgun seems to have been chambered for 10mm, not 9mm. Not that it makes any real difference, but the media can’t even get the caliber right. Remember, these people are supposed to be keeping the government honest and citizens informed, but more and more it seems like those who report the news couldn’t find their own ass with both hands.

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