Skip to main content

Guess what's in the news these days? The "assault rifle". Never has a more badly-named piece of equipment caused more legal ruckus and confusion than the civilian "assault rifle". Especially since there is an actual definition for the term "assault rifle", and it has nothing to do with the police/legal definition of "assault".

The 2nd Amendment has been dragged into the spotlight, as well, with a lot of back-and-forth about what that means and who should be allowed to access weapons. The biggest point of discontent is over civilian access to so-called "assault rifles" and their "clips", or more properly, "magazines". A lot of confusion stems from Hollywood use of these terms, and from the news media use of the terms, which is frequently erroneous either out of a deliberate attempt to dramatize-through-confusion, or sheer ignorance.

For those who are curious, I'll explain what an "assault rifle" really is, and give my spin on what can be done about this sort of thing in the future. More below the fold:

An "assault rifle" by definition is a rifle used in an assault-- which sounds kinda like a head-smacker at first, but bear in mind that an "assault" is a particular term used for a particular tactical situation. It is different from, say, a "defense", or trench warfare, obviously.

To qualify as an "assault rifle" a rifle has to fit certain criteria: first, it is a small, light caliber because a small, light caliber allows you to carry a lot of bullets, both in size/volume and weight. Secondly, it is capable of firing full-auto fire, and doing so with some reasonable degree of accuracy & controllability. The smaller caliber bullet makes recoil less of a problem, and it is easier to retain control on full-auto. The problem is, civilian "assault rifles" are not capable of firing full-auto without extensive and very dangerous modifications. More later. First, let's define why full-auto is there.

Now, what do we use full-auto for? To mindlessly hose down the enemy? No. It is to spray so many bullets in the enemy's direction, that he takes cover and doesn't get up. It's to pin him in a position while the riflemen maneuver on him and pick him off with well-placed shots.

With actual, proper military assault rifles, when you are in an assault on a fixed position ("fixed" meaning "permanent, dug-in, reinforced with concrete" and such), you want to keep your enemy pinned down. After all, your enemy is in a fortified position. If he has the chance to get up and fire from his well-prepared defenses, he will perforate the bejeezus out of you, and your assault will fail. So part of the "assault" is a close-in confrontation with a prepared enemy, and you need to keep putting a lot of rounds towards his face to keep him from fighting back effectively. (This is also why you need, at minimum, a 3-to-1 advantage when conducting an assault, so there's always a volume of fire on him from somewhere even if some of your troops need to reload. When assault a well-fortified position, you need a ratio more like six-to-one, or six attackers for every one defender).

So, for an "assault rifle", you want a whole lot of small, fast bullets. The M-16 family, and the Russian AK-74 family (5.45 mm) fits this bill very well.

Here's the problem:

An assault rifle is a bullet hose, almost by definition. But, soldiers are trained to engage targets and fire with a "one-shot/one-kill" standard. In other words, they are trained to treat their assault rifles like... battle rifles.

Battle rifles?

A battle rifle is a larger, heavier rifle, typically firing a cartridge in the 7.XX category. Like the rifle, this cartridge is larger, heavier, had a lot of kinetic energy and knockdown power, and is not easily deflected like a smaller bullet might be. Because the bullets are bigger and heavier, you carry less of them, but, you're expected to make each one count, and they reach out to much longer ranges. Take a look at the FN-FAL (or L1A1 as it is also known. Google it.) and you will see the ultimate battle rifle: a 7.62x51 rifle with a long-ass barrel, meant to dominate a battle field with irresistible force at great distance. It would also suck balls in an assault, because you can't control that bucking bronco on full-auto, kicking out 7.62, and trying to swing that long-ass barrel around in time to engage close targets. Heavier bullets with heavier powder loads make a greater "kick", or recoil. Makes sense? Physics.

This is why I think both the Russians and the Americans, for a long time, were equally screwed up: for years, the Russians used the AK-47, a 7.62x39 weapon. It was a battle rifle cartridge, but they trained to use it in spray-and-burst mode... like an assault rifle.

Meanwhile, the Americans had an assault rifle, the M-16, but trained their troops to use it as one-shot/one-kill, like a battle rifle. So both countries were arming and training with weapons that were being used improperly, IMO. They should have either traded weapons or traded doctrine!

So. Those are actual military-grade, proper "assault rifles" that actually fir the proper, dictionary definition. What does that mean for civilian owned "assault rifles"? I'll explain:

Years ago, ordinary semi-automatic firearms were sold that looked like military "assault rifles". Since the term "assault rifle" isn't copyrighted or trademarked, civilian manufacturers sold look-alike rifles under the name "assault rifle" since they figured it would sound neat/cool/tough, etc. It was 100% marketing, and had nothing to do with the actual firing capability of the rifle in question.

It was the worst possible marketing move they could have made, because the military already used real "assault rifles" and so there existed in the eyes of many people, who were not gun-savvy, the idea that fully-automatic, military-grade assault rifles were freely available on the market. As in, "rat-a-tat-tat" Chicago gangster tommyguns. This is not true and has not been true since the 1934 Gun Control Act. An ordinary citizen absolutely, positively, cannot walk into a gun store and buy a "machine gun" --I guarantee it. Go to any actual, local reputable licensed gun dealer near you and ask. (BTW, a "machine gun" is a completely different animal from an "assault rifle". This is not anal-retentive nitpickery or pro-gun obfuscation, this is a defined fact based on the people who need to use and classify weapons for a living, ie, the military).

So, now that we got that out of the way.

The modern civilian military-style rifle ("assault" rifle) is semi-automatic only. It fires one bullet per trigger squeeze. That's it. If you hold the rigger down, you will never get more than the first shot out of it. Much ink has been spilled about how you can "modify" a semi-automatic rifle to fire fully-automatic ("rat-a-tat-tat") but that was true only for the first couple generations of civilian semi-autos. Since then, civilian semi-autos are manufacture din such a way that ful-auto fire would heat up the barrel too much and cause it to crystallize and eventually shatter from the stress. It has something to do with the metallurgy and forging, the scientific details of which I am unfamiliar with.

So, then, one may ask, why is this important? A "military look-alike" weapons that fires one shot at a time is like an actual military assault weapon that soldiers are trained to shoot one-shot-at-a-time, right?

Not entirely. A soldier or trained to shoot carefully, with patient aiming and a proper target alignment. It does not matter of you're being attacked by a mass enemy, because you have other soldiers near you, also shooting properly. The typical spree killer isn't "aiming" (or if he is, he's doing it hastily), he's "spray-and-praying" as fast as he can with one shot at a time. Almost every one of these spree killer sin recent years has exhibited prior mental/emotional/social disorder behavior, and they should never, ever have had access to a firearm.

Magazines and "clips". This is a "clip" and a "magazine". Call it a minor nitpick if you want, but in actual military weapons, a "clip" is used to load a weapon that, more of ten than not, is not capable of firing full-automatic fire. A handful of "clip-loaded" weapons were able to fire fully-automatic (the C-96 Schnellfeuer, for one; Google it-- it's from the 1920's) but that is one of the exceptions to the rule. Hollywood uses the term "clip" since it is quick and fast, instead of the more proper "magazine".

Why is it important? Because proper, actual, legally-defined terms are important in a discussion where rights and the law is being discussed, and emotional hyperbole and misunderstandings make bad law.

And so, on the sale of "assault" rifles --actually just look-alikes-- to civilians:

As to the sale of military look-alike (so-called "assault" rifles) to the civilian populace, we are in a bit of a bind. The Second Amendment states that people are allowed access to firearms (backed up by DC vs. Heller) provided they do not fall into certain categories of "prohibited" owners (felons, the mentally unbalanced). The problem is, mental health records and in some cases prison records aren't shared through the instant national background check. They should be.

In the case of US vs. Miller, "Miller" was charged with having a sawed-off shotgun, which was illegal. He said he had a right to own it due to the 2nd Amendment. The courts came back and said that the 2nd Amendment protected militia activity, not criminal possession of a prohibited firearm that served no militia purpose, and a sawed-off shotgun was considered to have "no militia purpose". The take-away from that was that firearms must serve a "militia purpose" to be protected. So talk about "hunting" and "no hunter needs a--" are not the point of the 2nd Amendment. It is obfuscation.

DC vs. Heller determined that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of citizens to have access to firearms.

In US vs. Miller, those firearms must serve a "militia purpose".

In City of Chicago vs. MacDonald, it was determined that arbitrary restrictions on firearms are counter-productive to the maintenance of the 2nd Amendment, ie, that people could not reasonably be expected to carry out "militia" functions if firearms access is restricted.

So: military-style weapons that fire semi-automatic are protected since they serve a "militia purpose". The "militia" (as understood Back In The Day) was "any able-bodied male between the ages of 17 and 45" which would probably be understood today as "any able-bodied citizen between the ages of 18-65". So it was not the "National Guard" (which wasn't formally established until 1917 anyway, long after the Constitution was written).

Therefore, the crux of the matter really comes down to "what is the modern militia" and what weapons will they have access to?

This part is my opinion:

I like the notion that a "militia" should be defined as any group of three or more people that trains regularly, can demonstrate knowledge of firearms, and can demonstrate comprehension of legal civilian laws and applicable international treaties such as the Geneva and Hague Conventions about use of force in recognized conflict. A "militia" member would have to go through training, demonstrate competence, and get licensed and maintain membership in a regular militia that is available for any number of civil support needs, including fighting wildfires, disaster relief, sandbagging flood areas, as well as missions that would require more traditional firearms-related use (tracking dangerous criminal fugitives under the supervision of law enforcement, etc).  

That means that ordinary citizens would have the ability to join a militia if they want to have firearms. They'd have to demonstrate competency from time to time to maintain that. They'd be trained and licensed. The training would not be priced so high that people would not be "priced out" of the market. It may even be free, since it would be a sort of public service. People with criminal records and emotional problems would not be able to participate. Yes, people would have their firearms at home with them, locked in a safe. An exception for one firearm per militia member may be granted to protect from home invaders, as spelled out in DC vs. Heller.

So that's that. "Assault" rifles, their capabilities, military look-alikes, clips vs. magazines, and the "well-regulated militia". I'd love to hear reasonable discussion.

Originally posted to Weighing the Feather of Truth on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by History for Kossacks and Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  Very clearly presented - thanks!! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happy camper, oldpunk, Ojibwa

      Tipped and rec'd for a very level-headed, informative diary.

      The whole "militia" concept as the reason for the right to bear arms is widely overlooked in any discussion about gun policies - or possible restrictions on ownership of certain weapons. It's an angle that bears further consideration in the public forum.

      It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong. – Abraham Lincoln

      by firstalto on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:37:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  IMHO: A semi-automatic weapon (7+ / 0-)

    is just as dangerous to the public at large as any military style weapon.  Especially when you consider that the vast majority of perpetrators in these sorts of crimes are targeting innocent people who have NO idea what to do when suddenly fired upon for no reason.

    There truly is no need for a weapon that can fire thirty rounds in as many seconds for a civilian.  I mean, hell, maybe the deer are REALLY aggressive but come ON...

    Even an Eight Round clip fed weapon like the Garand is in my opinion ludicrously overpowered  for a civilian application.  

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:24:04 PM PDT

    •  Murder is usually a very personal thing, (5+ / 0-)

      and when a spree killer fires on a crowd of people "for no reason" it means that this is a very unusual murder. These spree-killer typically have something wrong with them and display aberrant behavior before the killing happens. Not always, but very common.

      Ideally, a training/testing/licensing scheme would give time to weed these types out, and of course under certain circumstances (mental diagnoses, criminal conviction) would automatically enter a "red flag" to have weapons confiscated (that's how it is supposed to happen now, but the system is lax).

      The thing is, the law allows for firearms ownership. DC vs. Heller made that stick. However, in the Dissenting Opinion, allowing firearm ownership does not preclude certain levels of control or restriction (Kagan, I believe). Depending on the type and nature of said control, it would be legal.

      In the framework of law as we have it, firearms are legally available but I think we need to control the people who get them, and the circumstances under which they exercise those rights-- since, in the long run, it is the people who make the actual decision to use the firearms.

      •  Carried to the logical extreme... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Nucleo, Quicklund, splashy

        Nuclear weapons should be legal.   Seeing as how reasonable people might need them to defend the country against similarly armed enemies in the militia concept.

        If somebody just happened to set one off in a city, of course it would be a VERY unusual situation with a deranged killer, but...

        Back to the topic at hand:

        When we allow the manufacture and sale of weapons that are capable of mass murder and NOTHING ELSE, (Yes, I know technically you can cut down a tree with an M-2, but I think my point is made)  we may not be actively creating the deaths, but we are setting the stage for them to happen.

        Mass killings are preventable, but simply licensing and regulating the weapons is a case of too little, too late.   Combined with the appalling lack of mental health services in this country, I'm actually surprised at how FEW mass killings we've had.  

        I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

        by detroitmechworks on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:49:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't believe the desire to carry out (3+ / 0-)

          mass murder is as all-pervasive as some cynics would think, and hell, I'm a cynic. I think most people are, or at least want to be, basically decent.

          The nuclear weapons thing is frequently brought up, but when you get down to details, a nuclear weapon is just a really big damn explosion-- and notice that grenades and similar devices are not typically considered covered by the 2nd Amendment. That's because an explosion (of any sort) is indiscriminate; no one can say, reasonably, that they were targeting a single attacker with an indiscriminate weapon. A firearm must be aimed, and the shooter cannot pretend he or she had no responsibility for what happened.

          And I am not as concerned with regulating the weapons so much as the people who own them-- since it is on the people, not the object, where the choice and responsibility lies.  

          •  And that's where we respectfully disagree. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Johnny Nucleo, badger, splashy

            Because guns make it much easier for people to kill people.

            I do agree that we need to take care of those with mental issues in this country, but in the wake of this new austerity, it doesn't seem to be happening.

            And they make new guns every day.

            I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

            by detroitmechworks on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:06:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Could you please explain to me the purpose (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DataMonster, splashy

            of someone wanting to possess one of these weapons?

            I would have no problem having gun ranges where people could go and shoot up shit to their hearts content with these weapons but the gun range should own the weapons and the weapons should not be allowed to leave the premise.

            •  Well, the fact is, a lot of people just want to (0+ / 0-)

              own them. And the way the law is, there's nothing preventing one from doing that, provided they fit within certain criteria (ie, not felons or insane-- part of the problem is we can't always stop some of those folks from getting weapons).

              Really, people can own a lot of things that they don't actually "need", or that make no sense to their neighbors. And, yes, you can say "but guns are designed to kill". Yes, they are-- they're advertised for hunting and defense, and if they weren't capable of killing, they'd be no good at that.

              That's the way the law works. Until someone is diagnosed mentally ill, or proves they are a danger to others, there's no legal basis to deny them. And simply "having a gun" or "wanting to have one" isn't sufficient in the eyes of the law.

              •  ACtually, diagnosis isn't enough (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                they need to be forceably committed.  If someone is on meds and is judged to be stable by their doctor WHILE ON MEDS, they are not legally 'insane'.  If their behavior gets them introduced to the criminal justice system and a judge orders them remanded to a psyche ward then they are proscribed from firearms ownership.

                The reason I do not find it rasonable to only allow gun ranges to own guns is that it makes them unavailable for personal or home defense.  It has been entered into law via a court case that the State is not charged with protecting us from being murdered, that's up to us (reference case is in my signature) and we need every tool we can get to do this.  Alarm systems, security lights, dogs (either for alarm or to assist with defense), a phone to contact 911 and at least one firearm would provide a layered defense.

                Am I paralyzed by fear so I need a gun?  Nope.  Has any bad guy tried to break into my house since I became active in the shooting community?  Nope, they seem to be of the opinion that there is nothing in my house worth dieing for.  

                I have no plans on hurting anyone with a firearm.  It's not in my nature.  When you corner a bunny in it's warren, beware the buck's spurs.

                Bowers v. DeVito "...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered." Member of the Liberal Gun Club

                by ErikO on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 08:20:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  The term you're looking for is "strict scrutiny." (0+ / 0-)

          Do you seriously believe the courts could find no compelling government interest in a monopoly on nuclear forces?  Or that any such monopoly would be perceived as too broadly tailored and to restrictive in pursuit of that interest?

          We don't live in legal vacuum.  You can't scream fire in a crowded movie theater and I can't assemble critical piles just because I feel like it.

      •  there's a fatal flaw in your plan: (5+ / 0-)

        Assume that any group of citizens can form a licensed militia and fulfill the checklist requirements.

        OK, so along come the KKK and front groups for the drug cartels etc., and form their legal militias, and gain access to large-capacity magazines and suchlike.  

        This immediately becomes a conduit for huge quantities of ammo to find their way into the black market.

        Legal restrictions of whatever kind are not going to stop people who have murder in mind: particularly spree killers who expect to go out in a blaze of glory.  

        The problem is the culture.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:14:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, and that is (I admit) something (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          happy camper, JesseCW

          of an Achilles heel to this. The flipside is that the people, at least, would be known and regulated. Small comfort, perhaps...

          But you are right-- we as a culture embrace the notion that solving problems with violence is cool, sexy fun. It can be, in movies and videogames, and where people are able to realize that escapist fantasy is one thing; reality quite another.

          Critical thinking and rationality are in short supply in some parts of the country, and things that make no sense (excluding whole swathes of the population due to arbitrary factors like skin color, religion or gender) need to be unlearned.

          •  FAIL: the video games etc. ARE the problem. (0+ / 0-)

            "Escapist fantasy" backed up by a dopamine buzz becomes more compelling than reality.

            Study after study shows that violent media produce aggressive attitudes and greater tolerance of real violence.  

            The solution is to regulate violent media, which can be done via the FCC and via measures to keep it out of the hands of children.

            If it was up to me I'd put it all under an expanded legal definition of pornography and ban it outright.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 05:15:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, totally disagree. (4+ / 0-)

              I quite enjoy violent video games and even movies, but am almost a pacifist, and against violence in real life in virtually every case.  It's quite easy for a sane person to tell the difference between whacking someone's head off with a shovel (Postal 2) on a computer monitor, and doing so in real life.  Ditto hacking apart orcs, goblins, and evil men in Lord of the Rings Online with realistic blood sprays and whatnot if you've got the graphics on high.

              •  These same games are hugely (4+ / 0-)

                popular in many countries with murder rates less than 1/4th of ours.

                Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

                by JesseCW on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:22:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I actually preferred the original 'Postal' over (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  the sequel, because I had the 'Christmas hack'.  It switched the regular game graphics out so you were Santa Claus tossing exploding gifts and the like rather than grenades, and the verbiage out to things like 'Ouch! Someone's going on the naughty list!' when you got shot.  The graphics on the original were arcade game quality, while the sequel was pretty much FPS photorealistic.  Still, if you bothered to read the game booklet, the 'premise' of the game was that you were a paranoid, delusional madman who thought everyone was being taken over by aliens as you happily ran around mowing down police, marching bands, ostriches at a farm, and various and sundry innocent bystanders.

                  The sequel kept all of the violence, but seemed more like they were trying to mimic Grans Theft Auto, since you also went around killing various criminals to steal weapons, money, drugs, etc.  Rather more boring, apart from playing with the shovel to see how far you could hit a severed head.

              •  similar rationalizations are used by... (0+ / 0-)

                .... the middle class consumers of powdered cocaine, and various groups of workers who occasionally use meth for "productivity."

                In general I agree with you about many things.

                But in specific, I find the idea of getting pleasure from violence, whether fictional or real, to be downright fucking sick, approximately similar to coprophilia.  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:50:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I got the same pleasure from nethack. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Which was an adventure video game crafted entirely from ascii characters - your player was a letter, various monsters were different letters or characters.  You explored, you 'fought and 'killed' the other letters.  To some of us, fictional 'violence' isn't the same as real violence.  The point of the games isn't the violence, it's the story arc of the game, and fooling your brain into thinking you've accomplished some task.  When you're in a real world in which external factors can basically wall you off from accomplishments, these pseudo accomplishments can help stave off depression.

            •  Gun violence has fallen, and mass (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Quicklund, ConfusedSkyes

              casualty  shootings have remained stable, as increasingly graphic first person shooters have become popular.

              If you're correct, why aren't kids who grew up on WoW out chopping people up with battle axes?

              Are you really trying to convince us that a video game does more to influence a person than actually acting out a role with real people present?  

              We saw the kooks who tried to claim role playing games and comic books led to violence turned into objects of abject ridicule.  Those who make the same claims about video games are headed for the same dustbin.

              "Study after study" just doesn't exist.  People of your opinion always claim to have a mountain of studies to back them up, but in the end, these studies never show any increased chance that a kid raised on violent video games is more likely to shoot someone.

              Pornography, as you should know simply by living in this country, isn't illegal.

              Any other forms of speech you'd like to restrict?

              Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

              by JesseCW on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:21:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes, three other forms of "free speech".... (0+ / 0-)

                .... I'd like to restrict:

                1)  Roll back Citizens' United.
                2)  Roll back Brandenburg.
                3)  Pass hate speech laws.

                And further, I believe that freedom of speech is a human right that inheres in the humans, not an abstract "legal entity" that inheres in the speech itself.  The humans have the right to speak.  The speech itself is the product of the humans, not a "legal person" like a corporation.

                Further yet, I'm willing to bet that you agree with at least one of the items on my list.  

                Just to head off any issue about hate speech laws:  Canada has 'em, anyone here care to argue that Canada is a fascist state?  

                You made a specific claim that gun violence has fallen and mass casualty shootings have remained stable, even as video games have become increasingly violent.   What's your proof?  BTW, correlation is not causation, so it's going to take more than generalized declines in crime stats to support your point.  

                "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:47:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  That homicide rate by gun has been falling for (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  years is just a simple fact.  I suppose you could argue that something is wrong with the reported statistics and provide some evidence.

                  Where are we, now that we need us most?

                  by Frank Knarf on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 10:18:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  hardly. (0+ / 0-)

                    It's not an extraordinary claim to assert that the homicide rate is declining over time.  

                    However it's either extraordinary or specious to assert that violent media are causing the decrease.  

                    The level of self-serving rationalization that goes on to support violent media is truly astounding.

                    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                    by G2geek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:33:08 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's simply dishonest to assert that anyone made (0+ / 0-)

                      such a claim.

                      Please, beat your straw man in private.

                      The level of self justification that people will resort to when trying to drum up various schemes to silence their neighbors never ceases to astound me.

                      Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

                      by JesseCW on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:27:28 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  and what do you call the boycotts against... (0+ / 0-)

                        .... advertisers on Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck?

                        Make no mistake: those boycotts were intended to take them off the air.  

                        And make no mistake about this: their prevalence on the air, from thousands of parrot stations across the US, is silencing our voices by crowding us off the airwaves.   In the absence of the fairness doctrine, it's one or the other.  

                        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                        by G2geek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:04:49 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  I'd argue that speech has been restricted in (0+ / 0-)

                  Canada in ways I'm not comfortable with.

                  I'd argue that such restrictions are, in fact, creeping forward and that they lay the ground work for the kind of fundamental destruction of anonymity and freedom to critique government that some in this country openly advocate.

                  Which claim do you dispute?

                  That gun violence has fallen, on both an absolute and per capita basis?

                  Well past common knowledge.  Get thee to a wiki-ry.
                  That video games have become increasingly realistic and increasingly violent in the last 20 years?

                  GTA Vrs. Street Fighter.  Go play them.  Report back to me.

                  That mass casualty shootings have remained relatively stable?  Check the front page of this site over the last few days.

                  Despite the title - this lays out clearly that the rate is down a bit when it comes to mass murder


                  Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

                  by JesseCW on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:26:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  dammit i can't help but love some of your language (0+ / 0-)

                    When you're at your best, your use of the language is f---ing fantastic.  "Beat your straw man in private" and "Get thee to a wiki-ry."   That sort of stuff is well-crafted rhetoric that I have to cheer, even if I disagree with you about the subject at hand.

                    Re. "lay(ing) the ground work for the kind of fundamental destruction of anonymity and freedom to critique government..."

                    The larger danger is from the private sector.  

                    Surely you know about "agricultural product disparagement laws," whereby Oprah Winfrey was sued for saying on TV that she wouldn't eat beef that was produced under one obnoxious condition or another (factory farms, antibiotics, something like that).  She won, but a less wealthy and less courageous person might have knuckled under.

                    And surely you know about cases where employees have been fired for opinions they publish online: not just opinions about their employers (which would be bad enough) but opinions supporting candidates for office (illegal in some states but not in all).  

                    The threat of job loss, and with it, loss of health care, and possibly homelessness, is if anything a more effective means of oppression than the threat of imprisonment.  

                    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

                    by G2geek on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:38:40 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  I don't know, I've also heard a theory (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              that one reason crime has actually being going down overall is because violent video games keep people inside acting out their fantasies in a controlled manner-- and it allows them to receive gratification over and over again.

              Hey, if it keeps would-be nutbags too fat to fumble a firearm in their Cheetos-encrusted fingers, I'm all for it. (heh).

            •  Nah, they just make me use my ammo money (0+ / 0-)

              for non-sporting purposes.  ;)

              Bowers v. DeVito "...there is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered." Member of the Liberal Gun Club

              by ErikO on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 08:21:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, Convicted criminals are prohibited (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            from accessing firearms. So they would not be eligible to own guns at all. So if you are really worried about the KKK and drug cartels getting access to guns, we have that problem already in the regular military.

            It's the same problem we have with civilian spree killers. These individuals are "clean" they have few or no tattoos or any other habits that might signify their associations, and they have a clean arrest record.

            Once you start dealing with the Clean Arrest record, then you move into intent and thoughts.

            I don't know how you can catch everyone who is sly and of ill intent, without violating their civil rights.

            •  The spree-killers, most of them, usually (0+ / 0-)

              have some sort of history of weird, erratic, or dangerous behavior beforehand, which smart law enforcement or observers will note. Not all of them, of course, but most.

              Signs of mental instability precluded a lot of spree-killers, and folks like Harris and Klebold even had confrontations with police well before Columbine, when they were setting off illegal pipe bombs in a field (for example)...

              People have to be aware of the patterns.

              •  I don't know. I think of the 70s, when it was (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                allowable and expected in that time and the decades before to have cherry bombs on hand.

                Now days that could get you a one way ticket to a shrink's office with a clip board.

                I think weird is all about context.

                There is weird, and then there is *Weird.

                Having been in an unpopular minority I can tell you that there are more than a few people out there who like to use harmless differences as an excuse to persecute individuals or groups, reasons that should be reserved for people showing genuinely dangerous behaviors, as opposed to a simple non-conformist.

                After Columbine, Marylin Manson fans, goths, anyone with black nail polish was put on notice.

                Taxidermists are often thought to be "suspicious".

                In this case, much was made about this guys's limited online presence.  I am sure that will play out well.

                Etc., and so on.

        •  No flaw. (0+ / 0-)

          Mexico has very strict gun control laws.  Something tells me the drug cartels aren't taking them very seriously.  In fact, all Mexico has ensured is that citizens--who have to travel physically to the capital to apply and (most likely) not receive a license--are disarmed in the face of a brutal and well-armed enemy.

          This fixation on ammo capacity is misplaced.  A 100 round drum offers no qualitative advantage over ten 10-round magazines beyond a measure of convenience.

      •  so, about the culture: (6+ / 0-)

        Every able-bodied male in Switzerland has three things in his closet:  his military uniform, his military rifle, and a box of ammo with a seal on it.  

        Spree killers expect to die at the scene: so the seal on the ammo box, and the legal penalties for breaking it, are irrelevant to them.

        Every guy in Switzerland has the hardware to become a spree killer.  Right in their closets, there for the taking, upon whatever impulse they may have.  

        Yet, when was the last time we heard of a spree killer in Switzerland?

        It's not about the weapons.

        It's about the culture.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:17:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Switzerland also has 1/40th the US' population (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And thus, since we have 2-3 spree killings a year; if the spree killing phenomenon is merely a result of the low-probability tail of human behavior, we wouldn't expect them to experience a spree killing more than once every two decades.

          Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

          by Robobagpiper on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 03:50:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And, for what it's worth, the last spree killing I (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            could find in Switzerland was the 2001 Zug massacre.

            Completely consistent with the model that the frequency scales with population.

            Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

            by Robobagpiper on Thu Jul 26, 2012 at 03:54:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The length and recoil of the Garand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      make it relatively useless if your objective is to "mow down" a lot of people in a mass casualty shooting in a confined space.

      There's a reason you don't see them being used for that, despite being ubiquitous and not hugely expensive.

      30 aimed rounds a minute if you're very, very good.  Very hard to swing around at close range.  Have to lose sight picture to re-load.

      If you're very, very good with an Enfield, you're looking at 20 aimed rounds a minute.

      Not a huge difference.  In either case, if three people rush you at a distance of less than 20 feet, you'll be lucky to hit one before they take you down.

      Thinking the "food stamp challenge" teaches you about being poor is like thinking a camping trip will give you insight into being homeless.

      by JesseCW on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:55:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Military style weapon" (0+ / 0-)

      Do you include the M40 in that list?

      Why do you think semi-autos (or even full autos) are inherently more dangerous?  As a rule of thumb, you're trading rate of fire and convenience in handling ammunition for accuracy, reach and ease of maintenance.  And while you may wish you were living in Australia, where bureaucratic piss ants refuse to recognize self defense as a valid need for possessing a firearm, you don't.

  •  Perhaps you could explain bump firing (5+ / 0-)

    an AR 15?

    There was also a massacre in Canada using a firearm similar to an AR 15.  The shooter used a Ruger Mini 14.

    Shot 14 women.  Because they were "feminists".

    Using 2 thirty round banana mags.

    This happened back in 1989.

    Although the Mini 14 is not banned in Canada, the 30 round banana mags are.

    Large round magazines have no use, except to kill people.

    •  I believe that refers to (3+ / 0-)

      tapping the trigger as fast as possible to replicate the effects of full-auto fire. Dangerous and usually not very accurate, and can damage the weapon-- eventually.

      30-round magazines are primarily for military applications, which is why they would be reasonable for the "militia" since the militia is supposed to carry out a military function. However, anyone outside the "militia" would have no access to them, in the 'militia opinion scenario' I described above.

      Now, to me, the problem with the Canadian shooter you described is the notion that "feminists" deserve to be shot in the first place, or why anyone you disagree with needs to be shot outright. That, to me, is more the crux of the problem from my point of view. How a killing is done is not as important as the twisted justifications about why it had to be done in the first place (in the mind of the killer).

      No one, whether they have a gun or not, should think that murder is an acceptable way to address political differences.

      •  "Dangerous and usually not very accurate" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Nucleo, ConfusedSkyes

        Not on the concern list of the shooter in the crowded theater. Maximizing rate of fire, is.

        Bump firing uses the natural recoil to pull the trigger automatically. Hard to control? Just buy a special adapter.

        Every AR-15 is now in essence a functional accurate automatic weapon.


        •  Oh, the bump-fire adapter. Similar to the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          "Hellfire" crank adapters I used to see advertised.

          Yeah, there's little to no oversight into those. For example, a Gatling Gun is technically legal since each individual turn of the crank is a separate "action"; this operates on the same principle.

          To me it could and should be regulated like any other automatic-firing weapon, since it essentially creates or mimics the function thereof.

          No, a spree shooter doesn't care about dangerous or accurate. They're nuts, and these adapters are silly.

          Oh, not to harp, but "carpet-bombing" three or four comments all in one slew when it is obvious I haven't even had the chance to see the first one comes off as kinda... confrontational, in a rhetorical sense, if you know what I mean. Just FYI.

          •  I didn't carpet bomb (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I thought I had the video in the first post but I had not. I tend to bump fire preview post.

          •  Given that the U of Colo is investigating (0+ / 0-)

            the delivery of various mail orders to Holmes, I wonder that simply denying him access to guns would have stopped this particular criminal given the manner that his apartment was booby-trapped.

            This one seemed hell bent on causing mayhem and violence by any means available.

            The University suspects he used his credentials at the school to order dangerous substances that could have been used in his bomb making.

            •  I suspect that had he succeeded with his (0+ / 0-)

              explosives, that would (in the long run) have caused more damage. It is strange that he got captured alive, a lot of spree killers either do a "suicide by cop" or kill themselves after their deeds; this guy Holmes simply surrendered and casually told the police about his apartment being rigged.

              Good thing he did, although admittedly curious for someone in his mindset. A moment of clarity..?

              •  If he thinks he's the joker, then in the Batman (0+ / 0-)

                narrative, the villains are in and out of jail. So he may think that he is getting out of jail soon, so he can spread more mayhem. Much has been made about the discovery of a batman mask as well.

                I read last night that he tried to get membership at a shooting range. But that his messages on their answering machine were so weird, that the manager said, Hell No!, but that Holme's ended up not pursuing the request to join.

                The range mgt said that Holme's left messages in a gutteral voice that sounded freakishly weird. That made me think of other batman characters on the movies that use that sort of Clint Eastwood growl to speak.

                Maybe it's nothing.

                You know, its a shame that the Gun Range mgt didn't call the cops. But then again, I have personally gone through experiences where I have called the cops on what were visibly, unstable creatures, and the cops didn't do a damn thing. I even called the federalis in one case, and they seemed unimpressed.

                There seems to be a major disconnect between Law Enforcement and the Public right now. I have heard lots of stories from people about calling on stalkers and nothing happening.

                Maybe that's why people hesitate.

                It sucks getting the stink eye from law enforcement when you are trying to convey something important. They make you feel like you are reporting little green men in the piggly wiggly.

                •  It would seem to be a perfect case for the (0+ / 0-)

                  Department of Homeland Security's "If you see something, say something" campaign...

                  •  With respect (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    It seems that its been amply demonstrated that law enforcement will not act before a crime has been committed if the only evidence is a witness saying "I have here a man or woman acting strangely." The presumption of innocence and the need for a warrant to investigate property chill enforcement, probably rightly. That is the flaw in saying that we need to police People, not guns. It cannot happen in the tradition of the presumption of innocense. That is why we need to further restrict weapons designed for military use, semiautomatic weapons, which, to a victim, are indistinguishable practically from an automatic.

                    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                    by OregonOak on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:52:31 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The notion that the "presumption of innocence" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      will be suspended for a certain class of people is chilling, to say the least.

                      •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

                        It seems our choice is to suspend the "presumption of innocence" for people, or to suspend our "tolerance of military use weapons" in public hands. I would support that latter before the former.

                        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                        by OregonOak on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 06:08:57 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  The weapons in use, the civilian versions (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          of military-style/look-alike rifles, are not as capable as their actual military-issue cousins that they resemble.

                          There are 50 to 80 million legal, responsible gun owners in the USA. Collectively punishing all of them because of the actions of less than a couple hundred people over 2-3 decades, is not the way a thinking Progressive goes about things. Especially when many of those people, the spree killers, could have been caught by adequate application of existing laws, or by applying other laws and safeguards that would not require collective punishment.

                    •  Some wacko leaving freaky messages on a GUN RANGE (0+ / 0-)

                      Message machine is way beyond the presumption of innocence. To me that's right up there with uttering threats against certain figures in the public.

                      It's not a convenience store, it's a Gun Range.

                      And when some guy tells me he wants to ride down all the liberals in the streets and [insert worst case scenario here].

                      Ding Ding Ding!

                      Freak Alert, Call the Cops. End of story.

                      Hey if he thinks that's a joke, then maybe the local coppers will have a big laugh with him. But I don't want to be that person in the news, after the fact saying, "I didn't think he was serious."

                      Certain utterances and behaviors require intervention.  Not that it does a damn bit of good, but at least I can look at myself in the mirror and sleep at night, knowing I attempted to do the right thing.

                  •  Sure, but I refer back to my original comment: (0+ / 0-)
                    There seems to be a major disconnect between Law Enforcement and the Public right now. I have heard lots of stories from people about calling on stalkers and nothing happening.
                    But you know, now that I think about it, perhaps law enforcement just ignores *me, because I am a hysterical uterus.

                    Maybe they listen to you.

                    I honestly, don't know.

      •  Bump fire adaptor demonstration. (video) (0+ / 0-)

      •  We do not know the motive of the shooter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in Colorado...yet.  And may never know.

        Not the point really.  The point is that someone had the capacity to do what they did because of the 30 round mags that were used.

        Maximum rounds that can be used in a Mini 14 in Canada now is 5.  Because of regulations on ammo since the massacre at L'Ecole Polytechnique.

        In 1989.

    •  Here's the story (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      complete with vid. It's little different than fully automatic -- just a loophole in the laws.

      They want those because they are afraid of brown and black people breaking into their homes or somesuch and taking away what's rightfully theirs. They're scared of those who do not look like them. My opinion, of course. American gun violence is the highest in the world.

      "Romney's vision of humanity is just a million tons of meat floating around in a sea of base calculations." —Susan Madrak

      by Crider on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:38:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Last stats I saw, Russia was way the hell (0+ / 0-)

        ahead of everyone in highest gun deaths. Do we surpass in violence?  Source?

        The Russian stats also suggest culture. Organized crime.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 09:20:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gun deaths per capita, I believe, but (0+ / 0-)

          I don't know where to find such stats. I believe they have pretty strict gun control there, as well, but so many post-Cold-War Soviet stockpiles were looted as to make it pointless.

          •  I've been trying to access the Gov ones (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Canis Aureus

            The pages have been moved and I can't figure out where.
            Isn't that interesting? My mind jumps to the Bush appointees that became civil servants in the last year of his admin. Some day I would like to be less cynical. The last decade has been a repetitive lesson of not being suspicious and cynical enough.

            The gun deaths per capita or per 1000 are the standard metrics. Gun violence includes crimes committed with guns that may or may not include deaths. It is very high here because so many robberies, abductions, drug transactions, etc. include guns.

            Russia's gun control laws, absence of the old west history and poor standard of basic living control the vast majority of citizens from owning guns. That decreases the use for convenience store robberies and other street crime we have here. The organized crime is what sends their deaths so high. Kerry cited the viciousness of their mafia in his '97 book The New War. They probably did the stockpile looting - makes it much easier to control folks if you have guns and they can only get them through you.

            People in Russia drink a lot to self medicate. We can do that and drugs. That, gun violence and interpersonal violence in the more stressed, poverty captives are all amenable to stronger government programs that provide permanent relief and safety nets.

            The gun control debate is as much distraction as abortion, with the critical benefit of maintaining the revenue stream.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:02:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the great explanation! n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Otteray Scribe

    Trade always exists for the traders. Any time you hear businessmen debating "which policy is better for America," don’t bend over. -George Carlin-

    by not4morewars on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:30:10 PM PDT

  •  When a man can shoot 70 people with legally (5+ / 0-)

    purchased weaponry which is capable of firing 100 rounds without being reloaded, there is something wrong with our gun laws.  Even "Justice" Scalia, bless his tin soul, might acknowledge that.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:31:28 PM PDT

    •  Well, actually, the typical magazine (7+ / 0-)

      holds from 20 to 30 rounds; some few hold 40. When you get into 50, 75 or the (very rare) 100-rounds, you're looking at a "drum", which is big, bulky, noisy (they rattle), and hard to carry concealed. The 30-round magazine is typical, and on the occasions when spree killers are tackled by bystanders, it has been while reloading.  

      In fact, most large rifles are very hard to conceal. They aren't used in many crimes, really: most gun crime is carried out with cheap, very small conceal-in-a-pocket type pistol, since no one sees you walking around with it and calls the cops.

      Spree killers love the big, high-capacity weapons for obvious reasons, but they are typically people who have displayed aberrant behavior in the past. I think a training/testing & licensing plan would help weed those people out, especially those who are unable to form social bonds with people (as they would in a proper civil militia).

      •  Our friends at Brownell have a non-cylindrical (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        100 round magazine, see link.  My understanding is that smaller versions of the AR-15 can be bought, and of course body armor can be purchased which can be worn, at least partially, under the outer clothing.

        You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

        by Cartoon Peril on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 05:06:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, I'd never buy one. There's (0+ / 0-)

          something "gimmicky" about them and I always hear about big drum-mags jamming and losing spring tension. Plus from experience I've never seen anyone in combat carry one of those huge things unless they were using a machinegun (an actual machinegun).

          But then, I'm military-trained, and I'll always default to that as my notion of "what's proper" for firearm usage.

      •  Excellent. Common Sense. (0+ / 0-)

        I agree completely.

        The problem in 2012 is that the Supreme Court struck down (DC v. Heller, 2008, Scalia Majority Opinion) the Well-Regulated Militia section of the Second Amendment. It is "inoperative." So, there is no mechanism which states or the Feds can use to ask military weapons owners to train/test and license. States are not going to do this on their own without direct Constitutional authority.

        How do we get that provision reinstated into Federal Law?

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:47:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  One of the original stories indicated that he did (0+ / 0-)

      have to re-load, and that these were the opportunities that some people took, to get away.

      "Everybody had dropped to the floor after the first couple gunshots, and then he fired some more. And then after that, there was a pause in the gunshots. Some people say he was reloading, I don't know. But at that point, my boyfriend was like 'This is the time, we need to go, we need to get out of the theater right now.' So we ran."

      I know a later story indicated that one of the guns jammed. But he had three loaded weapons. Would he have needed to reload, even with regular sized magazines with three loaded guns?

      •  There were 57 or so wounded people as well as (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the 12 deaths, so he had to have reloaded at some point. Even in cases where one bullet would go through 2 people, that wouldn't be a regular occurrence.

        But a movie theater, the way it is arranged, would be hard to rush him without being seen. The people who had the best chance of rushing him were the ones in the aisle seats, which were also, unfortunately, the ones who would have been most vulnerable when he first started firing.

  •  Thanks for the clarifications (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Canis Aureus, Quicklund, JesseCW

    I suppose you'd be upset about the classification of our own assault rifles (the Stgw 57 and the Stgw 90)...

    I can't think of a less attractive selling-point than "military style".  "Military style" to me means lugging the damn thing for hours up some alp, together with tons of ammunition, and at the end of a tiring day having to clean the damn thing in the dark and sub-freezing temperatures.  A less "romantic" picture I cannot imagine.

    I would add to your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment that anyone in possession of a weapon is automatically declaring him- or herself ready and able to be included in the armed forces and shipped to the front.

    γνωθι σεαυτόν

    by halef on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:43:50 PM PDT

  •  Assault rifle fires rifle rounds. Sub-MG, pistol (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Nucleo

    The term assault rifle stems from an attempt to distinguish the new military rifles which were both capable of automatic fire, and which fired the more powerful rifle cartridge.

    Previous full auto military weapons, like the famous Thompson Submachinegun, fired shorter less powerful pistol rounds.

    But basically, these are all arbitrary definitions that don't add up to a whole lot of ** when compared to the subject at hand. The point is, all these weapons exist for a direct military purpose.

    Yes that includes semi-automatic variants of the same weapon which fire the same round. If an AR-15 can never be regulated because of some arbitrary semantic distinction then no progress will ever occur. Full stop.

    But you do raise a valid point. It is very hard for lawmakers to write laws that weapon-makers cannot dodge by playing semantic games.

    •  Assault rifle rounds are usually (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Quicklund, JesseCW

      something like half as powerful as battle rifle rounds. And considerably more powerful than most handgun rounds.

      5.56 mm, 7.62x39 are what I have in mind. From visual inspection, the latter seems to have about half the case (powder) volume of a 7.62x51 (otherwise known as a .308, I think) and somewhat less than half that of the venerable old .30-06. The 5.56 seems to have about the same case volume as the 7.62x39. The latter has a larger diameter, heavier bullet than the former and so has considerably less muzzle velocity (maybe about half?). Tables of muzzle energy here seem to confirm my visual estimates. For a given bullet weight m, muzzle velocity is related to muzzle energy by energy = (1/2)(m)(velocity squared). Muzzle velocities for a whole bunch of cartridges are given here.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:21:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know that's true for the AK (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I saw some show a couple years ago which explained how the AK designer got it to work by shortening the cartridge of the original rifle round.

        But as you said these rounds are much more powerful than pistol rounds. They all feature the tapered design where the powder chamber is of much greater diameter than the slug.

        In comparison you could take a Thompson SMG round and fire it out of the also famous M1918 .45 cal pistol. Or so I have been told.

        •  Yes. As far as I know, the Thompson (0+ / 0-)

          and the M1911 (not sure what an M1918 is...the internet seems to think that is the BAR, which is a fully automatic .30-06 cal machine gun) use the exact same ammo, .45 ACP. A random google search seems to confirm that about .45 ACP.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:09:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  OH, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          your mention of A. Kalishnikov shortening the round reminded me of something.

          The less powerful the cartridge, the less finicky building an autoloader (semi or full auto) for it is. I remember reading a story about how Paul Mauser lost an eye when personally trying to develop an autoloading rifle for a full-power 7.xx mm cartridge. The bolt opened a bit too soon, causing the cartridge to disintegrate. He took a small fragment in one eye and didn't get it treated right away and the resulting infection ultimately cost him the sight in the eye.

          Lower powered cartridges are a bit easier to deal with from what I have read.

          I have also read that using your own reloads in an M-1 Garand is a bit risky for the same reason.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:16:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That seems to make sense (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Lower power rounds would put less stress on the breach mechanism, sorta thing.

            Not getting your eye flushed promptly... that part is not sensible

          •  Garands are finicky on powder burn rates, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            run too slow a powder and you have too high a pressure when the projectile crosses the the gas port.  This usually ends up in a bent op rod to the tune of a couple hundred bucks for a real part, cheaper for new manufacture....There's actually a lot of factory 06 ammunition you can't safely, for your rifle at least, shoot in a Garand.......

            The classic handloading powder for a Garand is IMR 4895 though there are others that work well.

            The only other thing to be extra careful with is the primer seating depth...... You have to seat the primer fully, about 2 thousandths low of flush, or the rifle can slamfire on the loading cycle before the bolt locks and that's in the category of "Not a Good Thing" at best to "Oh my god my rifle blew up and I'm bleeding like crazy!!"

            Any semi can slamfire with a high primer but the Garand is known for it, imo due to the large mass of the bolt itself....

            You can easily and very safely reload for a Garand as long as you use a powder in the right burn rate range. and make sure you seat your primers fully.........

            Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
            I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
            Emiliano Zapata

            by buddabelly on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 09:25:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Of course, you need lots of ammo (5+ / 0-)

    It's not firearms that kill people.  It's the ammo.

    Here's where you can purchase ammo in 1,000 round lots.

    I own so many guns it takes two gun safes to hold 'em all, however, I never have any more that a dozen or so rounds of any caliber on hand.

    Besides, real shooters load their own ammo anyway and don't trust this bulk stuff, much of which comes from China with US manufacturer labels.

    •  I bought some Chinese stuff on the cheap (0+ / 0-)

      a long time ago and don't much care for it-- corrosive. I shoot maybe quarterly or bi-annually at the local range, though, so it's taken me forever to go through it.  Especially since I was out of town for 5 years...

    •  looks like the ammo shortage is over... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby, 43north

      ... or is it?

      A couple of years ago (right about the time Obama was being sworn in), a lot of people, including some rural friends of mine, were complaining that it was getting darn near impossible to find ammo.  

      Apparently a lot of racists and wingnuts were buying up the supply and causing a shortage.  This was impacting everyone who has legitimate need for it, such as for putting food on the table.  

      On one hand it's a good thing if the shortage is over, because that means the wingnuts have stopped stocking up.

      On the other hand, the wingnuts still have their stockpiles.

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:24:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There will be another shortage. (0+ / 0-)

        Every time there's a mass killing, people buy up the guns used in the mass killing, high capacity mags, and ammunition.

        •  really? that's nuts. (0+ / 0-)

          The only rationale for buying the same type of weapon that was just used in a notorious case, is something along the lines of "dammit, I've wanted one of these for years and now they're going to be pulled out of circulation, I'd better get one now!"

          Otherwise there are a lot of sick bastards out there who secretly admire the psycho-killers.

          Really: aside from collectors and history buffs, the average person looking for firearms ought to make their selection based on an assessment of their own actual needs.   Hunting?  What kind?,  Rural defense against predatory animals?  What kind?,  Rural defense of farm animals?  What kind and what predators?  Urban home defense?  How does it fit into a defense-in-depth scenario including good locks, strong doors, alarm system, etc.?  

          These are ultimately technical questions with convergent answers, and variations based on the individual's skills and "user interface" conditions (e.g. the coordination and strength of each hand), and local ammo supply (like everything else, "buy local"!).  

          "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

          by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:30:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Your first block is most of it. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The other part is speculation. There will be a shortage of those firearms and accessories and so people buy them up to help create the shortage, then sell at a profit.

            •  just like the collectors' market in most things. (0+ / 0-)

              Special editions, limited editions, speculative shortages, and inflated prices.  All of which shouldn't be surprising.

              Ebay made its fortune on the collectors' craze for Beanie Babies.  Remember them?   There is probably still a big section of Ebay devoted to them.  

              "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

              by G2geek on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:59:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  They are afraid of the laws changing, so they (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            buy what they can and aim on getting their stash grandfathered in.

  •  My understanding is that (7+ / 0-)

    semi auto rifles/shotguns are virtually never used to commit crimes, we as a country tired banning some of them & it only exploded their growth/sales...
    "forbidden fruit is the tastiest"
     but not nearly as much as electing Obama, he's often described as the worlds greatest gun salesman, he's stimulated the domestic arms industry beyond anyone's wildest imagination, so if u wanta see even more guns purchased, go ahead & advocate their banning.
    old small revolvers are the kinda gun most criminals prefer & use committing everyday robbery's, they are also the only gun that Mexican police officers are allowed to own.
    Go figure

    Our president has his failings, but compared to Mitt Romney he is a paradigm of considered and compassionate thought.

    by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:02:03 PM PDT

  •  When you post something as technical (7+ / 0-)

    and detailed as this, you invite nit-pickery.
    The original Kalashnikov round, the 7.62x39, was not the standard Russian battle rifle cartridge. That would be the 7.62x54R used in the Mosin 91/30, the standard battle rifle used by Czarist and Bolshevik armies alike until the introduction of the AK.
    Tipped and recc'd.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:02:33 PM PDT

  •  The NRA would, of course, staunchly... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Johnny Nucleo, JesseCW

    ...oppose your "militia training" plan because it would decrease the pool of gun buyers (and almost certainly the total number of guns sold, since the current right-wing militia types who buy and hoard huge numbers of guns would likely not be deemed emotionally stable enough to pass real militia training).

    If the NRA were truly concerned only with the right of responsible citizens to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to possess guns for hunting, sport shooting and home defense, sane gun laws that allowed such people to have guns while preventing our streets from becoming shooting galleries would be possible. But for some time now, the NRA has been a tool for gun and ammo manufacturers to clear the way for as many guns and as much ammo to be sold in the U.S. as possible. They use fear to get people to buy guns, and they're not much interested in keeping them out of the hands of lunatics, as long as one of their patrons in the gun biz makes a profit.

    Before we can ever have an adult conversation about laws which balance the right to keep and bear arms with the public good as a whole, we have to disarm the NRA. And frankly, that goes back to campaign finance reform.

    I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

    by ObamOcala on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:12:36 PM PDT

    •  For a long time, I tried to encourage (7+ / 0-)

      as many liberal-minded gun owners as possible to join the NRA to change the culture from inside. That was when I was still fairly naive, and did not realize how the NRA (and more specifically, the ILA, it's "Institute for Legislative Action" wing) is a blanket lobbying tool for firearms manufacturers.

      So it's like buying stock in a corporation in hopes of using shareholder votes to press for internal change: if the Board realizes they're getting outvoted on something, they can arbitrarily split stocks, issue more shares, or institute a two-tiered share system where Board members' shares are worth 10 votes while ordinary shareholders have one vote per share.

      The NRA-ILA can simply change the playing field if they think they're getting foxed on something. Discouraging.

  •  Heller did no such thing (0+ / 0-)
    DC vs. Heller determined that the 2nd Amendment protects the rights of citizens to have access to firearms.
    But you knew that, right?

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:22:02 PM PDT

    •  The typical, basic interpretation is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PavePusher, Otteray Scribe

      that this was seen as the end result-- what the take-away is after all the legalese and literal application has been cut away from it.

      The exact conclusion, yes, is far more complex and it would be necessary to read through large chunks of Heller to get the nuance. But the end result was that Heller used the 2nd Amendment to argue that he should have the right to keep a firearm at home, free of onerous restrictions. Part of his argument was based on the 2nd Amendment being applicable to personal defense from criminal activity.

      So it struck down the Washing DC ban as unconstitutional, riding the 2nd Amendment horse to the finish line, and focused on a interpretation of the 2nd Amendment as it applies more broadly.

      I'm no lawyer (obviously) but that's the thing about law-- you take the aggregate effects and use that to create a new precedent, and that new precedent was used to take Heller and the 14th Amendment to challenge the Chicago ban in MacDonald.

      Again, in the dissenting opinion remarks, some restrictions are still Constitutional, but basic access to firearms is Constitutionally protected. So it is not what Heller said specifically, exactly, pursuant to that particular case, but how it's use of the 2nd Amendment has altered the interpretations and applications later.

      What has yet to be determined is what "restrictions and controls" are Constitutional, within the established parameters set by Heller, Miller, and MacDonald as precedents. It has yet to be determined.

      •  No, it's not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The typical basic interpretation is that this was seen as the end result-- what the take-away is after all the legalese and literal application has been cut away from it.
        You know as well as I do that Heller simply stated that Washington DC could not ban ownership of an accessible firearm in one's home, subject to a licensing process which did not in and of itself act as a de facto ban.  The Court specifically left in place the authority of federal, state, and local statutes to impose restrictions on such ownership - in the decision, not in the dissent.

        The progeny case, McDonald, simply held that the Heller parameters were applicable to states and local entities beyond Washington DC, and struck down the statute which banned handgun ownership in Chicago.

        It is my understanding that over 200 challenges which seek to expand Heller/McDonald have been filed, with but one favorable ruling in a district in Maryland.  All others have upheld the questioned statutes.

        So the "typical basic understanding" - in the judgment of the overwhelming majority of courts examining post-Heller cases, which is what counts - is that Heller means exactly what it says: you can keep a loaded firearm in your home for self defense, provided you are in compliance with all other relevant federal, state, and local statutes.

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 05:09:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, thank you, that is what is written (0+ / 0-)

          in Heller (admittedly, been awhile since I read it; not exactly light reading)-- but the way I have always seen it being used since then is that --since the 2nd was used to leverage the argument-- bans, or barriers that effectively create bans, are unconstitutional.

          Taken from that is that "if bans are unconstitutional, then access is allowed". And that seems to be the way it is being applied... again, since the notion of what would be a a Constitutional ban or control has not been defined.

          •  Therein lies the problem (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Heller was written in an extremely narrow fashion, but the caveats concerning the validity of existing restrictions and those which do not cross the Heller threshold are almost always left out when it is described by those who favor unfettered access to firearms.

            As the litigation since Heller has shown, the courts are almost universally loathe to extend its parameters any further and with a few exceptions (i.e. NY City's licensing process, which is essentially a ban), I don't see any major changes on the horizon.

            The Second Amendment Foundation would love for people to believe that "victory" (seemingly defined by them as any weapon, any time, any place, by anybody) is just around the corner - keeps those donation dollars flowing.

            I have owned a plethora of weapons over the span of 50 years, had a NYS pistol permit for 40 of them, and fully support the right of a responsible citizen to possess and carry.

            However, I also believe that there are people who should not be allowed near a weapon, and I support wholeheartedly legitimate efforts to identify and weed those people out of the pool of prospective owners, which is something that I would think that all responsible gun owners should support.  

            Surprises me how many don't.

            I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

            by Wayward Wind on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:39:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, yeah, there are some nuts I wouldn't trust (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              with a pointy stick... Most "real" gun owners wouldn't be averse to some simple laws... the NICS check was actually a compromise offered by the NRA to do away with the Brady Bill's mandatory waiting period, and I think that NICS is "a good framework to start from".

              Unfortunately, a lot of places in the past passed gun registration laws that they swore would never be used as confiscation lists... only to turn the table a few years later and use those registrations for precisely that (Hawaii, California, Chicago and I believe NYC) so a lot of trust was eroded.

              I think future laws should look at moulding the behavior and parameters of gun ownership and responsibility, rather than the firearms themselves. Criminal behavior seems to have been changing over the years, with less actual crimes and spree-killings holding steady, despite there being more people in general and more violent media available (another frequent target of blame).

              •  Agree and disagree (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Canis Aureus, OregonOak

                I think NICS as it is currently implemented in essentially non-functional - 2/3 of the names are non-citizens caught up in INS sweeps, there are ten states which report nothing, etc.

                Agree that focusing on types of weapons, capacity, etc., is a misplaced focus, and we should be focusing on who obtains weapons, not what weapon they choose.

                This is a list that I have developed over the past year or so.  I have posted it on DK before and received opposition on nearly every single point:

                1.    Strengthening the NICS database by provision of adequate funding to the states to enable them to bring their records current and entering the data into the national database. If states refuse to comply, or remain in non-compliance after an extended period of time in which to accomplish the objectives, suspend the availability for NICS checks for that state until they are in compliance.

                2.    Expanding the NICS requirements to include all firearms, including private sales, which could be accomplished by (a) requiring gun show promoters to have onsite capabilities for running a NICS check, and (b) requiring that buyers in straight private sales obtain an NICS clearance document from a local office of a law enforcement agency or gun shop and providing the same to the seller.  FFLs required to provide NICS services with respect to private sales on the same conditions as sales from their inventory – i.e. no charging exorbitant fees for a NICS check.

                3.    To obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, passing a comprehensive background investigation – not just a 3 day federal NISC and state CJ database checks, but a full background investigation. If the background investigation process meets federally established standards, then the CCW permit should be valid nationwide.

                4.    Successful completion of an official class room course which covers the state and federal (and municipal where applicable) laws concerning ownership and use of weapons;

                5.    Successful completion of a proficiency course in the use of that particular weapon conducted by an authorized law enforcement agency – if you buy a different weapon, you have to qualify with it.  Law enforcement entitled to keep a fired round for use in future criminal investigations;

                6.    No sale or transfer of any weapon without a security device, i.e., trigger lock, locking cable, biometric device, etc.;

                7.    Imposition of a strict liability standard as concerns any use of the weapon, by you or anyone else.  If a criminal steals your weapon from your home, car, business, or person, and subsequently commits a crime with it, you are liable.  You have the availability of an affirmative defense: if you can prove that you fully complied with generally accepted safety practices, (trigger lock, locking cable, gun safe, etc.), then your liability will be eliminated;

                8.    Mandatory purchase of a liability insurance policy or rider covering that weapon, to ensure that resources exist in the event of a finding of liability for misuse.  If the insurance is canceled for any reason, the weapon(s) are impounded until proof of insurance is produced.  If your weapon is stolen, the insurance must be maintained until the weapon is recovered by law enforcement.  If you sell a weapon and provide proof (i.e. the buyer’s NICS approval document) then you can have the weapon removed from your policy, or cancel the policy if you have no other covered weapons.

                9.    States and municipalities can impose reasonable restrictions on carrying of weapons. What is fine for rural areas of the US may well not be acceptable in high-density urban areas, and it should be left to the states and cities to determine what is acceptable. It is the responsibility of the individual to know the regulations in effect in a particular jurisdiction before carrying a weapon there. States and municipalities must make such ordinances widely available (i.e. on their websites and/or upon request) in order to enforce the restrictions.

                I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

                by Wayward Wind on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 10:03:34 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You are remarkably consistent... (0+ / 0-)

                Changing the behaviors and parameters of gun ownership legally is a great approach. Too bad the Supreme Court struck down the Militia Clause as prefatory. That could have been the way to do it. Now, I dont know..

                Any suggestions on that front?

                Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

                by OregonOak on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:54:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the pix of clip and mag. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PavePusher, 43north

    I just went to the range today and used 6 clips ("stripper clips") just like the one in your picture to load a 30 round magazine twice, with the aid of a small loading device. Much faster than loading them one round at a time. That was for my AK-alike.

    If I really wanted to run thru a lot of rounds in a short time I'd just use the clips directly in my SKS which only holds 10 rounds. I can reload that somewhat faster than I can switch mags on the AK, and of course don't have to spend any time loading the mags in the first place.

    The drum? Forget about it. It's one of those that doesn't open up. Putting 75 rounds in that thing one at a time is just useless.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:26:17 PM PDT

  •  Buy a slide stock and bump fire that AR-15 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's not 800 rounds per minute, but you can still get 500.

    •  I run thru too much one trigger pull at a time, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Walt starr

      thanks. Also, I don't need to be wearing out my barrels and burning the wooden furniture off the front of my AK (There's a youtube video showing some cretin firing his until he achieved that result...). I read somewhere that the AK types will get hot enough to cook off if you fire 80 rounds in a minute. I've never tried it, though. Seems a bit unlikely.

      Moderation in most things.

      by billmosby on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:50:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't blame you. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Slide stocks seem to be designed to trash firearms and force you to buy a new one.

        I just wonder how many takes they had to get that drum magazine to fire without jamming.

        •  My Romanian drum seems pretty jam-free, (0+ / 0-)

          but it's such a pain to load that I usually don't bother with it.

          I did have the little part that keeps the rounds feeding one at a time come loose once, spraying rounds all over the inside of my pickup truck when I had the dang thing almost loaded, lol.

          I put it back in and mushroomed the end of the pin better than the dang commies who had built the thing on a Friday afternoon could manage, and it has stayed put for 10 years.
          Perhaps because I don't try to use it much.

          Moderation in most things.

          by billmosby on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:05:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for an informative diary! (4+ / 0-)

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:41:25 PM PDT

  •  The "militia" concept (0+ / 0-)

    I'd like to see a whole lot more discussion about this. Thanks for taking a stab at it.

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 05:34:08 PM PDT

  •  So under your (the diarist) approach... (0+ / 0-)

    ...people over 65 would be banned from owning firearms. Right?

    You want twelve dollar gasoline? Bomb Iran!

    by wishbone on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 05:45:34 PM PDT

    •  seems that would run afoul of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      discrimination laws.  

      Age and date-of-birth boxes are missing from job applications these days.

      There's a reason.

    •  Not necessarily. I'm theorizing that (0+ / 0-)

      if the Constitution were being written today, that would probably be the parameters entered. In today's society, the age of 17 would require the impressment of child soldiers, so that probably wouldn't fly (although we allow people to enlist in the military at 17 as long as they have parental permission).

      And the 1770's age of 45 seemed about as arbitrary, but it was probably because people were too physically infirm to march long distances at that era. Nowadays, 65 is the typical retirement age, but with good health and modern technology, and mechanized transport, the old "marching long distances" bar can probably be circumnavigated.

      It's something that would be up for debate; I've met 70+ year-olds who could outfight and outmarch some physically-shattered 40-year-olds who ruined their bodies with drink, tobacco, and other recreationals...

      •  If there was a militia that functioned as you (0+ / 0-)

        described, I would join that.

        But as it stands, most of the militias seem to be somewhat of a different animal and not too pretty either.

        •  Thanks, and I sometimes wish (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          GreenMother, OregonOak

          progressives would form our own militia to counter the grouchy ones and show society how it is done. Unfortunately, that's not so likely. But of course the militia as I see really would be a community help organization, kind of like a big Scouts organization, coed and inclusive...

          Most of today's militias formed because of the 1990's talk about how "the 2nd Amendment is only for militias", so groups of people with axes to grind got together and declared themselves "militias"... Too bad, the original tradition was, I think, probably more in line with what I was thinking of (could be wishful thinking on my part, heh...)

          But hey, if that day comes, I'd be glad to have you join! :-)

  •  I have to agree with the argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Canis Aureus

    Now I am personally in favor of an all out ban on firearms, but there are many that are not and ... well.. I just dont think we will win that argument considering the near Biblical weight the Constitution is afforded in our society today.  However, this seems like a very logical and cogent argument and it would put us more on a par with the Swiss generally (I think or is it the Austrians?)  There are of course a multitude of societal differences between our society and their so it wouldnt guarantee we would see the same outcomes, but it would surely be worth a try.

    So if you are in a militia, then by all means...  

    •  Swiss. (0+ / 0-)

      The Canton Helvetica (Swiss) are a federation of independent states (Canton), and there's three major divisions:

      Swiss-French  (though the French like to say French-Swiss)
      Swiss-Italian (and their cousins the Romanisch)

      The commonality of Swiss-hypen and a more homogenous demographic and shared experience, has a great deal to do with the success of the Swiss militia system.

      •  We already have militias (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in the form of National Guards.   Why do we need to invent something new just so people with a gun fetish have an outlet for it?

        Anyone who wants to be in a militia can join the National Guard and get all the training and time they want with guns.

        •  The National Guard system wasn't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          formalized until World War 1. The 2nd Amendment wasn't referring to the National Guard, but citizen militias.

          The National Guard doesn't qualify as a grown-up militia because it is an auxiliary of the Federal standing Army. That means it has to follow Army restrictions.

          Until recently, that meant gays couldn't serve (and even now, HIV-positives can't), and it still means women cannot serve in combat roles regardless of whether they are qualified or motivated. Also out-- diabetics, epileptics, and people who are wheelchair bound but otherwise fully capable.

          Basically, the demands of the job (war) allows the US Military to ignore the Americans With Disabilities Act and can practice discriminatory hiring. A citizen militia would be open to all.

          The nice thing about citizen militias in the War of 1812, was that they were almost impossible to organize for offensive warfare. Commanders complained the militias frequently refused to participate in aggression into Canada, some even refused to go past their state boundaries. In their mindset, that sort of stuff had nothing to do with defending their homes, which was what they felt the militia was for-- not to be tools for someone else's desire for attack. Pesky militias and their lack of imperialist spirit, heh!

        •  And get shipped off again? No thanks (0+ / 0-)

          I did my time in Uncle Same's Canoe Club.

          The National Guard has been re-assigned indefinitely it seems and completely tied up in red tape if Katrina is any indicator.

          I guess that is how it goes with any top heavy org or government.

          Too Many Chefs, not enough wait staff.

          •  Good thing you brought up Katrina, since (0+ / 0-)

            that reminds me that there was a plan (don't know if it went through or not) to use private security to secure disaster sites like Katrina. The idea was, since the National Guard was tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, then the good folks at Blackwater/Name-of-the-Week club could bring in some folks to help out.

            To be honest, that terrifies me. Hopefully, now that the wars are winding down (or done, as in Iraq) that isn't such a pressing issue. But the thought alone is worrisome. People have already been through a disaster, and now they have to have corporate mercenaries poking around in our lives afterwards?

            •  Well they used "Private Security" at the Gulf Gush (0+ / 0-)

              --er, so I guess that is a big yes.

              Rich people used private security during Katrina too.

              Having Corporate Mercs on US Soil messing with regular citizens on public land pisses me off.

              I don't see it as being right, especially under the circumstances that they were employed. What happened in the Gulf of Mexico was a complete erosion of the People's Rights.

              Mercs confiscating Cameras, camera phones and other recording devices, Mercs keeping people off of public beaches or even intimidating people on their private beaches so the unified command could bag dead animals and throw them in land fills or blow up whales at sea where no one could see them.

              That is screwed up. But then I have a lot to say about that whole situation.

              Makes you wonder if that is happening at some fracking sites too.

    •  I used to be one of the people who (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      were completely against controls, and felt that current law was sufficient but wasn't rigorously enforced. But the thing is, I'm lucky in that I learned firearms in the military (US Army) where weapons discipline is like Gospel... and I've left civilian ranges because yah-hoos were clowning around with loaded weapons and I was uncomfortable being there.

      So, yeah, a little discipline is a good thing. Unfortunately these days, people sometime seem to think that the word "discipline" means "punishment".

      Maybe "professionalism" would be a better term.

  •  DC v Heller was wrongly decided (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in my strongly held but completely insignificant opinion. If you want to see what the framers were talking about when they referred to militias, there is considerable detail about this in the Articles of Confederation:

    [E]very State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.
    So, at the time the Constitution was being written and debated, and at the time the Bill of Rights was seeking ratification, a “well-regulated militia” was something “kept up” by each state, including adequate weaponry. (Note that in some states, weapons were privately owned, and in others, they were provided by the state.) On top of this very clear predecessor of the 2nd Amendment, in effect throughout the land until the instant the Constitution was ratified, one must point out that the expression “to bear arms” has never meant “to carry a gun”, it has always meant “to wage war”. Finally, it must be pointed out that Americans loved the myth that the militias had won the Revolution, and the creation of a centralized federal military was extremely controversial since it threatened the militias' supremacy and their very existence. With that context,
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    takes on a very different meaning that that imposed on the nation primarily by Antonin Scalia's mistaken analysis of the contemporaneous legal context of the 2nd Amendment.
    •  True, but to "bear arms" was also (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      prefaced by "to keep and". But it is true that the militias were not very good at carrying out organized, aggressive warfare. They were what they were: local defense organizations, and not to be marched out in proper parade order for stand-up fight with the Redcoats.

      They would have been guerrillas, ideally, but the war could not be pressed that way, the US needed a real army to devote themselves to nothing but the attack and do it properly as a full-time job.


      •  “keep” as in “keep up” (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Remember the purpose of the 2nd Amendment: to reassure Americans that their precious colonial/state militias would not be eliminated because of the new federal army.

        The first half of the Amendment echoes the Articles and concedes the necessity of the old militias (“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”). The second part is a concise restatement of the fuller text of the Articles as a fundamental right (“the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed”). The key phrase “to keep and bear Arms” is simply a descriptive pointer to the status quo ante, the glorious militia system as it had existed during the Articles of Confederation. One could replace it as such with no change of meaning, for example:

        A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to maintain, and to serve in, the militia of their State, shall not be infringed.
        Obviously, that's wordier and less euphonious than the original, but on the other hand, it is much more clear.

        The bottom line for me is that it had nothing to do with private gun ownership, it was all about protecting the militias.

  •  This soon after the tragedy, I think this diary (0+ / 0-)

    shows an incredible amount of insensitivity.
    I think there's a great deal of info that would be appropriate later on, but I think you're spitting on a great number of people who don't share your enthusiasm for guns.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:44:51 PM PDT

    •  Point taken, but at the same time I have to say (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meagert, GreenMother, David54

      that just because I am a gun owner doesn't mean that I should sit back and hear myself maligned by implication or have my very sanity called into question, or be referred to as an enabler, or "complicit" in the crime, and so on. I find that sort of broad, sweeping, all-encompassing condemnation about an entire class of people to be the very opposite of progressive thought. We are people who seek truth and proper study, to educate, and see through emotion to the facts even if they are uncomfortable.

      I didn't write this just to talk about my enthusiasm; I wrote this precisely because there's a lot of talk about the subject and people should know what it is they are talking about. Especially if folks want to discuss legalities. No legal decision should be made in the heat of emotion; that's how we get wars in Iraq and Patriot Acts.

      But I understand your concern and appreciate your candor, nonetheless...

    •  I disagree. This diary deepens the discourse and (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, Canis Aureus, David54

      brings a calm, technical approach to the discussion.

      The diarist makes it very clear he is very distressed about the shooter-the murderer and what that individual perpetrated.

      The diarist makes it very clear that firearms are not toys or a means to settle an argument, etc.,

      With all the shrill name calling and labeling that has been flying about in the general direction of gun owners, this diary is a break from that, while still seriously discussing the subject.

      •  I re-read the diary and it's better on the second (0+ / 0-)

        reading. I felt like the discussion of various types of weaponry was a little too casual this close to the event.
        I read the ending, but I was kind of glazed over at that point. I like the final two paragraphs.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:13:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How about adding insurance for damages (0+ / 0-)

    Included in the mix?

    Make everyone with guns pay for insurance for damages, pooling their money to cover the costs when people hurt people with their guns, either accidentally or deliberately.

    Women create the entire labor force.

    by splashy on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:06:15 AM PDT

    •  In an up-thread post, Wayward Wind (0+ / 0-)

      presents an interesting notion which I think is worth discussion, in which firearm owners would have to have liability insurance (and said insurance could not be priced beyond the reach of ordinary people). Weapons would have to be stored securely at home.

      If a weapon is stolen and used in a crime, then if the owner reports the theft as soon as reasonably possible, and it is demonstrated that they took "reasonable precautions", then they suffer no liability. But if they were negligent in storage and security, then they could be held liable in some way.

  •  You're dead wrong about the AK-47, my friend. (0+ / 0-)

    The AK-47 is absolutely not a 'battle rifle', and its ammunition is not a full-size rifle caliber round. To the complete contrary, the Russian 7.62 x 39 is explicitly a shorter, lower-energy cartridge based on the German WWII "kurtz" (or short) cartridge that was designed for the very first assault rifle developed for German paratroopers circa 1943.

    The short cartridge means the AK-47 has a lower muzzle velocity than the full-size rifle cartridge of the same diameter; but that's exactly why it's much more controllable and more usable at normal combat ranges. With the AR-15/M-16 series the U.S. took a different approach, using a smaller caliber but higher velocity round with roughly the same kinetic energy. The subsequent Russian adoption of a very similar 5.45 mm round provides a hint as to which solution works better.

    •  The AK is a weird dog, for sure. The size (0+ / 0-)

      of the round would, to me at least, place it in the lower end of the battle rifle category but (for the reasons you point out) it doesn't act  like a battle rifle (nor is it employed as such).

      One of the reasons why I see it as more in the battle rifle spectrum was because the Soviets themselves redesigned it into the 5.54 AK-74, emulating the M-16. By doing that, it seemed that they were admitting that a smaller, faster round was needed, and the 7.62x39 was left behind as a bastard larger-bore round that technically wasn't big enough to keep up with the rest of the cartridges it had been left with.

      I'll admit I had not thought about burn rates, which is silly for me to neglect since I've studied the powder burn rate that almost doomed the early M-16s in Vietnam, when they were simply bottling the cartridges with the coarser M-14 powder...

    •  Not really set in stone. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Assault rifle" and "battle rifle" themselves are terms of art rather than precise taxonomy, and though they are significantly more meaningful than the ignorant jabberers have come up with, the distinction between the two is more of a rule of thumb.  7.62x39mm may be an intermediate cartridge, but you've got to admit that it's right in the upper range of that category.

  •  You can forgive the late comer. (0+ / 0-)

    But there are way too many old hands (both here and in the punditsphere) who have had way too many arguments with way too many people to expect anything more than willful ignorance.

    Informative diaries like this one are absolutely essential.  Correcting blatant mistakes and slapping down outright lies is cathartic.  But what really matters is spreading the message that this debate--for all intents and purposes--is over.  That it's time to discuss how Democrats will adjust to an extraordinarily gun-friendly reality, how we'll deal with intransigent dead-enders (hopefully not as harshly and finally as the GOP did theirs), and how we'll seize the issue away from the GOP.

    If there's one major point where RKBA@kos and I disagree, it's on what that means for Democrats and the NRA.  I've seen a lot of hemming and hawing about the organization, which is admittedly as right-leaning as it's ever been.  I've also seen a lot of deference shown to gun control freaks who seem to think that their caricatures of the organization somehow resonate with the American people.  Seeing how impotent the anti-gun movement voices are compared to even second-tier gun rights organizations like GOA, this strikes me as an especially stupid self-delusion.  That said, the NRA has--whether you like it or not--been at the forefront of gun owner's rights for the past century.  It's inconceivable that an organization with a membership that large and that passionate would not have a guiding, even authoritative voice on the topic.  

    Democrats can't pretend that the NRA doesn't exist, can't marginalize it, can't pretend we have an alternative.  To do so is to invite the right to question our commitment to a most fundamental liberty. We must make peace with the NRA and its members, and we must do so in a way that will thoroughly forgive the stupidity gun control freaks have wrought in our name.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site