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I have a question that I have been unable to find an answer to online without rifling through 180000 pages of opinion pieces.  There is a lot of opinion tossed left and right on this but I want a specific answer to a specific aspect of the debate.

Why does the law believe the firearms with military style features (as defined in the law), are more dangerous than those without these features?

I dont want to know if they actually are more dangerous.  I want to know why they lawmakers thought they were when the law were written.  What facts did they base these laws on?

Helpful would be information that is not speculation on what the lawmakers were feeling (such as "they thought they looked scarier") or someone screaming at the other side, etc.  Facts only, please.  Even better would be facts backed by stats.

Thanks!

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Comment Preferences

  •  this is the kind of question that, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Baculum King

    in my experience, is very difficult to get a direct, unbiased answer to.

    "Let's do this!" - Leeroy Jenkins

    by AaronInSanDiego on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 12:36:18 AM PST

  •  At one point, they probably were more dangerous. (0+ / 0-)

    Before the M&P 15 came along

    http://www.smith-wesson.com/...

  •  I was abroad when the first AWB (0+ / 0-)

    was passed, and there wasn't much of an internet available in those days, but I would guess that one of the major factors was magazine capacity - the ability to insert a magazine with 20 or 30 rounds and quickly change them out.

    I am sure that there are folks with a better sense of history than me, but I recall shotguns and rifles having much lower capacities.

    Additionally, shortened/folding/telescoping stocks made it far easier to carry a rifle concealed.

    Including the other prohibited features - flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, pistol grips - never made much sense to me.

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

    by Wayward Wind on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 12:57:47 AM PST

  •  i think it may be a bit more objective (0+ / 0-)


    i.e. military assault rifles are capable of being made full-automatic: i.e. that regardless how many rounds in the magazine, a single touch can produce suppression fire at a rapid speed, far more rapid than individual presses of a trigger.  And 'civilian models' of these full-auto rifles can still be retrofitted for full-auto mode with few modifications.  The AR-15 type rifle so much in the news nowadays is advertised with "optional rocket launcher" capability (at least that is what I read) which is one of those retrofittable options never suitable for civilian use.

    So I think it has very little or nothing to do with 'look and feel' but more to do with how the weapon can be retrofitted, modified - or even perceived as - an automatic weapon of great destruction.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 01:13:27 AM PST

  •  Designed for the military (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Sandino, melfunction

    Assault rifles are derivatives of military weapons M4, AK 47, UZI etc.

    Now if these guns are manufactured to meet the requirements of the military, whose objective  will be to fire the maximum amount of lethal rounds in the shortest time,then it is pretty safe to assume that in civilian hands they are the same degree of lethality.

    Also, the small diameter of the bullet in the AR15 means that they are significantly lighter than say 30-06 round, which allows the gunman to carry a significantly larger amount of ammunition, and to load bigger capacity magazines with out the gun becoming too heavy.

    These are probably the main reasons why they are the weapon of choice of spree killers.

  •  I'm afraid you've asked... (8+ / 0-)

    ...for something that is impossible to provide.

    This one in particular is problematic:

    What facts did they base these laws on?
    The answer is: none, whatsoever.

    The original so-called "assault weapons ban" was based entirely on cosmetic features rather than any real effectiveness or ability of the firearm.

    Wikipedia has a very good explanation on this subject:

    The term, assault weapon, when used in the context of assault weapon laws refers primarily (but not exclusively) to semi-automatic firearms that possess the cosmetic features of an assault rifle that is fully automatic. Actually possessing the operational features, such as 'full-auto', changes the classification from assault weapons to Title II weapons. Merely the possession of cosmetic features is enough to warrant classification as an assault weapon.
    There were some firearms listed by brand and name, but, apart from that, a list of purely cosmetic features was provided -- anything with two or more of these features (such as a pistol grip and a bayonet lug) would be categorized as an "assault weapon," even though its actual capabilities are unaffected by those features.

    It is a purely political term, having no real bearing on reality itself.

    So, sadly, I doubt anyone can provide you with facts or stats -- there are none supporting the legal definition.

    Yes, I often dress as a pirate. Your point?

    by theatre goon on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 03:59:04 AM PST

  •  Diane Feinstein's staff (3+ / 0-)

    literally browsed through a gun catalog, decided which guns they wanted to ban, and figured out which features those guns shared.

  •  Quoted from the original diary (7+ / 0-)
    I want to know why they lawmakers thought they were when the law were written.  What facts did they base these laws on?
    I really don't think that this was the reasoning.  I don't believe that they went after them because they were inherently more lethal.  Instead I think that it was another emotionally based knee jerk reaction, a need to "do something now."

    The reason I say this is in part because I can find no technical data in any documentation on the laws.  What I did see was this: Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which was the precursor to the 1994 ban.  At the top of the article it states that it was in response to a mass shooting that took place in 1993 and the waco siege.

    Coming at this from the perspective of an engineer who also owns guns, has a carry permit, and has done a fair amount of study on them, I can't think of one feature of these weapons that makes them inherently more dangerous.  I have been seeing the cries of "sole purpose is to kill lots of people very fast" and the civilian AR doesn't fit this description.  

    The detachable magazine with more than 10 rounds matches just about every semiautomatic hand gun carried by police around the country and those handguns can fire rounds a hell of a lot more powerful than the AR.   They would also be far easier to conceal than a two to three foot long rifle, even if the stock collapses.  If they are may shorter, they get into a class called an SBR (short barrel rifle) which are also a restricted item.  

    Any of the features that make the military version of the rifle, such as the M4 or the M16 more lethal put it in the category of title II weapons which without a serious permit process and heavy restrictions are illegal.  

    In summary, i don't think that there is a technical reason for it then.  I don't think that there is a technical reason for it now.  I think both cases are a mass hysteria reaction to a rarely occurring but intense traumatic event.  In essence, I think it amounts to an attempt to legislate away evil thoughts.

    •  A handgun round is generally not more powerful (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1

      The Marines have a saying "A handgun is for fighting your way to your rifle".

      You're talking 1,300 ft-lbs of energy in a .223 round versus around 500 in a 9mm or .45 ACP

      You're up into .44 magnum territory before you start getting comparable power out of a handgun round.

      If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

      by Major Kong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:40:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Quoting ft-lbs is almost caliber war territory (0+ / 0-)

        Rifles are more powerful than handguns.  Speaking in terms of ballistics, handguns suck.  The standard (jacketed / hard point) .223 is not a very powerful round that is good for target practice and small game.  Many don't even consider it to be effective as a man stopper.  There are other kinds of ammunition for a .223 and especially for a 5.56 chambered gun that are more powerful.  Given the choice between a standard .223 and a .45 ACP, I would likely opt for the .45.

        •  Not sure what it is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1

          that makes some people get all dreamy eyed about .45 ACPs

          I've got a $1000 Kimber that misfeeds about every 20th round, and that's after I sent it back to the factory.

          My Beretta 92 has never malfunctioned in 20 years.

          If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

          by Major Kong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 07:27:46 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Don't blame the .45 ACP round. (0+ / 0-)

            Could have been an issue with the ammo, the magazine, or the gun. Something was not tuned right to cause your feeding problems.

            ego sum ergo ego eram

            by glb3 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:26:47 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Nobody's ever (0+ / 0-)

              volunteered to go downrange and catch one of my 9mm rounds.

              Just sayin'

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 11:41:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  the problem is not .45 . . . (0+ / 0-)

            Kimber?  Why on earth ? ? ?

            Ruger P90 (at half the price) is rock solid reliable.

            Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

            by Deward Hastings on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:48:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  ...and don't blame... (0+ / 0-)

              ...the 1911 platform (forgive them, John Browning, for they know not what they do).

              ego sum ergo ego eram

              by glb3 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:41:20 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nobody shoots a stock 1911 (0+ / 0-)

                they've all had a trigger job, barrel job, slide job, sights replaced etc.

                I'd rather just buy something that shoots correctly out of the box and doesn't need a trip to a gunsmith before it actually shoots straight.

                If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                by Major Kong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 11:44:13 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Ruger = Brick with trigger (0+ / 0-)

              If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

              by Major Kong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 11:40:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  A reliable brick (0+ / 0-)

                with a quite decent out-of-the-box trigger.  Works when you need it, does what it's supposed to.  

                Maybe not so good for gang-banging or as a carry-everywhere gun for wannabe Rambos.  Which I interpret as a good thing . . . I don't like gang-bangers or wannabe Rambos anyway . . .

                Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

                by Deward Hastings on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 12:27:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm just tweaking you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deward Hastings

                  I like their revolvers. I have a GP-100.

                  I was just never that fond of their automatics.

                  The "bricks with triggers" line came from a friend of mine that owns one.

                  If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

                  by Major Kong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 01:21:18 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  It's really hard to argue (0+ / 0-)

          for .223 as a "home defense" round.  Sure it's "more effective" out at a couple hundred yards, but I'm not defending my "urban estate" against zombies at the tree line.

          Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

          by Deward Hastings on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:33:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hi, Major! Yep, that's part of it (0+ / 0-)

        but I think another part of it has to do with the magazine capacity.

        When you were Air Force, what handguns were pilots issued?
        In my day they were .38 S&W K-frame revolvers.

        The M-16 has a longer range, and though it fires a smaller round, it fires with more force (bigger propellant charge) and has more accuracy farther downrange (longer barrel).

        Today, S&W puts out a 5 shot revolver that is, again, the most powerful handgun in the world.

        I think you might legitimately hunt bear with that; it's overkill for deer....

        But it's not high-capacity rapid-fire -- or at least, it doesn't look like it would be.

        The 5.56, shooting FMJ, is more likely to produce a through-and-through wound at +/- 25 meters. This makes it useful if you want to tie up advancing opponents -- the theory taught me in SAMTU school 30-plus years ago, is that you do, because having one or more additional opponents assisting a wounded one is better than dropping one dead, only to leave the others free (and more motivated) to advance.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:09:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  One of the factors (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    had less to do with actual attributes and more to do with the growing popularity of AK47s in the drug trade, popularized by gangsta rap.
    Coupled with several slaughters and featured prominently in rap videos, these weapons gained a lot of notoriety and got a lot of people nervous. The War on Drugs became an arms race and the AWB was put in place to curb that race on the side of law enforcement.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 04:38:05 AM PST

    •  Partly, CwV, but there was a very (0+ / 0-)

      prominent incident where a guy took an AK to a playground full of kids.
      That pushed the "assault weapon" into the discussion, IIRC.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:11:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Military feature include (0+ / 0-)

    rapid fire rate

    Suppression of noise and recoil.

    Reduced size and weight for marching with.

    and barrel cooolers to handle multiple rounds in a short period of time.

    None of these features will help someone get a deer. With deer if you haven't hit them by the second shot they will be in the next county by the third. So nothing more than two shots should be the requirement for hunting weapons. Yes it is a pain to have to constantly reload at the range. But so is putting on a seatbelt.

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 04:38:25 AM PST

    •  What do deer have to do with it? (3+ / 0-)

      The Constitution does not say, "The hunting of Deer being essential to the survival of Man, Congress shall not restrict the right to bear arms."

      •  Are there any "arms" that the civilian... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sandino

        ...population of the U.S. should not have the right to own, based on the wording of the 2nd amendment?

        ego sum ergo ego eram

        by glb3 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 08:17:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Plenty. The "militia" is, almost by definition, (0+ / 0-)

          a "light infantry" force, which precludes the ownership of heavy vehicles, area-effect weapons, etc. So, no to the suitcase nukes, tanks, etc.

          There are some people who collect tanks, but they are not doing it under the auspices of the 2nd Amendment for a "militia", they are doing it more as "collectors of unusual vehicles". I think most of them are altered so the main guns don't fire.

          But there's maybe a few dozen such people in the country.

          •  Were "civilians" restricted from... (0+ / 0-)

            ...owning cannons (other than for issues of cost and availability) in the 1700s?

            ego sum ergo ego eram

            by glb3 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:00:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I believe most of the cannons used in (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BlackSheep1

              the Revolutionary War were actually privately owned. The "navy" was originally privateers and armed merchant ships with letters of marque issued to engage enemy ships, on top of the handful of government revenue cutters.

              Merchants were expected to provide their own security, IIRC.

              But nowadays the concept of "militia arms" has come to mean "that which you can easily carry" --I believe that is actually spelled out in similar words in one of the 2nd Amendment laws somewhere but I don't remember which. Certainly in the Miller case a sawed-off shotgun was considered "not protected under the 2nd Amendment" because it wasn't a "militia arm in common use at the time".

              •  Therefore,... (0+ / 0-)

                legal arguements can be successfully made that the 2nd Amendment does not give citizens the right to own any kind of firearm that they want.
                Citizens do not have a "right" to own semi-automatic firearms. Even Scalia figured this one out.

                ego sum ergo ego eram

                by glb3 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:01:26 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, what is protected are "militia arms (0+ / 0-)

                  that reflect common use" and while it has never been spelled out specifically, civilian semi-autos do in fact mimic the "common arms" in use by today's military, lacking only the fully-automatic feature (which, ironically, the military discourages the use of, so if anything they are actively copying the features of civilian semi-autos).

                  In the dissenting opinion of Heller, it was acknowledged that the Heller decision could still allow for some regulation of those arms.

                  This has been my point all along: the conservatives fixate on the second half of the second amendment: "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" while ignoring the first half: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the defense of a free state..."

                  If a "militia" is supposed to have "common arms", then what needs to be done is emphasize the entire 2nd Amendment and formalize the militia. In other words, require training, and demonstrate proficiency. Being active in a trained and regulated "militia" would be the only way someone would have access to "militia arms". If they're not in the militia, then they are limited to hunting-style weapons only.

                  The provisions for control are already laid out in the 2nd Amendment and all the cases that have gone into interpreting it since then, concluding most recently with Heller and MacDonald vs. State of Illinois.

          •  Canis Aureus: the finest light cavalry in the worl (0+ / 0-)

            d at the time were for the most part three days' travel west of Kentucky, armed with bows and arrows. The war against them, had the US forces not developed repeating rifles, might well have gone the other way.

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:13:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  "bear arms" would seem to limit it to those one (0+ / 0-)

          can carry.

    •  Small bullet at a high velocity (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      S F Hippie, Sandino

      equals more devastating wounds.  If shot in the neck, head, or torso, you are not going to survive due to radiating tissue damage and cavitation.  A handgun wound is from a slower velocity bullet and has to be dead-on to be as lethal.

      A child as young as 10 can handle the AR -15 because the kick from the recoil is less.  

      From what I have read, the AR-15 is a brilliantly designed weapon designed to do maximum damage with ease when coupled with a high-capacity magazine.

      They should not be in the hands of ordinary citizens.

      •  I wasn't going into the science of bullets (0+ / 0-)

        that is a whole other post. And actually I know more about them because they are all about the metal.

        "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 05:34:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Virginia dare, you're working off the (0+ / 0-)

        "tumbling bullet" theory?

        The M-16 has a kick. It's not devastating but it gets your attention.
        It's designed to put out a lot of relatively small rounds at a high rate of fire, and to be easy to carry a large supply for in battlefield conditions.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:22:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not really (5+ / 0-)

      Rapid rate of fire is based upon the mechanism, not the shape. Semi-auto is semi-auto. If it fires as fast as you pull the trigger, the shape of the stock is irrelevant.

      There is no suppression of noise and recoil in the "assault weapons" legislation. A "flash suppressor" has nothing to do with either. Rather, it suppresses the effect of the flash ON THE SHOOTER, preventing night blindness.

      Reduced size and weight are things weapon makers have sought for years, for hunting weapons as well as military weapons.

      Every rifle has some form of stock to allow you to hold it rather than touch a hot barrel.

      The bottom line is simple - the ban was based upon guns that looked "scary." The only things that really makes a difference are magazine capacity and quick-change ability. I would actually say a semi-automatic M-14 (box magazine holding a large number of cartridges, but firing a MUCH more powerful round) would be more dangerous than an AR-15, even if it doesn't have a handle and it comes with an old-fashioned wood stock.

      Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

      by dhonig on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 05:42:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That Depends (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlackSheep1

        An M-14 is difficult to shoot rapidly. It's a fairly light weapon firing a very powerful round. I'm told they were almost impossible to shoot on full auto.

        An AR-15 is much easier to shoot rapidly because the .223 is a less powerful (but still deadly) round.

        Unless you're engaging targets at 1000 yards, the extra power of the .308 round isn't going to matter.

        The Army switched to the .223 (5.56) round because

        1. A soldier could carry more rounds into combat

        2. It was easier to shoot rapidly (higher effective rate of fire).

        3. It was lethal at the short to medium ranges most combat took place at.

        If the pilot's good, see, I mean if he's reeeally sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low... oh you oughta see it sometime. It's a sight. A big plane like a '52... varrrooom! Its jet exhaust... frying chickens in the barnyard!

        by Major Kong on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 06:07:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mostly true, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1

          we're not talking about full auto.

          Why "mostly"? I beg to differ re the power of the .308. Any time you increase penetration and power you increase the size of the lethal zone, hence the number of people in it.

          Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

          by dhonig on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 08:19:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let's do talk about that a minute (0+ / 0-)

            The .308 round is the same for the M-14 as the M-1, isn't it?

            LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:23:36 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No (0+ / 0-)

              the M-1 Garand used the .30-06, the round used in the Springfield. The .308 is the same caliber, but the shell is shorter. Even though it holds a little less powder it is considered a better round. It offers functionally identical ballistic performance with a shorter round and a bit less powder. The cartridge head is the same (of course it it - it's really a knock-off of the '98 Mauser).

              Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

              by dhonig on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:17:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  '98 Mauser as in Argentine Mauser, (0+ / 0-)

                the one I had to move heaven and earth to find a box of soft-nose ammunition for my brother in law for?

                LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

                by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 09:25:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Depends (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BlackSheep1

                  a lot of the South American Mausers are 1895 models, not 1898 models. The difference is huge. The '95 had a two-lug bolt. The '98 had a three-lug bolt. The latter was MUCH stronger, and formed the basis for most of the military weapons for decades to follow. The British didn't use it, only because WWI broke out before they were able to make the change. Every other major army in the world switched to '98 Mauser licensed bolt action rifles.

                  If the Argentine Mauser is 8mm, it is probably a '98. If it's 7mm, it is probably a '95.

                  Done with politics for the night? Have a nice glass of wine with Palate Press: The online wine magazine.

                  by dhonig on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:16:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  Horace Boothroyd III: nothing in the 2nd Amendment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      theatre goon

      specifies firearms at all, NOR is it about hunting.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:11:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It was (surprise!) a political compromise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRPChicago, truong son traveler
    What facts did they base these laws on?
    From news accounts my sense is they thought it would have been nice to ban all semi-auto guns, like in Britain and (now) Australia. But the guns with military-style cosmetic features are the ones they thought they could get the political leverage to ban, so that's what they did. Better something than nothing.
  •  Guns are inherently dangerous. We should have... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tommye

    ... far fewer of them.

    The 1994 ban was an attempt to describe guns that look and feel more dangerous than others. Guns that were used - and have been used since - to massacre a lot of people fast.

    Since shooters of people in public gatherings, theaters, campuses and schools find certain kinds of guns more attractive and more useful to their purposes, it seems reasonable to try diminish the supply of such weapons.

    Can other guns with other capabilities be used to massacre people fast, too? Yes. Hopefully, we can ban those this time, too.

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 05:50:39 AM PST

  •  When ARs and AKs first caught on . . . (0+ / 0-)

    . . . in the civilian market, they were almost unique among centerfire rifles in combining semi-automatic operation with high-magazine capacity.

    When pictures of them showed up in the news media after being used in a number of spectacularly awful mass killings, people conflated their distinctive appearance with the combination of characteristics that, combined, do make them particularly dangerous: semi-automatic operation and high magazine capacity.

    The cartridges they are chambered for, and the type of ammo, have nothing to do with it: a deer hunter's bolt-action .30-06 fires a more powerful round and creates even worse wounds than 5.56 NATO (usual AR-15 round) or 7.62 x 39 (usual AK round).

    If regulations/bans focus on cosmetic features, we can be certain that some enterprising folks will market a line of centerfire semi-automatics that lack those features, but hold just as many rounds and fire just as fast. The Ruger Mini-14 is an example of what can be done along these lines.

    The obvious answer is to stringently regulate or ban semi-automatic centerfire rifles, regardless of what they happen to look like.

    •  I rather like my Mini-14 . . . (0+ / 0-)

      and the 5 round magazine it came with.

      Bothers me to no end to see the "aftermarket" garbage (available now even from Ruger, although it wasn't when I bought mine), including the high capacity magazines, that people "retrofit" to them.  When I see those things I think "mens rea" . . .

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:04:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A suggestion for your consideration (4+ / 0-)

    It would probably help if you read the language of the actual bill that defined assault weapon in 1994, H.R. 3355 enrolled:

    `(30) The term `semiautomatic assault weapon' means--

            `(A) any of the firearms, or copies or duplicates of the firearms in any caliber, known as--

                `(i) Norinco, Mitchell, and Poly Technologies Avtomat Kalashnikovs (all models);

                `(ii) Action Arms Israeli Military Industries UZI and Galil;

                `(iii) Beretta Ar70 (SC-70);

                `(iv) Colt AR-15;

                `(v) Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR, and FNC;

                `(vi) SWD M-10, M-11, M-11/9, and M-12;

                `(vii) Steyr AUG;

                `(viii) INTRATEC TEC-9, TEC-DC9 and TEC-22; and

                `(ix) revolving cylinder shotguns, such as (or similar to) the Street Sweeper and Striker 12;

            `(B) a semiautomatic rifle that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--

                `(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

                `(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

                `(iii) a bayonet mount;

                `(iv) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and

                `(v) a grenade launcher;

            `(C) a semiautomatic pistol that has an ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of--

                `(i) an ammunition magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip;

                `(ii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting a barrel extender, flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer;

                `(iii) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the firearm with the nontrigger hand without being burned;

                `(iv) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; and

                `(v) a semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm; and

            `(D) a semiautomatic shotgun that has at least 2 of--

                `(i) a folding or telescoping stock;

                `(ii) a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;

                `(iii) a fixed magazine capacity in excess of 5 rounds; and

                `(iv) an ability to accept a detachable magazine.'

    Now, some will scoff and call this pointless because it identifies "purely cosmetic" characteristics that don't make a firearm more deadly.

    I have suggested in previous discussions that characteristics that some dismiss as cosmetic, such as a pistol grip, shroud, or folding stock, while they may not make the round fired by the firearm more accurate or deadly, may make the firearm easier to use as a weapon  of choice when committing the types of crime envisioned by those voting on the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (formal title of the Assault Weapons Ban -- link above).  Some possible examples (these are just suggestions, of course):

    1.  Is it possible the authors of the bill thought the combination of a pistol grip and a large magazine might make the firearm easier for even inexperienced shooters to complete the sequence of rapidly firing, changing the magazine, and resuming firing quicker and have a higher chance of success than with differently configured firearms? A mass shooter might find that characteristic useful.

    2.  Is it possible that a shroud around the barrel that allows a shooter holding a barrel made hot by firing many shots in a short time period similarly would be a desired characteristic of a mass murderer or someone in the drug trade? Would a hunter (who is unlikely to shoot many, many rounds one after the other for an extended time) or target shooter (who easily could set aside a gun to cool while switching to a pistol or other rifle for a change) have such a need?

    3. Is it possible the authors thought someone holding a human hostage or bag of cash from a bank with one arm, while holding a rifle with the other, could find his ability to more accurately fire the pistol grip-equipped rifle with one hand easier (while admittedly still with reduced accuracy) than a rifle with no pistol group?

    4.  Is it possible that a criminal might value a folding stock, so he could more easily conceal a weapon in, say, an athletic bag or backpack, to more easily get his supplies into position surreptitiously prior to committing his crime?

    Now, I'm confident opponents of gun legislation can perk up, skim through professionally-prepared retorts from the NRA and the like, and list reasons why these characteristics are also helpful in a non-crime situation. But that doesn't change the possible fact that these allegedly cosmetic features may increase a firearm user's ability to cause great harm.

    Moreover,  I'm not saying that these were the reasons; just that things like this may have been. To be definitive you probably should look to the Congressional Record or other primary resource for information on debate and other discussions surrounding the bill; keeping in mind that any bill (especially one on a contentious subject as firearm regulations) is a product of extended discussion and compromise.

    •  Could well be, and authors of the law (0+ / 0-)

      probably were trying hard not to ban M-1 Garands and the few traditional-styled sporting semi-auto rifles.

      However, I think a semi-auto rifle lacking all of the "assault rifle" features, but with 20 round magazines, would still work quite well for a spree killer. Whereas, if he had to make do with a bolt-action, his killing rate would drop drastically.

      If we're going to expend the political capital to tackle the issue at all, we might as well at least try to regulate all centerfire semi-automatic rifles.

    •  Those are indeed good rationales, (0+ / 0-)

      but if they were the rationales intended it would have helped if they had been included in the bill. The thing is, the bill as it was written didn't seem to get that deep.

      There would also have to be some sort of study that backs up the claims. Has a person in a spree killing benefited from a collapsible stock? Were they able to do more damage because of that feature? You might actually be able to form an argument about that.

      On the other hand, bayonet lugs or shoulder slings were never a defining feature of a spree killer's ability to inflict more casualties. Now, if a spree killer had bayonetted someone trying to take him down while he was reloading, I could see the argument being made, but it never happened. Of course, personally speaking, even the military barely uses bayonets anymore (except as utility knives) and I think the lugs are silly and pointless. But regardless, I get the feeling that Feinstein's staff just looked at "military stuff" on firearms and went with that.

    •  Ernest, I wish you'd've included one more graf, (0+ / 0-)

      which I found at usgovtrack:

          (b) DEFINITION OF LARGE CAPACITY AMMUNITION FEEDING DEVICE- Section 921(a) of such title, as amended by section 2(b) of this Act, is amended by adding at the end the following:

          `(31) The term `large capacity ammunition feeding device'--

              `(A) means--

                  `(i) a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition; and

                  `(ii) any combination of parts from which a device described in clause (i) can be assembled; but

              `(B) does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.'.

      That, right there, in the bold type at the end of the quote, denotes the exception for my Remington .22LR. Without that, I'd be as apt to have to give up my rifle as anybody with an AR-style .22.

      I'd really hate to have that happen.

      LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

      by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:33:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  my understanding about the original (0+ / 0-)

    assault weapons ban law was that it focused on cosmetic differences not by design, but because of lobbying efforts from the gun lobby itself. once those often silly definitions were written in the law, they could be designed around and the law rendered useless. an expiration date was also built into it, so when the law came up for renewal the built in flaws could be sued to kill it altogether.

    i think the debate about design features of AR weapons misses the point. the lines between weapons classes can be blurred, but to me its not about design. its about the intent of a given level of firepower. you might be able to do as much damage with a shotgun or a 9mm pistol as you can do with an AR-15, but the AR-15 makes it easier. so why do you want it? its obviously overkill for hunting and personal defense, unless you expect to be in a firefight. the onus should be on the guy buyer to justify the level of firepower they are seeking, and the level of scrutiny should go up accordingly.

     

  •  Before self-defense, it was all about hunting (0+ / 0-)

    so since fusils d'assaut are pretty stupid for hunting, but extremely good at killing a lot of people very fast, gun control legislation could plausibly target them specifically.

    In reaction, the gun industry switched to self-protection as their primary rationale, and since assault rifles (and tanks and heavy artillery, but I digress) are good for self defense (especially if you are under attack by a third-world army), the distinction has become less relevant.

    •  humor noted . . . (0+ / 0-)

      and I agree . . . the "self-protection" argument gets pretty thin past 10 yards, up to which a fat pistol caliber or a shotgun makes far more sense.  But the "assault weapon for protection" argument does appeal to, and is targeted at, the "survivalist" defending his stash against the maurading gangs come to take it.  That's even the "vision" that led to Newtown . . . she apparently had (articulated that she had) those weapons because "after the collapse" . . .

      Now . . . how to explain to people (without alienating and antagonizing them) that that's not an entirely plausable scenario ? ? ?

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Mon Jan 21, 2013 at 10:19:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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