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Old 02-09-2004, 09:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Pink Rifles and the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (an essay)

This thread was inspired from THIS THREAD over in the TFP weapons forum, in which I had posted some pictures of AR15 rifles in different colors, including pink (!?!) and baby blue.

Another member posted that he was concerned that a child might be attracted to the guns because of the bright non colors.

So I decided to write the following, which will eventually be turned into an essay for a college english challenge.

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Pink Rifles and the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994

-© 2004 by Lebell


It was a silly conversation, which boiled down to this: “assault rifles” shouldn’t be pink, because they might be “too attractive” to children. In otherwords, a pink gun wasn’t “scary looking” enough. But to me, those conversations illustrate perfectly the frustration that AR15 and other "assault weapon” owners feel on a daily basis: That the rifles they like to shoot are demonized not for reasons of unusual function or lethality, but simply because of looks.

In case you didn’t know, the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 affects certain brand names of guns (mostly rifles) by name or by features, these being a detachable magazine and 2 or more of the following:

 a bayonnette lug
 a protruding pistol grip
 a flash hider
 a grenade launcher

The average person (especially if they come from an area where guns are not common), really does not know this and has no clue what makes these rifles different, why they look like they do, or really, anything at all about them. They have to rely on what they read and hear in the news to make their judgements on them and the laws that are being passed regarding them.

This is unfortunate, because the newspapers and news stations are for the most part, getting their their information from organizations like Handgun Control Inc. (now the Violence Policy Center), the Brady Campaign, and the Million Mom March, which deliberately put out conflicting information and deliberate falsehoods concerning these weapons.

Some examples include:

- “assault weapons” should be banned because they are used by criminals to kill cops (fact: assault weapons are used in less than 1% of crimes)
- The 1994 ban should be extended because gun crime has gone down (fact: since the features banned are cosmetic, there have been NO reductions in sales of these “assault weapons”, since manufacturers just removed the offending features until the guns were again legal. So if there was a reduction in crime, it must be attributable to other factors.)
- “Assault weapons” are bullet hoses (fact: no, they are not. The “assault weapons” they want to ban are functionally NO DIFFERENT from any other semi-automatic weapon. That is, one trigger pull, one shot. So if an “assault weapon” is a bullet hose, then so is dad’s semi-auto hunting rifle.)
- The DC snipers used a Bushmaster AR15 assault rifle (Fact: this is true. What they don’t tell you is that John Allen Muhammad and Lee Malvo’s FIRST weapon of choice was a bolt action Remington model 700 rifle, which is the same model used by US Army snipers. They stole the Bushmaster after they almost got caught in Washinton State and had to abandon the Remington. In otherwords, it wasn’t the rifle that was dangerous, it was Malvo and Muhammad.)
- Assault weapons can put 12 bullets in a cop in 2 seconds. (see below)

Now on this last one, I know of NO ONE who can take an AR15 and put 12 bullets in ANYTHING in 2 seconds, let alone on target. What makes this difficult (if not impossible) is again the fact that the rifles they want to ban are semi-automatic.

Now I should mention at this point that historically, a true “assault weapon” has meant a select fire rifle, that is, one that can be set for automatic or semi-automatic operation.

But the anti-gun groups don’t tell you this, because the rifles they want to ban are ALL semi-automatic, again meaning, one trigger pull, one shot only. So in otherwords, they really want to ban any gun that can put “12 bullets in a cop”, which must mean all semi-automatic rifles, including your dad's semi-automatic hunting rifle.

But they can’t say this.

While their leaders have admitted it in the past that the reason that they want to ban all guns, their losses in past elections (especially the 2000 presidential race) have taught them that America isn’t ready to give up it’s guns yet. So they had to develop a new strategy, which is to ban scary looking guns first. Yes, you read right.

They want to ban these guns because they LOOK scary.

Not because they are more dangerous.

Not because statistically they cause more crime (they are actually involved in less than 1% of all shootings).

But because they LOOK scary.

So after getting rid of the evil "black assault rifle" (a term by the way, which keeps getting expanded in scope), their strategy is to ban all long guns that can take more than a single shot at a time and then finally, "sniper" rifles, which means all long guns.

Then they want to ban all calibers over a certain size, eventually working their way down to all handguns.

They know this can work, because this is how it was done in England.

(With a little googling, you can find the quotes from people like Chuck Schumer and Diane Feinstein, and the folks over at Handgun Control Inc (now the Violence Policy Center) saying these things.)

And the strategy is working.

The American public can’t define what an “assault weapon” is. I’ve had friends question why anyone would need an “Uzi” or an “AK47” (both of which are fully automatic weapons, which have been tightly regulated since 1934).

The courts have repeatedly stated that there may be reasonable restrictions to a right, such as the famous example of not being able to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. But can anyone begin to argue that it is reasonable to restrict a gun based solely upon it’s appearance?

The only conclusion possible is that the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban is bad law and it should be allowed to expire, with no tears shed.
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Last edited by Lebell; 02-09-2004 at 04:43 PM..
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Old 02-09-2004, 10:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Agreed, the assault weapon ban is silly. If gun-control people wanted to ban weapons that involve crimes, cheap snub-nose revolvers would be a place to start.
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Great essay, I wish more people understood this. Point of information, collapseable stocks were also made illegal by the AWB of 1994. For more information or if you would like to be an activist for this cause there is a lot of information here:

http://www.glocktalk.com/showthread....hreadid=181684
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Old 02-09-2004, 02:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You are correct sir, except for one minor point. The National Firearms Act was passed in 1934. Other than that, excellent post and you bring to light so many problems faced by us. I can't wait for the howls to begin.
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Old 02-09-2004, 04:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by SuperMidget
You are correct sir, except for one minor point. The National Firearms Act was passed in 1934. Other than that, excellent post and you bring to light so many problems faced by us. I can't wait for the howls to begin.

Yeah, I got that pointed out to me...I still need to go back through this and edit some more, add the cross references, etc.

Thanks for the comments.
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Old 02-09-2004, 06:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well constructed essay. This points out all the things I feel about guns in general. Funny how back in the day kids played with the most realistic guns ever (I even had a toy, metal Colt .45) and now people get their panties in a bunch over an orange tip over the barrell. Oy.
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Old 02-10-2004, 06:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Really nice essay and pretty informative. I didn't know much about the Assault Weapons Ban until right now. It has inspired me to do a bit of research on it.
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Old 02-12-2004, 11:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm surprised there hasn't been more controversy in this thread yet. Oh well, it will come.
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Old 02-12-2004, 11:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Great essay! The "daddys hunting rifle" line is great. I totally agree. I love shooting high power rifles. I often shoot a M1 Grand, a semi-auto rifle from WWII. This is a wonderful gun. Another thing you didn't mention, that I often thought was a good point about that 1% of crimes is this: If you are robbing someone, stealing from an ATM, doing anything that requiers a gun, you DONT want a big ass rifle under your coat, you would want something smaller! -good day
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Old 02-12-2004, 06:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I understand completely why this presents no controvery.

Because it is spot on the money.

I really like the Handgun Control Inc (now the Violence Policy Center) double entendre method of highlighting this organization.

Excellent piece.

-bear
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Old 02-12-2004, 07:34 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah, good points. I'm a lib lab, but I'm pro-gun.

A couple of caveats.

One, I haven't heard a good reason why large magazines shouldn't be banned. A 30 round clip on a semi-auto gun, in the right hands, is not greatly weaker than the same gun full-auto.

Second, really big sniper rifles. Semi-automatic rifles in hunting or anti-personnel calibers are reasonable. Guns that can fire armor-piercing ammunition accurately at ranges greater than a kilometer and that can easily disable airplanes are not. Guns like these are not needed to hunt any animal in north america. They might prove valuable for hunting Elephants, but there are specialized guns for those purposes.

I don't think the slippery slope you propose here works. Banning the big Barret sniper rifles won't be the beginning of the end for the .30-06.
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scipio
Yeah, good points. I'm a lib lab, but I'm pro-gun.

A couple of caveats.

One, I haven't heard a good reason why large magazines shouldn't be banned. A 30 round clip on a semi-auto gun, in the right hands, is not greatly weaker than the same gun full-auto.

Second, really big sniper rifles. Semi-automatic rifles in hunting or anti-personnel calibers are reasonable. Guns that can fire armor-piercing ammunition accurately at ranges greater than a kilometer and that can easily disable airplanes are not. Guns like these are not needed to hunt any animal in north america. They might prove valuable for hunting Elephants, but there are specialized guns for those purposes.

I don't think the slippery slope you propose here works. Banning the big Barret sniper rifles won't be the beginning of the end for the .30-06.

Actually, I can give you a straight forward argument against both.


Our laws ideally work on the principle of allowing freedoms unless there is an overwhelming reason to curb them. In the case of the first ammendment, the government is not allowed to bar speech because of vague or unrealized threats, but can only ban speech based on reasonable threats.

Now, lets take this same principle and apply it to the second ammendment.

Can you show that over all, there is a greater, realized threat from a .50 caliber rifle or a rifle with a 30 round magazine? Looking back at data, the answer is "no". There has never been an instance of a .50 caliber weapon being used by terrorists. (one, they are very expensive, and two, shooting at a plane isn't easy and a .50 cal isn't inherently more capable of taking a plane down than a .308) The same with a 30 round magazine. As I've said above, less than one percent of gun related crimes are committed with "assault rifles" and less than that with magazines over 10 rounds. (An unmodified Chinese SKS rifle actually doesn't even HAVE an external magazine, it comes with a 10 round built in magazine, yet the VPC calls all of these "assault rifles" regardless.)

So it boils down to the same question: why make a law for a non-existant problem, unless the law is just to make people 'feel good'?
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Old 02-13-2004, 12:48 AM   #13 (permalink)
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"a .50 cal isn't inherently more capable of taking a plane down than a .308"

You make decent points, but that one just isn't true. It IS inherently more capable of disabling a plane, but that's not the main problem.

I would retort that there's no imaginable reasonable civilian use for a .50 cal sniper rifle (aside from shooting expenisive bullets at targets for the hell of it). It's not like there's no line. There IS a line. Machine guns aren't outlawed due to rate of fire. They're outlawed because they're a battlefield weapon that offers greater firepower than a civilian should need or have. I put the Barret on the military side of that line.
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Old 02-13-2004, 01:13 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Scipio
"a .50 cal isn't inherently more capable of taking a plane down than a .308"

You make decent points, but that one just isn't true. It IS inherently more capable of disabling a plane, but that's not the main problem.

I would retort that there's no imaginable reasonable civilian use for a .50 cal sniper rifle (aside from shooting expenisive bullets at targets for the hell of it). It's not like there's no line. There IS a line. Machine guns aren't outlawed due to rate of fire. They're outlawed because they're a battlefield weapon that offers greater firepower than a civilian should need or have. I put the Barret on the military side of that line.
Well, a couple of more points then

First, I find it dangerous to argue "need". I know many people that claim I don't "need" a gun at all, let alone an AR15, but is that the point?

Does anyone "need" a sword or a machette or a pinball machine or a....?

See my point?

So arguing "need" in a legalistic way is a dangerous thing, IMO. It isn't up to the govt. to decide what we "need"; it's up to the govt. to protect us by enacting "reasonable" restrictions, i.e. those not based on emotion.

I will concede that a .50 will do more damage than a .308, but being a .50 doesn't make it a magic airplane killer either.

The other thing I wanted to say is that machine guns are NOT illegal; they are merely heavily regulated under the 1934 Firearms Act and also, very expensive.
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Old 02-13-2004, 09:18 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I don't think that need is based on "emotions" as you say. What I'm trying to do here is look at a weapon, see what it brings to the table, and then imagine what a person could possibly use it for (besides shooting it at a paper target, or into the air).

That, you might say, is a dangerous form of reasoning as well, but I think it's instructive.

Take the Soviet ZU-23, a light anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapon that fires a 23 mm round. Civilians shouldn't be allowed to have a ZU-23. Civilians don't NEED a gun that can shoot down airplanes and blow up armored personnel carriers.

Like I said: there IS a line. I recognize that people can theoretically own full-auto M-60s if they get the right permits. I think that the .50 cal sniper rifles should be in this category. For a need argument, the average person doesn't need a military anti-materiel rifle that can fire armor piercing and explosive ammunition accurately at ranges greater than 1000 meters.
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Old 02-13-2004, 09:46 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Nothing "theoretical" about it. People DO own full-auto M-60's. I've seen them and shot them.

And there are plenty of competitions for .50 cal owners.

There are probably a lot of things I think you don't "need", (including porn, btw), but unless you can show me a real problem, I don't want laws passed outlawing them.

So I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.
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Old 02-13-2004, 02:48 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Hell, I think I'd NEED a ZU-23 to shoot down airplanes and destroy armored personnel carriers if the government ever became so corrupt as to warrant a revolution.

That's what the 2nd Amendment was written for.
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Old 03-22-2004, 07:21 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Great thread and great post timalkin, you beat me to it. I think many sheeple in society trust our government waaayyy more than they should. I think the founders protected our gun rights and our right to formed armed militias for that very reason.
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Old 03-23-2004, 07:34 AM   #19 (permalink)
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yes timalkin... i myself dont really feel the need for such a weapon(i am content with my swords and hand guns) but i dont see any reason for such regulations and bans on guns...
i just think the people of america are(or should be) smart enough to decide for each one of themselves wether a gun is something they feel comfortable having or not.
i am not comfortable making a such a decision for everyone else and anyone who is comfortable should not have the power to do so.
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Old 03-31-2004, 02:07 PM   #20 (permalink)
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UPDATE:

I took my speech challenge Monday and things went over well. The main thrust was showing that this was a bad law because it appealed to emotion over substance.

I'll let every know if I passed or not
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Old 03-31-2004, 03:03 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by timalkin
Hell, I think I'd NEED a ZU-23 to shoot down airplanes and destroy armored personnel carriers if the government ever became so corrupt as to warrant a revolution.

That's what the 2nd Amendment was written for.
This is why I (the most liberal member of the board, according to the political compass thread) will be taking classes for a concealed carry permit as soon as I turn 21. At the moment, I don't think that my freedom is in danger, but I see that situation as a possibility in the near future.
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