We try to stay apolitical here on the blog, and not without good reason. However, it’s that time of year again where many state legislatures are back in session. With the options for national bans now out of the question for at least a little while, several states have taken it upon themselves to try increase restrictions on so-called “assault weapons” within their borders. Along those same lines, last week the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, VA, upheld the onerous “assault weapons ban” passed in Maryland in 2013 (officially, the Firearms Safety Act of 2013).
I foolishly decided to test my blood pressure last week by reading the articles–and associated comments–connected with the above court case in such flagrantly liberal sites as The Huffington Post, the Daily Beast, etc. I have said before that gluttony is not one of my sins; I look at this as an opportunity to see how “the enemy” thinks.
The articles on these sites are what they are, but the comments are where the real juice lies. There, the consensus seems to be that the courts are showing some “common sense”. The occasional “conservative” might chime in that the firearms banned by this law are not true “assault rifles”, as they lack burst/full-auto capability, and that they only—cosmetically—look like their assault rifle counterparts. I am sure our readers have seen these arguments before, and possibly used the same logic. I have tried the same.
I no longer get caught up in “assault weapon” vs. “assault rifle” vs. “modern sporting rifle” vs. “evil black rifle” terminology. They are all just made up names and, much like pornography, such firearms can be difficult to define but are recognized when seen. Yes, those of us in the know realize that a Ruger Mini-14 is not much different from an AR-15 in terms of ballistic effects (accuracy aside) on target, while a Mini-14 will usually pass “feature tests” that these laws often include. If I lived someplace where a Mini-14 was deemed “legal” but an AR-15 was not, I would make myself as proficient as possible with the Mini-14 and not really consider myself underarmed against much.
I digress. I have given up on the “real assault rifles have full-auto/burst capabilities” argument. Those who aim to ban “assault weapons” do not know or care about these differences. I recall hearing one state legislator from one of the recent “ban” states (MD, CT, NY, whatever) say that vertical foregrips must be included on the banned-features list because it is that foregrip that allows these mass shooters to spray bullets indiscriminately, killing hordes of innocents. Seriously(?). I would be shocked if he knew which end of the carbine the bullets come out.
My feeling on “assault rifle” versus “assault weapon” is that there is no difference. Hear me out. I have asked a number veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan about their use of the burst/auto capabilities of their rifles/carbines. The consensus has almost universally been: “Never. You can’t hit shit and it wastes ammo.” I have also watched plenty of combat camera footage of these same events. I can only recall two occasions where I saw soldiers firing their carbines in burst mode (in both cases, the shooters were holding the carbines above rocks/walls and firing blindly with their heads under cover, hardly a use that lends itself to accuracy). I even asked MSG (ret.) Paul Howe the same question. He replied that in all of his years in Special Operations, he used full-auto on his carbine for one short burst. I will submit that if you were to hand a soldier/Marine a Colt 6920 and send him into combat, his effectiveness would not be hindered. I stand to be corrected, but judging by my limited research outlined above, I feel that my opinion is not off-base.
Accordingly, I don’t get caught up on “assault rifle” versus “assault weapon”. I do not try to win with nomenclature, definitions of minor differences, etc., and, in my opinion, you should not, either. You bought a semi-automatic rifle, an “assault rifle”, if you will. OWN IT! Own that choice. You bought it for a reason or reasons, so do not be afraid to articulate those reasons. Maybe it makes a superb home defense gun. Maybe it makes a great zombie survival gun. Maybe you consider yourself a modern Minuteman, ready to defend yourself or your beliefs at a moment’s notice with virtually the same platform the nation’s military uses (all too often, the more liberal out there love to say, “Are you forgetting about the word ‘militia’ in the 2nd Amendment?” The irony that a “militia” should be using the very firearms they are always trying to ban is lost on them). Don’t get caught up in the minutiae of terminology and who it was who coined the term “assault rifle” or “assault weapon” (possibly Hitler in the case of the former and someone from the Brady campaign in the case of the latter). Embrace the fact that you own an “assault rifle”. The fact is, if I positively KNEW that some bad dudes were about to bust in my door and that I didn’t have time to flee, I would want an assault rifle in my hands.
My name is Robert and I own an assault rifle. I own it because it is an excellent tool that can be used for self-defense, hunting, and target shooting. I own it because it is adaptable enough that my wife can use it along with—someday–my kids. I own it because it gives me confidence to rely–for my own self-defense needs–on the same basic platform the U.S. military uses. I own it because I consider myself a modern-day Minuteman, ready to respond to a threat at a moment’s notice. And finally, I own it not because I “need” it, but because I “want” it, and in this country that is good enough.
Sorry for the rant. Just felt the need. If you have any questions or comments, please post below or on our Facebook page. For information on the carbine posted in the photo above, please see here. Thanks for reading.