Yesterday’s Times Union has a political cartoon from John de Rosier showing “The Second Amendment Monument.” The fictional monument is in appreciation for the sacrifice made by the victims of gun violence – claimed to be more than 30,000 this year. Prominent in the cartoon is a “military-style” rifle on top of the monument, with a big ammo clip.
Before I get into my sniping against liberals on this, I suggest as one resource the Wikipedia entry on gun violence.
The military rifle is a classic example of liberal misunderstanding. Roughly 75% of gun homicides in the US are committed with handguns, while only 4% are committed with rifles. Shotguns (at 5%) actually kill more people than rifles. I’m not sure of the breakdown within rifles, but I’ll bet that military rifles are well below half of all the rifle killings, and probably less than 10%.
Liberals use the military rifle because it looks scary. A common target is the AR-15, the civilian version of the M-16. I used an AR-15 once – shooting at a range in a class on small arms. The AR-15 is very popular among a certain group of target shooters, not because of its power or lethality, but rather because of its accuracy.
The AR-15 shoots a .223 caliber bullet. A typical .223 bullet weighs about 60 grains. By comparison, a common hunting caliber is the 30-06, with a bullet weight of roughly 200 grains. One of the most popular hunting rifles is the Remington 7400, which is available in a 30-06 caliber. So a popular hunting rifle shoots a bullet that is three times as big as the AR-15.
Why do liberals hate the AR-15? First they complain that it’s a semi-automatic rifle. Many liberals will even say it’s an automatic rifle, but that’s just false. Automatic rifles have been illegal since around 1937. But it is in fact a semi-automatic. Pull the trigger and a round will fire, and another round will come into the chamber, ready for the next pull.
The Remington 7400 is also semi-automatic, as are many other hunting rifles. Hunting rifles are also commonly equipped with scopes, making it easier to hit your target. Scopes are, in my admittedly limited experience, less common on military-style rifles than they are on hunting rifles. This is mainly because the military-style rifles are often used for target shooting, and target shooting is often done without scopes.
The focus on semi-auto misses something – the alternative. Other common methods of reloading are bolt-action and pump-action. Neither of these take very long. My bolt-action rifle holds five rounds. If I was in a hurry (not a good shooting attitude, by the way), I could probably get off all five rounds in less than 10 seconds, maybe quicker. Nearly all handguns are semi-auto, by the way. A revolver is semi-automatic.
Liberals might even complain about the AR-15 having military-style ammunition. Military ammo generally is designed to penetrate – make a hole. Hunting ammo is designed to expand on impact – to cause as much damage as possible and kill the animal quickly. Thus, hunting ammo is more lethal than military ammo.
To keep this long story from getting too long … if you want to ban guns that can kill people, you have to ban hunting. If it can take down a 200 pound deer, then it can take down a 200 pound human too. So I hope all the anti-gun activists will either admit they want to ban hunting, or drop their anti-gun nonsense.