Moving the Conversation Forward on Common Sense Gun Reform

While most Americans support the Second Amendment, and support the rights of hunters and homeowners to own rifles or handguns to defend themselves or bag deer, these same Americans also support restrictions on certain specific guns that are too deadly to be in the hands of civilians, because they lead too-readily to slaughter.

While certain gun-rights advocates take this to be a call to “ban all guns,” it’s really not. It’s only about particular guns, and the distinction is common sense.  It’s so simple I can explain it in pictures.

This is a picture of the rifle used in the 2011 Norway massacre where some 77 were slaughtered.

This gun is fully semi-automatic. While this is not an AR-15, it is based on an AR-15, and fires the same deadly ammunition at the same rate of fire used at both the Parkland shooting and the Las Vegas massacre. It has a detachable magazine that can hold up to 20 rounds and be readily changed. With an attachment like a bump stock, this gun can be altered to fire at machine-gun speeds.

Here is a picture of another rifle.

This gun is dubbed a “ranch gun,” intended for use by hunters and ranchers for life in the American West. It fires a moderate round, the Remington .223, which many believe to be a “varmint round” — that is, a bullet that is suited more to shooting coyotes than to hunting deer. The bullet caliber is nothing compared to more deadly ammunition intended to bring down elk or bears, and some states ban the use of this caliber for deer hunting, since it doesn’t always kill a deer immediately. And unlike an assault rifle, the ranch gun will not fire automatically.

It’s common sense that no one needs to own the first gun, which is intended only to kill, while the second gun has a legitimate use for ranchers. While some individuals may be calling for a blanket ban, most Americans wanting a reform of gun laws still believe in the right to own a firearm like the ranch gun to hunt or defend your property.  Most Americans want sensible gun control laws, that will still allow you to own the ranch gun, but not the deadly weapon used in mass shootings.

But It’s Not So Simple

This is the thing, though, about common sense gun reform: The two weapons shown above are the same gun. They are both the Ruger Mini-14.

Similar to automobiles, which can come in coup, hatchback, or sedan styles, guns can also come in different styles. What I just showed you are two different styles of the same gun: tactical and ranch. Those two guns have the same rate of fire (semi-automatic), fire the same caliber bullet (.223R), they both have detachable magazines that can hold up to 20 rounds. Neither of the guns is capable of automatic fire.

Further, the Ruger Mini-14 uses the exact same caliber bullet as the AR-15 and has the exact same rate of fire as the AR-15. Neither the Ruger Mini-14 nor the AR-15 is capable of automatic fire.

Aside from details of appearance and preference, there is no functional difference between the ranch gun I showed you and an AR-15. They are equally deadly as weapons.

This is where we see a problem with “common sense” gun reform. While I agree it seems obvious which gun to ban, that is a misperception formed from a lack of knowledge. The public is largely misinformed on guns, and it is crucial we clarify what we mean.

The Terms of the Conversation Are Muddled

There is a vocal movement of people calling to ban assault rifles. You hear about it very often in the news. FedEx just released a statement calling for ban on assault rifles, as did Dick’s Sporting Goods.  And it would seem common sense, that civilians do not need assault rifles for hunting.

Common sense gun-reform proponents will then be happy to know that assault rifles are already illegal for civilian use in the United States. Only certain professions are authorized to own assault rifles, and they may only own registered assault rifles manufactured before the ban went into effect.

You may further be stunned to learn that the NRA supported the ban on civilian ownership of assault rifles.

But now you’re wondering: if assault rifles are already illegal, then why is there a vocal movement to have them banned? And if assault rifles are already illegal, then how are these killers able to get their hands on AR-15s?

As to the second question, the answer is easy: it’s because an AR-15 is not an assault rifle.

I know, I know: who cares the terminology, whatever it is, it doesn’t matter what it’s called, you don’t need to own it. But it does matter. It matters because these words have definitions, and we can’t have a conversation about policy if we’re not going to use the policy-defined words to talk about it. It leads to confusion.

The word “assault rifle” already has a definition. An assault rifle is a rifle capable of selective fire between automatic and semi-automatic fire, as defined by the ATF.  Assault rifles (and all automatic weapons) are illegal in the US for general civilian use. An AR-15 is incapable of automatic fire, and so is not an assault rifle, and therefore not included under the ban on assault rifles.

The difference between firing rate is a common source of confusion, so let me explain: automatic firing means that the gun will continue to chamber and fire bullets for as long as the trigger is held down; semi-automatic firing means that the action of releasing the trigger causes a new bullet to be chambered. This is an important distinction. A semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15 or the Mini-14 can only fire one bullet with one pull of the trigger.

It’s important to remember this difference in firing rate, because it matters to policy decisions. For instance, because it is already illegal to own one kind of gun, and perfectly legal to own the other. If you talk about banning assault rifles, someone might think you mean to ban guns capable of automatic fire; someone else might think that guns like the AR-15 are capable of automatic fire. It leads to confusion on what we’re even talking about, and makes people claiming to be following “common sense” appear to not actually understand the issue at hand.

Assault rifles are already illegal, an AR-15 is not an assault rifle, because an AR-15 is not capable of automatic fire.

As to the first question, why the move to ban a category of weapon that is already banned… I think the answer is a lack of understanding.

If You’re Not Familiar With Guns, You Have a Bad Intuition About Guns

There is currently a proposed bill that would criminalize all semi-automatic rifles. When Marco Rubio, at the CNN Town Hall, warned about just this, he was met with defiant applause; as Trevor Noah of the Daily Show put it, that’s what we want to do; we want to outlaw all semi-automatic rifles.

Except think back to the ranch gun from earlier. You probably thought it was common sense not to ban it. And you probably didn’t think of it as a semi-automatic rifle.

The problem is that people are guided by their intuitions on this issue, and those intuitions are formed by a mix of Hollywood images and national news cycle that are at best misinformed, or at worst actively disinterested in accuracy in favor of sensationalism and theatre. In such media, words like “automatic”, “semi-automatic”, “assault rifle”, and “machine gun” get thrown around with reckless abandon, seeming to confuse them all in discussing guns like the AR-15.  We usually see the AR-15 is characterized as some sort of pinnacle of scariness, such as in the recent CNN investigation into them that kept trying to hype up their terror-factor. We’re told that the AR-15 is a toned-down machine gun with superior firepower and devastating ammunition.

I think many people calling for common sense gun reform believe what they hear about the AR-15, and don’t know of any other referent in the discussion of guns, calibers, and firing rate. If the AR-15 is the only semi-automatic weapon you’ve ever heard of, then you probably associate semi-automatic rifles with massacres; less so with ranchers shooting coyotes.

The fact of the situation is that semi-automatic rifles make up one of the most popular classes of hunting rifles (by some estimates more than 20% of all privately-owned guns), and make a larger proportion of gun sales each year. As it turns out, hunters (like video gamers) prefer not having to reload after every shot.

But the only difference between a semi-automatic rifle used for hunting and the tactical gun we need to ban, is the way it looks. There is no meaningful legal category that distinguishes them.

If you ban semi-automatic rifles, you will be banning the Ruger Mini-14 ranch gun. You’ll get the tactical Ruger Mini-14 and the AR-15, but you’ll also get the gun that shoots coyotes and may or may not be able to bag a deer.

So when someone tells you that there is no way to ban the AR-15 without banning all semi-automatic rifles, you, the advocate for common sense gun laws, should be concerned. Most Americans would feel that a rancher has a right to a gun that can defend his property from predators. It’s common sense. If you really feel he has a right to it, then you should oppose laws that infringe that right. And a ban on semi-automatic rifles would do just that.

The point of this has been to try to clarify the conversation, because so much misinformation exists out there. I get people calling for common sense gun reform. One school shooting is too many, and at first glance there is an obvious way to draw the line about weapons. AR-15s are deadly; but so are all guns, including the hunting and defense guns that most Americans think people should be allowed to own.

The point of this is not that stricter gun control is unnecessary. That is a conversation worth having. The point is to make sure we’re being clear what we mean when we say “ban assault rifles” or “common sense gun control.”

To summarize:

Assault rifles are rifles capable of switching between semi- and fully-automatic firing. They are already banned. Any weapon capable of automatic fire is illegal for general civilian use. Ordinary civilians cannot purchase an assault rifle, or an automatic rifle. Modifying or building any weapon to be capable of automatic fire is strictly illegal.

AR-15s are not assault rifles. (The “AR” is for “Armalite Rifle“) They are not capable of automatic fire. They are semi-automatic, which means they fire one bullet for each pull of the trigger. The trigger must be released before a new bullet will load. They fire a Remington .223, which is not a particularly deadly round compared to other ammunition in other rifles. (Update: as a visual illustration of this point about caliber, here is slow-motion video of a ballistics test of an AR-15 vs. a .30-06 hunting round; the AR-15 impact is shown first from two angles, and then the impact from the hunting round)

An AR-15 definitely looks intimidating, but that’s only a style. An AR-15 made with gray metal and a wooden stock would look like a normal rifle, and still be just as deadly. The way a gun looks doesn’t determine how deadly it is; that is primarily a combination of accuracy, rate of fire, and bullet caliber.

Semi-automatic rifles are very popular with hunters, and are available in styles that look more “common sense.” They make up a very large, if not the largest, class of rifles used in hunting. When we’re talking about banning semi-automatic rifles, we’re talking about removing staid-looking hunting rifles from the hands of hunters; we’re talking about going against what we earlier thought was common sense.

There is no way to ban the AR-15 and not ban the ranch gun, because there is no meaningful difference between them. Enacting a kind of “common sense” law that bans the AR-15 and the Mini-14 tactical rifle, but not the Mini-14 ranch gun, would not solve any problems; the next shooter would use the equivalent Mini-14 ranch gun. A ban distinguishing guns by their style would be security theatre; you might feel something was done, but no one is any safer for it.

With all of that in mind, hopefully we can continue having this conversation more intelligently, with a better understanding of the terms, and what exactly it is we’re talking about banning

10 thoughts on “Moving the Conversation Forward on Common Sense Gun Reform”

  1. “With all of that in mind, hopefully we can continue having this conversation more intelligently, with a better understanding of the terms, and what exactly it is we’re talking about banning”

    I used to hope for things like that too. Unfortunately, I have decided that this is basically impossible. Too many powerful people benefit from unreasoned and unreasonable debates.

    That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to improve the debate; however, I hold very little hope it will improve.

  2. In the spirit of splitting hairs (seriously, that’s what I’m doing) assault rifles are select fire capable. What that means is that you can set it to shoot a single round per trigger pull, or you can set it to fire more than one round per trigger pull. The distinction is that most select fire rifles are no longer full automatic, they usually fire 3 round bursts and then stop. I know, for most people not much of a distinction and they are in the same class as fully automatic rifles as far as the government is concerned, but it is a technical (and for the armed forces a significant) difference.

    Like I said, I’m splitting hairs. Kudos on this, you had me ready to ignore the rest of it by the time I finished the first part….

  3. “The difference between firing rate is a common source of confusion, so let me explain: automatic firing means that the gun will continue to chamber and fire bullets for as long as the trigger is held down; semi-automatic firing means that the action of releasing the trigger causes a new bullet to be chambered. This is an important distinction.”

    That’s not quite the same as rate-of-fire, though, is it? A semi-automatic AR-15 can fire at a rate of 900 rounds/minute with a bump stock, faster than many fully-automatic weapons. The distinction doesn’t seem to be how quickly the weapon can fire, but how that fire is regulated.

    When we consider how the photos differ, I think we can infer an intuition behind the proposed bans. The top photo looks like it could fire many bullets, not only quickly, but indiscriminately, without human control directing each shot. It doesn’t appear to have a large magazine, or any visible magazine at all. It looks as though it would require its user to choose each shot. That seems reasonable enough for hunting, varmint shooting, and personal defense against anything short of a mob, and it’s in perfectly reasonable accord with the arms Madison had in mind when he wrote the second amendment.

    But it’s not so clear to me that function is the only relevant issue. For one thing, guns like those which gun control proponents seek to ban don’t seem ideally suited for anything other than intimidation:
    “Why the popularity of weapons designed to narrow and specific military requirements? We are more puzzled by that question now, after comparing these two semi-automatic carbines and discovering their flaws, than we were before we started. Their forte’ seems to be intimidating ignorant folks who are unfamiliar with firearms, which includes the majority of American politicians. In hot rod terms, these tactical black carbines seem designed more for ‘show,’ than for ‘go.’”
    (http://www.chuckhawks.com/compared_AR-15_Mini-14.htm)

    This seems troubling. If people are choosing a weapon which is better than other options only at threatening and bullying, that seems like a sign that perhaps these people are being encouraged to view guns in a less than ideally responsible way. Worse, it might well be the case that identifying with the culture specific to such weapons of intimidation exacerbates the traits and habits of mind which lead people to attempt mass shootings.

  4. Crazy idea: Allow semi-automatic rifles for people that have a legitimate need, like a farmer. And limit the number of rounds to something reasonable (5? 10?)

    Everyone else can have a bolt-action (after a mandatory background check, of course).

  5. Okay, let me see if I can assess this in a different light to put some context in here. First the numbers are based on ‘per minute’ so I don’t have to repeat that phrase throughout. Second the rate of fire number is used mostly by the anti-gun crowd to scare those who don’t know or understand as much about how guns, automatic or semi-automatic, actually work.

    The current military version of the AR-15 that I am aware of is the M-4. It’s basically a shorter barrel version of the M-16 which is what the military has been using since I think the 60’s. From the website: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/m4-specs.htm the rate of fire of the M-4 varies between 700 and 970 which is going to depend on some of the setup options it has that we don’t really need to get into.

    I still remember in my training the maximum effective range for the m-16A2 is 550 meters for a point target, 800 meters for an area target. What that means is if you want to hit 1 person, it’s 550 meters. If you want to hit ‘something’ in a crowd, it’s 800 meters. That’s important for later and something you mentioned

    The fastest one that I’m aware of is the minigun which is really just a gatling gun on steriods has a rate of up to 6000. An uzi chambered in 9 should run at about 600, chambered in .45 about 500. There are lots of options truly, except that your average person has zero access to these types of weapons. First there’s the $200 NFA tax stamp that includes a big time check on you from the FBI which also requires an actual purpose to even have it and also requries registration of said fire arm. Second there’s the cost, fully automatic weapons are in the $20k price range for the cheaper ones. It goes up significantly from there.

    The M249 which is a fully automatic small machine gun based on the same platform runs between 725 and 1000 from Wikipedia but there’s also this information which is likely more accurate: https://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics/m249/m249-study-guide.shtml Stating that it’s a little lower (650-850)

    And yet, every single one of these are theoretical maximums. Including ‘900 rounds from a bumpfire stock’. Theoretical meaning that while it can, or could reach that rate it’s almost never going to do that, well except maybe on the minigun. (side note, the last reference I could find for the cost of a minigun which does not include the mounting system was $400K and that’s from 2009. Also of note the amount of ammunition that goes through it in no time is a small fortune in and of itself)

    But there’s an important piece of information here in that last link. There are 3 rates of fire provided for the M249. Why? Because firing the weapon heats it up and metal under heat will eventually fail. Also of note, the lowest number is about as ‘aimed’ as you get with a machine gun. Anything higher is basically ‘spray and pray’.

    Barrels in military machine guns are often easily and quickly changed out because under heavy sustained fire it heats up too much. Once it reaches a certain temperature you run into issues such as ‘cooking off’ a round where the round fires because the heat from the chamber ignites the powder or primer without a strike, or a barrel will wilt (melting) or you will open up a hole in the barrel, or non metal parts will melt rendering the weapon inoperable.

    So, whomever decided (I think I found Slate said it?) that 900 rounds per minute with a bump fire stock was an accurate number was misleading, either because they still decide to talk to people who are either selling them something or they decide to talk to people who are staunch anti-gunners who like big numbers to make things sound worse. I don’t really care which. First, to fire 900 rounds in a minute it must be belt fed with 900 rounds at least in the belt. Since it’s not belt fed it’s probably a 30 or 40 round magazine. Firing inaccurately with it using those slows you down significantly unless you have spent a great deal of time training to reload magazines. Side note, the 100 round drums can be neat, and look really cool, and generally suck at actually working reliably. I’d never spend money on one and if one was given to me I’d sell it. I consider them 100% useless.

    Your statement about indiscriminate fire applies just as well to the bump stock. It’s useless except if you’re firing at close range into a crowd. Now, of course we know that what it looks like is rather scary to people who don’t know that most of what’s on there are simply modifications that are only useful in specific circumstances. So their lack of knowledge means they’re afraid, and want to not be afraid. Machine guns, or even firing a semi-automatic rifle in quick succession are not accurate. It won’t matter which one you’re shooting, you can’t hit targets accurately when you’re not aiming. To aim in most circumstances you’re going to need 4-8 seconds between shots depending on how good you are at getting back on target. Some folks who train for it bring that down, but I think the best I got ever was about 4 seconds when I tried to be quick and was in a position to recover my site picture faster. The further away you are, the more time it takes to get back on target.

    The rancher actually does come with a 30 round magazine and is just as easy if not easier to shoot indiscriminately, especially without that scope on it.

    As for the arms they had in mind when they wrote the second amendment. Well, it was actually about weapons that were used in war time. You can read the notes from the discussions which are very enlightening if you like. They start here and go on for a few days: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/debates/0823-2/

    I have a ‘scary black gun’. I rarely take it out because I don’t have a lot of time for that right now. Mine however is a higher caliber so it’s entirely useful for hunting anything in the US, though I doubt I’d ever go after Kodiak (I’m just not interested in trying my luck on that one unless I’m in a helicopter and it can’t get me, which will never happen anyways). It is actually quite nicely designed for hunting, even if it can handle other purposes if necessary. I assure you, it’s designed very much for go. I don’t care if someone thinks it’s more for show because I generally only will, or want to show it to people who can appreciate it’s design, purpose and use. If it’s in a ‘show’ mode, then at least for me it’s absolutely in the wait for ‘go’ mode and only because there is a threat to life in progress. There are rules (a lot more than you would think for lawful gun owners) when it comes to fire arms use and intimidation through ‘show’ isn’t one of them.

    Anyone who does any different needs additional training and sense, and will immediately piss off every single 2A supporter around. Seriously, we do not like and regularly will not tolerate the hot-headed idiots who are in the ‘show’ mode. So you are right entirely that if someone picks it because it looks that way, or they feel it will intimidate…then you are right they are doing exactly the wrong thing. Guess what, the 2A supporters are on your side when it comes to that. (side note, this crap happens even in the military – “oh that looks cool I’m gonna buy it and put it on my rifle” while everyone else just shakes their head at the fool doing it)

    As far as intimidation, if one uses a fire arm to intimidate someone it’s called brandishing and gets you some jail time along with some fun time at court in front of a judge, legal fees, a fine, they’ll probably take it away for at least a while if not for good. Lots of reasons to never brandish a fire arm, ever.

    Most of the issue with the discussion here is that the anti-gun crowd doesn’t actually know very much about fire arms, and some of the stuff that I have heard is as far from the truth as can be. I find that learning more about the thing you don’t understand but want greater control over through legislation is a great way to learn that your perspective needs some adjusting. Once you understand more, you’re in a better position to talk more about the real possibilities.

  6. One of the issues I’ve long had with the ‘mass shooting’ terminology is that it SEEMS disingenuous. Not that it is, because I know the folks I talk to are quite serious and genuine about this issue. However, this comes up when it’s highly publicized shootings of lots of people but not any other time.

    Then there’s the definition of a mass shooting. What does that mean to you, or me, or the next person? The FBI defines it one way, the anti-gun crowd another, the right that I’ve spoken to generally refers back to the FBI definition. Most media don’t provide an explanation in their articles and the anti-gun crowd doesn’t usually make it easy to find.

    So WHY does it SEEM disingenuous to me?

    https://www.vox.com/a/mass-shootings-sandy-hook

    If you take this information then by the definition they provide (kudos by the way, most articles that do this don’t provide the actual definition they use) in this article there have been a lot for the anti-gun crowd to be angry over. Also of note, some anti-gun information providers have used a BB gun shooting in the mass shooting statistics.

    Oh, and also because the ‘ban’ crowd wants to ban a ‘scary black gun’ that is in the class of guns which does less than 3% of the total fire arms deaths in the country (check the FBI UCR’s and you’ll find it) just doesn’t cut it for me. For a genuine gun ban to work you’d be better off banning pistols than the ‘scary black guns’. Or both, but at least then there’s no question your efforts would be absolutely genuine.

  7. Joel, this seems strange to me: “Your statement about indiscriminate fire applies just as well to the bump stock. It’s useless except if you’re firing at close range into a crowd. Now, of course we know that what it looks like is rather scary to people who don’t know that most of what’s on there are simply modifications that are only useful in specific circumstances. So their lack of knowledge means they’re afraid, and want to not be afraid.“

    It sounds like what you’re saying is that there’s no legitimate use for a bump stock. It’s only valuable if you want to hit large numbers of closely-packed targets quickly, which is never going to be a hunting, target shooting, or self-defense circumstance. The only situation in which it offers any utility is the one which made it famous because of the Las Vegas shooting—you want to hit lots of people in a crowd, and you don’t much care who. How is fear of a device which is only useful to a mass shooter merely a product of ignorance? In the best possible case, we can imagine a person who likes taking it to the range because they enjoy the sensation of firing many inaccurate bullets, though they know it serves no useful purpose. I’m not going to go quite so far as to suggest that no such person could be a responsible gun owner, but that behavior strongly suggests motives other than the ones usually connected with that portrayal, doesn’t it?

    “The rancher actually does come with a 30 round magazine and is just as easy if not easier to shoot indiscriminately, especially without that scope on it.”

    Right but the point is that it doesn’t look like that’s the case to the untrained eye. Reece seemed to be suggesting that we ought to only consider a person’s views if they have expressed themselves precisely. I think that’s unreasonable; we ought to read charitably. That’s why I made an issue of the fact that the distinction between full and semi automatic fire isn’t simply an issue of rate of fire. Reece himself wrote without precision. But I understood what he meant, and, since RoF is often used loosely to describe this difference, even though it’s not precise, I’m happy to proceed on that understanding. Similarly, when people say their intuition is that the gun in the top photo should be banned but the one in the bottom shouldn’t, we can interpret them charitably by trying to figure out what they might believe is relevantly different between the two. My impression is that there’s a pretty sensible distinction to be made; even though lots of people have misidentified the qualities of the weapons in the photos, the qualities which matter to them are real and may be productively used in shaping policy.

    “As for the arms they had in mind when they wrote the second amendment. Well, it was actually about weapons that were used in war time.”

    Sure, but a textualist isn’t allowed to care about that, and the text doesn’t specify what arms are intended. If we want to base our interpretation of the original intent, rather than the original meaning of the text, history underdetermines our answer. If we restrict private ownership of arms to less than that used in war, we fail to respect part of their intent. But, if we allow private ownership of all arms used in war, we also fail to respect part of their intent, because those arms today have some very different global consequences. Indeed, privately-owned warships were common in wars at the time, but virtually no one would suggest legalizing the modern equivalents.

    As for intimidation, your interpretation of intimidation as limited to brandishing is overly narrow. Open carry demonstrations frequently intimidate and are intended to intimidate without falling afoul of such laws. So, you’re right that part of the problem is that the anti-gun folks often know much less about guns than pro-gun folks. But anti-gun folks seem much more likely to know about the public health issues, such as that, on average, owning a gun makes you less safe. So the ignorance is not purely one-sided, and another part of the problem is that the pro-gun side so often uses words uncooperatively, even mendaciously, and deliberately avoids collective data.

  8. <>

    Correction:

    The rifle displayed in both images, the Ruger Mini-14, is not based on the AR-15 design. The Mini-14 is based on the M-14 rifle action, and aesthetically appears as a scaled-down version of such. The M-14 is the modernized, rechambered version of the M-1 Garand, which was the GI rifle during World War II; the former was briefly issued prior to being replaced by the M-16 during the Vietnam War.

  9. My apologies, life got a bit busy.

    Kelsey:

    “It sounds like what you’re saying is that there’s no legitimate use for a bump stock.” My answer would be ‘fun’. As for whether or not that is legitimate enough, well that’s up to the courts. I personally an not interested in ever using one myself. Not really a no or yes from me but I fall into the category of ‘we don’t need to ban or outlaw everything just because it doesn’t serve a purpose that some people feel is legitimate. Legitimate use is also perspective based in this case, so there’s that side of the argument. Regulate? Perhaps. Ban? That’s a knee jerk reaction to the item from someone who doesn’t fully understand or know all of the information.

    “How is fear of a device which is only useful to a mass shooter merely a product of ignorance?” Because the fear generated about a bump stock was based on ignorance of it’s capabilities. 900 rounds per minute with a bumpfire stock is a claim based on ignorance of the topic of rates of gun fire, capabilites of the bump stock, and an accurate description of how the two work together.

    “Right but the point is that it doesn’t look like that’s the case to the untrained eye.” Which by the way is exactly the point of much of the problem with the interpretation; that ‘scary’ guns should be banned even if there’s no actual difference between the two. It’s also compounded by the previous issue of arguing from a point of ignorance. The misinformation is repeated ad nauseam as if it were factually correct and any rebuttal which generally includes factually accurate information is ignored or dismissed as ‘gun nut’ or ‘not common sense’.

    I am fine with charitable interpretation, but so far I don’t see any of the anti-gun crowd listening to and attempting to correct any of their information with real facts. If I’m trying to make an argument, wouldn’t I at least want to have facts straight, correct and understand what I’m arguing instead of basically making up whatever I want just for the sake of making the other guy seem crazy? Especially if it’s going to become a law? Shouldn’t the argument be based on facts, accurate information, and reality?

    I agree that we can’t interpret the second amendment strictly textually, and that intent is valuable. However, as a side note their ‘intent’ was that anyone have access, be trained in the use of, and be available to the state for service with said ‘weapon of war’. So while I also agree that we shouldn’t be allowing everyone to have any weapon used in modern warfare, that was actually part of their intent. But only if you knew how to use it. So at least there’s some limiting factors to that part. And just to clarify, no I’m not for the whole ‘anything to anyone’ idea.

    “As for intimidation, your interpretation of intimidation as limited to brandishing is overly narrow.”
    Actually I defined “intentional use of a fire arm to intimidate another” by it’s legal definition. I wasn’t trying to define intimidation, or limit it’s application or who, when or how someone might feel intimidated. I agree that it can be intimidating with a bunch of people walking around in an open carry ‘demonstration’ or whatever you want to call it. I don’t support open carry demonstrations, though the fear portion for the anti gun group seems more related to the fire arm and not the group.

    My question then would be if we should treat it the same as all other methods of murder which have any similar percentage of ‘weapons’? Do we similarly treat someone carrying a baseball bat, a knife, or their hands and feet with the same intimidation factor? There’s a logical disconnect I think, in that thinking because one feels fear another must be held legally liable for it. It doesn’t make sense to me logically and if we’re going to enact laws they should be based on logic, not fear or emotion.

    “But anti-gun folks seem much more likely to know about the public health issues, such as that, on average, owning a gun makes you less safe.”

    I’m assuming here that you’re saying that the pro-gun crowd is dismissive or less informed of the possible, likely, or actual draw backs (negatives, if you will) of gun ownership. I would also say that your claim (owning a gun makes you less safe) is actually inconclusive because there is extremely limited information on all of the possible issues regarding such. As an aside, the number of guns in the country being 100 million plus (my guess is it’s closer to 150 million because gun owners notoriously do NOT like to provide that kind of information to anyone they don’t know but, that’s just my guess really), and from the numbers I’ve seen about accidental discharges, use, or any category except suicide (another lengthy discussion entirely) that involves unintentional harm from a fire arm is a statistically small number. If it were as bad as is generally presented, most gun owners would have either wounded or killed themselves accidentally in significantly greater numbers. The rationale for ‘not enough information’ which is my main point of rebuttal to the ‘less safe’ argument can be found in some of the comments in the other article here: http://difficultrun.nathanielgivens.com/2018/03/05/why-do-gun-rights-advocates-fight-common-sense-reform/

    I agree that it ‘can’ make you less safe. Fail to follow the rules which keep you safe whether driving a vehicle or owning a gun definitely makes you less safe. It also makes it less safe for everyone else.

  10. “Ban? That’s a knee jerk reaction to the item from someone who doesn’t fully understand or know all of the information.”

    No, it isn’t, and you know it isn’t. I’ve read several articles on bump stocks, watched a couple videos, and I’ve referred to some of that here. It’s not merely a reflexive reaction, and the suggestion that no one who knows all the relevant information could possibly support a ban is both insulting and obviously false. Bump stocks further none of the purposes of the Second Amendment, and they encourage viewing guns as a means of poorly-controlled, destructive fun. It allows mass shooters to do far more damage in a brief period (admittedly, a minute in which they allow 900 rounds to be fired isn’t plausible in real-world circumstances, but they still accelerate firing into crowds substantially). I’m happy to concede that there are people who are relevantly knowledgeable who disagree with my preferred policies. If you can’t do the same, no worries, I’ll just try to avoid interacting with you, because I tend to react to that by being a jerk.

    You’re not fine with reading charitably. As soon as I brought it up what gun control advocates likely mean by wanting to ban what they see in the first photo but not the second, you both lied about never seeing any of them seek information (I’ve been doing it in this very thread!), and also went right back to suggesting that they are too ignorant to have input into policy. If you want to change that, explain why you think the Second Amendment protects a right to a weapon in which a human need not choose each shot with a modest delay between shots, or why we ought to extend those rights beyond what the Constitution requires. That’s the charitable interpretation, and you didn’t even address it.

    The legal definition of brandishing you mention is state-by-state, and varies substantially. New York doesn’t have such a law. Instead, they ban “menacing”, which seems to require intent to harm: https://www.nyccriminallawyers.com/brandishing-a-weapon-or-firearm-lawyers/. So I think your suggestion that gun owners cannot threaten others illegitimately with guns in the U.S. without running afoul of the law is a serious error.

    The comments on the other article are also where I explain why the evidence that owning a gun generally makes you less safe seems strong to me. Notably, it’s also where you dismiss any information derived via Google, which seems to me like pretty strong evidence that some gun rights supporters dismiss evidence about the drawbacks of gun ownership.

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