Like many of you, I’ve been the recipient of angry gun nuts’ talking points. Yesterday a real gun nut told me to “shut the hell up” because he fought in Vietnam and held real weapons whereas according to him, I know nothing just because I support reasonable gun control. That was after one of them asked why he should care that children died. Clearly these are not well socialized people, and just as clearly, they don’t speak for most gun owners.
Little does Gun Nut know that I have covered our military training on some pretty hefty weapons that I could barely hold up to my shoulder, and own a gun myself (though not a semi-automatic rifle, even a sporting one is not something I need for self-defense). I covered safety and skill training with our troops, as well as sitting in on a rules of engagement class.
I’ve also interviewed plenty of police in my time and had discussions about levels of engagement and weapons. These things only solidified my belief that TRAINING is important and no citizen should have a semi-automatic assault weapon modeled on the weapons built for military and law enforcement without some serious training.
Only fools think they don’t need to learn anything before handling something so powerful.
So to all of the gun nuts who claim that a semi-automatic assault weapon is the “same thing” as a hunting semi-automatic, I say you are the problem and you should not have access to an assault weapon precisely because you don’t respect the differences, the capability, and the power of such weapons.
If the military and police have to train to use these weapons, why don’t you? Why should the police have to face untrained civilians carrying these weapons?
Respect for the incredible destruction these weapons are capable of is the first sign that maybe you can handle one. Pretending they are the “same” as a hunting rifle is the first clue that your ignorance renders you too dangerous to come near one.
Training is not a cure-all, either. As we can see, these weapons do not belong in the public sphere. They don’t belong in our homes. One adult who is trained properly does not fix the problem of access for those who aren’t, or the mental illness or pure crazy rage of those who aren’t. There is no legitimate reason for having an assault weapon. You’re not going to be able to fight the “government” with an assault weapon and you don’t need it for self-protection. You don’t need it to hunt (I’m not referring to semi-automatic sporting rifles here — read more carefully — though I note that use of one removes the “sporting” aspect from the equation) unless you are a complete idiot, which brings us back to those of you who should not own a gun in the first place.
For all of the gun nuts screaming about how their weapons are the same as any other weapon, get a clue. The 1994 assault weapon ban specifically protected over 670 types of hunting rifles and shotguns.
Here’s how the Brady organization defines the difference between semi-automatic hunting rifles and semi-automatic, military-style assault weapons:
Q. What is the difference between semi-automatic hunting rifles and semi-automatic, military-style assault weapons?
A. Sporting rifles and assault weapons are two distinct classes of firearms. While semi-automatic hunting rifles are designed to be fired from the shoulder and depend upon the accuracy of a precisely aimed projectile to kill an animal, semi-automatic assault weapons are designed to kill as many people quickly, as would be needed in combat.
Opponents of banning assault weapons argue that these military-style weapons only “look” scary. Assault weapons look scary and are scary because they are equipped with combat hardware. Combat features like high-capacity ammunition magazines, pistol grips, folding stocks, and bayonets, which are not found on sporting guns, are designed specifically to facilitate the killing of human beings in battle.
These combat features include:
A large-capacity ammunition magazine which enables the shooter to continuously fire dozens of rounds without reloading. Many assault weapons come equipped with large ammunition magazines allowing more than 50 bullets to be fired without reloading. Standard hunting rifles are usually equipped with no more than 3 or 4-shot magazines;
A folding stock which facilitates maximum concealability and mobility in close combat (which comes at the expense of the accuracy desired in a hunting weapon);
A pistol grip which facilitates spray-fire from the hip without losing control. A pistol grip also facilitates one-handed shooting;
A barrel shroud which enables the shooter to shoot many rounds because it cools the barrel, preventing overheating. It also allows the shooter to grasp the barrel area to stabilize the weapon, without incurring serious burns, during rapid fire;
A threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor which allows the shooter to remain concealed when shooting at night, an advantage in combat but unnecessary for hunting or sporting purposes. In addition, the flash suppressor is useful for providing stability during rapid fire;
A threaded barrel designed to accommodate a silencer which allows an assassin to shoot without making noise;
A barrel mount designed to accommodate a bayonet which allows someone to stab a person at close quarters in battle.
So, gun nuts, cry us a river about your imaginary loss of rights as you continue to refuse any responsibility for learning about the actual law you’re complaining about. Once again, we are back where we started. If you are too ignorant to learn about the law as you scream about it, then you are simply giving more fodder to the idea that you, specifically due to your angry ignorance, should not be able to own an assault weapon. If you are too lazy and stupid to be a responsible citizen, then you are too dangerous to own an assault weapon.
I don’t believe I’ve ever called anyone a “stupid idiot” before in all of the years I’ve written here. So, Gun Nuts, consider yourselves special.
Thanks for making the case for those of us who support reasonable, common sense gun control. The second amendment does not come before other rights, and it seems we must protect the rights of our citizens to life and liberty over your right to be a dangerous idiot. I dare say you should thank us for protecting you from yourself, but I get the idea that you can’t see what we see.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.