June 29, 2004

This Is Getting Too Predictable

I refer you to the post below on the rifle used to kill three Alabama cops. I commented on how fair the piece was 9relatively) & that there'd be more articles about it with more obvious bias.

I was ready to take the rest of the night off but then I found this:

"The rifle believed used in the recent slayings of three Birmingham police officers would be illegal under a bill now before Congress, a move supported by some of Alabama's top law officers in the wake of the deaths."

Say what??? To my knowledge the only "bill before Congress' at the moment is a straight renewal of the "assault weapons" ban & that would not cover the SKS since it doesn't cover them currently. Perhaps the author is speaking of one of the House bills to expand the ban, but since Difi's straight renewal is the one most likely to come up in the Senate I assume the author is mistaken. It'd be nice if there was some elaboration to explain this seeming error of fact, but that's hoping for a bit much.

"It's a military weapon all day long,' Montgomery police Chief John Wilson said Monday of the SKS, a semiautomatic rifle whose rounds can penetrate the protective vests worn by most police officers. 'That's all it is, and it needs to be used for nothing more than that."

As opposed to a Garand, which is a military weapon most of the day, but spends its nights moonlighting as a short order cook?

Any weapon is a military weapon. Soem are better than others, but if I were in a battle, any & everything from my rifle to my shoelaces would be potential military weapons if I had the occassion to use them as such.

Chief Wilson also fails to appreciate that most muzzle loading rifles can pierce pistol rated bullet resistant vests. & they too were once military weapons.

"But while Wilson and Mobile police Chief John Cochran said the SKS and similar semiautomatic rifles should not be available to the general public, Alabama's U.S. senators and others in the congressional delegation historically have opposed gun-control measures."

Luckily Alabama's legislators don't usually listen to the bullshit of Alabama's police chiefs. & hopefully it'll keep stinging their egos until they go back to police work instead of the social engineering they'd like to do.

"Gun-control advocates say the SKS, a Soviet-made rifle that preceded the AK-47, is the semiautomatic rifle most often used against police officers. Authorities in Birmingham have said it was used in the June 17 killings of officers Robert "Bob" Bennett, Harley Chisholm III and Carlos Owen."

They just can't help throwing in "AK-47" whenever they get the chance. It's all about guilt by association. Not that an AK-47 is a bad rifle, but they rely on the popular perception of it as being a bad guy's gun to lean people towards their web.

"The three officers were wearing protective vests when they were shot while trying to arrest a man on a misdemeanor assault warrant. Two men, 27-year-old Nathaniel Woods and 24-year-old Kerry Marquise Spencer, are charged with capital murder in the officers' deaths."

So they have two suspects & there'll be a trial. Unfortunately an SKS is not indictable or they'd have mentioned it a dozen times by now.

"The SKS and the Bushmaster rifle - a cousin of the U.S. Army's M-16 used in the January deaths of two Athens officers in north Alabama - both are readily available at gun stores throughout Alabama because they are not among the 'assault weapons' banned by Congress in 1994."

What's really surprising is that the author's used the scare quotes around "assualt weapons" all by themselves. But see the connection they're hinting at? An SKS is just like an AK-47 or an M16 & it's not illegal to buy an SKS despite the similarities between an AK-47 & an M16 even if you have a clean record, can pass the background check & have the cash for them. They want you to think that something's wrong with that. If you doubt me then I invite you to re-read the above paragraph with my alteration:

"The SKS and the Bushmaster rifle - a cousin of the U.S. Army's M-16 used by hundreds of thousands of competitive shooters every year in High Power Rifle Matches - both are readily available at gun stores throughout Alabama because they are not among the 'assault weapons' banned by Congress in 1994."

Now which one makes you feel that their availability is a problem?

"That could change soon. A federal bill that would make permanent the ban, which ends later this year, also would broaden the definition of 'assault weapon' to include the SKS, Bushmaster and similar models."

Either Difi is pulling a fast one, the author is referring to a House bill that's not close to getting voted on at this time, or the author simply doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. I'm guessing the latter. The only bill that's close to getting a vote in Congress at this time is Difi's "assault weapons" ban renewal. It's a straight renewal & does not expand the already rediculous criteria of the '94 ban.

"A comparable law already is in place in California, said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center.
'The beauty of this approach is that we know it's working in California and the manufacturers haven't found a way around it,' Rand said."

Hmmm. If it's working in California then that must mean A: the definition of working is soemthing different than most people would think it is & B: it would be disasterous for anyplace else. The manufacturers have not found a "way around" the California law, just as they haven't found a way around the federal law. They simply manufacture arms that do not violate the law. It's not a loophole when you change your product so it's in compliance with the law.

Oh, but I wonder if Ms. Rand knows how many gun makers have either stopped selling products to California or have moved their operations form California. In that sense then yes - the California laws have worked. They've severely limited the availability of choices in arms in California. Lest you doubt it for a minute, that's what they mean by working - disarming any & everyone possible.

"Even with a ban, it could prove difficult to eliminate the rifles.
Jim Cavanaugh, regional director for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said there are 'millions of them in circulation,' owing to the SKS' popularity as a lightweight, easily concealable weapon that's relatively inexpensive - around $200 or less."

So the head of the Federal Gun Gestapo is calling an SKS "easily concealable"? Sure, if you like wearing ankle length trench coats.

However this took me aback come from an ATF head:

"It's not a bad rifle or a good rifle, it's just a rifle,' Cavanaugh said."

Like I said, I was taken aback when I read that. I don't doubt for a minute that it was more than a momentary lapse & he'll be telling his agents to round up all those easily concealable SKS' he can, but at least this shows that deep down inside he may realize that weapons aren't good or bad - it's the owners.

"Wilson, the Montgomery police chief, wrote an opinion piece for Sunday's Montgomery Advertiser in which he said the weapons were 'easy to conceal, they shoot a multiple amount of rounds, they're easy to convert to full automatic - there are too many evils in those guns for the general public to be walking around with them.'
'They're very dangerous weapons, they're powerful weapons and they're not the weapon of choice for hunters or anything like that,' said Cochran, the Mobile police chief. 'They're simply powerful weapons for self-defense, but likewise can be used for killing. They're war weapons."

Again, a rifle with a full stock is easy to conceal. I wonder what kind of shoulder holster you'd get for an SKS?

& anything that's semi-automatic is easily converted to full automatic. It's actually more complex to make a semi-automatic than a full automatic. It requires more parts to stop the thing form firing as it chambers a fresh round than it is to make it fire that newly chambered round. matter of fact I seem to recall reading somewhere about some expert witness for the defense in a trial about machine guns who took matchsticks & other small items & made several semi-automatic weapons full auto to prove how easy it was & the ATF were beign ridiculous about one of their claims.

But tell me this: in your neck of the woods would people turn down a handy (though not concealable) rifle that fired a cartridge almost but not quite as powerful as the .30-30 winchester & was available for between $150 & $200? I don't know many folks who are meat hunters who would turn their nose up at a cheap way to put venison on the table. & an SKS is a viable deer rifle at short ranges (under 150 yards). Now I agree they're not the weapon of choice. Mine would be a side by side in '06 with a nice bastogne walnut & would cost more than most new cars. But i I had a family to feed & bills to pay then I wouldn't think twice about spending $200 or less for a rifle that's about equal to the .30-30 Winchesters that were/are so popular.

"I think it's a fine rifle,' Larry McCoy, a Mobile gun shop owner, told the Mobile Register for a Monday story about the SKS. 'I think most people buy them to hunt with, but you can use them for self-protection."

I wonder if his opinion about the use of the SKS by his customers comes from the fact that he talks & listens to them? Based on that staement alone I think I'd probably be happy doing my tradin' with Mr. McCoy's shop.

"Wilson, however, said: 'They are not good for hunting, and people can make that argument all they want to and it's wrong, because I used to own one. All they are are assault rifles."

So because people make intelligent arguments about his opinion being incorrect they're wrong. After all, he used to own one & since he never was able to take a deer with it it had to be because the rifle wasn't made for deer hunting.

An SKS is not an "assault rifle" in either the legal or martial sense of the word. It's not included in the '94 ban & it is not a select fire wqeapon so it fails the military definition as well.

As for the hunting thing...I'm getting tired of repeating myself - An SKS fires a cartridge slightly less powerful than a .30-30 Winchester. With an expanding bullet it's perfectly adequate for deer sized game up to about 150 yards or so. It & many other former military rifles make fine hunting firearms.

Unfortunately being a police chief will make people listen to you even when you have no idea what you're talking about.

This article was a return to what I'd expect on the subject: a piece filled with ignorance about the technical aspects of the subject as well as giving only token space to dissenting views.

Unfortunately this won't be the last one on this subject, & odds are they'll be as bad if not worse. Remember, most readers of this tripe that gets printed don't know much about guns & they'll take a cops word over anyone elses because cops muct know about guns, riight? I do know a few cops who are generally knowledgable about firearms & on certain matters I respect their opinion. Unfortunately they weren't interviewed in this article.

Posted by Publicola at June 29, 2004 12:47 AM

Elected or appointed officials who swear to uphold the US Constitution and then publically call for its abridgement should be fired or forced to resign.

Posted by: Robert at June 29, 2004 08:07 AM

Good post.


Posted by: James R. Rummel at June 30, 2004 07:32 PM
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