February 14, 2005

The NY Mall Shooter

I'm sure most of you have heard what happened in NY. But to make sure we're on the same page (that's kind of a redundant phrase when looking at a website isn't it?) a man walked into a best Buy store inside a mall in Ulster, NY & started firing with what has been loosely described as an "assault-style" rifle. He wounded at least two people. He then laid down the rifle after running out of ammunition & was tackled by two employees from Dick's Sporting Goods.

Now all I've heard has come from blurbs on the news last night (that'd be the news on a.m. radio stations) & the Yahoo News story I linked to above. A couple of things strike me as odd though.

I've been hearing it was an "assault rifle" or an "assault style rifle" but no other details were provided. It's possible I just missed it but usually the press is quick to point out what type of firearm is used. That way it can be referenced in the next Violence Policy Center Press Release news article supporting some sort of weapons ban. Could it be that they simply don't know what type of rifle he used? Or did it turn out to be a type of rifle whicht he word "assault" couldn't credibly (even for them) be appended to? Upon reflection it couldn't have been an "assault rifle" since NY has a stateide ban on those things. & we all know prohibitions are effective right?

The thug stopped shooting after he ran out of ammo. Again this leads me to believe it wasn't an "assault type" rifle at all since they're known for their devilishly high magazine capacities & the ability to quickly change out said devilishly high capacity magazines. However it would make a little more sense if the criminal was using a tube magazine fed .22 Of course he could have just been a little off his rocker & no cared about a quick magazine change.

He was tackled by two employees from Dick's Sporting Goods after he laid his rifle down. I can understand sneaking up on the guy form behind & it's very probable that he happened to lay down his rifle just before the employees jumped him. But the Dick's Sporting Goods I've been to all sell firearms. Wouldn't it have made sense for the employees to make a mad dash to the firearms counter & borrow a shotgun & a box of shells? Granted it would have probably violated a dozen NY laws & some asshole DA would have pressed charges, but still; the employees couldn't have known the punk was going to run out of ammo & throw down the rifle when they started for him. It was very brave on their parts to do so but a better plan would have been to approach an armed criminal with arms.

It's possible though that the Dick's Sporting Goods across NY decided they didn't want to sell weapons in such a hoplophobic enviroment (I refere to the laws NYC wants passed making a legal seller liabel for criminal use of their products). I've also heard that the chain was phasing out firearms sales nationwide - or at least handgun sales.

One good thing that may have come about from the MSM pushing an anti-gun agenda; did you note that in a crowded mall this scumbag only wounded two people? It's possible that he didn't intend to hurt anyone seriously but it's also possible that he heard about being able to "spray from the hip". Despite what the NY Times & Sarah Brady want you to believe shooting a rifle unaimed from the hip is a good way to miss your target. If you're thirty feet away from me & have your rifle waist level I'm not going to be too worried about my chances of survival. It is simply bullshit that unaimed shooting with a rifle at any distance is effective. So if this criminal got his tips on shooting from the MSM then we know why more people weren't hurt.

In NY I've been told that it's not as onerous to get permission to own a firearm or even carry one as most have been led to believe. Without delving into exactly how unfriendly to gun owners NY is I can almost guarantee that the mall where this happened had a "no firearms" policy. So we had two unarmed men tackle a punk who just shot up a store & injured two people instead of any number of armed citizens putting him down before he got off more than a handful of shots.

If anyone finds out any more about this feel free to drop a note in the comments section. I'd be interested to learn if the Dick's employees were in fact armed & of course I want to know what type of "assault style rifle" was used by this piece of vermin.

Oh; do look for the anti-gun lobby to use this to push whatever ban of the week they're pushing. It doesn't matter what type of firearm was used. They'll spin it to fit their needs I'm sure. It'd be nice if the press used this story as an example of why people need to carry the tools of self defense instead of using it to further a prohibition of some sort but I'm not gonna hold my breath on that one.

Update: .According to Say Uncle it was an AK-47 clone. Look for this to be the starting point for a push to renew the "assault weapons" ban on the federal level. Barring that keep an eye on your state.

Posted by Publicola at February 14, 2005 07:22 AM

Being a resident of upstate New York, where the article says the shooting happened, I can correct a few inaccuracies in Publicola's mostly-right-on post.

New York state's "assault weapons" ban is identical to the former federal ban, except it has no sunset date. Hence, legal semi-automatic rifles manufactured after September of 1994 may have no more than one ugly feature: pistol grip, flash hider, bayonet mount, folding stock, and legal removable magazines manufactured after September of 1994 must have a capacity of ten rounds or less.

Though legally obtaining and possessing any firearm in New York City is difficult, and though legally obtaining and possessing a handgun in the rest of the state requires a permit and registration, long gun possession outside of the Big Apple is pretty much like freer states: you walk into a gun dealer, show him your driver's license, fill out the ATF form, wait for him to do the instant check, lay down cash, check, or credit card, and walk out with your rifle or shotgun and as much ammo as you wish. Black powder firearms purchases require no background check or ATF form, though black powder revolvers must be registered to a pistol permit holder if possessed in addition to the materials with which to shoot them (bizarre, eh?).

Hence, this guy's AK-47 clone could have been perfectly legal. I could walk into the black rifle store on Central Avenue in Colonie (next door to Albany, which has a more restrictive city "assault weapons" ban), lay down $350 or thereabouts, and walk out with one. Good thing he didn't know that to do any real harm with a rifle, you have to aim it.

Posted by: Bill St. Clair at February 14, 2005 01:03 PM

One more thing. The two Dicks Sporting Goods stores I've been to in the Albany area have a hunting section which sells rifles, shotguns, ammo, bows, knives, and assorted accessories. No black rifles and no handguns.

Posted by: Bill St. Clair at February 14, 2005 01:08 PM

Hi, kids.

Guess who used to work at Dick's Sporting Goods?

If the Kingston location was anything like the Middletown, NY location where I worked, I severely doubt that the employees would have been unable to find the right triggerlock key to unlock a rifle or shotgun to even make it usable. Tackling the guy made as much sense, or maybe using a rifle as a club.

Quite frankly, you'd be better of with a sand wedge from the golf department.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at February 14, 2005 02:42 PM
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