The MAC-10 submachine gun was practically designed for housewives.
Regina, Night of the Comet (1984)
Although I believe the Second Amendment is a bulwark against tyranny, I have never personally had much interest in firearms. The last time I fired a weapon was the final time I was on the rifle range with my M-16 during my Army days, now, and how did that happen?, more than four decades ago in my rear view window. Fortunately I live in a heavily armed, and peaceful, rural area, where my neighbors more than make up for my lack of interest, and make certain that the peace we enjoy is maintained. However my co-blogger Darwin Catholic has a strong interest in firearms and at his eponymous blog gives us some information about the AR-15:
Reading some of the pieces coming out from major venues such as the NY Times and The Atlantic over the weeks since the Parkland school shooting, it’s struck me that we can see reporters at least trying to write factually accurate stories about the AR-15 type rifles which they clearly believe should be banned, yet not having the knowledge of the subject to allow them to put the facts they report into proper context.
For instance, a NY Times piece I saw the other day tries to make the case that AR-15 rifles are practically the same as the M-16 rifles and M-4 carbines used by the military. It provides the following image comparing an M-16 to models of AR-15 used in various mass shootings, one assumes in order to make the point that they look rather similar.
Then it admits the very significant feature which distinguishes military long arms from their civilian counterparts (selective fire: the existence of a mode in which the rifle can fire multiple shots while the trigger is held down) but argues that this feature is not very important:
The main functional difference between the military’s M16 and M4 rifles and a civilian AR-15 is the “burst” mode on many military models, which allow three rounds to be fired with one trigger pull. Some military versions of the rifles have a full automatic feature, which fires until the trigger is released or a magazine is empty of ammunition.
But in actual American combat these technical differences are less significant than they seem. For decades the American military has trained its conventional troops to fire their M4s and M16s in the semiautomatic mode — one bullet per trigger pull — instead of on “burst” or automatic in almost all shooting situations. The weapons are more accurate this way, and thus more lethal.
What all of this means is that the Parkland gunman, in practical terms, had the same rifle firepower as an American grunt using a standard infantry rifle in the standard way.
The article then attempts to lay out what the author believes are the important similarities between military rifles and AR-15 type civilian rifles:
Like the military’s M4s and M16s, civilian AR-15s are fed with box magazines — the standard magazine holds 30 rounds, or cartridges — that can be swapped out quickly, allowing a gunman to fire more than a hundred rounds in minutes. That is what the police described the Parkland gunman as having done. In many states, civilians can buy magazines that hold many more rounds, including 60- and 100-round versions.
The small-caliber, high-velocity rounds used in the military rifles are identical to those sold for the civilian weapons. They have been documented inflicting grievous bone and soft-tissue wounds. Both civilian and military models of the rifle are lightweight and have very little recoil.
Now, it’s true that both the AR-15 and military rifles have detachable box magazines. However, that’s a trait that AR-15 type rifles have in common with virtually all other semi-automatic rifles and even with a lot of bolt action rifles. Detachable magazines are hundred year old technology. It’s easier to load a magazine when it’s not attached to the rifle, and it’s also easier to make sure that a gun is absolutely safe if you can simply take the magazine out and then work the action to be sure that’s no round in the chamber.
Go here to read the rest. Ignorance and public policy are always a poor mix, and when it comes to firearms the media and the gun grabbers, but I repeat myself, have little to offer but ignorance.