by Frank Winn, Guns & Gear Editor - Thursday, December 17, 2015
When it comes to the merits (or de-) of firearm owners and ownership, rarely will you find media screeds better done up as “reports.” In that spirit, we bring you the first Five Stupid Things The Media Believes About Guns And Gun Owners.
To much of the media, an arsenal apparently constitutes owning more than a single firearm. This opinion demonstrates a truly juvenile ignorance about even the grossest differences between firearms, to say nothing of a companion vacuum for the existing laws that govern actual use. (Try, say, duck hunting with your .30-30; see how long you stay out of jail!) Practicality and safety never get a toe in the door against this maelstrom of befuddlement. Consider the minimum complement for teaching firearms safety—a handgun (rimfire revolver), a shotgun (generally a “break type” of single or double barrel) and a rifle (rimfire). Because operating and safety principles for each are distinct, you need an exemplar of each. To round out “type” training and add very limited hunting or basic self-defense, you likely need two more—a semi-auto pistol and a centerfire rifle in .25 or greater caliber.The absurdity of such a standard survives no scrutiny whatever if you trouble yourself to be slightly educated.
Keep in mind, there are dozens of 100-percent legitimate shooting tasks left unaddressed by even this “excessive” number (as likely judged by the media), and we’re only up to five firearms. Big-footed by yin and yang, shooters will no doubt pelt us for omissions also, though in the opposite direction: too few. And they’ll be correct.
But the point remains: Such purely numerical counts are the (arguable) pinnacle of ignorance, barring, perhaps …
Like “beauty,” this is very much in the eye of the beholder, but fueled in the media by the same willed ignorance (see above) and an all-but-total failure of imagination. To many, “stockpiling” apparently means a second box of ammunition.
The absurdity of such a standard survives no scrutiny whatever if you trouble yourself to be slightly educated.
Temporary scarcity—like the frenzy buying induced when the ATF threatened to ban the most common, most shot and most affordable 5.56/.223 ammunition (M855 or “green tip”) last year—can mean ammunition becomes absolutely unobtainable for months or even years. Lowly .22 LR has been all but impossible to reliably find for nearly four years, for instance. What was and is intermittently on shelves comes at a 200- to 500-percent premium. In the interim, no shootin’ for you.
The recent .22 LR experience is illustrative: Used in quantities that dwarf everything else because it is inexpensive, light-recoiling and of limited, small-confines-friendly power, it’s perfect for teaching, informal shooting (“plinking”) and rural pest control. It’s sold in “bricks” of 500 with a current cost of $40-80, and such a brick is often consumed in a single outing. Compare it to center-fire hunting ammunition, which costs 10 to 20 times as much and is typically sold in 20-round boxes. An experienced hunter with a known rifle could make such a box last five years or longer (and often tries to do so to keep performance of that firearm repeatable). So two “boxes” of one vs. two “boxes” of the other is a 960-round offset. Yet the media—in an agreeably self-indulgent fog—might seriously contend that either is “too much,” exceeding, as it does, their idea of an immediate but deeply uninformed concept of need.With shortages like we’ve seen in the Obama years now a fact of ongoing life, such a 1,000-round “stockpile” is considered laughably inadequate among the informed.
Competitive shooters have daunting numbers problems: 200 shotgun shells or pistol rounds wouldn’t be a remotely excessive single-day requirement, so these shooters routinely buy (or reload) 1,000-round or more lots for both economic and performance consistency reasons. With shortages like we’ve seen in the Obama years now a fact of ongoing life, such a 1,000-round “stockpile” is considered laughably inadequate among the informed, and practice needs stretch this meager stock even thinner. Remember, that’s for a single firearm in a single discipline, too: If you like sporting clays and trap, you’re toast in a “one thousand rounds is too many!” world.
Firearms instructors face a more dire calculus: We know many instructors who wisely encourage people new to the sport (lots of these at present!) not to buy a firearm at all before learning safety and handling basics. A subsequent acquisition is thus more informed and likely much safer. This also means a class of four students, plus any demonstration shooting by the instructor, can easily consume between 800 and 1,000 rounds in a single day. A useful analogue might be printer paper. For your home ink-jet, a ream (500 sheets) may well last months; yet there are days when a ream doesn’t last 10 minutes in a small office. So context matters greatly: Any wonder some shooters might need to have many thousands of rounds on standby and have no remotely ugly intent? Or does gun hatred extend to preventing qualified, certified instructors from even earning their living?
Lastly, combine these first two considerations: “arsenal” plus “stockpiling.” A dad with two or three children of hunting age who is safely following a cherished, mishap-free family tradition perhaps generations old could easily need a shotgun and centerfire rifle for each child. (Active sharing in the field is dangerous, by the way, and to be discouraged.) That’s eight firearms right there. With a very sparing couple of hundred shot shells for each (upland game, say, and waterfowl) and three boxes for each centerfire rifle (to cover sighting-in and the actual hunts), that papa now needs well over 1,000 rounds to prepare for a single autumn’s shooting, and for a very limited range of firearms. What aspect of this is unreasoned? Which do you begrudge?
An obsession with round counts should be an automatic signal you’re dealing with a consummate sort of donkey, intentional or otherwise.
The “Powerful” AR
This is a word game, folks: it depends on changing the meaning of “powerful” on a use-by-use and minute-to-minute basis in a fashion that is truly Orwellian “Newspeak.”
It can’t be the ballistics of the cartridge itself. Just ask a returning Iraq or Afghanistan vet: There are few more consistent gripes than about the under-powered nature of 5.56/.223. Or ask your Department of Wildlife: In many states, this cartridge is illegal to hunt with because its reliability to bring down most deer-sized or larger game is questionable to some.
It can’t be the argued that it’s the “speed” with at which it can be fired or reloaded as demonstrated by the hands of a relative few competitive or LE/military experts, either. Find a single case in which we know this to have been determinative, and then note that such speed can very often be duplicated with 100-year-old (or older) designs in the hands of those respective experts. It’s old-fashioned, selfish wickedness that is the problem, and improvised weapons can kill and maim in ghastly numbers, too. Impoverished—or highly selective—imaginations are what keep the media from admitting that this is the heart of the issue.In the end, we’re Australia if we’re lucky, England if we’re not, but meaningfully defenseless all the same—and for all time.
But whether truly stupid or merely manipulative, the goal of this bait-and-switch is to take your eye off the ball: “Get the public to blame the ‘power’ of the AR now, and later on they’ll accept the same argument against other semi-autos, and then against all semi-autos, and then against all pump-actions, and then against all fill-in-the-blank.” In the end, we’re Australia if we’re lucky, England if we’re not, but meaningfully defenseless all the same—and for all time.
Crime Guns Coming From Other States
There’s no great insight needed here, and again, it smacks of a willed, albeit convenient, sort of stupidity. That firearms cross state lines is true (and in some contexts they shouldn’t), but so do tens of billions of dollars of illegal drugs and myriad other contraband commodities.
How, precisely then, should this felony be co-mingled with the vast preponderance of lawful, non-injurious firearms use, ownership or commerce? Make it an über-felony? A mega-felony? It’s an organized, profitable criminal black market these dummkopfs are slathering up to masquerade as an intolerable side effect of legitimate ownership, instead of insisting on the prosecution of these crimes as they should. Their next move then makes itself: Punish lawful ownership through alleged “common-sense” expedients like universal background checks (read “registration”), and confiscation becomes the trivial sequel. Game over, Second Amendment, and the actual goal anyway.
Just as a thought experiment, which of our other liberties do you imagine can survive such a dishonest—or intentionally stupid—assault? A hint: Less than one.
Congress Won’t Let CDC Study Gun Violence
To hold this opinion, you really have to be in the tank. And it isn’t merely stupid, but a verifiably rotten lie. As Dr. Timothy Wheeler will detail in the February 2016 America’s 1st Freedom magazine, Congress only halted bent, obvious, anti-gun politicking by the CDC, and that only after reviewing clear proof that such was indeed going on, over a long period, and consuming millions of dollars in taxpayer money. Criminology research has continued, although—often and inconveniently—it points to many benefits of firearms ownership in terms of reducing crime.
Whew. There. Five down, only a bazillion to go.
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