A blog dedicated to the rational discussion of politics and current events.
I really wish any gun banner would describe what an "assault weapon" is. Just one, please. Are you talking about the rifle itself or how many rounds the magazine will hold? You are aware your so called "assault weapon" is really just a semi-automatic?If your talking about the rifle, please differentiate between it and an hunting rifle. Please don't talk about cosmetics - folding stock, or hand grip, or how scary it looks - these don't change the basic functionality of the weapon.If your talking about the number of rounds the magazine will hold, now we have something concrete to talk about.
Welcome Jim Beam to commenting on penigma.I'm talking about how many rounds it can fire without reloading which also addresses the capacity and kind of magazine it will accept AND the rate at which it can fire.Beyond that, so far as the cosmetics are what make it desirable to those who have so frequently been using the 'assault-style' weapons for mass shootings, I think those DO, as a contributory factor, belong in the discussion as well for banning their use. Please see our other posts which address the issue that most mass shooters are not in fact as dangerously mentally ill as say Jared Loughner. The dangerously mentally ill are a subset of these shooters.But the rest appear to be anti-social, not crazy, angry and bent on some kind of revenge. If cosmetic factors attract them to a gun as well as the performance characteristics then I think that can also be a legitimate reason for a ban if it makes certain weapons more likely to be used for illegal activity.Since neither I nor my co-bloggers created the above visual, I cannot speak for their definitions, just the ones that concern me.
OK, the original assault rifle was something called the StG-44, or SturmGewehr 44 (Assault Rifle). It is the direct precursor to the Automat Kalasnikov and has design features which pretty much define most "assault rifles": * "High-capacity," detachable ammunition magazines. "This allows the high volume of fire critical to the 'storm gun' concept." * A rear pistol grip (handle), including so-called "thumb-hole stocks" and magazines that function like pistol grips. * A forward grip or barrel shroud. Forward grips (located under the barrel or the forward stock) "give a shooter greater control over a weapon during recoil." Forward grips and barrel shrouds also make it possible to hold the gun with the non-trigger hand, even through the barrel gets extremely hot from firing multiple rounds. In the case of assault pistols (like the UZI, MAC, and Intratec TEC series) the forward grip often appears as an ammunition magazine or a barrel shroud, a vented tube surrounding the gun barrel.Of course, the easiest method to regulate them would be to use the 26 USC 5845(b) definition of a machinegun, which is:"any firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger."It's the terms “designed to shoot” and “readily restored to shoot” that are applicable to these guns. I will give you the case law on those topics in the next post.There’s readily restorable for you!
Here is the case law: “There were two welds in the gun which obviously was, when manufactured, ‘designed to shoot.’ The barrel of the gun was welded closed at the breech and was also welded to the receiver on the outside under the handguard. Scroggie testified that there are two possible ways by which the firearm could be made to function as such. The most feasible method would be to cut the barrel off, drill a hole in the forward end of the receiver and then rethread the hole so that the same or another barrel could be inserted. To do so would take about an 8-hour working day in a properly equipped machine shop. Another method which would be more difficult because of the possibility of bending or breaking the barrel would be to drill the weld out of the breech of the barrel. United States v. Smith, 477 F.2d 399(8th Cir.1973) In the context of the NFA and its use as a modifier describing the manner of firearm restoration, “readily” has been read to encompass several elements of restoration: (1) time, i.e., how long it takes to restore the weapon; (2) ease, i.e., how difficult it is to restore the weapon; (3) expertise, i.e., what knowledge and skills are required to restore the weapon; (4) necessary equipment, i.e., what tools are required to restore the weapon; (5) availability, i.e., where additional parts are required, how easily they can be obtained; (6) expense, i.e., how much it costs to restore the weapon; (7) scope, i.e., the extent to which the weapon has to be changed to allow it to shoot automatically; (8) feasability, i.e., whether the restoration would damage or destroy the weapon or cause it to malfunction. See S.W. Daniel, Inc. v. United States, 831 F.2d 253, 254-55 (11th Cir. 1987) (ease and scope); United States v. Alverson, 666 F.2d 341, 345 (9th Cir.1982) (expertise, ease, and scope); United States v. Smith, 477 F.2d 399, 400 (8th Cir.1973) (time and equipment); United States v. Aguilar-Espinosa, 57 F.Supp.2d 1359, 1362 (M.D.Fla.1999) (time, ease, expertise, and equipment); United States v. Seven Misc. Firearms, 503 F.Supp. 565, 573-75 (D.D.C.1980) (time, ease, expertise, equipment, availability, expense, and feasibility); United States v. Cook, No. 92-1467, 1993 WL 243823, at *3-4 (6th Cir. July 6, 1993) (availability)… The decisions of several other courts make clear that the Defendant weapon, which would require, according to Alverson’s own expert, a maximum of six hours to convert to fire automatically, “can be readily restored” under the NFA. The Eighth Circuit held that a semiautomatic rifle that would take an eight-hour working day in a properly equipped machine shop to convert to shoot automatically qualified as a “machinegun” under the NFA.10 Smith, 477 F.2d at 400; cf. United States v. Shilling, 826 F.2d 1365, 1367 (4th Cir.1987) (holding that disassembled guns that could be made to shoot automatically were “readily restor[able]“); S.W. Daniel, Inc., 831 F.2d at 254-55 (upholding the use of a jury instruction defining a machinegun as “those weapons which have not previously functioned as machine guns but possess design features which facilitate full automatic fire by simple modification or elimination of existing component parts”); Alverson, 666 F.2d at 345 (concluding that an automatic weapon that was converted to fire semiautomatically prior to its sale to defendant could be “readily restored” where it could be modified to shoot automatically by filing down one of its parts); United States v. Lauchli, 371 F.2d 303, 312-13 (7th Cir.1966) (in a case prior to the addition of the “can be readily restored” language to the NFA, deciding that weapons requiring assembly to shoot automatically were machineguns under the NFA). U.S. v. One TRW, Model M14, 7.62 Caliber Rifle, 441 F.3d 416(2006)
IN short, the fact that there are manuals out there which give instructions about how to convert these weapons to full-auto make them machineguns. Also the vids on "bump-firing" them to imitate full-auto.There is a simpler method of regulating them as well if you don't like the "cosmetic features" definition--ban any weapon that can accept a magazine with a capacity of over 10 rounds.Personally, I think requiring them to be registered as machineguns with an amnesty period to allow for those who don't wish to register them to legally dispose of them.I am going to add one more footnote, since the civilian versions do not have full-auto capability, they are far more dangerous than actual machineguns. This is due to the fact that they do not have the same amount of muzzle climb as does a fully automatic weapon.So, while their rate of fire may not be as high as a machinegun, they can be far more accurate.