The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #116335   Message #2498026
Posted By: Uncle_DaveO
19-Nov-08 - 06:23 PM
Thread Name: BS: Gun ban - yep already
Subject: RE: BS: Gun ban - yep already
Mick, as to "what is an assault weapon", without getting into manufacturers and models, let's try a description of the functions that a firearm might have that would lead it being called "an assault weapon", which is a military concept.

In a military assault, the attacker(s) typically want(s) to lay down LARGE numbers of rounds, the capacity for aimed fire being fairly irrelevant. Indeed, often particular attempt is made at aimed fire. The idea is to "cut 'em all down" or at least to force the defenders to keep their heads down so they can't fire back as the attackers move in. The idea is to send out a continuous stream of projectiles that can be sprayed over an area like a hose, very possibly while the attacking shooter(s) is/are moving (hopefully forward toward the defending enemy). Having a relatively large number of rounds available for continuous fire with a single continued squeeze of the trigger would be important in a military attack situation. The specification of a larger mass is to help the attacker stabilize the weapon from the repeated blows of multiple recoil. When the firearm is not being actively used, it is helpful that it may be folded to a smaller, more convenient size, for carrying, and in some cases for hiding (particularly in a criminal or terrorist use). A flash suppressor is desirable, so that the enemy is less likely to see the assaulting shooter(s). A forward handle is helpful in stabilizing the weapon for directing fire when the shooter is moving. The (at least potential) presence of a bayonet is desirable when the attackers (hopefully) overrun the defending position. Clearly the ability to fire grenades would be a military attack "plus" in an assault.

The only one of the above functions or features that I would think helpful in civilian life (as for hunting) MIGHT be the folding stock, for weight reduction and convenience of carry. I don't see that any of the other functions would be helpful for any legal, utilitarian use, such as hunting.

Congress has drawn the definition line at having AT LEAST two of the above characteristics. I personally wouldn't necessarily call a long gun with only a folding stock and a forward steadying handle a weapon peculiarly suited to an assault. Of course I'm not Congress. But I believe that a weapon with THREE OR MORE of those features is designed for anti-personnel use, and I applaud the attempt to suppress the sales AND THE POSSESSION of such weapons. They are not designed to have legal, useful functions in the hands of law-abiding citizens, and in the hands of violent criminals, terrorists, or the like (where they all too often can wind up) are too great a threat to civil society. I do not regard the "sporting" use of such a weapon to shoot up old cars, say, or merely tear up targets as a good which even remotely justifies the availability of such objects in non-military or non-police hands.

Dave Oesterreich