assault weapons are not assault rifles

This is an assault rifle: 

assaultrifle

This is an “assault weapon”: 

assaultweapon

Can you spot what makes one an “assault rifle” and one an “assault weapon”?  I will give you a few hints: it is not the stock, the pistol grip, the sights, the barrel length, or the fact that the top one has a flat-top upper receiver. 

Nope, the answer is quite simple: assault rifles are capable of fully-automatic fire, while the bottom rifle is not. 

What does “fully-automatic fire” mean?  In short, if you were to pull and hold the trigger on the top rifle with its safety selector switch set to “auto” (as it is now), more than one bullet would come out.  It could should three bullets, it could shoot five bullets, and it could empty the magazine (the setting depends on the gun, the application, and the end user’s desires), but the point is more than one round would be discharged. 

The bottom rifle has no such capacity.  You can pull and hold that trigger until Ragnarok, and only a single bullet will ever come out of its barrel. 

As such, “assault weapons”, like that AR-15 (the rifle on the bottom) cannot be “assault rifles” (the M4 on top), because every single “assault weapon” ban I am familiar with defines the rifle variation of “assault weapons” as “a semi-automatic rifle that has…”.  Semi-automatic rifles cannot be fully-automatic, though fully-automatic rifles can be semi-automatic. 

In the end, “assault weapons” are made-up boogey-men, fabricated by anti-rights cultists and politicians (but I largely repeat myself) in order to demonize the second firearm by saying it looks like the first.  This is true, but regulating firearms based on aesthetic features is simply idiotic, does not keep people from getting “military-style” hardware, and does not stop people from buying even more powerful and capable rifles

In the end, if you cannot accurately articulate the difference between assault rifles and “assault weapons”, you have no business calling for a new “assault weapon” ban, or any form of “gun control”, for that matter.  Ignorance is not the superior arguing position, nor should new legislation be based out of it. 

the slippery slope of gun control

I would like to take a moment today to extend my sincere thanks to the legislatures of both New York State and Connecticut for proving, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that "gun control" is, in truth and fact, a slippery slope.

Anti-rights cultists come absolutely unhinged every time you mention the possibility of "gun control" itself being a slippery slope, and tend to immediately decry such mutterings as prima facie logical fallacies; it is true that the slippery slope can be a logical fallacy, but when you are seeing those trees whipping by your head, reality has to step in. Unfortunately, that reality is the slippery slope has been greased since at least 1934 and we pro-rights activists have been steadily losing ground in the name of "compromise" since at least then, if not beforehand.

The "gun control" extremists have always wanted more, more, more… First it was the National Firearms Act, then it was the Gun Control Act of 1968, then it was the Lautenberg Amendment, then the Brady Law, then the Assault Weapon Ban, then… then… then… Oh, we pro-rights activists have certainly made headway in the past few years, but even with all of the thousands of firearm-related laws on the books, there are still useful idiots clamoring for more! More! More!

Slippery slopes stop being fallacies when you can point to the obvious pattern.

Which brings us up to the modern examples. The state of New York already had an assault weapon ban – any rifle that could accept removable magazines and had two "military" features was prohibited. New York already had a "high-capacity" magazine ban, where "high-capacity" was arbitrarily and capriciously defined as "more than 10 rounds". New York already required all firearm dealers and gun shows to perform background checks on all firearm transactions. New York already had licensing requirements to own firearms.

In other words, New York already had a large number of the "common sense", "reasonable" "gun control" measures most anti-rights cultists out there want. They should be happy with that, right?

Wrong. Consider S2230-2013: Licensure, suspension and revocation of firearm licenses, which just passed the New York Senate [update] and was just signed by Governor Cuomo into law [/update]. It is a long read, but the low points are:

  • The two-feature aspect of the NY assault weapon ban is tossed and replaced with a one-feature test.
  • A ban on all new semi-automatic rifles that can accept a removable magazine and have at least one of: a folding or telescoping stock, a pistol grip, a thumbhole stock, a second handgrip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor / muzzle brake (they spelled it "break" in the legislation, amusingly enough) / muzzle compensator / threaded barrel, grenade launcher.
  • A ban on all new semi-automatic shotguns that has at least one of: a folding or telescoping stock, a thumbhole stock, a second hand grip, a fixed magazine in excess of seven rounds, an ability to accept detachable magazines.
  • All such existing "assault weapons" must be registered with the state within one year of the effective date, and registration is subject to "a review of disqualifiers by the State Police."
  • If they are not registered, possession of such "assault weapons" is a crime.
  • All such existing "assault weapons" may only be sold to dealers or out-of-state.
  • All magazines that can hold more than 7 rounds are banned.
  • This ban includes previously-"grandfathered" magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
  • Magazines that can hold more than 7 but not more than 10 rounds are "grandfathered", but may only hold 7 rounds.
  • All ammunition sales must be processed through firearm dealers.
  • All ammunition sales must include an NCIS check on the purchaser.
  • All ammunition sales must be recorded and logged.
  • All firearm ownership permits must be renewed every five years (some counties had permits that never expired).
  • All private sales of firearms must be executed through a firearm dealer.

And, like I said, those are just the low points.

So, let us see here… it is still possible to own an AR-15 in the Empire State, but it would have to have an unthreaded bull barrel, some kind of non-pistol-grip grip, and a fixed stock, and you can only feed it 7 rounds or less. Amusingly, though, an M1A without any kind of muzzle attachment would be 100% legal, despite throwing a larger bullet farther and with more energy; but that is about the only funny thing to be found.

At least 75% of modern semi-automatic handguns are functionally banned. What is that? They only banned handguns with certain features? Well, that is great… except they also banned all new magazines over 7 rounds of capacity, which means your Glock or XD or S&W is only useful for as long as its magazines last – the only <10 round magazines I am aware of are for single-stack firearms that already do not have capacities in excess of 10 rounds. Oh, I am (fairly) sure that enterprising companies will step in and start producing 7-round double-stack magazines for common firearm platforms, but let us consider something for a moment.

At some point in the past (hell if I know when), New York had no limitation on the size of a firearm’s magazine. Then, on 13SEP94, New York banned the sale of any new magazines that could hold in excess of ten rounds; however, old ones were grandfathered in.

Now New York is arbitrarily banning all of those pre-’94 magazines, even the ones previously grandfathered, but graciously telling you those greater-than-seven-but-less-than-11 round magazines of yours are grandfathered under the new law? Yeah, and how long will that "grandfathering" last until it, too, is arbitrarily legislated out of existence?

And this is all without even touching on the fact that registration has invariably preceded confiscation, even here in the United States.

Oh, you think I am sliding back into the realm of a logical fallacy again? I guess two data points are insufficient for you to be happy, huh? Well, recall that I mentioned Connecticut in the opening line of this post. The ironically-named Constitution State has an assault weapon ban (No, really. I have to wonder how the mother of the Sandy Hook murderer owned hers.), but does not have a "high capacity" magazine ban; they attempted to pass one in 2011, but it got nowhere.

Apparently State Senator Edward Meyer is unhappy with this situation, given 2013 SB 00122 he proposed:

That the general statutes be amended to establish a class C felony offense, except for certain military and law enforcement personnel and certain gun clubs, for (1) any person or organization to purchase, sell, donate, transport, possess or use any gun except one made to fire a single round, (2) any person to fire a gun containing more than a single round, (3) any person or organization to receive from another state, territory or country a gun made to fire multiple rounds, or (4) any person or organization to purchase, sell, donate or possess a magazine or clip capable of holding more than one round.

Read through that again. It makes it a crime for you, as an average citizen, to own a firearm, of any type, if it can fire more than one round or a magazine if it can hold more than one round. Every semi-automatic firearm of any type, every revolver, and almost every rifle, pistol, and shotgun would be banned by this legislation; no grandfathering, no registration, just outright banned. Granted, this is just a bill at the moment and has a long way to go before becoming a law, but still.

Hell. With. That.

Hell with State Senator Meyer, hell with New York, and hell with any other politician who would propose any other similar legislation.

That little pleasantry dispensed with, however, this is why the "slippery slope" has been, and continues to be, a valid concern when applied to "gun control"; those who would unjustly deprive us of our rights and property are never happy until they are entirely successful, and they will keep chipping away, using different tactics – all in the name of "compromise", mind you – until we are left with nothing at all. First it is 10-round magazines… then seven… then five… then why do you need magazines at all? Then one shot rifles. Then why do you need guns at all?

"Gun control" is and always has been a slippery slope, precisely because those who advocate it want control… not over guns, mind you, but over you.