Gun-control advocates have seized upon the deplorable Newtown shootings to renew their calls to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens to own particular weapons. Initial reports have indicated an AR-15 style rifle may have been used in this shooting; we’ve since heard the AR-15 referred to as:
“Assault Rifles”, “Weapons of War”, “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, “High-Powered Rifles”, “Weapons Designed Only to Kill People”, “Automatic Weapons”, and “Weapons With No Legitimate Purpose”.
In 1994, the Germans coined the phrase “assault rifle” for their StG44, an intermediate-power compact fully-automatic rifle; the StG44 would fire 10 rounds per second for as long as the trigger was held. Politicians attempted to re-define the phrase in 1994, but their definition was based on looks alone, and merely confused the proper classification of various guns.
The rest of the world, gun manufacturers, and the Department of Defense ignored our politician’s re-definition; for if you call the semi-automatic (only one shot for each trigger pull) AR15 an assault rifle, what term would you use for its assault rifle variant, the fully-automatic M16?
Since our politician’s attempt at re-definition died in 2004, let’s just reserve the term “assault rifle” for full-auto military weapons, which have been illegal for civilian use in the United Sates for decades. By the way, the NRA fully supported these bans on automatic weapons at the time, and still does.
While the AR15 and M16 may look nearly identical, the M16 is designed to use a 5.56 mm round, which is more powerful than the .223 Remington which most AR15s are designed to use. The term “High Powered” really misses the target – of the vast selection of modern rifle ammunition, the .223 is the least powerful round made!
The AR15 is not a “Weapon of War”, no army in the world uses it, nor has it ever seen use on a battlefield. Likewise, if we call an AR15 a “Weapon of Mass Destruction”, what term do we use to describe an H–bomb?
As for “Weapons With No Legitimate Purpose”, the AR15 was designed from the ground up as a lightweight, low-recoil, easy to handle rifle, constructed largely of modern materials – no warm wood-grained stock, no polished blue steel, they are built of titanium, aluminum, and composites. The best protective finish for aluminum is a black oxide coating; when combined with the skeletal design, this results in a non-traditional (to some, evil looking!) design which is also the most ergonomic rifle design ever built. But these very characteristics, combined with the high accuracy of the diminutive .223 round (the .223 is the diameter, 0.003” larger than a .22!), make this gun ideal for target and small game shooting; it is the rifle of choice for everything from prairie dogs to coyote, and an obvious favorite of target shooters. With its low recoil and adjustable stock, even children can enjoy shooting this highly accurate rifle.
If you want to start an argument among hunters, mention the use of the .223 for deer, while many deer hunters use AR15s, many others feel it’s just “not enough gun” for whitetails, and many states prohibit its use for large game, it’s just not powerful enough for humane hunting of elk or bear. A glimpse at the Winchester ammo selection is revealing; they make a “Razorback” round for wild boar – it’s only available in two calibers, .308 and .223. Gun reviewers have said if you’re only going to have one rifle, the AR15 should be that one!
The claim that an AR15 is a “Weapon With No Legitimate Purpose” really gets blown away by ammo sales data – .223 ammo is hands down the most popular modern rifle ammo, and very, very little of that ammo is purchased with criminal intent. Modern rifles are used in about 0.2% of all violent crimes; you are twice as likely to be beaten to death by an unarmed assailant as to be killed with a so-called “assault” rifle.
The exaggerations used by the gun-control crowd are classic hyperbole – overstatement in an attempt to elicit a negative response. When you hear these talking points used, bear in mind the speaker is either misinformed, or deliberately attempting to deceive you.
By all means, let’s have an honest debate; but leave the hyperbole outside the room. I’ll take the first shot; a Congressionally funded analysis by the National Institute of Justice of the 1994 gun and magazine ban stated “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence”.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein
By Jim Sacia, State Representative, 89th District
No matter how much it’s written about, scams continue to bite many of us. About the time we get ahead of one, another rears its ugly head, sometimes as a recycle. The following first appeared in 1996 - it is a phone call from area code 809. A message is left on your recorder – something like “please call immediately your cousin (son, uncle, brother) has been injured in an accident. Your number has been listed as a contact number”.
Of course you are inquisitive and concerned. You call. You have reached the Dominican Republic. They work hard to keep you on the line as the charges accumulate at exorbitant rates. No problem you say, you’ll just call your phone provider – who advises that they just provide the service so they may not get involved. You are responsible for the charges. Depending upon the smoothness of the person on the other end, you may be responsible for a huge sum.
We, as a people are good, honest, helpful, and trusting, and yes, even us republicans, therefore we are all vulnerable. Even the intelligent and well educated get nailed. As we start a new year in this age of ever advancing technology, the scams are increasing in frequency and in some cases sophistication. What is so amazing is the number of very simple ones that continue to get us. The admirable traits I mentioned above are often pushed aside by another trait we all posses in varying degrees, for those who suppress it congratulations. The word is greed.
A very dear lady that I respect greatly, contacted me several years ago advising that she had won “The Spanish Lottery” totaling in the millions. She was required to send $1,200.00 in order to release the funds to her. Knowing of my FBI background she asked my advice. I assured her unequivocally it was a scam. “Don’t send one dime. Don’t take any calls from them.” I had asked her when she purchased a ticket to the Spanish Lottery. She of course had no recall. Several months later a local law enforcement officer told me she had been enticed over the several months to send her entire life savings totaling in the many thousands of dollars. She was convinced that it was legitimate as the caller “was a good Christian man who even prayed with me”.
These despicable vermin will stop at nothing to get your money. The elderly are particularly vulnerable.
If you have elderly friends and relatives ensure that you talk with them about scams that prey upon their good trusting ways. If it sounds too good to be true you are right.