Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Rolling Stone - or is that Rolling Dumbass?

Apparently, if the NRA hadn't opposed a renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapon's ban and "cowed" Congress into following suit this tragedy would have never happened. Of course, since this is coming from one of the great bastions of journalistic integrity and accountability, and definitely not a bunch of pinko commie terrorist sympathizers, we can just take their word on it and disown the NRA now... Or maybe not. The Rolling Stone is in italics, my responses are in bold.

There is much we don't know about the San Bernardino massacre.

An actual true statement. Wow.

But we have learned something about the arsenal deployed to kill at least 14 and injure more than 20 others.

Arsenal? You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Were the terrorists walking around carrying enough weapons to arm a platoon?

The San Bernardino authorities have revealed that the alleged assailants — Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27 — were killed in a police shootout in possession of two .223-caliber assault rifles, and nearly 1,400 rounds of ammunition. They also carried semiautomatic handguns.

Oh, two .223 caliber assault rifles, semi-auto pistols, and 1,400 rounds of ammo. That's not an arsenal. That's barely enough weapons to properly arm them, and not even enough ammo to last a month of practice. For reference, I go through at least 150 rounds a practice session - with a bolt action service rifle older than my grandfather, on a bad day. I know people who go through that much on Tuesday. I personally own twice as many firearms as were used in the attack (and I've only been collecting for a few years), including one that becomes an "Assault weapon" the instant I remove the mag-lock (in CA), and multiple "semi-auto handguns"... 

Seriously? The first successful semi-auto handgun is from 1893, and the 1911 has been used, with very little variation for over a century, and remains competitive with newer pistol designs. It's a little late to get excited about semi-auto pistols.
Also, if the weapons actually were assault rifles, those have been heavily regulated sin 1934, and de facto banned since 1986, since assault rifle is a very specific term that refers to select fire (i.e. full auto/burst capable) intermediate caliber rifles. What you probably meant was "assault weapon" which, in general seems to mean "It's black, and scary, and makes us go poo poo in our panties", and is generally defined by cosmetics and ergonomics, rather than actual capabilities. Let's examine three rifles, all currently for sale at Atlantic Firearms (I am not affiliated with Atlantic, but I have bought from them in the past)

This is a fairly standard civilian legal AK. Lots of features listed on both the 94 AWB and the current CA one. Pistol grip, detachable 30 round magazine, bayonet lug, etc. What it isn't though, is select-fire. It's semi-auto only, and (legal) full auto capability can't be bought for less than $10,000, and that's a steal, even if you get something that isn't safe to shoot. It is only legal in California (which has it's own Assault Weapons Ban) if you neuter it and install a magazine lock.

This is another AK variant, a Vepr hunting rifle. While it too takes detachable magazines, it lacks a pistol grip, bayonet lug, and pretty much any other feature that would have prevented if from being sold in the years that the AWB was active. It does have a thumb-hole stock, which means that under California's Assault Weapon Ban (Which is stricter than the Federal one was) it's still illegal in CA without a mag-lock. It functions identically to the AK with the pistol grip and bayonet lug, and may actually be deadlier, since it's chambered in a larger and more powerful cartridge (Intermediate calibers are generally not considered capable of reliably and humanely taking game).

This final AK is a Saiga rifle. It's chambered in the same caliber as the one with the pistol grip above, functions identically, and yet, is completely legal in California, and completely unregulated by the original AWB. Three weapons with the same functionality, but different cosmetics and ergonomics, and thus, three different legal situations. The AWB could not have stopped this shooting, because it was entirely ergonomic and cosmetic based, rather than functionality based. And even if was functionality based, making a rifle is easier than making meth, and our porous southern border, combined with in country stolen weapons, makes for a well stocked black market.

The assault weapons were purchased legally. But these tactical arms are only legal in the United States because of the efforts of the NRA — which cowed congress into watching the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban expire under president George W. Bush.

The NRA, their own memories of just what happened in the 94 elections, and the fact that the ban was, at best a null effect.

Military-bred weapons have since become commonplace.
Dumbasses. "Military-bred weapons" have been commonplace since before the American Revolution, when you could see militiamen armed with smooth-bore military muskets, field artillery, and (during the Revolution) even armed warships. This has been a theme throughout American history, as surplus military arms have made their way out to the American people. Almost every bolt action hunting rifle uses a Mauser action - originally developed for the German military. Many semi-auto hunting rifles are based off of the M1 Garand, the AR-10 or the AK. 1911s, an iconic military handgun, have been one of America's most popular handguns for over a century. 

DPMS Panther Arms, which, according to police, manufactured one of the assault weapons found in the assailants' rented SUV, has closed its store temporarily. It had been offering $200 cash back as part of a "Black Friday Bonus Savings" promotion.
Your point is what exactly? Offering discounts on firearms is super evil?

DPMS's parent company is the Freedom Group, which also owns Bushmaster, the brand of assault weapon wielded by Adam Lanza in the Newtown massacre. At the bottom of its online store, DPMS links to the websites of the NRA, the NRA-ILA (the group's lobbying arm) and the Friends of NRA.
The Smith & Wesson rifle police say they recovered in San Berardino is from the company's popular M&P line; M&P is short for "military and police." In 2012, Smith & Wesson was inaugurated into the NRA's Golden Ring of Freedom — "reserved for those who have given gifts of cash or assets to the NRA totaling one million dollars or more."

 Oh my! A firearms based company donates to a firearms based Non-profit! That's almost as shocking as Red Hat or OpenSUSE donating to the Linux foundation!

There is increasing speculation that the San Bernardino assailants could have been linked to international terrorists. But under U.S. gun laws, even ties to jihadists — sufficient to land an American on the FBI's terror watch list — do not prevent the purchase of guns, including military- and police- style assault rifles.
The Government Accountability Office has reported that "membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law." 
From 2004 to 2014, according to the GAO, more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI's terrorism watch list successfully purchased guns — at a success rate of greater than 90 percent. The NRA has lobbied against legislation that would close this loophole by calling it "sponsored by gun control extremists."
Are we talking about the list which is almost halfway populated by people with no connection to terrorism, and which requires no conviction, has low (or no) minimum standards of evidence, and which the two apparently weren't on, since they had no trouble flying out of, and back into, our country? That terror watch list? Yeah, why don't you go screw yourselves. Forbidding felons and certain misdemeanor offenders from owning weapons is futile, stupid, and arguably unconstitutional enough, but people who haven't even been convicted of anything yet? As Captain America said, "I thought the punishment usually came after the crime."