Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Gun Laws and Gun Myths: A Quasi-Intellectual Dissertation
The facts show that hardened criminals don't give two flying fucks about any gun control laws out there. Ain't no law gonna stop them from shooting somebody to steal something, or shoot them just for the hell of it. They just don't care. Gun laws have NEVER worked, and they don't work today.
Gun laws only make it harder for ordinary citizens like you and me to be able to defend ourselves against said bad guys. If you were a father or mother, and you had some kids, wouldn't you want to be able to protect them safely and effectively, and at the same time, teach them responsibility and proper firearms safety, and not have them learn the hard way later in life?
A gun can do just that.
Now, if any of you reading this have been fed a steady diet of Hollywood and news media, let me blow a couple of popular gun myths out of the water.
First: The GLOCK family of pistols are NOT METAL-DETECTOR-PROOF. That was just a plot point from the movie Die Hard 2, where John McClane makes a statement about an all-plastic gun called the "Glock 7." No such handgun exists, and even the technical consultant for the movie said it was a bad idea to say that.
Second, a .50 BMG rifle cannot possibly take down a commercial airliner mid-flight. You may have seen some pictures of firearms that chamber the impressive cartridge in your local newspaper or television news broadcast being held by some hotshot cop or a so-called "weapons expert", claiming it to be a "terrorist favorite" and capable of causing havoc and killing babies from thousands of yards away. Bullshit. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sure, the maximum effective range of the .50 BMG is around 2,000 yards, but that's the farthest you can possibly send the bullet and still guarantee a hit on an object as big as, say, an industrial-size A/C unit. The reason it's so powerful and so accurate at that distance is because of the cartridge's amazing ballistic coefficient. With a 750-grain Hornady V-Max bullet seated over 214.9 grains of H50BMG and a CCI 350 primer, that sucker will send that bullet screaming out at 2,700 feet per second with a muzzle energy of 12,650 foot-pounds. Ballistic coefficient is in the neighborhood of 1.050 and standard deviation clocks in at 0.412 for the V-Max bullet. In plain English, that means you can put five .50-caliber rounds into a target no bigger than a truck tire from a mile away.
Now, all that technical mumbo-jumbo may have just fried your brain, so I'll try to make it nice and simple. Street hoods don't want a .50-caliber rifle like one of these. The majority of these rifles are bolt-action, single-shot models, they are normally 55+ inches long (that's almost 5 feet!) and can't be concealed without the aid of several blankets or one big-ass comforter, they weigh well over 20 pounds unloaded, and prices can range from $3,500 to $7,000 apiece. That goes double for black-market guns. Plus, the ammo is just as expensive, with individual rounds adding up to as much as $2. Compare that to 35¢ for a round of .223 Remington FMJ.
Besides, where will they use it? Atop of buildings? The average slum is jam-packed with all kinds of residences of varying heights, and it would be a fool's errand to be able to plot out a trajectory in a maze of apartment complexes from across the street. Drive-bys? Did you read the part about the rifles being 55+ inches long? That's longer than the standard interior width of a common 4-door sedan. You'd have to break both windows or open a door to get enough clearance, or cut down the barrel quite a bit, thereby reducing muzzle velocity and energy, and from that, introducing an INSANE amount of muzzle blast and report inside the hooptie upon firing, PLUS most of that unburnt powder and aforementioned muzzle blast setting fire to the interior. What? Speak up, I can't hear you! I can't see you either, I'm blinded! Ahh, the back seat's on fire! *crash*
Now, getting to the airport deal. Most of you will argue "But they'll be able to shoot the airplane on take-off and landing!" Highly unlikely. First, you'd need to find a way to get on the tarmac without being seen. Let's use LAX for an example. LAX is surrounded by chain-link fence 10 feet high, topped off with coiled barb-wire like you'd find in a maximum-security prison. And if I know LAX, it may have two of these fences. The perimeter is patrolled by the LA Airport Police, a special branch of LAPD that is currently trying to get recognized as a separate police agency. And LAAP does a better job protecting those borders than ICE does. *ba-dum tish*
Now, after successfully jumping the fence and slipping past the patrols, you'll need to find a nice spot on the tarmac from which to make the shot. The tarmac is a mile in each direction, and I think only the stupidest or most die-hard criminal is gonna run halfway around the world looking for a spot on a concealement-free blacktop with a 30-pound rifle on his back and 5 rounds in his pockets, all the while trying desperately not to be seen by police, ground crew, pilots and passengers, get himself sucked into a spooling jet turbine, or be flattened by incoming and outgoing air traffic.
Now, you might say "What if he snuck in at night and found a spot before morning?" Again, he'd have to sneak past police and other ground crew, and not be caught in any spotlights or seen in any infra-red or night-vision devices. And then, when he HAS found a spot to hunker down in, he better pray to God that they didn't have a FOD search scheduled for that morning. During a FOD search, all air traffic is halted while the airport team scours the entire tarmac for little bits and pieces of debris that could get sucked up into a jet engine and cause a whoopsie. And FOD checks are thorough. They leave no stone unturned. So they'll eventually find the dude, who may be hungry, thirsty, and may have soiled himself from the wait in the middle of nowhere-land. He'll then be hauled off to jail and the rifle will be sent to some evidence locker to await trial.
Now, say that the criminal has not been found, and he's ready to shoot down a flying vehicle of the Great Satan and assure his place in Heaven with the 72 virgins or something. Well, I sure hope you're a trained super sniper, because those planes move a lot. Not to mention the wind direction (airports are always built with the runway planned out to make planes take-off into the wind), air temperature, humidity, elevation, wind speed, all that good stuff. Hitting a moving target is no easy feat, even for a trained Army Sniper. (Of course, they'll never publicly admit that.) And unless you have a straight-on shot at your target, you're gonna have to lead that plane, which is traveling at around 150 miles an hour at either take-off or landing. So you better know your dope before taking a shot like that, or else you just wasted your only shot at making the FBI's Top Ten list. Or you could get squashed by the plane rolling over your dumb ass on landing. We law-abiding citizens prefer it to be the latter. Because if you DO manage to beat the odds, you'll have been compromised, and you'll have to escape. Chances are you'll either leave in handcuffs or a body bag, depending on how pissed-off the police are at that point.
There's your dose of reality concerning a couple of firearms being portrayed in today's biased media as cop-killers and hell-raisers, not fit for human consumption, all the while perpetuated by lies like a 9mm hollow-point can pierce a police officer's body armor. What childish nonsense. Hollowpoint ammunition was not designed to penetrate body armor, it was designed to expand upon contact with flesh and expend all its kinetic energy within a short space and not exit the body, thereby rendering the victim incapable of further attack. Ideally, this victim should be a dumb criminal. Not only are hollowpoints dreadfully ineffective on body armor, most hollowpoints are impeded by mere clothing, like a pair of blue jeans or a fluffy down parka. The JHPs pass through the material and, on occasion, take some with it, plugging up the expansion cavity and making it no more effective than normal hardball ammo. A well-made hollowpoint (Federal Hydra-Shok or Speer Gold Dot, zum Beispiel) should go through these layers of clothing unimpeded and expand as advertised. However, not all hollowpoints are created equal. Some brands, like Remington's Golden Sabers, have been known to have the jacket and core separate upon penetration. This is not a good thing, because all that kinetic energy is wasted and not much gets done, ballistically speaking. However, I am not a supreme magistrate on hollowpoint performance, I don't have exact figures with me, I just calls 'em like I sees 'em. Many citizens use Golden Sabers and find them just fine, without any malfunctions. There may be several bad apples in a bushel, but that's not an accurate representation of the entire product line.
Okay, now that you've been exposed to some reality about gun myths, let's talk about gun laws. These laws come in many shapes, forms, and flavors, all of them inedible. For some of you, this may be your first foray into the scary, convoluted world of firearms legislature, and you may not like what you're about to hear. But I will try and break it all down into manageable pieces for you to read and think about. With that in mind, I will start off with the three most recognizeable gun laws in the United States.
The National Firearms Act of 1934
This one was Franklin Delano Roosevelt's creation, and was passed in the midsts of the Great Depression during the Dirty Thirties, when such gangsters like Al Capone and Machine-Gun Kelly were scootin' around in their giant Fords and Packards, robbing banks and shooting coppers and running liquor to the speakeasies during the dry period of Prohibition. This is what you might call the door that was opened for federal gun control in the modern United States, since most of the gun laws were town ordinances and county codes which were followed by (you guessed it) the law-abiding citizens, not so much by the criminals (as usual).
What the National Firearms Act did:
-Established separate categories for all the different types of firearms out there: Title I firearms, which are all you regular rifles, shotguns, handguns, lever guns, bolt guns, what-have-you; Title II firearms, which are all rifles with barrels shorter than 16 inches in length, all shotguns with barrels shorter than 18 inches in length, all long guns shorter than 26 inches, all guns that had select-fire capabilities, silencers; and any other weapons, like pen guns, cane guns, stuff like that.
-Established a special tax stamp for an individual to own any Title II firearm, price $200
-Established a special tax stamp for an individual to own any "AOW", price $5
-Established special taxes to be paid by gun shops to sell Title II and AOWs
-Established that a firearm must have a make, model, and serial number that shall not be altered or scratched off, and should the existing firearm not have a serial number, to have one assigned to it by the Secretary
There are other things in there, but for the most part, that's how the law reads. Now, onto the next one.
The Gun Control Act of 1968
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed this one into law, and it can most arguably be the single worst travesty in American history. In firearms legislature, this one would be known as the whopper. Here's some snippets of the GCA '68:
-Established that all firearms produced after May 1968 be made with their own unique serial number
-Established the groundwork for a gun shop to be licensed by the federal government to sell firearms
-Established that all holders of Title II firearms need to fill out an insane load of paperwork and be registered in a federal database of Title II weapons holders
-Established that all new Title II firearms being manufactured be subjected to same insane amount of paperwork should an individual wish to purchase one
-Established a ban on mail-order firearms and ammunition
Folks from Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership (JPFO) have good reason to believe that the Gun Control Act was taken mostly word-for-word from the Nazi Weapons Law of 1938, and have said that "Hitler would be proud to see his last legacy in action: gun-control, in the form of the American Gun Control Act of 1968." (emphasis added) I don't know if that's true or not, but I'd be willing to bet it's true. Your mileage may vary.
The last major gun law you should know about is the Firearm Owner's Protection Act of 1986. Signed in by President Ronald Reagan, this was more of an amendment to GCA '68, and changed some things around to make it more fair for honest, law-abiding citizens. (Keep in mind: no gun control law is fair for honest, law-abiding citizens.) Some of the changes and additions:
-Established that it would be a federal felony to transfer a firearm to a prohibited person
-Established that the federal government cannot make a list of gun owners from dealer records and store it in a database
-Established that ordering of ammunition by mail-order is okay again
-Established that an FFL holder can do their business while they are away from their normal business (at a gun show, zum Beispiel)
-Established that no records can be kept for sales of ammunition except for true armor-piercing ammo
-Established that the general public cannot own or purchase any Title II firearm made after May 19, 1986
-Established that the term "machine-gun" should be applied to any parts or kits that convert a semi-auto firearm into a full-auto firearm
The FOPA did amend parts of the GCA68, but was also directed at cutting down ATF's power. As most gun owners know, ATF will take any chance it gets to harass and persecute gun owners, even on the smallest technical violations.
That's it for the Big Three. If you want to know more about the laws themselves, or want to read the entire wording of any of them, Google is a nice tool. Now, in no particular order, I shall read off MY ideas for a safer America.
-Repeal all federal firearms laws, stopping only at the Second Amendment. 20,000+ laws are ridiculous. 27 words aren't.
A Well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms, shall not be Infringed.
Simple, to-the-point, non-negotiable. That's how they all should be. No legalese double-talk, no confusing boiler-plate language, no nonsense. Next.
-Once you reach 18 years of age, you can legally purchase any firearm you want. Until then, you may possess a firearm, but you may not own it. So it's okay to be in possession of Grandad's old shotgun, but you can't buy it from him until you're 18. This goes for all rifles, shotguns, handguns, sub-machine guns, machine-guns, sawn-off shotguns, and all those nice things except for explosives and crew-served artillery. You can apply for a license to own these things at 20, and the cost is a one-time fee of $100.
-The ONLY database that will be in place is a list of all individuals who are prohibited from owning a firearm, including felons, certified sexual predators, those with serious drug violations, and the clinically and criminally insane. Once you hand the clerk the money, they enter your name and driver's license/ID number and begins the search, which should not take longer than 10 minutes. If there are no hits, you get to take possession of your new firearm, and off you go on your merry way.
-No gun-free zones anywhere, at any time. Ever. You should not have to render yourself defenseless just because you've entered a certain building or establishment. Crime can happen anywhere at any time, so it pays to be prepared. Crime also has a tendency to happen in gun-free zones, so eliminate the gun-free zones to eliminate crime.
-At 18, you can take a special safety course from a certified firearms instructor at any local gun range, and when you pass the course, you will receive a certificate that will allow you to apply for a license at your local Sheriff's department to carry either concealed or open, or for $15 extra, you can get a combo deal which allows you to do both. You fill out the application, and then you hand it to the deputy who will process your information right there, depending on how crowded it is. The same database check is initiated; if your name ain't on the no-go list, you get your license and then you can put a little sticker on it that shows when you last qualified with any of your carry pieces. It works like the tags on your car's license plate: Whenever you go to the range, you have the option of telling the rangemaster you're qualifying for your carry license, and he'll give you the regulation targets you need and assign you a certified instructor; you'll get targets for each piece you plan on qualifying with. Once you are finished shooting, the instructor will grade your performance. If you pass the qualification, you get a sticker to place on your license showing the month and year you qualified with. You get unlimited chances to qualify with any piece at any time; you don't have to shoot them all in one go.
-Age limit to buy ammo will be reduced to 16½. This is the youngest issuance date for a valid driver's license or ID, and I see no reason why not to have some valid ID, just in case.
-National reciprocity on concealed/open carry. If you cross state lines, you don't have to worry if your permit will be recognized, because it is. As long as your tags are still valid, you're good to carry anywhere in the United States.
Well, that's all I have for now. I sure hope some of this is understandable to you, my readers. But I will leave you with this little pearl of wisdom: laws are only followed by the law-abiding. History has shown time and again that gun control almost certainly leads to confiscation, disarmament, and mass genocide. Take that however you want. Just be informed, keep your eyes open, and learn as much as you can. Why stay in the dark when you can see the light?