Welcome episode 4 of “Loose Rounds!” John Richardson and Michael joins the round table to discuss the latest SHOT Show and the latest goings on in the firearms world.
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Order of Battle:
Miscellaneous notes and updates to listeners
What’s up with the guys?
Common Anti-gun Arguments & Positions:
“Common sense”: AGs often tout lack of “common sense” gun laws. The statement in and of itself is disingenuous because it inherently means that if you disagree, then you lack common sense. However, reasonable minds may differ, which is precisely the reason that law is not proscribed by “common sense.” The legislative process is at once insulated from the whims of the mob via elected representatives, and again distilled into natural compromise through the law making process. Suggesting that a constitutional right can be, or should be, pursuant to folksy wisdoms is dangerous and anathema to the foundation of the republic. Let us not forget that at one time, a flat earth and racial superiority were “common sense.” Being common does not imbue the view holder to correctness. This is a proof by assertion argument that is as weak as it is offensive.
“Weapons of war,” “Assault,” and military-grade weapons: This is one of the most prevalent and potent arguments AGs use. The question is rife with inconsistencies and problems:
Nearly all weapons are used in war, or were at one time weapons used in war. Lever action rifles were used by the U.S. Army for decades—is it still a weapon of war? Side-arms are issued to the military—are they weapons of war? Etc.
Assault: An assault is a noun. To assault is a verb. An “assault weapon” is a weapon used to make an assault. But any weapon can be used to make an assault. But adding the “assault” to weapon is leading the audience to a conclusion, namely that if you have the firearm, you have it to commit an assault. A 26NOV2017 article in The Mercury News regarding the Sutherland Church massacre is instructive here. The author states the bad guy used “attack weapon” while the good guy’s rifle was designed to “defend and protect.” But they were the same AR pattern rifle. This is a classic If-by- whiskey argument that is used to shape narrative. Add that to fact that there is no official definition of what an assault rifle is, and when pressed for the definition and justification for any distinction, AGs deflect to emotional arguments.
“The recent events in Sutherland Springs, Texas. . . The perpetrator had an automatic attack weapon with large-capacity magazines, while the hero that brought him down simply had a single rifle designed to defend and protect.”
“We regulate X, why can’t we regulate guns?”: Again, this is misleading because it implies there are no regulations when we all know there are volumes of them. The primary counter to this position is of course that TRTKABA is a right not a privilege. The most common example is a driver license and insurance. But even this example fails. Right v. privilege aside, one need not procure a license to buy or drive a vehicle unless it’s a public roadway. Conversely, a driver license is recognized in all states, but not your ccw permit—so why the reversal here?
“Rate increasing devices”: How exactly is that defined? Are muzzle brakes, modified gas system, trigger lightening, or reflex sights considered rate increasing devices? What if you can bump fire, absent the specialty item (as is demonstrated across youtube and instagram)? The facts are that AGs clamoring for this simply do not understand how a self loading weapon works, so the outcome is more important than reasoning or details. i.e. fast = machinegun/full auto regardless of the mechanisms involved. Using the logical fallacies, anything can be a rate increasing device, and any firearm can be “full auto.” Does holding the trigger and fanning the hammer of a single action revolver like the gunfighters of the old west classify as a full auto?
“Nuclear briefcase”: This is a classic example of reductio ad absurdum. Opponents sneer and ask “well if you can have an AR can I have a nuclear bomb” or something equally ridiculous. Set aside for a moment absolutism regarding the 2A (i.e. “we can have anything” argument). What is true is that there are laws that dangerous devices and explosives. Nuclear weapons, bombs, grenades, etc. are mass-effect weapons. Once activated, the user has no control over who is harmed. Contrast this with a semiautomatic firearm where each round is resultant from an individual and volitional act (trigger press). So here again we have a non analogous argument to mask ignorance.
The NRA/gun lobby
Campaign finance laws: Another proof by assertion argument that is constantly made by AGs is that the NRA “buys politicians/policy.” False. Campaign finance law caps contributions for all lobbies, PACs, and individual contributors to a candidate. The Supreme Court's 2014 decision in McCutcheon v. FEC, removes the aggregate limit on how much an individual can give in total to all candidates, PACs and party committees combined, but individual contribution caps remain the same. The NRA is allowed to contribute exactly the same amount as a teacher’s union, pharama companies, or any other interest group. Second, the money doesn’t go to the candidate, it goes to the campaign—Marco Rubio isn’t buying a new house with the money, his campaign is financed.
Width of its base: The power of the NRA is not in its “deep pockets” although the organization has money for sure. It’s the width of its base, and by extension then the number of votes it can muster. The 2A community is unique in that it can be focused into a single issue that true believers will rally behind. The real power of the “gun lobby” is that politicians know that all the money in the world from opponents don’t mean anything on Election Day if 5 million+ voters are mobilized against them.
Democratic process: AGs are essentially angry that the democratic process is a two-edged sword. Antifa, the women’s march, Occupy Wall Street, etc. are all examples of demonstration and mobilization for the left. The NRA mobilizes voters every election at every level and for that it is powerful.
“The NRA wants to arm teachers”: False. The NRA does not want to arm anyone. The NRA’s position is that if an adult wishes to be armed, and they meet state and federal guidelines, then they should not be denied. This markedly different from arming teachers or forcing them to arm themselves.
“Why do you need an AR15/Do you need an AR to hunt a deer?”:
Need: This is bait. 2A is a civil right and a civil right need not be justified. I don’t need to have a reason any more than someone needs a right to free speech, a fair trial, or exercise of their religion. A Muslim need not have a reason to practice rather than Christianity.
Hunting: 2A makes no mention of hunting and is not discussed in any writings of the time that I’m aware of. 2A exists for tyranny. And in many states a .223 round is insufficient for ethical hunting anyway.
“Your stupid rifle won’t be able to fight the army/drones/tanks.” First of all, the ability to win the fight stands apart from my ability to fight the fight. And AGs cannot abdicate my natural right of rebellion (if we should have the misfortune to see occasion in our time). Secondly, history is replete with lesser equipped forces doing very well against a superior force. The soviets in Afghanistan, the Viet Cong, the Taliban, and the American colonists are all examples of lesser forces challenging, and in some cases triumphing, over far mightier opponents.
Misdirection: This is the preferred tactic of AGs. This latest massacre is a great example because a lot of the buzz is around bump stock modifications. As of this writing, we have no evidence that a bump stock was used. After Pulse Nightclub, the Dallas Police attack, Baton Rouge Police attack, Draw Mohammed attack, Charelston Church shooting, etc., the talk was again on AR15s. None of those perpetrators used an AR15. Another popular push is the “gun show loophole” despite most of these shooters obtaining guns legally (i.e. with a NICS check), or stealing them. There is little to no evidence of any of these shooters obtaining a weapon through the so called loophole but AGs keep pushing it after every event.
Ignoratio elenchi: aka “missing the point.” This can be applied to nearly every discussion on the topic. For instance, the proposal to allow armed teachers in schools typically elicits a litany of outcomes where the weapon will not help. But that misses the point that having more tools is more advantageous than less tools—even if the tool is ultimately useless.
Moving goalposts: Typical argument when proven wrong. A great example is the Sutherland Church massacre. AGs often sneer at “good guy with a gun” stopping a massacre. Stephen Willeford, Jonnie Langendorff were good guys with guns that stopped the killing. AGs contend that their participation was irrelevant because he didn’t save enough people and/or that the killing was over despite overwhelming historical evidence that active killers don’t stop killing until they are stopped. Another example is ccw incidents of criminality. AGs insist that carrying guns around leads to more crime. States like Texas that keep meticulous records categorically disprove this, so the goal post is moved to say that ccw is ineffective for self defense.