- Posted January 5, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun control debate: Background checks
What is a "Military Style" Rifle?
I find myself constantly disturbed by the efforts of people who are uninformed about a variety of topics, yet trying to push for a change on a given subject. In this case, it's gun control. So, what is a "military style" rifle? I see that term being thrown around all the time when reading articles about gun control and the recent mass shootings. The military has used MANY different styles of rifles but I am assuming most of the time the reference is based on (a) what they see when they look at pictures and (b) what they hear on TV since most people do not read or research that much to gain actual facts. The main difference in what is a military rifle and a sporting rifle (used for hunting or target) is the difference between automatic and semi-automatic function. An automatic gun fires repeatedly and rapidly when the trigger is pulled and does not stop until the trigger is released or the gun runs out of ammunition. A semi-automatic fires once for each time the trigger is pulled. There is also a significant difference in the gun construction because automatic rifles become VERY hot when fired. Another big difference is that it's been illegal for a very, very long time to own or possess an automatic rifle as well as some other types of guns and weapons deamed necessary to be banned for the general safety of Americans. I agree this level of control is absolutely necessary because gang violence is bad enough without there being a few million automatic weapons on the loose or being able to tote an anti-aircraft gun around in the back of a truck.
However, other guns like the AR-15 or even the AK-47 are used for hunting and target shooting. Just like some people like to knit, others play video game and some people watch movies or lift weights to relieve stress, there are a lot of people who like to shoot guns as a hobby and guns like the AR-15 are simply fun weapons for some of them to shoot. Some people like to shoot handguns like a 9mm semi-automatic while other like an old fashioned .44 magnum revolver just like Dirty Harry used, six bullets at a time. Some people even like to spend hours a day shooting a bow & arrow while others spend their time shooting paintball guns. About 10-12 years ago I used to play a computer game called Quake. Quake is a futuristic first-person shooter game that when played, required ALL of your attention, much like shooting a gun, playing paintball, using a table saw, or lifting weights. Since it required all of my attention, it was a stress reliever for me. Yes, I enjoyed it because it was a video game, but when I played it, nothing else existed and when I was finished, I had taken time to get the stress out of my body and things off my mind that were bothering me. Shooting any type of gun for people who enjoy it, has the same effect. When I was a teenager I used to shoot a bow. I did not hunt much and I only shot at and missed one deer with my bow. But I spent hundreds of hours shooting it. It was such a challenge to see how accurately I could shoot it. The same goes for people who enjoy shooting guns, regardless of the gun type.
The media outlets would lead you to believe an AR-15, AK-47 or other "military style" rifles fire some ridiculously powerful bullet that could pierce armor and stop a tank. The truth is, MOST true military rifles fire smaller bullets than hunting rifles because troops must carry ammo and ammo is heavy. You can compare the bullet sizes in this picture where it's obvious an AR-15 bullet (#7 in the picture) is MUCH smaller than one of the most common hunting bullets, the 30-06 (#15 in the picture).
Now, I know you're probably thinking, "Yeah, but the AR-15 is a semi-automatic which makes it more dangerous." There are semi-automatic versions of most every bullet style, including the 30-06. The primary differences between an AR-15 are the appearance of the gun and the 30-06 fires a substantially larger round. If all guns that merely look like a military automatic machine gun are banned, the nut jobs will simply move on to the next most lethal thing they can get their hands on, which may be even worse depending on how it's used. That said, I pose this question--if you were in a room with limited exits with a crowd of people and someone opens fire, does it make a lot of difference at that point whether the shooter is using a semi-automatic .22 short bullet, an AR-15 .223 bullets, a semi-automatic shotgun, or a semi-automatic 30-06? Does it matter a lot if the bullet hits you from 20 feet away at 1200 feet per second versus 3000 fps? In general, I think not and you certainly would not be trying to figure out what your chances are based on what he's shooting. You might say, "I'll take the .22 short rather than the AR-15, please" but unfortunately, the victims of such horrible crimes do not get to make that choice. Comparing a .22 short is a bit extreme, but if someone's shooting a CO2 pellet gun, it can be deadly so why pick on a gun that has a mere cosmetic difference? Let's drop the "military style" verbiage and call it what it is--a semi-automatic hunting and target rifle.
Finally, during a time when there is so much controversy over guns (never mind the skewed statistics the media presents), why is there no discussion of more education requirements for gun buyers and/or more work towards caring for the mentally ill? What if for many psychological disorders, part of the standard treatment protocol was recommending whether the person is treated should have access to guns (or knives, swords or matches)? Or if someone caring for a person with certain psychological disorders are required to be educated on how to reduce risks? None of the things that are the root of the problem seem to be of relevance in any discussions because we are now "picking on the mentally ill". Tell that to the victims and their loved ones. The solution will never be gun control at the level of banning guns or certain types or accessories. Why not make a law that says if someone creates a mass homicide and they are killed in the process (so they are not on the run) the media is not allowed to publish their name? I know, free press...but my point is that by giving them the attention they want, the media glorifies what they did and even in death, they have become infamous. If someone desires to kill a mass of people, they will find a way to do it. Having a degree in Electronic Engineering I can say with certainty there are many, many ways things like bombs could be constructed in a day's time, but I will not publish any of the techniques that could be used with materials one could buy tomorrow. I will say the guy that tried to detonate the car in Times Square a couple years ago loaded with gas containers and fireworks was a moron. Where there is a will, there is a way. It's unfortunate, but it's true. Focus on the root of the problem, not what was used and let's call the gun what it is, instead of using terminology to mislead the uninformed public into believing the problem lies with inanimate objects that do nothing without the intervention of a human.