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    Greg and Beth

    the political and personal musings of two
    mountaineers living in west-central Florida
     
    Various Assault Weapons Meme Comment
    Gregory Morris, 12/17/09 6:28:40 pm
    Via Jeff, I see yet another "I am a gun owner, but..." letter to the editor has been published. Allow me to address a few of the old and tired memes spouted in the article.

    "[Assault Weapons] have no role in a peaceful society"
    Regardless of your feeling about guns, that quote is so ambiguous as to be basically meaningless. Let's discuss the different ways you can parse the author's meaning:
    1) The removal of semi-automatic firearms will somehow make the society peaceful.
    2) The absence of semi-automatic firearms is merely a component of a peaceful society.
    3) Semi-automatic firearms should be outlawed because we live in a peaceful society.

    Regardless of the author's intended meaning, logical thought forces me to disagree.
    1) Peace hasn't broken out anywhere guns have been confiscated, for a number of reasons. First, since guns exist, so people who wish to commit violence will acquire guns. Second, even without guns, there are plenty of good alternatives to firearms for committing violence. The difference between an armed society, and a society where only the government is armed, boils down to who has the ability to commit violence. Is living under peaceful tyranny better than dangerous freedom?
    2) There is such a thing as a peaceful society that isn't a civil society. Someone else has said it much better than I could. Simply put, without a means of eliminating the disparity of force between an 18-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman, your society can't be civilized.
    3) This is the strangest parsing of all, yet the easiest to answer: we don't live in a peaceful society. I wish we did. Even if we did, I bet I could find a "peaceful" use for many types of firearms you find offensive.

    "It is time for Congress to ban the sale and ownership of fully automatic weapons."
    Aha! So you admit you are lying about being a gun owner. Or perhaps you only own a dusty old bolt-action rifle and know nothing about modern sporting rifles. Either way, I think it is telling that so many of these articles confuse scary looking semi-automatic rifles with "fully automatic" weapons, the latter being heavily regulated since your grandmother was a kid.

    "Assault rifles are designed with a single purpose -- to kill human beings."
    My first ever firearm was designed and built for the sole purpose of killing people. When it was used during World War II, it did a fantastic job of killing Germans. Heck, even without ammunition, it is a fine spear. Thankfully, this particular bolt-action rifle has never determined which people to kill through it's own volition. After sitting unused for these many post-war years, my Soviet Main Battle Rifle has not killed a single German. It has, however, provided many hours of entertainment at the gun range. Yes, a bolt action rifle was designed to kill people, but strangely it is good at other things too. Refrigerators have been packed with venison, via these relics of war. Many competitive matches are shot every year using rifles that were once developed for war. Likewise, modern semi-automatic rifles are good at killing people, but they are also widely used for sporting purposes and self defense. Arguing that a weapon somehow mystically bears its own intent is proof that you haven't thought your argument through.

    [Comments are closed after a month.]

    Re: Various Assault Weapons Meme
    McThag, 12/21/09 12:50:25 am
    I have three rifles, one is semi-automatic, that are not clones of combat rifles (like so called assault weapons) but genuine weapons of war. Two of them have, for certain, seen combat. One has, for certain, has successfully killed an enemy solder.

    No sporting purpose was intended for any of them when they were designed and built, yet the one that was used to kill troops also harvested deer. .30-06 is multi-functional, see?

    I know we gun owners keep trying to use logic, but it's like explaining how to program the VCR to the dog.
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