Saturday, December 12, 2015
As each new mass shooting leaves dead and wounded Americans strewn like casualties on a battlefield — a butcher’s toll that has now intersected with the international terrorist threat — the gun industry’s culpability amounts to war profiteering through the reckless sale of military weapons tailored for the civilian homefront.
First of all, war profiteers are those who sell weapons to people waging war, as the two word phrase might suggest to those able to read. Selling ordinary, non-military guns to citizens may be some sort of profiteering but it's not war profiteering. Gunmakers can't sell military guns to citizens by law (the unfortunate 1986 ban). Apparently the writer's or writers' ignorance of gun legislation is as complete as the patent gun ignorance in the piece. So the thing starts with moronic overstatement. In what way is legal sales to citizens with intact 2nd Amendment rights reckless? In no way. As stupid as the first paragraph is, it gets worse, much worse.
Across recent decades, gun manufacturers, facing a decline in general gun ownership as demographics shifted and sports hunting faded, have cynically created a domestic market for barely altered rifles and pistols developed for the military. These are weapons designed for the rapid spray-shooting of multiple enemy soldiers in wartime, not homeland civilians living in peace.What are these morons talking about? Gun ownership has been steadily increasing over the last few decades and went into hyperdrive with the election of President Obama. Since 1994, gun ownership went from 194,000,000 weapons to 310,000,000 (and, apparently unknown to the NYT, during the same period, gun homicides decreased by nearly half). That's a gain in gun ownership of more than 50% in just over two decades. "Facing a decline", my broad ass. Only a few million of those were the mean looking semi auto AR 15 and its clones. And those are substantially altered from the M 4 carbines our soldiers use now--the military ones are full auto and the domestic ones are single trigger pull single shot (semi auto). When you're using semi auto (like out boys in WWII) you aim each round. There is not a spraying of bullets. I'm not so sure the gun manufacturers created the market so much as catered to the choice of the buyers (the AR 15 was developed in 1957).
Yet the latest casualty count of 14 killed and 21 wounded last week in the gun carnage at San Bernardino, Calif., is another horrendous confirmation of how these easily available weapons — marketed as macho tools for a kind of paramilitary self-defense — are being used again and again for rapid-fire attacks on innocent people. The fact that the California killers were self-proclaimed Islamic warriors makes the ease with which their arsenal was assembled all the more outrageous.I'm not sure talking about the worst Islamic terrorism attack on the US since 9/11/01 is going to help the position of the NYT. And what's wrong with macho? Gun ownership should be macho. It's certainly not metrosexual. Yet the NYT managed to stumble onto the acorn of truth. Civilian gun ownership is precisely for a kind of paramilitary self-defense. Well done, writers. But the last sentence of the paragraph goes full retard. If the US intelligence forces don't know that the San Berdoo couple are Islamic terrorists, how are the local gun shop owners supposed to know?
While lurid-looking rifles may cause the most shock in the public aftermath, the industry has also been selling pliant statehouse politicians on the legalization of “concealed carry” handgun licenses. These are spreading powerful semiautomatic pistols with the firepower of rifles through the civilian population, from bar rooms to college campuses, even as evidence mounts that they cause more harm to innocent victims than to fantasized malefactors.The phrase "lurid-looking" is very nice. I have no idea what it means but it alliterates. Again the NYT tries to get us to believe that it's the handful of gun manufacturers that are making the legislators do bad things with the law--like allow the citizens to keep and bear arms. I bet the influence of the gun lobby is near zero on state legislators. I know the gun lobby guy here in Denver. He's not had a lot of luck getting the Democrat legislators not to pass stupid laws. But again the real moronic statement is "powerful semiautomatic pistols with the firepower of rifles". This is an absurd statement. I'm also completely baffled by the last line of the paragraph. As stated above, gun homicides have declined by half over the past 21 years. What evidence is the NYT referring to? Criminal use of a handgun will cause harm to innocent victims. Self defense may cause harm to the apparently non-existent 'malefactors' (I wonder who is harming the innocents if the gunmen are merely fantasies) but merely showing a gun, not firing a shot, is how most gun crimes are avoided by the use of a gun for self defense. So I would think the harm to the fantasized malefactors is indeed a lot less than harm by them to innocent victims. I'm not getting the NYT's point here. They're not continuing with the concealed carry will cause a bloodbath meme, are they? We all know that never happens. Good guys with guns remain good guys nearly all the time.
Assault weapons were banned for 10 years until Congress, in bipartisan obeisance to the gun lobby, let the law lapse in 2004. As a result, gun manufacturers have been allowed to sell all manner of war weaponry to civilians, including the super destructive .50-caliber sniper rifle, which an 18-year-old can easily buy in many places even where he or she must be 21 to buy a simpler handgun. Why any civilian would need this weapon, designed to pierce concrete bunkers and armored personnel carriers, is a question that should be put to the gun makers who profit from them and the politicians who shamelessly do their bidding.
I'm pretty sure the 10 year sunset was in the bill when it passed in 1994, so no, the "bipartisan obeisance to the gun lobby" didn't happen in 2004. What happened is that the Congress didn't renew the ban because even the dense legislators knew it had done virtually nothing to lower the crime rate. There are .50 BMG round shooting rifles our there to buy. They are bitches to shoot but the round goes a long, long way accurately and packs a huge wallop when it hits. Some people like to shoot at targets a long, long way away. The bolt action ones go for $3,000 to $4,000 and the Barrett semi-auto ten round one costs about $10,000 if you can find one (they are very popular). So, no, I'm doubting that teenagers are buying these very often. And again the NYT questions why would citizens need such a gun? That's not the question to ask about 2nd Amendment rights. I want to own it is sufficient and not subject to groundless government intervention. It's just as stupid to ask why would you need a certain book, magazine or newspaper? And opposition to the .50 BMG rifles is groundless as they have never been involved in a murder. Not one.
The NYT then criticizes, pointlessly, the advertising campaigns of some gun manufacturers but inserted in this general idiocy is this full moronic statement:
An ad for an armor-piercing handgun shows an embattled infantryman above the line: “Built For Them ... Built For You.”
Armor-piercing handgun? Not a lot of those around. A pistol round won't penetrate even class II body armor. And top of the line military grade body armor will stop (sometimes) a .223 or 7.62 x 39 round. There is the Thompson Center Arms Contender and a very few others, but they're not very popular or widely owned. Single shot pistols are not a criminal's hand weapon of choice.
Congress has shamelessly become the last to admit what the public senses with each new shooting spree: The nation needs restoration of a federal assault weapons ban — this time minus the loopholes the gun industry exploited to boost sales.
This is awkward in light of the latest polling where less than half of the nation wants mean looking rifles banned. It is the NYT that is the last to know the hearts and minds of the populace and the legislators who seem to know how pointless a ban on some small subset of auto-loading rifles would be. (Rifles of any sort were involved in only 248 out of 11,961 weapon homicides in 2014. Knives are 13.1%. Feet and hands are 5.5%). Rifles are not a big crime problem unless you think that the mass shooting incidents are the only crime problem that matters. Here's the big finish.
After the schoolhouse massacre three years ago in Newtown, Conn., a state commission focused on the Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle the shooter used to slay 20 children and six workers in barely five minutes with 154 rounds. It found “no legitimate place in the civilian population” for such a war rifle and its 30-round magazines. The same style weapon, routinely marketed as a “sporting rifle,” was used in the San Bernardino rampage. Something like it is likely to be in the hands of the next mass shooter, whatever the killer’s obsession.
Well, if there's an unnamed study that says mean looking semi-auto rifles have no legitimate place in civilian arsenals then I guess we just ought to just start turning them in. Forgive my sarcasm there. The NYT's call to re-ban the misnamed assault rifles is a very tired Democrat talking point. They undercut it even more by revealing an appalling ignorance of even basic facts about guns.
I have to admit, however, that it was kind of a funny read. I chuckled more than a few times. I don't think the editorial board was going for funny though.
UPDATE: The ever sensible Brit, Charles Cooke, notices the ignorance too, here.