assault weapons are a certain, definable class of weapons that *can be* distinguished

Discussion in 'Hunters Rights Forum' started by The Other David, Aug 21, 2003.

  1. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    DGH made this statement: "As before, whether you choose to recognize it or not, assault weapons are a certain, definable class of weapons that *can be* distinguished from shotguns and deer rifles in all ways."

    He has recommended that a panel or board sit down and decide which are "good" and which are "bad", and that the bad are then banned. His rationale is that gun banners only want to ban "bad" guns and that the problem will therefore be resolved.

    Setting aside everything but his quoted statement, is this a fact? If his statement is not true, then does his entire argument fall apart?

    Note that DGH has stated that he cares nothing for any other guns besides his hunting firearms. That is a value statement that cannot be argued.

    He has acknowledged that gun control is not crime control.

    What characteristics define an "assault weapon"? Are these characteristics meaningful, or are they fluff?

    Well, I will toss up a few comments here, and let the rest of you chime in.

    Characteristic:

    Caliber. Most "assault weapons" are 9 mm, 12 gauge, .223, or .308 (7.62*51 or 7.62*39). Which of these are not valid, suitable hunting rounds? To me, it is clear that all but perhaps the 9 mm are suitable for hunting.
    Conclusion: Caliber does not adequately differentiate between hunting and "assault" firearms.

    Action: Most "assault weapons" are semi-automatic, also appropriately call auto-loading. The trigger is squeezed, a round is fired and ejected, and a new round is loaded. My Browning A5 is an autoloader.
    Conclusion: Action does not adequately differentiate between hunting and "assault" firearms.

    Appearances: Some "assault weapons" have bayonet lugs, threaded barrels permitting the adopting of grenade launcher, or flash hiders. Others have pistol grips, folding stocks, or have plastic stocks. However, how many of these matter? Some of these characteristics have been removed, yet those who are opposed to these types of guns are not satisfied. And I am not aware of any epidemic of bayonettings or drive-by grenade attacks. Many modern hunting firearms have stocks made of plastic, and some new models have pistol grips.
    Conclusion: Appearance does not adequately differentiate between hunting and "assault" firearms.



    Please, no name calling. If it gets ugly I will cut you off.

    Have fun!
    David
     
  2. deadgreenhead

    deadgreenhead Senior Refuge Member

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    David, thanks for the post. I think it would be fair to allow me to clarify just a bit before this takes off.

    When I said assualt weapons are a certain definable class of weapons, I am talking about my position that I have been consistant about through every one of these discussions we've ever had, that is: "assault weapons," which we all agree is a fictional construct, can be certainly defined and guns can be certainly categorized based on a multitude of criteria, even if it means defining and categorizing each and every single weapon ever made as either an "assault weapon" or not. To get around the definitional problems encountered with trying to squeeze certain round guns into proverbial square holes in characterizing particular weapons, my idea, remember, is a national firearms database in which categorizes all guns as either assualt weapons or sporting arms in the exact same way that U.S. bible for drugs, the U.S. Pharmacopiea, categorizes any and all drugs.

    For example, WFQ brought up a certain Benelli shotgun that seems to defy categorization in that its purpose and design is to function as a turkey gun, but the fact that it has a pistol grip would seem to suggest it might run afoul of some of the poor legislative definitions for "assualt weapons" currently on the books. I am saying just give it a name, stick it in a category, write it down in the book and call it done. Interest groups like the weapons manufacturers association (whatever it is called), the NRA, and Benelli can slug it out with legislators as to whether particular guns like this one ought to go in what category. I have said all along this method of categorization is far more practical and, most importantly, certain, than leaving particular ambiguous designs to the discretion of the U.S. Attorney General as to whether they are better defined as assualt weapons or not and whether we are able to rebut a presumption to his or her satisfaction, as is currently being proposed. Even if the categories and definitions are in FACT counterintuitive and do not make sense to shooting purists because, say, some gun defined as an assault rifle shoots a round less powerful than a gun defined as a sporting gun, does not mean the individual characterization won't hold or that characterization is impossible in the first place.

    To date, despite having asked you to discuss this very particular point with me on numerous occasions, you have given exactly zero (0) reasons why this cannot be done -- why certain weapons cannot be categorized in this way. My position is, to suggest it cannot be done is just NRA cant. Fact is it *can be* done, there are simply political reasons and interests standing in the way operating to prevent even the mention of it, much less accomplishing the task.

    I did not say anything about "good" and "bad," you are making that up. What I said was that IMO, the assualt weapons ban is unlikely to disappear as a political issue at any time in the future. As such, it makes perfect sense for hunters (whose primary interests are not necessarily in perfect tune with the interests of those seeking to avoid handgun and assault weapons bans) to insist our guns be excluded from being defined as assualt weapons and that we have a very powerful collective voice by which to ensure that is the case. You are the one attributing a moral value to this choice, i.e., good and bad. Fact is, to my mind, this has nothing to do with morality. It instead has to do with saving the baby when and if they eventually do decide to throw out the bathwater.

    Underlying all this, recall, are countercharges of selfishness. I believe that the NRA and the rest of the progun lobby are being entirely short-sighted, careless and selfish by asking hunters to fight their fight with and for them, when in fact we hunters have a better chance of surviving this debate without being used as the sympathetic middle ground. Because there exists a reality that no legislator in their right mind wants to upset the large number of hunters in this country by even suggesting the remotest hint of taking away our hunting guns through any form of legislation, the NRA has chosen to use that fact to its advantage by confusing the issue in making the suggestion that guns are guns and if you take one, you have to take them all, and that means hunting guns, too, so get scared and start sending in your money. The carelessness of this all or nothing tack bothers me the most, as they are putting at risk my hunting guns by placing them unnecessarily at issue as their middle ground when and if gun control becomes more of a reality than is currently the case. They are essentially using hunters and their powerful collective voice to prevent any legislative defeat being served to certain gun manufacturers under the guise of protecting a so-called right in the Consitution. In a word or maybe more than one, it's a giant selfish fraud. You believe I am being selfish about something here, though despite my asking you to clarify and explain that charge three times in a previous thread, you would not.

    And finally, I do NOT acknowledge that gun control is not crime control. In fact, I have never argued that point as I simply do not know enough about it to do so. I said, even if it's not, let's assume the worst case political scenario, i.e., the assualt weapons ban is continued and perhaps even made more onerous, and let's also assume a handgun ban enactment and finally that neither is going anywhere anytime soon. Currently, the NRA has nothing to worry about, as both houses of Congress and the White House are overwhelmingly pro-gun. But that sort of thing changes in this country...we have no idea what's going to happen in November of '04. What then? Hunting guns, which are seen as benign by most Americans in that they aren't part of the so called guns problem (however defined), should never have been entered into the debate. And should the above reality ever come to pass, and we eventually do have to face real gun control, because the NRA has seen fit to put our guns into the mix with a terrifying tack of all or nothing, certain of our guns -- hunters guns, like anything automatic -- really could be at risk. Thus, the only smart thing to do is tell the NRA to either start playing the middle ground or take this on our own and force them to go it alone. Bottom line is we need to make damn sure that our guns are distingished from all other guns to prevent even the remotest possiblity that they become part of any social/health or crime issue and debate in this country. Selfishly, the NRA has failed to do that.
     
  3. Penns-Woods

    Penns-Woods Senior Refuge Member

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    DGH,

    A fundamental flaw in your argument about saving our hunting guns by abandoning the non-hunting gun owners is that while between 38% and 50% of U.S. households contain guns,Gun Ownership Rates only about 6% of U.S. households include hunters. Hunter Population This would include all those hunters who hunt with "assault weapons" and handguns. The overwhelming majority (about 85%) of gun owners are NOT hunters. In 2001, as has happened for most years in the BATFE records, more handguns than shotguns were manufactured and sold in the U.S. BATFE Report Politically, it would appear that hunters need the support of non-hunting gun owners far more than the reverse.

    I am curious as to why Australia's banning of many hunting guns, such as pumps and semis, could not possibly happen here. Given your contention that the Second Amendment has no application to an individual's right to own a gun, why is the same ban not feasible here? I know you state this would be political suicide, but why is this so? 94% of Americans of voting age are NOT hunters. Seems like hunters are a minority most politicians can safely ignore. Even in Texas, hunters make up less than 10% of the voting age population. We are vastly outnumbered nationwide by soccer moms.

    How would the mechanism for creating your list of banned and un-banned guns work? Obviously, the devil would be in the details. Which of the gun manufacturers who currently produce guns likely to be banned are going to participate? What would stop those on the un-banned list from later being banned? Heck, lots of Americans view hunting as "unsporting," so even the sporting arms definition is shaky. Your stock answer is political suicide. Okay. So, as we reduce the number of gun owners, somehow the remaining gun owners will become more politically powerful? Curious thesis.

    Your whole argument seems to hinge on your contention that hunting guns are viewed as benign by most Americans. Do you have a source for this? Not your opinion, some credible source. I'll bet you a steak dinner that I can find more surveys that shown a majority of Americans view the Second Amendment as an individual right than you can find surveys that shown a majority of Americans view hunting guns as benign. ;)

    So, to summarize, the NRA is being selfish by trying to protect all gun owners, including hunters, while hunters are NOT being selfish when they abandon the vast majority of gun owners to the political wolves? Abandoning the majority of gun owners will ensure the protection of hunting gun owners? I know I am asking a lot of questions, but you know I'm not too bright and want to make sure I understand your point.
     
  4. Firetiger

    Firetiger Elite Refuge Member

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    The Second,

    The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms"

    The second does not state "

    The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Guns for rabbit hunting"

    My meaning is, that for a free people to remain free, Arms that some of you claim to be Assault Weapons, are for the purpose of defending Hearth and Home against a tyrancial goverment, not rabid rabbits.

    I say An Duck in every Pot , and an A2 H bar in every home!
     
  5. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Firetiger,

    DGH is of the opinion that the Second Amendment does not confir an individual right to own any weapon. Some courts have agreed with this position, others have not. In any case, as much as I agree with you, your argument is off-point!

    No points for Firetiger! Resume.

    David
     
  6. deadgreenhead

    deadgreenhead Senior Refuge Member

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    While I do agree with your statement that FT's post is off point, my opinion on the meaning of the Second Amendment is a little different than what you say it is....as to whether it confers an individual right versus a collective right, I don't really care or really know (there is excellent evidence to support support both views); however, to the extent it confers anything at all (and I believe it does confer something), the 'individual versus collective' debate is a somewhat of a misnomer. No matter which route is taken to divine the true meaning on the Amendment, the result comes with restrictions in that it certainly doesn't confer an absolute right. No right contained in the Constitution is without limits. On this, I think we all agree, do we not?

    To my knowledge, this is essentially the same position taken by Laurence Tribe who is so often misquoted by the pro gun activists as supporting their view as to the 2A's meaning. His view, summarized, can best be described as: limited personal RTKBA. That's good enough for me...my point all along has been there is a limitation and that gun control is, therefore, perfectly consitutional.

    I would also like to say, that is the best post from PW I have ever read. Goods points made throughout. I will try and formulate a meaningful response shortly.
     
  7. Firetiger

    Firetiger Elite Refuge Member

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    Is that ya give tham an inch they will take a mile.......

    http://www.nraila.org/FactSheets.asp?FormMode=Detail&ID=143

    This case, and about 19 other Supreme Court cases would tend to argue DGH mis-conceptions

    http://www.nraila.org/LegislativeUpdate.asp?FormMode=Detail&ID=788

    The Nra site has the links for a bunch of cases that state that the 2nd is an indivdual right,,
    more to follow,,

    The RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS!!!!!!!

    Only an Liberal attorney and a Marxist could and would contend otherwise


    Have a good weekend
     
  8. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Firetiger,

    I agree with you, but you are still off-point!

    I don't think DGH is a Marxist, unless you are referring to Groucho!

    David
     
  9. deadgreenhead

    deadgreenhead Senior Refuge Member

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    PW, pure hunters care about gun control for one reason -- they think if any guns are banned, next will be ours. Those among us that care about handguns and assualt rifles bans are, generally speaking, muddying the debate with a distinctly separate agenda from that of the hunting guns issue. But this entire debate is largely one of perception and marketing. To wit:

    While I do not argue that there are "good" guns and "bad" guns, the public certainly does think this to be true. Rightly or wrongly, they perceive assualt rifles, and to a lesser extent, handguns, to be the bad ones, and hunting guns to be the good ones. Realize that upwards of 80% of Americans believe hunting, of any sort, should never be banned in this country (Polling data)(this data is somewhat dated -- I saw more recent figures indicating 70% approval of opposition to hunting bans but can't find it now). So, for purposes of this discussion, call it 75%. That's a very strong number in the context of modern issue politics. Politicians are well aware of this figure. They know how passionate we are about this sport. In short, they fear us.

    The problem we face is that hunting, as a sport, is on the decline. As our numbers decline, so will the statistic for opposition to hunting bans. Thus, it is entirely plausible that soon, unless we see a change, many Americans will stop seeing us as the good guys -- the sympathetic middle ground -- and we become marginalized in the exact same way assualt rifles and handguns owners have become. I firmly believe we have a duty to ourselves and to the continued survival of our sport to always try and place hunting in the very best light possible.

    As such, the NRA has done us a great disservice by the way they have framed the debate. They have sufficiently muddied the waters in terms of 'guns are guns' that as that approval for hunting figure erodes, so will the public's perception that our guns are good, and vice versa. The public is sophisticated, if not a little misguided on the issue of gun control. If the NRA says all guns are guns, then soon our guns are perceived as those guns, too, demonized with handguns and assualt rifles. If we align ourselves with hard-line fringes in the debate (arguably), that's where we end up in the public's mind -- tarred, with fleas, having hitched our wagon to a group that isn't the friendly center of the debate.

    Take, for example, the docu-movie Bowling for Columbine. That thing was obviouisly an agenda-laden POS and factually wrong in several places. But there was no effort on the part of the filmmaker to distinguish one gun from the next. That thing was about guns. All guns. It won an Oscar making the NRA and militia groups look like a bunch of racist lunatics and because we are gun owners and no effort made to excise us from the debate, we are lumped in with the rest of the would-be lunatics. It doesn't matter if it was right, or fair or anything else. Fact is, it shaped the debate for a certain number fo people. Thier perception is now different than before they saw the movie. Don't know about you, but I don't want to ever be thought of as a fringe lunatic.

    Right now we have the political capital to distinguish ourselves from this messy debate. But over time we will find ourselves on the fringe because that's whose basket we placed our eggs. And while I do think it is unlikely that we will be faced with real gun control aimed at us anytime soon given that no legislators have yet enacted or even proposed legislation with a purpose to take our hunting guns away form us, that does not mean is not impossible as perception changes. One or two more of these films and who knows.

    But it's a poltical issue, not a legal issue. The NRA's position re: the 2A is a complete loser being based on perception and marketing much moreso than any legal principle. Just suppose the Supreme Court renders an opinion going against the NRA? Would that surprise anyone here? They have rendered some whoppers over the last several months and the vast majority of the precedent does not favor the NRA's take on things. And even if it did, it is inconceivable we end up with something giving us anything close to an unlimited ownership right (does anybody here seriously doubt this?). What then? We are on our own, that's what. Thus, the only way for us to protect ourselves, and make it stick, is through the poltical process and IMO, the NRA is doing a lousy job by protecting OUR individual interests, as opposed to the rest of the interests they represent.

    Categorization: start with what is a banned or regulated or restricted "assualt rifle" and the rest follows from that. You guys are the gun nuts, you tell me how it would work. I am guessing there are maybe 500 (tops) guns that would make the list. Further characterization would be, as a matter of convenience, above my pay grade. But if they can determine the character of chemicals in vials and pills, they can damn sure determine what an assualt rifle is, and what's not.

    Regarding my selfishness. Not so. I am a hunter. I can see no justification for support of assault weapons and I could care less about handgun control. Since I do not need or care about either, these issues have NOTHING to do with me. But to the small extent you might be right, arguendo, I am only reclaiming what was mine. Hunting guns should never have been thrown into the mix by the pro gun lobby in the first place because they never were at risk (and to date, still aren't). They are the one's using us to press an altogether separate agenda, not the other way around. Were we on our own, separate form the debate, we would be well above the fray doing just fine.
     
  10. Tom Phillips*

    Tom Phillips* Elite Refuge Member

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    I agree with Firetiger. If you want to restrict the thread to a narrowly defined topic why don't you just PM each other?

    Tom*
     

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