Friday, December 06, 2019

Is This an 'Assault Rifle'?



Depicted above is the venerable 'saddle gun' the Winchester 1873. I'm a fan of lever-action carbines. They're handy in the field. A reasonable hunting rifle but even better if you're walking through bear or cougar or wolf country.

They don't come with 30-round mags. Some, like the Winchester, have a tube magazine under the barrel that, depending on the calibre and configuration, can carry five to eight rounds. My Browning manages one in the chamber and four rounds in the magazine.

Is it an assault rifle? It's not semi-automatic. It's more like a cross between a bolt-action rifle and a semi-automatic. Especially with the Browning's short-throw lever and trigger mechanism, you can get rounds out pretty quick, a lot faster than the usual bolt action. It can make all the difference if a cougar decides you're on the menu for dinner tonight and you need that second or third round to change its mind before it closes the distance.

Today is a solemn day on which we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Ecole Polytechnique massacre in Montreal.  That murderous lunatic carried a Ruger Mini-14.


In this configuration, the Mini-14 is called a "ranch gun." Good for taking down varmints, wild hogs, that sort of thing.  However, it has a Jekyll and Hyde cousin, what Ruger calls its "tactical model."


Suddenly the ranch gun looks a lot like your typical assault rifle, "black gun." It is sporting a nylon stock, pistol grip, high-capacity magazine, picatinny rail for mounting military-style optics, even a muzzle brake.  Looks way more menacing than the ranch gun above it, doesn't it? Then again, all that add-on gear is intended to replicate this, the "budget friendly" Bushmaster, an AR-15 knock off.


I don't know where we should draw the line on these things. There's obviously no need for "black rifles" or what they connote. But you still have to find that line. Where, how?

Today, like every December 6th for the past three decades, is a day on which we tend to get emotional about the highly charged problems of gun control, man on woman violence. When emotions run high we tend to simplify issues, think in absolute terms, reject complexities and look for quick fixes. Therefore I invite you to read another perspective on assault weapons from SFU professor emeritus, Gary Mauser, a criminologist who has studied firearms legislation. He argues that assault weapons aren't the problem and that popular concerns are misplaced.  Read it and then make up your own mind.


10 comments:

Anonymous said...

If it were up to me, I'd ban civilian possession of all handguns and semi-auto and automatic weapons.
I'd allow civilian use of such weapons only in licensed gun ranges.

So, the Ruger Mini-14 would be gone in any configuration other than bolt-action. Your Winchester would be fine.

Cap

Toby said...

I agree with what Cap said.

While I can see a need for rural people to have rifles I see no need at all for city people to have any kind of gun. The only big predators in cities are featherless bipeds and we can leave the police to deal with them. I definitely don't want local gun enthusiasts, John Wayne wannabees, shooting at the occasional bear or cougar that wanders into town.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's already illegal for owners of any firearm, from bolt action to semi-automatic, to shoot at any bear or cougar that wanders into town. I would have thought you knew that, Toby.

The Mound of Sound said...

Cap, even many firearms owners would accept a handgun prohibition. That said, I'm sometimes dismayed at the number of gun owners who parrot the NRA drivel. I suppose part of it is feeling shunned by 'decent society.'

When it comes to long guns we already prohibit automatic weapons. Semi-autos seem to be the focus. As I said I can get five rounds out of my lever gun, five aimed rounds, pretty quickly and changing magazines takes next to no time. I've also seen one expert empty a ten round magazine in a short-throw, bolt-action, WWII-vintage, Lee Enfield SMLE in short order.

Trudeau, being Trudeau, he won't want to ruffle too many feathers especially in the West, not when a couple of points can make the difference between losing power or barely clinging on in our screwed up electoral system.

Trailblazer said...

I have had a bear in the street twice.
A cougar in the yard twice.
I have never felt the need to own a firearm for protection.
I will admit to a fleeting relationship with the hunter gatherer clan but that was short lived when I saw their operational methodology.
Single shot or automatic; unless you are living in wilderness firearms buckmark! and all arepenis extensions.

TB

Toby said...

"It's already illegal for owners of any firearm, from bolt action to semi-automatic, to shoot at any bear or cougar that wanders into town."

Since when has that stopped self-appointed heroes?

I have lived much of my life near wilderness. Several times I have surprised bears in the woods. In every case, after a quiet chat we both agreed to back away. The last time was just a couple of months ago. Although there are cougars around here they are shy creatures; I have never seen one in the wild but I am sure they have seen me. I'm with John Muir on this, I don't need a gun in the wilderness and am suspicious of those who think they do.

The Mound of Sound said...

That's the beauty of opinions, Toby. We're all entitled to our own and there are inevitably several on offer.

Anonymous said...

Cap are you lobbing the Government regarding your opinion which is a good one?

the salamander said...

.. the rifle that put more venison in freezers than any other firearm on the planet an 'assault weapon' Not ..

And I don't agree with the eminent scholar as linked.. stats never tell the story, the tragedy, the human agony.. the collective cultural trauma of mass shootings with assault style weaponry

The addiction to, the lust for, or adoration of one's 'black firearm' is simply devient human self degredation.. its small weenie or religious factionalism or both.. on the hoof. Sickness.. diseased, cancerous.. Its infatuation of killing weaponry

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