Tuesday, 23 November 2004
|0912 - Help stop assault weapon violence!|
Rush right over to The Coalition to Prevent Assault Weapon Violence's web page and help prove that assault weapons cause violence! Now! What, you're still reading this? Go now! Git!
current mood: amused
This is especially hilarious given the sextuple-murder committed over the weekend with a semiautomatic assault rifle.
Tell me again why a hunter needs an SKS to bring down a deer?
The SKS is not an assault weapon. Further, "semiautomatic assault rifle" is oxymoronic, since part of the definition of "assault weapon" is "fully automatic".
As it happens, the SKS (which shoots the same cartridge as the better-known AK-47) isn't a bad deer rifle. The ballistics of the 7.62x39 cartridge aren't that different from the .30-06, and the rifle itself is functionally identical to many other hunting rifles. The SKS has a fixed magazine, 10 rounds in its factory configuration; it's semiautomatic, which means that it will only fire once when the trigger is pulled, and cannot be converted to fully automatic fire; and it's no smaller than any legal hunting rifle.
The only reason the SKS is mistakenly called an "assault rifle" is that it was developed for the Russian military. That doesn't change its functional characteristics one whit.
According to the reports I've read, the rifle used in this particular incident had a 20-round clip, ten more than the standard magazine holds. Whether it was purchased this way or modified later has not been mentioned so far.
That's not all that surprising. A 20-round magazine is not difficult to retrofit to the SKS. It's just not something to do in the field (it requires removing the action from the stock, with attendant likelihood of losing parts).
Even so, however, this is not a significant difference. It doesn't take much practice to reload the SKS via its stripper clips quickly. This is the big fallacy behind magazine capacity limitations: even a not-very-skilled shooter can swap an interchangeable magazine in a couple of seconds, and the SKS's stripper clip is not a lot slower.
I've never hunted deer, so I couldn't say... but I am curious about what that has to do with anything.
Weapons designed for hunting will work EXCEPTIONALLY well for killing people. They won't work well in close quarters, however, because of the long barrel. Urban crime is more frequently committed with handguns, and with "assault pistols" -- semiautomatic handguns with large clips that have been or that can be converted to fully-automatic fire for spraying crowds.
Had Chai Vang been armed with an assault pistol the death toll would have been much lower -- he was taking his shots out in the open, where the long barrel was an advantage, and at a distance (so I'm led to understand) where an assault pistol's short barrel would have been much less accurate.
You could probably argue that the death toll would have been lower had he been armed with a fully-automatic assault rifle. Out in the open like that, with a limited number of targets, any full-auto spraying will run you out of ammo before you can walk your fire to your next victim. I've fired fully-automatic weapons, and even a 30-round clip vanishes in a frightening hurry.
In short, the hunting weapon he was using was the PERFECT weapon for murdering a small number of human beings out in the open -- especially if it was fired from the cover of an elevated deer stand.
It's also the perfect weapon for killing deer. An assault weapon ban would not have banned that particular rifle, nor similar weapons that could be used in exactly the same way.
From the sounds of things, Mister Vang was a murder scene waiting to happen. I'll be VERY interested to hear the rest of his story. And I hope it ends in some electrified furniture, or perhaps at the end of a needle.
Your last paragraph has the real answer: it's the person, not the rifle. As you point out, a "hunting rifle" (as distinguished from one of those mean, nasty, eeeeeevil "assault rifles") would have served Vang just as well.
Unfortunately, the story will only end in a prison. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty. The taxpayers of Wisconsin will support Vang for the rest of his natural life.
??? Next someone will tell me SUV's cause accidents.
I saw this yesterday. I could take it more seriously as sardonic commentary if there weren't a banner ad across the top- using politics to whore ad banner hits.
I didn't notice. Then again, if they went out and spent $1500 on an AR-15 (and that's an average price for one), I don't blame them for trying to recoup that cost any way they can,