Free Markets, Free People

Worst. Pro-Assault. Weapon. Ban. Argument. Ever.

Interested in seeing one of the dumbest attempts to counter an argument against reinstituting the “assault gun” ban?

It’s, well, pretty pathetic, and, coming out of Media Matters, shouldn’t really surprise you.

First the graphic that started it all:

Okay, you’re in the ballpark now.

The Media Matters person (Timothy Johnson) says:

The image was created by a blogger who used it to argue in favor of the ban, writing that “If you can buy the gun on the top, but can’t buy the bottom gun, who cares? You still have a gun.” McArdle responded that “if it makes no difference, than why have the law?” and argued that “‘assault weapon’ is a largely cosmetic rather than functional description.”

But Johnson says there are vast differences which mean that, hey, they’re just not the same.  The bottom one, per Johnson, is much more lethal.  And he’s got the reasons why:

In fact, the lower pictured weapon, a Mossberg 500 Tactical Persuader, has a number of features that increase its lethality compared to the top pictured shotgun. Contrary to what the graphic suggests, the only difference between the two weapons is not just the pistol grip featured on the Tactical Persuader. The Tactical Persuader also has an adjustable stock that can be removed from the firearm completely, which allows the gun length to be shortened for increased concealability. Furthermore, when combined with a pistol grip, the firearm can be more easily maneuvered, allowing the shooter to fire from the hip and more easily use the weapon from vehicles and in other close quarters situations.

An almost identical configuration was sought out by Suleman Talovic, a teenager who used a Mossberg-derivative pistol grip shotgun during a rampage that killed five and wounded four at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 12, 2007. A recent report issued by the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that firearms with assault weapon features are disproportionally used in mass shootings and that when used result in higher numbers of casualties.

OK?  You get my point about silly?

A “pistol grip” doesn’t “increase lethality” unless you beat someone over the head with it (by the way, I can make a pistol grip on the other using a saw in about 5 minutes, or, just buy one aftermarket and install it on the top gun).  Pistol grips are non-lethal “features”, not lethal weapons.

Secondly, being able to conceal something doesn’t make it more lethal either.  It simply means you can hide it better.  How hiding something better becomes “lethal” will have to be answered by Mr. Johnson who seems not to know what “lethal” actually means.

In fact the blogger is correct – they are exactly the same gun where it counts.  And to be lethal, you must still load them, point each of them at someone and pull the trigger.   One doesn’t shoot more rounds than the other, one doesn’t use a “bigger” round than the other, one won’t shoot faster than the other.   They are each 12ga 6 round pump shotguns.  Period.

Finally, correlation is not causation (i.e. the gun made him do it where he might not have had he had the top shotgun available instead) and the fact that someone on a rampage chose a shotgun with a pistol grip over a rifle stock doesn’t make the one with the pistol grip more lethal (I do wish this guy would look up “lethal”).

Additionally the fact that one might be able to be used in “close quarters” better than the other again doesn’t make it more lethal.  It simply provides a perceived advantage over the other that may or may not, in fact, play out.  If, however, it is something anyone would want, it is easily done to the top gun with a minimum of effort or cost.

Then, I assume, thinking he has just nailed it by pointing out the “lethality” of the pistol grip, he throws this up from some activist group that is just about as silly as the rest of his stuff:

All assault weapons–military and civilian alike–incorporate specific features that were designed for laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone. This is sometimes known as “hosing down” an area. Civilian assault weapons feature the specific military design features that make spray-firing easy and distinguish assault weapons from traditional sporting firearms.

Civilian “assault weapons” or those which look like them are “semi-automatic” by law.  Military assault weapons usually have the option of automatic fire.  It is on the automatic selection that a large volume of fire is going to be projected (and, unless you know what you’re doing, very ineffectively).  Civilian guns don’t have that option.  They’re not the same freakin’ thing regardless of how they look!

Consequently they’re not going to be doing any “spray firing” or “hosing down” of an area in semi-auto mode.  Can a semi-auto put out a decent amount of fire?  Yes, especially if it has a large capacity magazine.  But those two shotguns in question are pump action and only hold 6 rounds each.

Shotgun A will fire no faster or slower than shotgun B in the picture above.  If A can do it, so can B and the reverse is also true.  And whatever they do will involve shoot, pump, shoot, pump, shoot, pump etc.  The bottom shotgun doesn’t go “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom”.  It does exactly what the top one does – “boom, pump, boom …” (I wanted it to make it easy for Johnson to understand).

So, in sum, the blogger is correct, but even more correct is Megan McArdle.   What’s the point?  They’re pump action shotguns that are, except cosmetically, exactly the same (and each can be modified in any number of ways from their stock appearance).  What again is the point of the law?

Uh, control, that’s what.


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33 Responses to Worst. Pro-Assault. Weapon. Ban. Argument. Ever.

  • Has anyone conducted a poll of Ivory Tower social scientists to see if they agree the scary “assault” shotgun is more lethal?
    You know…to find consensus…?  What do the computer models say…?

  • Minor correction: The Mossberg 500 is pump action not semi-auto.

  • Awww, but that bottom one….it looooooooks scary!   It looks like a weapon the Schwarzinator used when he was trying to kill Sarah Conor in the TV shows!   The only thing it needs is a bayonet lug without the bayonet and then it would be even MORE of a lethal assault weapon!   And it has a black matte finish, and isn’t two toned like the one above it!….definitely a LETHAL feature…..
    If that example picture is the standard then probably 80% of the long weapons you’ll see in a gun show these days are going to be banned.  Which, I’m sure, would sit well with that….Feinstein.

  • Hey, by the way, did you guys know it’s virtually impossible to fire a weapon without a pistol grip from the hip?   Yeah, really!      And when you get hit by 12 gauge rounds from those pistol grip shotguns, it lifts your right up off the floor and throws you across the room!  It’s a special feature built in to those that allows them to violate Newtons Third law.   You don’t get that with the shotgun without the pistol grip and removable stock.

    • Hey, by the way, did you guys know it’s virtually impossible to fire a weapon without a pistol grip from the hip?

      First noted with chagrin by Wong Foo in 1433 when his fellow soldier touched off the hand-cannon he was holding.  Thereafter, the Emperor commanded that all hand-cannon be equipped with pistol grips.

      • C’mon, guys, cut them some slack!! They think they’re smart, therefore, they MUST be!! Don’t make them feel stoopid with all this technical jargon about tactical attachments, pistol grips and such. It makes their little manhoods shrivel up into their bellies!!

        • Yeah, I know, they saw it in Die Hard part 5, Die Die Die Die (die-de-die-de-die), Dammit Die!
          Can one of you maniacs show me how to ‘hose down’ an area with my semi-auto, clearly I ain’t got it right.

    • Funny, I only had that problem with a double barrow shot gun.
      … but what if your attacker has a banana ?

  • I can spray an area with 1872 Colt Navy* by fanning the revolver.  Of course the only people that think such a thing would work are those that have watched too many Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns.
    Being a revolver with a ‘pistol grip’ it must therefore be a lethal assault weapon and must be banned!
    *don’t get too excited, its a knockoff.

  • The pistol grip is actually a disadvantage for weapons retention. If you execute a disarm by rotating the muzzle upwards the butt stock leverages down on the rear hand (the one on the pistol grip), making it much easier to take away.

    The reason pistol grips are used on real assault rifles is because real assault rifles use an in-line stock to minimize muzzle rise in full auto fire. As a consequence of that stock design, the sights need to be mounted high and a pistol grip used to have a reasonably ergonomic weapon.  

    Pistol grips are a result of in-line stocks, not something added to combat small arms because they are great in and of themselves.

    • Tru dat.
      See sub-machine gun, Thompson.

      Ah, the things you could show these people about wooden graphite pencils, or a Bic lighter and a can of Pledge.

      • some of those people don’t care about improvised weapons. I’ve read the Commutarian argument put forth in the 90s, they didn’t like the idea of citizens arming against their neighbors. The intent was to disarm decent people. Bad guys won’t follow the law, sure, but in their world view the authorities were supposed to take care of that.

        • Riiiiiiight, the same authorities that hit 9 bystanders, accounting for 9 of the 11 casualties, during the “mass shooting” in New York in August this year.   The one that quickly disappeared from all headlines.

          • That doesn’t matter to them. What they worry about is YOU arming yourself to defend against criminals who are “fellow citizens”. They realize criminals exist and will do bad things, and the police response will never fix that, and that’s just reality. They don’t want average people arming themselves. They see too much anarchy in that. IIRC the lead character in the commutarian effort was from India, one would think that the traditions of Anglo-Saxon culture would mitigate against such thinking, but it is similar to the thought process they have on this issue in England today.

          • Those were police officers who had gone through extensive firearms training and training on handling stressful situations over a period of years. And they have the nerve to protest ordinary citizens carrying firearms because they  have not had enough training.
            On the other hand, not a bad score for 16 rounds expended.

          • As an untrained citizen, I think I might have tried to make sure I had a clear field of fire before I pulled the trigger, or might have tried to hold my fire until I was fairly sure it was on the intended target.
            I smell spray and pray.
            Perhaps they’ve had so much training they just think they’re THAT good.

          • I’ve read shooting stats (LA Metro Police) that showed an interesting trend: shootings involving multiple officiers have many more shots fired and far fewer hits.

            One officier shootings have 3 – 4 shots fired and a 50% hit rate. Two officier shootings the shots fired go up and hits go down. More then two and the effect is amplied.

            It isn’t clear if this is mostly a psych thing or due to different situations, I suspect a mix of both.

            It is hard to predict how you will behave in a leathal force situation. It takes a lot of training to overcome natural tendenceis. Sometimes training achieves the wrong result.

            In the infamous Newhall CHP shooting in the 70s, one of the CHP’s who was killed was picking up his spent brass and putting it in his pocket during the gunfight. Just as he had done at the range.

  • But what Bruce is so callously disregarding is that involuntary bedwetting is can be a fatal affliction.  In those cases, anything contribution to the condition is lethal!

  • I want a selective fire 10 gauge with a 40 round circular magazine. But it won’t have a pistol grip and it will be colored pink and white and have a picture of hello kitty on it.  That way the libtards won’t think it is lethal.

    • They banned the Streetsweeper, a revolving shotgun, via EO during the Clinton years. IIRC it was a 12 shot 12 gage, not a 40 shot 10. IMO, the name is what killed it. It was reclassified as NFA, based on the fact that it was over .50 and wasn’t intended for sporting purposes, so really the same logic could be applied to any defensive shotgun.

  • Oh me oh my!
    The just-soiled-his-Depends-again gun-control wonk has discovered THE SECRET behind all firearms:
    They expel projectiles designed to kill (KILL I SAY!).  Oh my, I must sit down…the vapors… oh dear!
    How a CIVILIAN SEMI-automatic (one trigger pull = one shot fired) can “spray” bullets around will require some explanation by this lace-undies-wetting ersatz intellectual.
    He still must be remembering childhood Saturday mornings spent watching Westerns where some hero (or villain) takes his six-shooter (the ones that usually fire 10-20 rounds between frantic one/two-bullet reloads) and fans the hammer, spraying a quick flurry of shots, most or all of which hit the intended target(s).
    As the Hon. Bugs Bunny, Esq., would opine:
    Wuddah maroon!

    • “will require some explanation by this lace-undies-wetting ersatz intellectual”
      He just DID explain –
      I’ll wager all this clown knows about a functioning projectile weapon and keeping it cleaned and fed he’s learned from watching movies and/or playing video games.

  • It’s also important to note that it’s all of about 2 minutes’ work with a screwdriver to replace the “sporting” stock on the shotgun on the top with a stockless pistol-grip.
    (Me, I keep the stock wooden stock on my 870, because I find the weight makes recoil much more pleasant.)
    And no “assault-weapons ban” is going to stop a criminal from doing that (even if it did ban putting such a grip on the shotgun rather than selling it preconfigured like that), because it turns out that murdering or robbing people is already a felony. Just as is obliterating a serial number or cutting it down below 18 inches without a tax stamp … both of which are not uncommon in criminal circles.
    (Also, every time people talk about a New Assault Weapons Ban, it makes me want to buy a Saiga or another AR.)