The official "assault weapon" resource thread... :)


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benEzra
April 15, 2008, 09:11 PM
I posted this on the SL Tribune TribTalk forum, and realized the data might be useful as a resource for other THR members, so I crossposted it here. The AK and mini-14 images are mine; feel free to use. The data is abstracted primarily from the sources listed, but was reformatted. --bE

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There are a lot of rather intemperate claims floating around about rifle crime in the United States recently, so I thought it would be nice to point up some data that have been rather ignored of late.


First, rifles of any description are not a crime problem in the United States, or in the state of Utah, and never have been.

From the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2005 and 2006:


2005 data: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/05cius/data/table_20.html

Total murders.............................14,860..........100.00%
Handguns...................................7,543...........50.76%
Other weapons (non firearm, non edged).....1,954...........13.15%
Edged weapons..............................1,914...........12.88%
Firearms (type unknown)....................1,598...........10.75%
Hands, fists, feet, etc......................892............6.00%
Shotguns.....................................517............3.48%
Rifles.......................................442............2.97%

2006 data: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/data/table_20.html

Total murders.............................14,990..........100.00%
Handguns...................................7,795...........52.00%
Other weapons (non firearm, non edged).....2,158...........14.40%
Edged weapons..............................1,822...........12.15%
Firearms (type unknown)....................1,465............9.77%
Hands, fists, feet, etc......................833............5.56%
Shotguns.....................................481............3.21%
Rifles.......................................436............2.91%


Utah stats, 2006: http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/data/table_20.html

Total murders..................................46..........100.00%
Hands, fists, feet, etc........................10...........21.74%
Handguns........................................9...........19.56%
Other weapons (non firearm, non edged)..........9...........19.56%
Firearms (type unknown).........................9...........19.56%
Edged weapons...................................6...........12.15%
Shotguns........................................2............4.35%
Rifles..........................................1............2.17%


This despite the immense popularity of rifles in U.S. homes, and the fact that more Americans lawfully and responsibly own "assault weapons" (taking H.R.1022 as the operative definition) than are licensed to hunt. Rifles simple are not the problem.


Law enforcement officers murdered in the line of duty:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/leokweap.png

Note that the "other guns" line there includes all rifles (including so-called "assault weapons") AND all shotguns. Again, rifles aren't a problem.


Overall gun homicide trends in the United States, 1975-2005:

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/homicide/relgun.png

Hmmm, looks like things are headed in the right direction, even given the uptick in '05 and '06. (And you can't blame rifles for that, since rifle crime actually declined slightly in those years.)


Regarding claims that SKS's and non-automatic civilian AK-47 lookalikes are unusually "high velocity" weapons:

http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/ballistics/

Rifle Caliber..........................Bullet Weight and Velocity

7.62x39mm (AK).........................122 grain bullet at 2350 ft/sec
.......................................154 grain bullet at 2000 ft/sec
.30-30 Winchester (1800's vintage).....150 grain bullet at 2390 ft/sec
.243 Winchester (deer rifle)...........100 grain bullet at 2960 ft/sec
.270 Winchester (deer rifle)...........130 grain bullet at 3060 ft/sec
.......................................150 grain bullet at 2850 ft/sec
.308 Winchester (deer/target rifle)....150 grain bullet at 2820 ft/sec
.......................................180 grain bullet at 2620 ft/sec
.30-06 (deer/elk rifle)................125 grain bullet at 3140 ft/sec
.......................................180 grain bullet at 2700 ft/sec
........................................55 grain bullet at 4080 ft/sec
.300 Remington Ultra Mag (deer/elk)....150 grain bullet at 3450 ft/sec
.......................................180 grain bullet at 3250 ft/sec


...or unusually powerful as rifles go:

Caliber/Weapon................................ Kinetic Energy
AR-15 (.223 Remington/5.56x45mm)................1,275 ft-lb
AK-47 lookalike (7.62x39mm).....................1,495 ft-lb
.30-30 Winchester (1800's design deer rifle)....1,902 ft-lb
.243 Winchester.................................1,946 ft-lb
.308 Winchester.................................2,670 ft-lb
.270 Winchester.................................2,702 ft-lb
.50 Beowulf.....................................2,878 ft-lb
.30-06 (most popular deer rifle)................2,900 ft-lb
.444 Marlin.....................................2,942 ft-lb
.300 Remington Ultra Mag........................3,682 ft-lb
.375 Holland & Holland..........................4,230 ft-lb
.338 Lapua......................................4,830 ft-lb
.375 Remington Ultra Mag........................5,073 ft-lb
.416 Remington Magnum...........................5,115 ft-lb
.408 CheyTac....................................8,298 ft-lb
.416 Barrett....................................9,380 ft-lb
.585 Nyati.....................................10,130 ft-lb
.700 Nitro Express.............................11,150 ft-lb
.50 BMG........................................13,971 ft-lb

Yes, civilian AK lookalikes, SKS's, and AR-15's do define one end of the rifle power spectrum. But it's the low end.


Regarding claims that civilian AK lookalikes were "banned" 1994-2004 and "legalized" in September 2004--no, they weren't. The much-hated 1994 Feinstein law didn't ban any guns; it merely raised prices on replacement magazines for popular civilian handguns (but not most rifles, including AR's and AK's), outlawed marketing of any newly manufactured civilian rifles under any of 19 banned names (but no actual guns were banned), and specified that any AR's, civilian AK's, etc. manufactured after September 1994 could have no more than one of a list of cosmetic or ergonomic features, such as a handgrip that stuck out or a heat shield on the barrel.

Here's my 2002 model civilian AK lookalike (yes, ban-era), a non-automatic Romanian SAR-1 that happens to be my primary target and competition rifle:

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/uploads/1168567538/med_gallery_260_23_20379.jpg

It should go without saying that this is a non-automatic, NFA Title 1 civilian rifle, not an actual NFA Title 2/Class III restricted military AK.

Here is how my Feinstein-ban-era, 2002-model AK differs from post-2004 civilian AK's:

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/uploads/1132600920/gallery_260_23_74799.jpg


FWIW, here's how shallow the definition of "assault weapon" is. Here's a Ruger mini-14 Ranch Rifle, a small-caliber farm/utility rifle specifically protected by the 1994 Feinstein law as being "particularly suitable for sporting purposes":

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/uploads/1120356158/gallery_260_23_2123.jpg

Here's the exact same rifle 2 minutes later, with a black plastic stock and an ergonomic target-style handgrip:

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/uploads/1120356158/gallery_260_23_4275.jpg

In that configuration, the rifle was still protected as "particularly suitable for sporting purposes" under the Feinstein law, but is outlawed in the state of California as an "assault weapon" due to the handgrip shape.

Here's the same rifle 2 minutes later, with a similar stock that is hinged to fold for storage:

http://www.commongroundcommonsense.org/forums/uploads/1120356158/gallery_260_23_11270.jpg

Putting that stock on that rifle would have been felony construction of an "assault weapon" under the 1994 Feinstein law, because it would have violated the 2-evil-features limit.

Apparently the gun-control lobby has grown tired of such comparisons involving the mini-14, because since 2004 or so, their model legislation has banned the mini-14 by name even in its traditional wooden-stocked configuration.

(Continued next message)

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benEzra
April 15, 2008, 09:12 PM
Regarding claims that police departments started issuing AR-15's to their officers after 2004, and that the motive was supposedly to "keep up" in an "arms race" with "AK-47" toting criminals--no, not quite. Departments started shifting en masse from the traditional 12-gauge, .729-caliber shotgun to small-caliber (.223 Remington) civilian carbines in the mid to late 1990's, and the reason wasn't an "arms race"; it was that the rifles pose less risk to bystanders from stray shots and ricochet, they allow more precise shot placement, they offer much greater effective range (hence more versatility), and are easier for small-statured officers to shoot well because they are LESS POWERFUL than big-bore shotguns.

An article in a popular law enforcement publication on the superiority of small-caliber over shotguns for patrol use, from 1998:

Roberts G.K., "Law Enforcement General Purpose Shoulder Fired Weapons: the Wounding Effects of 5.56mm/.223 Carbines Compared with 12 ga. Shotguns and Pistol Caliber Weapons Using 10% Ordnance Gelatin as a Tissue Simulant", Police Marksman, Jul/Aug 1998, pp. 38-45.

"INTRODUCTION

"Until recently, the 12 gauge shotgun has remained the universally accepted shoulder fired weapon for United States law enforcement use, despite the shotgun's limitations as a general purpose weapon--short effective range, imprecise accuracy, downrange hazard to bystanders, small ammunition capacity, slow reloading, and harsh recoil. While 12 gauge shotguns still have a valid law enforcement role, especially to deliver specialized munitions and possibly in close quarters combat (CQB), recent recognition of the shotgun's significant limitations as a general purpose weapon have prompted many American law enforcement agencies to begin adopting the more versatile semi-automatic carbine for general purpose use.(12) Semi-automatic carbines offer more accuracy, less recoil, greater effective range, faster reloading, and a larger ammunition capacity than the traditional shotgun.
...
"Less well known is that 5.56mm/.223 rifle ammunition is also ideally suited for law enforcement general purpose use in semi-automatic carbines.(5,6). It offers superb accuracy coupled with low recoil, and is far more effective at incapacitating violent aggressors than the pistol cartridges utilized in submachineguns and some semi-automatic carbines.
...

"CONCLUSION

"A 5.56mm/.223 semi-automatic carbine with a minimum of a 14.5" to 16.5" barrel may be the most effective and versatile weapon for use in law enforcement. When used with effective ammunition, the 5.56mm/.223 carbine simultaneously offers both greater effective range and less potential downrange hazard to bystanders than a 12 ga. shotgun, handgun, pistol caliber carbine, or SMG , as well as far greater potential to incapacitate a violent criminal than any handgun, pistol caliber carbine, or SMG.
...
The routine issuing of 5.56mm/.223 semi-automatic carbines for general purpose use to all law enforcement officers would significantly enhance officer safety, increase police effectiveness, and decrease dangers to innocent bystanders in all situations requiring the use of firearms."


And finally, the claim that "assault weapons have no use except mass murder"--well, they are the most popular centerfire target rifles in America, and it appears from sales data that more people own them than are licensed to hunt in this country. (FWIW, only 1 in 5 U.S. gun owners is a hunter, per Census Bureau hunting license data; the gun issue is not about hunting.)

If competitive and recreational target shooting is not a "legitimate use," then not much is. They also happen to be the most popular defensive carbines in the United States, and are displacing the traditional home-defense shotgun for many of the same reasons that they are displacing police patrol shotguns.

http://www.odcmp.com/Photos/07/EJrHPClinic/pic00028_std.jpg http://www.championshooters.com/store/files/images/thumbnails/AR_15_book_250w.JPG


Comments? Questions? Verbal abuse? :)



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Dems and the Gun Issue - Now What? ("http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=118&topic_id=97165) (written in '04, largely vindicated in '06, IMO)

Thoughts on Gun Ownership ("http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=389&topic_id=2870636&mesg_id=2877892)

VARifleman
April 15, 2008, 10:11 PM
Great as always, ben.

Cave Dweller
April 16, 2008, 04:04 AM
Nice. Interesting bit about the police use.
And if they ban the mini 14, get a mini 30 instead. :D

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