Why does Slate want to ban advanced technology rifles?


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Dean Weingarten
June 6, 2013, 01:12 PM
http://www.recoilweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/300T-detail-rightside-958x639.jpg

For the last five years, the number of homicides from sniper attacks (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl12.xls) in the United States has averaged a bit less than three. In 2010, the last year I have data for, there were three. To put this in context, the number of children killed by their babysitters (http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl12.xls) in that year were 36.

In a nation of over 300 million, your chance of being killed at a distance by a rifle shooter are less than one in 100 million. Rifles are ubiquitous in the United States, with about 100 million in the hands of citizens.

So, why does Justin Peters of Slate (http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/06/05/trackingpoint_smart_rifle_everything_that_s_horrible_about_american_gun.html) even bother to write about the latest high technology, extremely pricey rifle and scope combination in a blog about crime? He never really says. Here is the closest he comes:

"While the TrackingPoint technology has definite military applications, I can’t think of any real civilian use for it. In a sense, the TrackingPoint is just a really advanced scope. But even the best scope doesn’t fire the gun for you. Any self-respecting hunter ought to be disgusted by something that promises to turn every hunt into a canned hunt. Despite the manufacturer’s claims, TrackingPoint really isn’t suited for target shooting—where’s the fun in shooting at a target that you know you’re going to hit? It’s overkill for self-defense; the only way you would feel like you were in imminent danger from someone standing 500 yards away is if that person also had a TrackingPoint. Who would actually use this weapons system?"

It appears that Justin Peters has a problem with civilians having access to military technology. I suspect he never got the memo from those who want to gut the Second Amendment (now obsolete because... well, they really wanted to ban effective military weaponry all along) that the Second Amendment only protected weapons that were useful to a militia. To emphasise his point, he puts it succinctly in the concluding paragraph:

"But a half-good automated long-range rifle is still more of a long-range rifle than any civilian needs. This thing is legal now, but let’s hope it isn’t for long."

It seems that Justin simply dislikes the idea of civilians having any arms that might be militarily effective, and wants to translate that dislike into law, in spite of the fact that there is virtually no criminal problem with snipers. It is similar to the push to ban .50 caliber rifles, that have never been used in crime (http://guncontrolpolicy.com/commentary/3.html).

It is worth noting that the anti-freedom types now feel sufficiently emboldened to explicitly say that they want to prevent civilians from having equipment that is militarily effective, even though the use of the items in crime is minuscule or non-existent.

The most clearly stated purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure that the citizen militias have access to militarily effective weaponry.

Justin Peters seems to be remarkably unimaginative about the potential uses of long range rifles. I suspect he would be unimpressed with considerations of varmint control, playing with technological limits, use of technology to overcome the disabilities associated with age and injury, and similar arguments. He seems to simply distrust those who are not in the government, yet he grants unlimited trust to those who are in charge of the power of the government.

Those who fashioned our constitutional republic did not share his trust of the powers that be. After all, those in power are only human, fallible humans who have the added disadvantage of enormous power and the temptation to use it for corrupt purposes. While government is necessary, it is also fallible and capable of far greater evil than any individual citizen.

2013 by Dean Weingarten Permission to share granted as long as this notice is included.

http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2013/06/screen-shot-from-youtube-for-last-five.html

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herrwalther
June 6, 2013, 01:17 PM
Slate has roughly the same political bias as Huffington post. That should answer your question right away. Anti's don't need a clear, concise or logical reason to ban a firearm or accessory. They do it just because it SOUNDS scary or something they saw in a movie (cough plastic guns in Die Hard)

M-Cameron
June 6, 2013, 01:26 PM
Is he also in favor of banning cruise controll?..... After all, who needs a car that can drive itself.... Any self respected driver would be disgusted at the thought.

What about auto focus?..... Who needs a camera that can focus its self..... Any self respected photographer would be disgusted.....there's no fun in letting the camera give you a good shot every time

What about auto pilot? ..... Planes flying themselves!..... Who needs that!?!.... That's way overkill for most flying needs.

Dean Weingarten
June 6, 2013, 01:31 PM
You are *way* too logical. Most gun banners try to be careful to hide their motivations. Justin is a bit more open than most.

JustinJ
June 6, 2013, 02:08 PM
I don't agree with banning it but i could see a valid concern over the system allowing almost anybody to take out a high profile target from a distance. Instead of that ability being limited to a relatively small number of skilled shooters, any nut could have the means of assasinating a political figure or movement leader easily from a far distance. Realistically the price of the system probably makes that an unlikely event although we all know how rapidly technology goes down in price.

M-Cameron
June 6, 2013, 02:20 PM
I don't agree with banning it but i could see a valid concern over the system allowing almost anybody to take out a high profile target from a distance. Instead of that ability being limited to a relatively small number of skilled shooters, any nut could have the means of assasinating a political figure or movement leader easily from a far distance. Realistically the price of the system probably makes that an unlikely event although we all know how rapidly technology goes down in price.




A large enough bomb with a remote detonator also allows any unskilled nut job to take someone out from a long way away also.....


Hell, even if they wanted to use a gun, it doesn't take that long to learn to shoo well enough to be able to hit a man sized target from 200 yds away...... Should we ban target practice so people can't get good at shooting......

You don't even have to be a master shooter, any half decent hunter should be able to hit a man size target at 300 yds, and there are thousands if hunters in the Country.... You don't have to be a super skilled cold blooded master assassin.

Being able to take a long shot isn't some super secret ninja skill learned over years of rigorous training .....if you have a rifle a a day to spend at the range, anyone can make a good enough shot at distance.

The Hollywood " assassin shooting at 1000yds" scenario simply doesn't happen in real life....most assassination attempts with a gun are done at close quarters with some type of handgun....

If you study the history and mindse of most non-govt planned assassinations.....you find they are largely personal to some degree and the assassin want to be known and wants their plot publicized.... That is something you don't get with the traditional " Hollywood assassination"

Vern Humphrey
June 6, 2013, 05:23 PM
Slate is liable to find itself charged with violating child labor laws -- because on one believe that drivel is written by adults.

BobTheTomato
June 6, 2013, 09:05 PM
Can someone define "sniper rifle" for me. If you can hit something accurately at 100 yards is it a sniper rifle?

herrwalther
June 6, 2013, 09:19 PM
Can someone define "sniper rifle" for me. If you can hit something accurately at 100 yards is it a sniper rifle?

This is what Wikipedia says so take it at that value a sniper rifle is a precision-rifle used to ensure more accurate placement of bullets at longer ranges than other small arms. A typical sniper rifle is built for optimal levels of accuracy, fitted with a telescopic sight and chambered for a military centerfire cartridge. The term is often used in the media to describe any type of accurized firearm fitted with a telescopic sight that is employed against human targets, although "sniping rifle" or "sniper's rifle" is the technically correct term for such a rifle.

We never call them "sniper rifles" in the military. We typically called them designated marksman or designated rifles. Or scouts for the longer range M24 or Barret.

General Geoff
June 6, 2013, 09:27 PM
I don't agree with banning it but i could see a valid concern over the system allowing almost anybody to take out a high profile target from a distance. Instead of that ability being limited to a relatively small number of skilled shooters, any nut could have the means of assasinating a political figure or movement leader easily from a far distance.
What's stopping 'any nut' from trying anyway? I might consider this to be a more imminent threat if potshots were routinely taken at public and political figures (or anyone, for that matter) from long distances with rifles. But as was also pointed out, getting shot and killed by someone with a rifle from a long distance is only slightly more likely than getting hit in the head by a meteorite.

Vern Humphrey
June 6, 2013, 09:44 PM
What's stopping 'any nut' from trying anyway? I might consider this to be a more imminent threat if potshots were routinely taken at public and political figures (or anyone, for that matter) from long distances with rifles. But as was also pointed out, getting shot and killed by someone with a rifle from a long distance is only slightly more likely than getting hit in the head by a meteorite.
Not too long ago there was a study that showed that police snipers almost shoot more than 100 meters. That's because in an urban setting, you don't get the long vistas you do in the deserts of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan.

And any fool can make a 100 yard shot with an open-sighted .30-30.

hso
June 6, 2013, 09:47 PM
Starts at $22,500. STARTS! Remington's hoped for version may start at $5,000. Criminals don't poney up that sort of money and what half-wit that thinks they might would be taken seriously once that "little" fact was pointed out?

Sniper? Snipers aren't just some guy with a willingness to shoot someone. There's so much more to hunting and sniping than sitting at a bench on a rest and pulling a trigger. That's like saying tossing balls into a net target is all there is to being a QB!

KTXdm9
June 6, 2013, 10:07 PM
Not really surprising coming from slate. It's the online version of MSNBC.

Old Fuff
June 6, 2013, 10:44 PM
They're some folks who for whatever reason get upset tummy and break out in a cold sweat 'cuz people around them have guns and they probably don't. The reason they don't isn't any of our business, but their proposed solution to take everyone elses guns away is. In this case the writer (and likely his editor) see a perceived threat from a new technology and quickly call for a statute to ban or regulate it. Again there is no reason or evidence that this will work, but when dealing with such people we must always keep in mind that they're is no known cure for stupid... :banghead:

Hacker15E
June 6, 2013, 11:35 PM
Give Slate the credit they're due: they want to ban all the rifles they don't think you need...not just the "advanced technology" ones.

fanchisimo
June 7, 2013, 12:04 AM
I would guess he's trying to get it banned before it can be widely purchased (doubtful at that price) or people can get attached.

Cee Zee
June 7, 2013, 01:56 AM
I can think of a few wackos who shot some people from distance since Charles Whitman killed 17 people back in 1966 from the top of the Tower at the University Of Texas. That wacko speed freak put it in the minds of our nation's gun grabbers that snipers were hiding everywhere just ready to kill from any distance. The truth is Whitman never shot anyone at more than 500 yards. He was shooting down but to be honest any decent shooter could learn the drop of his bullets after one or two shots at most and they could nail people all day long with your average deer rifle from that distance. I could take my varmint rifle and put a bullet in the ear of a few dozen people in a very short time to be honest. The thing is no one has done that since Whitman. Most wacko mass killers want to see their victims suffer apparently because they don't sit back and take pot shots at them. At least very few have done that.

One of the school shootings (Jonesboro, Ark.) actually involved shooting up a school yard from about 100 yards away. Two boys ages 11 and 13 did that. They weren't particularly accurate but they did manage to kill 5 people.

There were also a couple of cases of shooters who set up on an overpass over an interstate highway and shot cars as they passed by. But again the distance wasn't that great.

So where are all these "snipers" anyway? What famous figures have been killed by long range shooters in this country? Martin Luther King was shot from about 100 yards also or maybe less. So why all the fear of people who can shoot long distances? I'm not the best shot on the planet by any means. I'm sure there are many, many people here who could match my shooting ability from 500 yards. And as much of a hobby shooter as I am I've never shot over 500 yards. There just isn't place to do that where I live.

But facts like that never seem to matter to people who live in fear of what "might" happen some day. Like it or not being able to fight back against an out of control government is the main reason we have the right to keep and bear arms. Anyone who thinks the government is never going to get out of control must not have seen any news today. We should remember this day as "Big Brother" day from now on because we learned that Big Brother "is" watching us.

Still no one is shooting politicians or judges from 1000 yards or even 500 yards or even 100 yards. And for a good shooter 100 yards is handgun range (with the right handgun of course).

And what happens if they do ban all modern weapons as this person seems to think we should? Someone good with a bow and arrow can kill from 100 yards fairly easy. Zak Crawford, 14, shot an arrow over 500 yards setting the world record. And then there are crossbows. And even the atlatl has been thrown as far as 265 yards. They were good enough to wipe out the mammoths. I believe that's powerful enough to kill a man.

Humans have found ways to use weapons since we came down out of the trees (if we were ever actually in trees). It's fairly easy to make an air pressure powered weapon that is very effective. Heck Lewis And Clark took one on their journey across the continent and it fired as many as 30 times without having to change the compressed air reservoir. Soldiers equipped with those Girandoni air rifles generally carried 3 reservoirs with them. They fired essentially a .45 ACP caliber bullet out to about 150 yards at first but shorter distances as the air was spent. Still a weapon capable of firing 30 times was nothing to sneeze at. It was temperamental and required lots of maintenance but it impressed the heck out of the native American tribes which is what Lewis and Clark mainly used it for. The big drawback was the effort needed to pump up the reservoirs but with a battery and a small air pump that wouldn't be a problem today. Remember that was the very early 19th century we're talking about with Lewis and Clark. Technology has slightly improved since then. For example no leather gaskets would be needed today. Rubber would do just fine.

The point is they will never stop people from killing other people. I wish they could but I know they can't. And even if they could stop people from killing other people anyone who has lived in the real rural areas of this country can tell you there are times you need a weapon to use against wild animals. Rabid animals, hungry bears, rutting deer, feral cats, mountain lions, and even things like raccoons can require a dose of lead from time to time. Of course we could all spend half our lives practicing to be good enough with a bow but most of us have more productive ways to spend our time.

silicosys4
June 7, 2013, 03:20 PM
Everything I wanted to say was summed up better than I could have in the first comment on the article's page by the poster Craig Hunt:

"Here is my problem with this article and it's author. So for whatever reason, TrackPoint makes Justin Peters wet his pants in horror. It is a accessory that allows a gun to hit its target where other guns might not, and apparently in Peter's world this is a bad thing. "HORRIBLE", in fact! Fine.

But instead of just saying why he doesn't like this device, he has to use his screed to attack not just TrackPoint, but everybody who uses guns. The whole "gun culture" is to blame in his opinion, and he screams it right from the headline. He takes a firearms system that almost none of us have even laid eyes on, let alone purchased or even fired, then waves it around like a bloody shirt and browbeats the entire gun culture for it's existence.

He stretches so far to make this spurious connection that he eventually starts babbling about imaginary problems on which to base his complaint. Case in point:

"I have nothing but disdain for the TrackingPoint, which exemplifies everything I hate about a gun culture that is quick to put firearms in the hands of people who neither respect nor know how to use them, and that treats proficiency as a product to be purchased instead of a skill to be earned. "

What exactly is it that Peters is talking about here? Since there is no other device that does what TrackPoint does, what specifically is he complaining about? Does he think that "gun culture" doesn't have respect for firearms? If so, I would say point blank that he apparently lacks firsthand experience with the gun culture that so offends him; among those of us who are serious about guns, safety, training and practice are extremely important. Go to a gun range and mishandle a firearm in an unsafe or ignorant fashion, and see how long it takes for a perfect stranger to step up and put you in your place if you don't believe me.

And then there is his bizarre complaint that we "treats proficiency as a product to be purchased instead of a skill to be earned." Frankly, I haven't a clue what Peters is talking about. Does he think guns are too accurate? What a bizarre suggestion, as if firearms alone, out of all consumer products, are supposed to be valued for their difficulty to use and poor performance. Again, if he had a clue about the gun culture he whines about, he'd know that more accurate weapons only challenge the shooter to move on to the next level of shooting, at greater distances and with faster reaction times.

I suspect that Peters knows damn good and well that this device will likely change nothing in either the world of crime or in sport shooting. In the hands of a criminal, it does nothing that cannot be done with an ordinary hunting rifle (and those who want to complain about assassins have been watching too many movies - true sniper-style attacks are exceedingly rare, not because they cannot be done right now with the equipment we already have, but because there is little profit in or motivation for doing them). Target shooters will likely reject them because it makes shooting boring and predictable. And if the problem is "unsportsmanlike" hunting, that is an issue easily remedied by tweaking the same laws restricting the use of laser sights while hunting at the state level, put in place for the very same reasons. This device is not a real world problem for anyone.

No, the reason for all this shirt-rending outrage is because Peters wants to paint the entire gun culture with any black brush he can find, whether we had anything to do with it or not, whether his complaint has any basis in truth or not. It's just more overheated hysteria and fingerpointing based on misinformed fluff, exactly what I've come to expect from ignorant journalists who haven't taken the time to objectively examine the devices and people they purport to be investigating."

JustinJ
June 7, 2013, 04:30 PM
A large enough bomb with a remote detonator also allows any unskilled nut job to take someone out from a long way away also.....

Or, he could simply blow himself up. I'm not talking about what is possible. I'm talking about what generally happens in the real world. The vast majority of nuts fail to get complicated in their killing methods. People on here love to say, "well the bad guy could just then then do x if if they take away Y" but if it were that simple X would happen far more often. If remote bombs were as easy to use effectively as guns are then why aren't they?

Hell, even if they wanted to use a gun, it doesn't take that long to learn to shoo well enough to be able to hit a man sized target from 200 yds away...... Should we ban target practice so people can't get good at shooting......

You don't even have to be a master shooter, any half decent hunter should be able to hit a man size target at 300 yds, and there are thousands if hunters in the Country.... You don't have to be a super skilled cold blooded master assassin.

True, but defending against a 1,000 yard shot, which requires skill to make with conventional arms, is significantly harder.

And what happens if they do ban all modern weapons as this person seems to think we should? Someone good with a bow and arrow can kill from 100 yards fairly easy. Zak Crawford, 14, shot an arrow over 500 yards setting the world record. And then there are crossbows. And even the atlatl has been thrown as far as 265 yards. They were good enough to wipe out the mammoths. I believe that's powerful enough to kill a man.

Again, i don't support gun control but this is an absurd argument. Equating the potential devestation a bow can cause with that of modern firearms is ridiculous. As if mass "bow shootings" are a realistic threat or drive by "crossbowings". It also implies that if all deaths can't be prevented then there is no reason to reduce them. My seatbelt doesn't gurantee i'll survive a crash but it certainly makes it more likely. There are valid arguments against gun control but the above aint one.

kwguy
June 7, 2013, 04:50 PM
Here's a great idea: Instead of banning the technology and vilifying the tool, let's just make murdering someone with them illegal! That way, we take care of ALL the possible ways that someone could kill someone with all that 'nasty technology' with one fell swoop!

Bartholomew Roberts
June 7, 2013, 04:50 PM
:rolleyes: Ignorant author is ignorant.

As I've said repeatedly, for $17k, you can buy the range time and training to be able to shoot that well with most any rifle. And your skill won't suddenly vanish if the batteries die. All that ignorant rant did was convince me that maybe there was something here I did need to buy...:evil:

rodregier
June 7, 2013, 04:52 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girandoni_Air_Rifle

kwguy
June 7, 2013, 04:53 PM
All that ignorant rant did was convince me that maybe there was something here I did need to buy

LOL no kidding. I bet when the original 3x scope was invented, someone else said the same thing...

I bet someone even said the same thing when the club was invented, because it was easier to kill beyond arms reach. For pete's sake...:rolleyes:

The Lone Haranguer
June 7, 2013, 05:34 PM
I've always wondered what took the gun grabbers so long. :rolleyes: It won't stop with this rifle. Any rifle with a scope on it could become a "'sniper' rifle."

Vern Humphrey
June 7, 2013, 05:58 PM
Here's a great idea: Instead of banning the technology and vilifying the tool, let's just make murdering someone with them illegal! That way, we take care of ALL the possible ways that someone could kill someone with all that 'nasty technology' with one fell swoop!
Why didn't I think of that?!?:D

But here's a clue where the problem is: The Chicago Police Department just released a study of murders in 2011. The killers were 70.5% Black, 24.3% Hispanic and 3.5% White. (The figures don't add up because 1 killer was Native American and the race of two more could not be determined.)

Now I agree it is culture, not race that is at work here. But if we could change the Black and Hispanic cultures to match the white culture, there would have been only 25 to 30 murders in Chicago in 2011, instead of 433.

JustinJ
June 7, 2013, 06:17 PM
But here's a clue where the problem is: The Chicago Police Department just released a study of murders in 2011. The killers were 70.5% Black, 24.3% Hispanic and 3.5% White. (The figures don't add up because 1 killer was Native American and the race of two more could not be determined.)

Now I agree it is culture, not race that is at work here. But if we could change the Black and Hispanic cultures to match the white culture, there would have been only 25 to 30 murders in Chicago in 2011, instead of 433.

Wow. I haven't seen that degree of ignorant racism in a while.

By the above post i'm pretty sure this will be beyond your level of comprehension, but the actions of a small minority of people do not constitute the culture of a race. With a hispanic grandmother who immigrated from Mexico i was raised with regular exposure to hispanic culture so i guess it's just a miracle that it was never instilled upon me that i should murder people.

Thanks for reinforcing the stereotype of gun owners as ignorant and backwards.

silicosys4
June 7, 2013, 06:25 PM
Wow. I haven't seen that degree of ignorant racism in a while.

Its not necessarily racist, although it most certainly does come across that way if taken at face value.
I think what he was trying to say was that, with the discrepancies in demographics of the population of Chicago vs. the murders by race in Chicago, if the murder rate per capita for black/hispanic in the city of Chicago were on par with those of caucasians in the city of Chicago, the overall murder rate of the city would be much lower....which does beg the question, why are those murder rates higher for certain demographic groups than others? What factors could be responsible? Why do you feel pulling the race card your dang self and instead of examining the data is the best answer, Justin?

32% black,
45% white of which 13% is white/hispanic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Chicago

Whether or not those numbers justify playing the race/culture card... too many other factors, IMO.

JustinJ
June 7, 2013, 06:35 PM
Its not necessarily racist, although it does come across that way.
I think what he was trying to say was that, with the discrepancies in demographics of the population of Chicago vs. the murders by race in Chicago, if the murder rate per capita for black/hispanic in the city of Chicago were on par with those of caucasians in the city of Chicago, the overall murder rate of the city would be much lower.

32% black,
45% white of which 13% is white/hispanic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Chicago

Whether or not those numbers justify playing the race/culture card... too many other factors, IMO.

Saying that murder is a component of the culture of a race of people is racist and ignorant. Just as it would be stupid to say that being a serial killer or mass shooter is the culture of white people since the vast majority both are white. The reason certain races have higher incidences of crime is very complex and i'm not denying the disparities. Attributing it to culture is the problem.

silicosys4
June 7, 2013, 06:39 PM
Saying that murder is a component of the culture of a race of people is racist and ignorant. Just as it would be stupid to say that being a serial killer or mass shooter is the culture of white people since the vast majority both are white. The reason certain races have higher incidences of crime is very complex and i'm not denying the disparities. Attributing it to culture is the problem.

And that is a head-in-the-sand politically correct approach. Certain cultures are darn well more violent than others. To believe otherwise is to ignore reality.
Compare the Aztec vs Incan vs Mayan cultures to start with, Compare Bonobo to Chimpanzee cultures to each other if you want to get more primal. Compare the cultures in say, Rwanda, to say, Finland. (race aside, if you can bring yourself to compare a black culture to a white culture without bringing race into it)
Don't just pull the "you a racist!" card on people.

Vern Humphrey
June 7, 2013, 06:42 PM
First of all, it was the Chicago Police Department that provided the demographic breakdown of murders. We can hardly accuse them of racism for reporting the facts.

Now the classic debate in subjects like this is "nature versus nurture" -- are we what we are because we were born that way, or because of the effects of our culture, upbringing and education.

To say that Blacks (or any other ethnic group) have a higher murder rate because it is inherent in their genetic makeup is racism. Therefore we must come down on the "nurture" side of the argument. It is culture, not genes, that has produced this skewed picture of murderers.

It therefore follows that if we want to reduce the murder rate, we must change the culture.

M-Cameron
June 7, 2013, 06:52 PM
Again, i don't support gun control but this is an absurd argument. Equating the potential devestation a bow can cause with that of modern firearms is ridiculous. As if mass "bow shootings" are a realistic threat or drive by "crossbowings". It also implies that if all deaths can't be prevented then there is no reason to reduce them. My seatbelt doesn't gurantee i'll survive a crash but it certainly makes it more likely. There are valid arguments against gun control but the above aint one.

http://t.qkme.me/3s4au8.jpg

Robert
June 7, 2013, 07:19 PM
Sociology and criminology are not topics for THR and since this thread has veered hard in that direction we are done.

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