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Arsenal - not a negative term as some of you seem to make it

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by GRB, May 17, 2008.

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  1. GRB

    GRB member

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    This comment, found here: http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=363817 and all the other comments about the use of the word arsenal in that thread made me scratch my head in wonder. I was pretty surprised that a comment like this one was not the first one after the initial post, but as I was reading the thread starter, I knew for sure that one or more like it were surely coming. It always seems to come up whenever anyone calls a cache or collection of weapons and arsenal. Nothing personal in my using that one, it was the firs tone in the thread, and the thought struck me to write a thread on the subject so I quoted it here.

    The fact of the matter is that use of the word arsenal, in the case of 28 firearms could be quite accurate. For example, if small military unit consisting of 14 people, had a storage room in which they stored 28 firearms (all long guns) would that not be an arsenal? Throughout history such a collection of firearms for a small military outpost has often been referred to as an arsenal - were the people who called that an arsenal wrong? Similarly, if a group of survivalists had a room in which they stored 28 firearms, half of them long guns, and half handguns, would that not properly be called an arsenal? I think it would be correct to use that term to describe that room. Add to the mix ammunition, firearms cleaning supplies, tools for repairing firearms, knives, and so forth and it seems even more clear such would be a correct use of the word. If guns were also manufactured there it would be a cinch. Still though, an arsenal can simply mean a collection of weapons.

    So I wonder, when an individual is arrested, by police albeit it in a restrictive state like NJ, and the media uses the term arsenal to describe the same thing - except that it was in possession of an individual - why is it that the term suddenly becomes incorrect? I believe it becomes incorrect only in as much as gun owners, and gun right advocates see this word as a negative term and believe it is being used against us and our RKBA by the anti-gun lobby. Even if that is the case, that those who advocate for gun control are trying to make it sound like some evil collection of weapons, the fact of the matter is that the definition of the word arsenal, and its historical use, both support the fact that 28 firearms, even fewer, can indeed be an arsenal of weapons. Although it can be one, an arsenal does not have to be a manufacturing plant for weapons, it can be a mere storage building or room in which a number of firearms are stored, or can be a mere collection of firearms. If a collection it can be large, medium sized or relatively small - two weapons, though a stretch, could possibly qualify as an arsenal, though a small one indeed.

    Here is one definition of the word, this from Meriam-Webster:

    Here is another definition from Encarta:

    I think that when we become so defensive at the use of a term like the word arsenal, we are missing the forest for the trees. Why not just agree and say, wow that indeed was a small arsenal of weapons. So what - there is nothing wrong with owning an arsenal. In fact an arsenal of firearms whether a collection, a storage room of firearms with repair shop, or an out an out manufacturing plants, with repair shop and storage facilities for firearms all seem perfectly legitimate to me - so why get defensive about the word that describes those things. Many of us, quite defensively, deny time after time that an arsenal is just what it is when it comes to a collection of weapons. Instead of becoming defensive, and playing into the hands of the anti-gunners, start using the word regularly to describe your firearms collection. Make people, who are gun owners, and non-gun owners alike, aware of the fact that there is nothing bad about legally owned arsenal, and that the word itself is properly used to describe a legitimate collection of firearms as well as a manufacturing plant for firearms; therefore the public should not misuse construe the word as something negative. If however, we as firearms enthusiasts continue to misconstrue that same word, then we basically agree with the anti's incorrect portrayal of an arsenal as indeed a bad thing; and in that way we help the antis win their battle against because we too are giving indication that it must be something bad. That is pretty self defeating, so why give the antis any ammunition with which to shoot down our rights, why not educate folks instead that an arsenal is something of which to be proud in your role as a free citizen who exercises his/her rights in both keeping and bearing firearms, and maybe even storing them in an arsenal?

    All the best,
    Glenn B
     
  2. retgarr

    retgarr Member

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    The idea is that the connotation of arsenal is bad. To use your own example if a small military unit consisting of 14 people has a gun storage of28 and that's an arsenal, the lay public will say "what is that one man doing with enough guns to constitute an arsenal fit for 14 soldiers?". Arsenal brings up militant connotations, like the person is storing up for a fight.
    But when you refer to it as a collection, you tend to think more of a hobby. Museums have collections, stamp collectors have collections, "hm, you can collect guns like you collect stamps? That doesn't sound so bad"
     
  3. 209

    209 Member

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    You are preaching to the saved. We know its not a scurrilous term. However, the media uses it that way. They have corrupted many words and phrases with the intent to show something is bad.

    "Assault Weapon"
    "Assault Rifle"
    "High Capacity Mags"
    "50 cal"
    "Arsenal"
    "Cop Killer Bullets"
    etc, etc.

    We watch them do it. We see what they are doing. It's hard to stop and once they connect a word with a "bad" thing, it's even harder to reverse the trend.
     
  4. siglite

    siglite Member

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    The problem comes in as one of perception. In the modern vernacular, the term "arsenal" conjures the armories of Camp Lejeune. While you may be technically correct about the term, the reality of the matter is the perception on the street. The media and gun grabbers are fully aware of what the word "arsenal" conjures in the mind of the ill-educated sheep that constitute the majority of their readers. It's contemporary use is military. The intention is to paint the picture of a paramilitary whackjob planning to mount a one-man war on city hall.

    Correctness in terminology is clearly not a concern of today's media. The application of contemporary use (or mis-use) of terms to generate fear and sensationalism is the goal.
     
  5. GRB

    GRB member

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    Yes it is a problem of perception, so why are so many of us who are pro gun fostering that incorrect perception. I do not owna colection of firerms in the same connotation as someone who owns a collection of stamps. I own firearms to defend my rights and liberties, to protect against tyranny, to hunt, to defend myself and family from bad guys, and for target and other sport shooting. So why would I want to make it sound otherwise. We need to educate the public that there is nothing wrong with any of those reasons for owning firaearms. We do not need to help make the word arsenal, or anything associated with legitiamte ownership of firearms, loo like something it is not.

    All the best,
    GB

    and

     
  6. siglite

    siglite Member

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    I don't think it's a matter of us helping make a word mean anything. Contemporary vocabulary is what it is. The media is simply reaching into the available toolbox of nouns and grabbing the one that sounds scariest to the masses.

    Even for us, the term "arsenal" effectively means "military arms depot." That's why we all chuckle at the use of the term by the media. It's a matter of contemporary definition. And one of spin.

    Considering the contemporary definition and perception that simply is, should we run around bragging about our arsenals? Or should we simply be proud of our collections?
     
  7. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Member

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    I agree, the media and hollywood has made the word seem like a military or anti-gov't/establishment militant type depot with the inevitable purpose of using it in the traditional sense (rebellion/assault). It's easy for the media to defend their use of it with the reasoning you gave.
    I don't have a problem with the word and it's literal definition, it's just unfortunate the spin and perception put on it. It could be worse though, ie: "He had a stockpile of anti-personnel small-arms and armor-piercing ammunition" (to describe someone's small collection of hunting rifles).
     
  8. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    190.jpg Photo credit
     
  9. AirPower

    AirPower Member

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    I think the issue here should be about why is arsenal not good. Does the law say anywhere about having specific quantities of something? Maybe for hazzards consideration, there's rule on explosives or gun powders, but firearm? No, there no law against "too many guns".

    This is the freedom we enjoy. When I go to COSTCO, I can get 10 jars of peanut butter. Is that too much? How about 10 cases of Cola? How about people having 6 cars for a household of 2? Do people wonder can they really use them? Well for different purposes they can. People may think it's a waste, but it's never a negative connotation, other than may be they have too much money to splurge on them. But even for people who are wealthy enough to own 100 cars, it's almost never a negative thing about it. So why is it bad to have many guns if guns are okay to begin with? Therefore as long as having 1 gun is okay then having 100 guns is just the same.

    For people who think Arsenal is bad, they already believe 1 gun is bad. It's never about the quantity. It's not what you need, but what you can have the freedom to own. If there's a law about quantity, then law enforcement by right can enforce it, but until then, having an arsenal is just fine.
     
  10. Sage of Seattle

    Sage of Seattle Member

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    Don't forget that we're talking about newspapers here, in which the cramming of most meaning in the fewest words and space is of primary importance.

    I can think of few exceptions like "assault weapon" which is longer and more cumbersome than "assault rifle" but since "assault rifle" has a distinct meaning and "assault weapon" does not, that's my guess why it's used more often.

    "Arsenal" is smaller than "collection" and more accurately describes firearms, so you can't fault them for that part.

    It's the constant hammering of day in day out connotations of certain words being a bad or evil thing that gets me.

    For example:

    "Convicted felon gets charged with possessing a gun."

    "Convicted felon gets charged with possessing a gun."

    "Felon gets charged with possessing a gun."

    "Man gets charged with possessing a gun."

    What kind of man? Probably a felon. Why? Because that's what you constantly hear, so that's what you assume.
     
  11. 230RN
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    230RN FILL THAT SEAT !

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    denotative definitions do not equal connotative meanings

    connotative meanings do not equal denotative definitions

    semantics 101
     
  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    30 years ago, a private individual with 28 guns had a collection. Today, the collection of yesterday has become an arsenal.

    That the man with the "arsenal" merely has a collection of odd or rare firearms that was 20 years in the making never seems to matter.

    To "them" it's an arsenal.

    To me...it's a small collection.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2008
  13. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...the media uses it that way..." Yep. Two .22 lr firearms and brick of ammo for each becomes an arsenal.
     
  14. jimmyraythomason

    jimmyraythomason Member

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    Glad I keep MY arsenal safely within my compound(property containing more than one building).
     
  15. 230RN
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    230RN FILL THAT SEAT !

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    And the painted rocks around your lawn are your "perimeter."

    Truly it has been said:

    And, Glenn Beck,like it or not, recognize it or not, we are in a sematics war.

    Yes, it's "collection," not an "arsenal," and those of us with more than 28 guns resent it being called an arsenal.

    Like it or not.
     
  16. C&R

    C&R Member

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    Maby a better word is armory

    ar·mor·y

    1. a storage place for weapons and other war equipment.
    2. a building that is the headquarters and drill center of a military unit.
    3. a place where arms and armor are made; an armorer's shop; arsenal.
    4. Heraldry. the art of blazoning arms.
    5. heraldry.
    6. arms or armor collectively.
    7. Archaic. heraldic bearings or arms.
     
  17. akodo

    akodo Member

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    The dictionary often gives simple definitions and misses out on some of the more subtle nuances of language.

    Arsenal refers to a place where military weapons and gear used for fighting is kept, a place that is prepared to outfit multiple people for fighting.

    If you have a group of flintlocks in 1760 in the town square to be used by the townsfolk to repell the French and their native allies, that is an arsenal

    If you have a group of flintlocks in 2008 as that is what you collect, and occasionally shoot, and they are for your use ONLY, and at most they are for hunting and paper punching, that is not an arsenal

    If you have a bunch of shotguns all in a secure basement room with a locked door, and they are kept there so all your fellow Hells Angels 1%ers can be armed in a moment's notice to defend the drug stash vs the competition, but without them having to worry about being pulled over for weapons violations, that is an arsenal

    If you have a bunch of shotguns all in a secure basement room with a locked door, because you view shotguns like golfclubs, you need a 12 and a 20 and a 28 and a 410 just like you need a 1 wood and a 3 iron and 9 iron and a putter, and beyond that you have multipe 12s built for different needs, just like you have 1 wood 2 wood and 3 wood, and mutiple 20 guages of different configurations like multiple irons, etc etc, and they are all for your personal use, that is not an arsenal.

    This even counts if the 1%s got their arsenal by breaking into a home and stealing a collection of private hunting/sporting guns just like yours...and then taking hacksaws to them.



    Hell to tie this into another thread, the Alaskan Experiment. When the Alaskan Guide had a while bundle of 22LR bolt action rifles to give one to each camp, that was close to an arsenal, but lacked the connotation of arms to be used in a military manner against another group. However, his personal collection of 338 winmags, 270s, 22LRs 12gauges, 30-30s, 45-70s and the like, that is his collection not his arsenal
     
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