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University of Texas suicide - Really an AK-47?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by essayons21, Sep 29, 2010.

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  1. essayons21

    essayons21 Member

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    Every news report I have been able to find has identified the weapon used in this incident as an AK-47.

    From ABC:

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/shots-fired-university-texas-austin-cops-hunt-gunman/story?id=11744405

    So the Austin police are saying the weapon was a true FA AK?

    Another report, from the school paper which interviews witnesses, repeatedly describes the gun as an AK.

    http://www.dailytexanonline.com/content/ut-student-kills-self-after-firing-ak-47-21st-street

    I have also seen numerous television media reports which describe it as a "fully automatic AK-47."

    So did this guy actually use a FA in a crime? Was it registered or illegally converted? Or is this yet another, particularly egregious example of the Journalists Guide to Firearms Identification

    As per the moderator's direction, this is not to discuss the news story of some wacko offing himself, I'm trying to ascertain if a FA weapon was actually used in the commission of a crime, and if not to develop a plan of action to remedy the serial ignorance shown by members of the media towards firearms.
     
  2. hirundo82

    hirundo82 Member

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    The media description that stands out in my mind was them describing his rifle as a "semiautomatic machine gun." :rolleyes:
     
  3. Ramman911

    Ramman911 Member

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    Journalists Guide to Firearms Identification.... LOL that link is priceless, but sadly enough rings so true. Sounds like when our local news folks call a 9mm handgun an "assault rifle" on more than one occasion.
     
  4. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    In fairness many vendors advertise semi auto models as "AK-47" even though we know they are not.

    Here's a random website (first one that came up in Google) selling a Century M70 underfolder but the vendor calls it an "AK-47". Hard to ask the media to be super accurate when gun sellers don't even know the difference.

    http://www.topgunsupply.com/yugo-m70-ak-47-underfolder-7.62x39-30-round.html

    If, for example, some reporter decided to actually do some fact checking and used Google, this would be the first thing he saw. He might very well say "heck, they sell them surely they know the name, and it says AK-47".
     
  5. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    I doubt it. If it was a FA AK the media would be in apoplectic fits about the "Machine Gun Toting Mad Man"
     
  6. essayons21

    essayons21 Member

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    Its really not the description of it as an AK-47 or AK-47 variant that bothers me, its the seemingly deliberate blurring of the line between fully automatic and semi.

    The quote from ABC is curious, either the police described the weapon as such, or its something the reporter added in. If it was the police, shame on them, they should know better, if it was the reporter, also shame, but in this day and age it seems almost deliberate.

    This story has gotten my attention more than others, because usually I can find a news outlet that gives a mostly accurate description (usually semi-automatic assualt rifle etc.) but every story I can find describes the rifle as a "military AK-47" or an "automatic assault rifle," both of which would accurately be full auto weapons.
     
  7. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Again, playing devil's advocate here, the ABC quote just says :

    Doesn't actually say full auto. Again, if I as an ignorant reporter Google AK47 and hit the link above, then read the wikipedia article on AK-47 I might very well assume that it's "a military-grade combat rifle".

    All this certainly may be intentional I guess but it seems just as likely to be plain old ignorance.

    And, again playing the other side for a moment, if you randomly asked people outside the gun community to explain the difference between "automatic" and "semi-automatic" you'd likely get more blank looks than correct answers.
     
  8. alohachris

    alohachris Member

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    So what's the proper nomenclature?

    I know an AR-15 is a semi-automatic version of an M16/M4. So what do you call a Kalashnikov pattern semiautomatic?
     
  9. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    The Yugo's are "M70". The Romanians are "WASR-10" etc. Kalishnikov never made a factory civilian semi only like Colt did with the AR-15 so there really isn't a generic term for the semi only models, which is why AK-47 keeps getting used.

    Not really a conspiracy, just people who don't know any better. That's why I say it's certainly possible this is a media bias but there is strong evidence to suggest they simply hit Google and use what they find.

    I used to notice the same thing with airline crashes, everything for a while was a "747" or a "Cessna" and rarely anything else during initial reports.
     
  10. Geronimo45

    Geronimo45 Member

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    90% chance it's a WASR.
     
  11. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Bugarians call them an SL-8, Egyptians call theirs a MISR Sporting rifle.
    Chinese called them MAK90,,,,,
    I like semi automatic sport-pleasure rifle.
     
  12. Hanzo581

    Hanzo581 Member

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    I can go on a hundred gun sites and buy an semi-auto labeled "AK-47", it's just what they are commonly called. I really cannot blame them for calling the semi-auto version an AK-47.
     
  13. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    With all due respect, does full or semi make a difference? Guy has gun, guy is an idiot. Once in awhile, someone with a gun goes goofy. It is one of the reasons the rest of us have guns....................
     
  14. essayons21

    essayons21 Member

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    It certainly makes a difference for the continued legal ownership of true machine guns.

    Look at the origin of some of the restrictive gun laws in the UK, Australia, Germany, even in this country. One crazy wacko with a gun combined with a media and political frenzy has passed some of the absolute worse gun laws in existence.

    And I'm legitimately curious if this guy may have actually obtained a FA AK-47, since that is what has been reported.
     
  15. NOLAEMT

    NOLAEMT Member

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    frankly I wish we could capitalize on the media's ignorance of the difference.

    If they don't know the difference between semi and full auto, perhaps we have some small chance of getting the MG registry reopened.

    (I'm not saying we should capitalize on this tragedy,just to clarify)
     
  16. Cactus Jack Arizona

    Cactus Jack Arizona Member

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    To members of the MSM, any gun is an AK-47 until proven otherwise. This isn't an accident. They do this on purpose to demonize a wonderful firearm. The more fear they can monger about the AK-47, the more likely they will eventually get them banned.

    What I find interesting most of all, is talking with some of the staunch NRA members at the gun shows who are adamantly against the Ak-47 being a legalized firearm. :eek: I just don't get it. :confused:
     
  17. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    I just wonder it's actually an AK-pattern rifle at all...
     
  18. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Yes, it would be pretty interesting if it ISN'T, considering that I believe every news story on the event has said that it IS.

    But, considering that the Kalashnikov family of carbines is the most common firearm pattern in the world, and that the semi-auto versions of it are getting to the top of the heap as the most common rifle in America, I couldn't possibly be surprised if he did indeed use one to kill himself.

    As others have pointed out, except for those few of us who use more exact model designations, most gun owners, dealers, and even manufacturers, describe them generically as "AKs" or "AK-47s" so getting all wrapped around the axle because the media does too is a bit absurd. Why would we hold them to a higher standard than we hold ourselves?

    To claim that "military grade combat rifle" is a falsehood is also wrong, as all but a very scant few of these guns are made from the parts left over from demilled military guns. It doesn't mean they are magical or extra deadly, but they are "military grade" without a doubt.

    And, while the FA -vs.- semi question is also food for some discussion, it really only would be if he had actually spent the $15,000+, file the Form 4 and wait most of a year, to buy a registered Transferrable TitleII AKM and used that to end his life. That seems ridiculously unlikely.

    And ... to a degree, so what if he did? Does one public suicide really harm our (distant) chances for revisiting the Hughes amendment? What would that make, 2 crimes with legally owned registered MGs since 1934?

    And, maybe he drilled an extra hole and swapped in some "naughty bits," making an illegal unregistered MG. So? That's not hard, and it isn't all that uncommon, either. Again, the only person he harmed was himself, and he only needed one shot to do it. I don't see the uproar.

    I'd say there's about a 90% chance that he used a $350 WASR that he bought at the local gun shop or from a pal, and the "AK-47" identification is perfectly acceptable. On the same level as referring to a Ford Focus as a "late model economy car."
     
  19. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    What is striking to me is that the guy walked onto a huge campus with a Kalashnikov, and ended up strolling all the way into the library, where he went in and hung out about as long as he wanted, firing shots.

    Security is not about luck, and the luck that this guy's intent was only to shoot himself was all that saved anyone that day. Had he intended to murder people, he had free reign.

    This case is a POSTER case for campus carry by permit holders! It proves that campuses don't do a damned thing to keep people safe from attacks. This guy didn't have a small handgun stashed in a pocket, either. He had a Kalashnikov!

    If a guy can stroll onto a campus, and hang out in the library, shooting a rifle (don't care what kind) without anyone stopping him, then don't we have the RIGHT to at least have a fighting chance at defending ourselves, when we are on a college campus?
     
  20. ny32182

    ny32182 Member

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    "AK" is a fine description as far as I'm concerned; swapping a couple trigger parts doesn't change what it is.

    The worst news article I read on the subject was about how great the university response was, and how they learned the VT lesson and were right on the ball with the response, blah, blah.... where as every other news article quoted witnesses saying he had ample opportunity to kill many other people, and didn't. If that is true, the response, no matter how quick, wasn't really much of a factor, was it?
     
  21. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Response? What response? After he'd shot himself, they told everyone to lock their doors?!?

    They just got lucky he didn't shoot anyone else. The only thing that prevented a bloodbath was that he didn't point the gun at anyone when he pulled the trigger (repeatedly).
     
  22. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Well, your two links do not report the gun as "fully automatic." So I googled the shooter's name and the words of "full" and "automatic" and failed to find any news reports stating the gun was fully automatic. There were a lot of comments made by readers/viewers about the gun being fully automatic, but nothing reported by the media.

    Given the numbers of television and radio news shows that post text of their shows online, can you find any that show they referred to the gun as fully automatic?

    Now I did see several that stated specifically that it was "automatic." That is a 100% accurate description. Just like my 1911 is an automatic pistol, the gun used at UT was an automatic. "Automatic' refers to autoloading. That is not a blurring of the difference between semi and full auto. It is a properly accurate description.

    Show us the reports where the media is stating that the gun is fully automatic and let's go from there. So far, you have made the claim, but not backed it up with anything.
     
  23. SharpsDressedMan

    SharpsDressedMan member

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    As far as the public is concerned, it is all "semantics". When an AK weapon is referred to by the press, it is an "AK-47" because they don't know any better. They don't care, and will never care, if it was originally full auto, legally registered, an auto converted from a semi-auto, a true AK-47 (milled receiver), or AKM (stamped receiver), or some pre-ban, post ban, or AK derivative sporting rifle. The GENERAL PUBLIC will not care if it is a misnomer, and really an SKS, or a rifle with a fixed 10 round magazine or 100 round drum. The fact that an idiot used something loosely referred to as an "assault weapon", or to the uninformed, the generic term "AK-47" (which to most reporters, is the same thing), the effect is the same. Man with gun shoots someone, shoot self, etc. As far as ownership of legal full autos, you are almost never (I LIKE that phrase...it is about as stupid as most news reports about AK-47's:D) going to hear about LEGAL machinegun ownership, as most beauracracies don't want you to KNOW about such things. And whether a legal or illegally possessed full auto was used, well, it isn't the first time. Gang bangers have been using converted, illegal full autos for scores of years. Don't fret none over a current occurance of "AK-47 mania" where the bad guy kills himself with verry little damage to others. With the over-time saturation of incidents, and the numbness that we all get from seeing and hearing about such things too much, we will all forget about it in a few days.
     
  24. bhk

    bhk Member

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    We, as shooters, are partially responsible for this blurring of semi-automatic and automatic firearms. We frequently call our semis 'autos.' When talking with our friends or fellow posters, we ask questions like 'Do you prefer revolvers or automatics?' Or we make comments like 'shooting rabbits is a ball with a good .22 auto rifle.'

    We know the difference, of course. But with our sloppy nomenclature, how can we blame non shooters for often doing the same? Now, the press calling a semi-auto a 'fully automatic weapon' is a totally different story.
     
  25. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    It isn't sloppy nomenclature so much as that the physical distinctions are pretty small. These guns are automatics, auto-loaders, self-loaders, etc -- it all means the same thing. The only difference is whether there is a disconnecter involved at every shot.

    That and an obscure and ill-conceived law from back in 1934.

    I have a hard time getting upset with the media for not comprehending a distinction that is so small as to be almost meaningless -- except by weight of the legal issues we've piled around it to no good end.
     
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