The Countertop Chronicles

"Run by a gun zealot who's too blinded by the NRA" - Sam Penney of

Friday, July 09, 2004

Reasonable Gun Controls

In an editorial last month, author John Lott asked these important questions:
Have the Democrats really changed on gun control? Would it matter whether Senator John Kerry or President George Bush won the election this year?
As Dr. Lott points out, the Democrats have recently shied away from their long standing calls to ban all guns and now seek simply "reasonable gun controls." This is a position all the Democratic Presidential Contenders adopted.
Senator Kerry has tried hard to sound moderate on the gun issue and has gone so far as saying: "I believe that the Constitution, our laws and our customs protect law-abiding American citizens' right to own firearms. I believe that the right of gun ownership comes with responsibilities."

Curiously, all the Democratic presidential candidates made virtually identical statements about gun ownership being an individual right, but they all supported the same "reasonable restrictions" on gun ownership: banning so-called semiautomatic assault weapons, regulating gun shows, opposing restrictions on lawsuits against gunmakers.

That of course begs the question of just what reasonable gun control really means. On October 10, 2002, when the Washington Area was under attack by possible al quaeda terrorists John Muhammed and Lee Boyd Malvo, the Washington Post ran an Op Ed (no longer online, but available through Lexis Nexis) that made the following statements about their weapon of choice as it supported ballistics fingerprinting and a renewed and strengthened assault weapons ban.

  • the shotings all came from the "same type of high-powered rifle."
  • the rifle was "deadly and consistently accurate."
  • the .223 round is widely used in "sniper rifles."
  • it was accurate at "five times the range at which hunters shoot deer."

Of course, these statements are all plainly false or simply irrelevant to the concern presented. An AR-15 is simply not a "high powered" rifle and the .223 round is not used in "sniper rifles." While its true that many AR-15s are "deadly and consistently accurate," what good would they be if they were not deadly and accurate. Do the gun banners want us to shoot inaccurate rifles? As far as the claim that they are "deadly," well yes, thats part of what they are designed to do - kill, but in the case of the .223 round shot from an AR-15 the intention was more to wound an enemy soldier than to actually kill him (the theory being a dead soldier only eliminates one battlefield enemy whereas a wounded soldier eliminates 3 - the soldier and two others who need to care/tend for him).

Finally, of course, we come to the biggest red herring of them all, the absurd claim that the rifle is accurate at five times the range at which hunters shoot deer. This, of course, begs the question of at what range do hunters shoot deer. Honestly, I do not know because it varies so much. A great hunter, using a bow and arrow, can take a deer at 20 yards. The Washington Snipers were shooting from no more than 150 yards. Thats well over 5 times the 20 yard range, but most hunters are probably shooting from about the same 150 yard or so range the snipers were operating in.

So whats the solution. According to this post editorial, it seems that we should be banning guns that can shoot over 150 or 200 yards. Of course, in Birmingham, Alabama, the Chief of Police thinks we need to ban guns that aren't accurate past that same range range.

- Search - 13 Results - Sniper AND rifle and hunting and 150 or 200 yards


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