Have Assault Rifle, Will Travel

signI’m seeing this story all over – Nightline, the N&O, the New York Times – and I’m really wondering about these people. Why would one stock up on assault rifles? What does one do with an assault rifle? I’m not being facetious, I really want to know. I assume you can’t hunt with one, so why do you need them?

Many gun buyers say they’re concerned about new federal regulations on guns. Since Obama said repeatedly while campaigning that he believes that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms, and since, as a Constitutional law professor, he would know, I can’t imagine what the hysteria is all about. Especially since Obama is not the president now and won’t be for more than two months. Sounds suspiciously like an NRA-induced mania designed to increase sales that have been flat in recent months. Is that just me?

The NYT has perhaps the funniest take on it:

[S]ome gun buyers and sellers never forgot, or forgave, Mr. Obama’s widely reported comment in April to a group in San Francisco that some Americans ‘cling to guns or religion’ in times of adversity.

‘It was an annoying comment, and it showed there’s a lot more to him,’ said Mike Warner, 38, of Las Vegas, who was shopping for a gun there on Thursday.

Mr. Warner said he was an N.R.A. member and an owner of two guns but wanted at least one more.”

In other words, the shift in America as we knew it has caused Mr. Warner some discomfiture, a feeling he believes he can assuage by purchasing a new (wait for it) gun. Clearly, Mr. Warner won’t be relying solely on this weapon for personal protection, as he already has two guns at home, or hidden on his person, so you might surmise he’s relying on the gun to make him feel better in an uncertain time. Would we call that clinging? I’m sure there’s a lot more to him than that.


  1. Joe The Plumber

    November 8, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    You are probably one of those idiots who listen to the “Cool” kid for your advice! Who has ever heard of a politician who would lie to get elected? Plus you are right… he is a lawyer! Hmmm…… I wonder if lawyers trained by Harvard ever lie???? This poster seems real smart! Are you a kid or what?????

  2. dmin

    November 9, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Since you asked, let me offer some information you may find helpful in your understanding of the issue at hand. While you asked about Assault Rifles, you are most likely inquiring about so called “Assault Weapons,” which are different things (the former, by definition are automatic weapons, while the latter are semiautomatic only versions).

    While you asked why people need them, the question is really why would someone want an “Assault Weapon?” Your assumption that you can’t hunt with an “Assault Weapon” is incorrect, they are used for hunting. They are also very popular in formal and informal marksmanship competitions held around the country, including in NC. And, they can be used for self defense.

    Despite the insinuation by the New York Times, the reason people are buying “Assault Weapons” in large numbers probably has less to do with the comment in San Francisco, and more due to the stated desire of Barack Obama and Joe Biden to ban the future sale of “Assault Weapons.”

    Here is a quote from the official campaign website:


    “They [Obama and Biden] also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.”

    Based on this, it would seem prudent for those interested in owning “Assault Weapons” to have spares, in case those they already own wear out, get destroyed in a natural disaster, etc..

  3. sturner

    November 10, 2008 at 10:30 am

    I still don’t see the case for Assault Weapons. Surely there are suitable alternative firearms for hunting, marksmanship events, and self defense.

    You could use a hand grenade to go fishing, but it wouldn’t be sporting nor prudent.

    I’ll side with every major national law enforcement group in the nation and call for a renewal of the ban. Helpful guide to the issue here:


  4. Tony Belding

    November 10, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I’m with dmin on this. We use AR-15s here in Texas for shooting coyotes and wild hogs. We use them for service rifle competition too, of course. And yes, they can be used for self defense.

    The use of the word “assault weapon” is a ploy to make semi-automatic rifles and carbines sound evil and dangerous. This class of firearm has been readily available to the public for 60+ years now. They have generally been used responsibly. Then, in the 1990s, some anti-gun organizations dubbed them “assault weapons”, and the panic began. It’s downright Orwellian.

    And yes. . . The current wave of panic buying is all about a possible return of the 1994-2004 AWB law (AKA Clinton Gun Ban). Many of us remember it clearly and want to be better prepared to weather a new one.

  5. dmin

    November 10, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    sturner, you present a very different questions than Ms. Verykoukis. To me the question is why should law-abiding citizens need to find alternatives? I don’t assume you know much about firearms, which is probably why you asked the question. Why does the appearance of a weapon determine if it is fit for sporting purposes?

    While not disputing it point by point, the material presented by the Brady campaign is far more supposition than fact, and either intentionally deceptive, or written by people who have gained their knowledge of firearms from watching television and movies. I wouldn’t want someone to craft health care legislation based solely on watching E.R., though it seems that level of understanding of firearms was used in drafting the original AWB.

    To the heart of the matter, the AWB was supposed to reduce crime. Despite the claim that Assault Weapons are popular among criminals, the statistics available fail to support the claims. Senator Feinstein, on her official Senate website, claims a 65% drop in the use of Assault Weapons in crimes between 1995 and 2002. That sounds impressive, until you note that is a drop from 3.5% to 1.2%. To me, 3.5% does not seem to indicate this class of firearm is popular with criminals. While I would need to do more research to determine if other factors may have affected the drop, that Senator Feinstein herself indicates that a miniscule percentage of crimes are committed with these weapons is telling.


    An Assault weapon Ban is a “feel good” measure that will have little to no effect on reducing crime, and accomplish not much else than inconvenience law abiding citizens in the short run, and possibly help flip control of Congress back to Republican hands, as it did in 1994.

    Through experience, I find the fear of firearms, and distrust of their owners is mostly due to a lack of understanding of the subject. I would encourage anyone who has not experienced one of the many shooting sports to give them a try forming an opinion.

  6. sturner

    November 11, 2008 at 10:39 am

    dmin says…

    “The material presented by the Brady campaign is far more supposition than fact, and either intentionally deceptive, or written by people who have gained their knowledge of firearms from watching television and movies.”

    …or by someone who was shot in the head, nearly died, and is disabled for life. Do you even know who Jim Brady is, or are you so isolated in your gun culture that it doesn’t matter?

    Do you think the national law enforcement agencies which support renewal of the ban on assault weapons also “gained their knowledge of firearms from watching television and movies?”

    Frankly, dmin, your position on this sounds like a spoiled, selfish child. Nobody is trying to take away your existing toys. It’s just that you may have minor restrictions on some of the bright, shiny, new toys…particularly if law enforcement officials believe that they put their officers in danger. Or do you want to be the one to explain to a slain officer’s family that unfortunately their loved one could have been saved (yes, dmin, real people live longer when the crime rate drops from “3.5% to 1.2%”), but you and your buddies needed maximum firepower to play your shooting games?

  7. smsdba

    November 16, 2008 at 2:35 pm


    It all boils down to freedom and the Constitution. What you and most of the firearms-ban crowd say is ‘What we need are reasonable restrictions’. So we add a new law, a new restriction on a type of firearm or who can buy/own it.

    We then see growing lists of the type of firearms banned. Eventually, you’re left with a single shot .22 to defend yourself, your family.

    Where does it end, sturner? Are you perhaps of the opinion that only law enforcement and the military should own/operate firearms?

    The 2nd Amendment ain’t about duck hunting. It was specifically crafted and included because the founding fathers understood that it would stand as an important deterrent to tyranny.

    Thomas Jefferson: [1787 Nov. 13]: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

    If there ever comes a day when only the military has firearms, tyranny will have no foil. Anyone who doubts this has not read history. Hilter/Stalin/Pol Pot …. and don’t even think about saying “It can’t happen here….”

    Respectfully in Freedom, smsdba

  8. Linoge

    November 17, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    Well, speaking as an “assault rifle” owner, I will try and take you questions one at a time.

    Why would I stock up? Because I want to. *shrugs* On a more specific note, becuase I do not currently own an AR-15 pattern firearm, am interested in owning one at some point, and understand that the President-Elect is already planning on banning them (among others). As such, I should buy it now, if I want it in the next four+ years. Additionally, banned items increase in value. During the past “ban on firearms that look evil”, AR-15 lowers (the part the ATF defines as a “firearm”) went for many times their pre-ban value. The same happened to normal-capacity magazines, and other banned items.

    What does one do with an assault rifle? I take my current one to the range and perforate paper, pumpkins, and steel plates. The AR-15 I am building will be loaded with frangible ammunition (to reduce/prevent overpenetration) and used as a home-defense platform.

    To correct a misconception, you can hunt with semiautomatic firearms – http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1825163/posts and http://hunting.suite101.com/article.cfm/hunting_with_ar15_type_rifles , for example.

    Why should I “need” something I own? I do not “need” four computers, and yet they are humming away at the moment. I do not “need” an X-Box, yet its ancient black carcass is currently resting atop my TiVo. My family does not “need” two vehicles, yet they are out in the parking lot. Why should “need” factor into any possession? Do you “need” everything you own?

    As for the “hysteria”, the problem is that his very own webpage indicates he intends on re-instating the “ban on firearms that look evil”, and making it permanent this time (see: http://www.wallsofthecity.net/2008/11/true_colors.html ). As for why the buying is happening now, as opposed to later, the President-Elect already has a shopping list of executive orders he intends on executing upon attaining office… why would a firearm ban not be one of them? And once the ban is in place, it becomes rather difficult to buy things, so we buy them now.

    Finally, speaking personally, I purchased my new evil black rifle as an “up yours” to anyone who would try to take it away from me. For that matter, I purchased my old evil black rifle as an “up yours” to California – they banned AR-15 pattern rifles, so I purchased an M1A pattern that shoots larger bullets, faster and farther. Were these actions childish of me? Possibly. But I have enjoyed my M1A ever since, and I am thoroughly enjoying finding, buying, and assembling the various bits and pieces necessary to take my bare AR-15 receiver up to a full rifle.

    In reality, you are asking the wrong questions. The previous “assault weapon” ban was a joke (see: http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/04/09/23/worden.htm ), and “assault weapons” are used in less than 1% of all gun crimes (see: http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/05/22/fact-criminals-use-assault-weapons-in-less-than-1-of-all-gun-crimes/ ). Why is the Obama administration not doing something proactive and actually useful, like strengthening punishments for using firearms in crimes, imposing mandatory sentencing structures for firearm-assisted crimes, and prosecuting for the laws already on the books? Why are they fixated on passing a pointless law that did not really accomplish anything last time, and only serves to abridge (no matter how small, it is still an abridgement) citizens’ rights, inconvenience law-abiding citizens, and exert more governmental control over those citizens?

    Why? Because, as with all “gun control”, it is never about the gun – it is about the control.

  9. Mark

    November 23, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Sorry, folks, you all miss the real point here.

    Hunting? Target shooting? Sure. Love them both. But at the risk of alarming the fine readers I will quote a founding father:

    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

    Thomas Jefferson

  10. thomas sundermeier

    November 27, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    the people buying guns are afraid of a afro-american president. gun ownership has its history in racism. white people needed guns to keep afros in check. now with an afro president, whites are scared. they still want to continue the culture of oppressing afros. we need to get guns off our streets. look what is happening in india. that could happen here.

  11. Linoge

    November 30, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    Funny you should say that, Thomas, because gun control has its roots firmly and irrevocably planted in outright and blatant racism: http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/cramer.racism.html and http://www.guncite.com/journals/gun_control_wtr8512.html and http://www.georgiacarry.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/racist-roots-of-ga-gun-laws.pdf and more…

  12. KenB

    February 2, 2009 at 11:56 am

    The real reason every citizen should own bona fide assault rifles and handguns is simple. The 2nd ammendment intent was never about our hunting rights or our sporting arms rights. The 2nd amendment was a safety valve that provided the citizen with the ability to defend themselves as necessary, to revolt if they saw fit, against a government gone awry( not unlike the one we are currenty subject to). It is rare in any civilization that the people lose their minds, it is always the politicos or those with political aspirations whose agenda is not to the good of the people but serves their own selfish ambitions. That includes the cleverly disguised socialist movements the on surface are all about the people. Only the truly ignorant cannot see that only the elite thrive and prosper under socialism and communism, while chasm between the elite and the working man grows and the middle class ceases to exist. Ask the dozens of European countries, ask the Cubans, the list is endless of those divested of their rights and assets, and first by taking their ability to defend.
    Every American should own and know how to use a weapon.

  13. commuter2

    March 10, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    What would the anti-gun folks say if someone proposed taking away their cars in an effort to prevent the 40,000 or so deaths that occur in traffic accidents each year. “That’s different!”, they would say.
    Would they regard someone who was seriously injured in an automobile collision as an expert on the subject of auto safety, and qualified to decide whether they should be allowed to own an automobile? I’ll bet not

  14. Frank

    June 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    If it weren’t so serious it would be hilarious to hear gun owners with a few measley rifles talk about defending themselves against a government whose army has atrillery, flamethrowers, bazookas, fighter planes, bombers, and even nuclear weapons. Can you guys really be serious about this?

  15. Mark

    June 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Great point. I figure that soon, some of these folks with enough money will start to push for the “right” to purchase decomissioned tanks and destroyers. Instead of placing our outmoded fighter planes in museums or selling them to our behind the times allies, perhaps we could give private citizens a crack at them.

    The previous administration was much closer to establishing the kind of deep rooted nationalistic fervor and economic chaos that led to HItler’s Nazism, Mussolini’s Fascist Italy and other extremist governments that these “ditto heads” often try to site as their inspiration for owning fully stocked arsenals. Please STUDY history if you use these as your examples. Moving on…

    I hunt. I own two rifles, two shotguns and an a .38. They do a fine job of providing me with venison, rabbit and other tasty game when I go out with my uncle and cousins in the fall and spring. I don’t need an UZI or an M-16. AK47? Nope. No one is trying to “take” anything. These hysterical paranoid fantasies are certainly no reason for wanting to own weapons. In fact, they should be cited as REASONS for gun control.

    If you want to protect your family, you don’t need state of the art firepower to do it. You are not protecting them from Colombian Paramilitary guerillas. A good ol’ Smith and Wesson will work just fine against your average home invader. So again, from a REASONABLE gun owner, I ask WHY? Why this need and desire for such ghastly weaponry?

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