Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's just a gun

According to Dennis Anderson. He's talking about so-called "black guns" in his column in the Strib today. His conclusion is that while these guns often have a magazine of up to 30 rounds--which can be fired only "semi-automatically"--and okay, look kinda scary, still:

That said, the black rifle remains just a gun. A gun with a bigger magazine, yes. And one that appears more ominous than some other guns.

But just a gun.

And a Siberian tiger is just a cat.

It annoys Spot quite a lot, as someone who has owned guns, fired them, and hunted with them off and on since he was a pup, to read such a moronic piece, defending what amount to a military weapons as sporting arms. Locked and loaded against Bambi.

Here's Denny's description of the "black rifle":

So, what are "black rifles," and are they often used by hunters?

The answer to the second question is yes.

Semiautomatic assault-style (largely a media term) rifles have long been used by American hunters, particularly varmint hunters -- such as those who seek foxes, coyotes and prairie dogs.

The attraction is manifold. Outfitted with heavy barrels and high magnification scopes, black rifles can be extremely accurate. For example, a good shooter with a properly configured AR-type rifle and ammunition can pick off prairie dogs at 700 yards.

Additionally, gas-operated and configured in .223 caliber (5.56 millimeter) -- as the AR-15 was when developed in 1956 (largely) by Eugene Stoner, chief engineer for Illinois-based ArmaLite -- the gun has virtually no recoil, a big advantage while target shooting or hunting.

And most AR-style rifles can be outfitted with magazines capable of holding as many as 30 rounds, which can aid some sporting uses, such as coyote hunting.

In 1959, ArmaLite licensed the AR-15's design and trademarks to Colt, and, in Vietnam, the "little black rifle" became standard military issue beginning in about 1965, and was renamed the M-16.

The M-16 in Vietnam (updated versions are still used today in Afghanistan and Iraq) had its problems. Colt had told the Pentagon that the rifle didn't require exquisite cleaning, but in the southeast Asian environment, it did, particularly the early models. Also, some soldiers complained the stopping power of the 5.56 mm rounds, far smaller than the 7.62 mm NATO rounds previously used by the service, was insufficient. And complaints were heard that the effective range of the early M-16s, generally about 200 meters, was inferior to the M-14, the rifle it replaced.

Still, Pentagon orders soared, and by 1966, more than 400,000 AR-15s had been placed with the military.

Fast forward.

With so many former soldiers familiar with the M-16, its civilian version -- essentially the same rifle but configured only in semiautomatic action -- found increased popularity for target shooting, hunting and home defense.

Denny tells us that he hunted in Wisconsin for deer with a black rifle this fall. Wanted to see if he could shoot a deer twice before it moved. But drat, he never got the chance to blaze away; that would have been something to really brag about, Denny!

Denny might say, get off your high horse, Spot; you can even buy you kids an air rifle that looks like a military weapon. Great for those neighborhood firefights among the kiddies! There's nothing like carrying a bad-ass looking gun around to make those little balls tingle! Might as well get 'em started early!

It is damn fools like Dennis Anderson who have the megaphone of a column in a major newspaper who are speeding the slide of sportsmen, especially hunters, into the lunatic fringe in the minds of the public. Spot hunts mostly with an old side-by-side from the 1940s. It was Spot's dad's; it's a sportsman's gun. A gun that can shoot 30 times without reloading is something else entirely.

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