On Banning “Assault Weapons” and “High-Capacity” Magazines

I think it’s about time to sit down and talk with you realistically about the ignorance of those advocating for bans on so-called “assault weapons” (AW) and so-called “high-capacity” magazines.

First and foremost, I object to the use of both terms. They are nothing more than scare tactics designed by opponents to create fear of inanimate objects. They are used to assume there is safety in less capacity and less menacing characterics. However, I use the terms merely to sync my words with the common media vernacular to avoid confusion.

To be honest, I’m not even sure what constitutes an AW. I know that ARs and AKs fit into that category, but the using the 90’s AW ban as a guideline, the possibilities of defining a rifle as an AW are virtually limitless. Take the Ruger Mini-14, for example.

Mini14

I think everyone, including the gun control nazis, that this is a perfectly acceptable gun that we can trust the general population to own. It looks likes a perfectly fine weapon for hunting (understanding that the 2nd Amendment has NOTHING to do with hunting, as I’ve previously explained), right?

There is no extendable stock. It doesn’t have an evil pistol grip. It’s got a wooden frame instead of a black one. The magazine cannot hold 30 or more rounds. None of those murder-prone picatinny rails. It’s just a down-to-earth, typical American rifle one would expect to see in the back window of a pickup truck. But, it does shoot the standard .223 or 5.56mm rounds that most ARs shoot.

What’s great about Ruger’s Mini 14 is that is highly customizable. There is an endless number of changes that can be made to it to suit the owner’s likes and needs. Consider the following progression.

Mini14a

Uh oh. This is the same rifle, but it’s beginning to look scary with that collapsible stock and a pistol grip. However, since it’s still got a wooden frame and a small magazine it should still be ok.

Mini14b

Ok, now you’ve gone too far, CJ. This is simply unacceptable. It’s black and the magazine is much too large. We need to ban this weapon. Never mind that this one is the EXACT SAME weapon in terms of mechanics, lethality, accuracy, and cycling as the first one above. The problem is that this is the same weapon as the first one above. But, just for giggles, let’s take it one more step then I’ll get into some other aspects of these AW bans.

Mini14c

Now, THAT is how you kit out a Ruger Mini 14!!

But, let’s get serious for a moment, shall we? I live on my family farm here in Texas. The farm has been in our family for 4 generations. I live right across the street from the first plot of land my grandfather ever purchased. We now farm over 6,500 acres, much of it leased. We have hundreds of head of cattle. We are also dealers for Pioneer seed as well as fertilizer that farmers use to make the same acre of land fertile for growing crops year after year. One of the chemicals we use is called anhydrous ammonia.

Anhydrous ammonia is gas you can’t see, but can suffocate you with a sharp, pungent odor. Think about the worst smell of ammonia you’ve ever smelled and then multiply that probably 10 times. It is a chemical made up of one part nitrogen and three parts hydrogen and compressed into liquid form to fertilize fields. As you know, plants take nutrients out of the earth in order to grow. Using the same land to grow crops year after year or season after season depletes the soil of those much-needed nutrients, especially nitrogen.

Using anhydrous ammonia in fields replenishes that lost nitrogen into the soil. It’s very easy to apply and readily available to farmers. As it is released into the soil it expands into a gas where it rapidly combines with soil moisture.

Sounds harmless enough, right? Wrong.

Anhydrous ammonia is also an ingredient used to make methamphetamines. Most meth manufacturers reside in rural areas to avoid easy detection by police and neighbors, and use the resources that are readily available to them. These “resources” often include anhydrous ammonia.

Over the years, we have experienced several incidents where we had meth producers try to steal our anhydrous. One such instance that occurred the first year I moved back home resulted in a major chase between the thieves and my cousins. Seeing that we were all well-armed with different AW-type weapons, the thieves thought twice about sticking around. The mere sight of those guns was enough to scare them off and keep them away. We chased them out of the county.

Another aspect of living out in rural America that may necessitate the use of high capacity magazines is defending a herd or flock from coyotes. Coyotes hunt in both packs and individually. They are fast, moving targets. While many farmers employ the use of asses to defend their livestock, they aren’t always affective. Yes, there are lazy asses on farms too. In some places, farmers also have to contend with mountain lions and cougars as well. Why should we be relegated to just using hunting rifles when we just want to kill the threat to our livelihood?

However, there won’t always be a time when the thieves are going to be so easily spooked. I have no doubt that a desperate druggie may think he can shoot his way out. In such potential cases, only being able to own a 10-round clip isn’t going to help.

A criminal won’t care about capacity bans. If we were to obey the law and only own these smaller capacity clips, we would be at a major disadvantage.

There is a reason that Soldiers don’t use 10-round clips and haven’t since Vietnam. In the heat of the moment when adrenaline is high and nerves are tense, it’s often difficult to focus complete attention on the fundamentals of marksmanship, which include steady position, aim, breathing, and trigger squeeze. It’s hard to control breathing when you’re repelling an ambush or rushing through an urban environment. Not every round is going to hit your target and, let’s face it, the purpose behind using weapons is to remove the threat. Ten rounds weren’t cutting it on the battlefields of war, so you know they wouldn’t cut it in the criminal battlefields of America.

There are techniques to speed loading that many troops and police officers train on. One just need do a YouTube search for “speed loading rifle” to see that a trained shooter doesn’t need much time to reload a magazine. Even the untrained person wouldn’t have to take as much time to reload a magazine, providing he had more than one at his disposal.

The truth is that your average farmer or ranch owner isn’t going to carry around combat load of seven magazines. Most only even keep one magazine for each weapon they own unless it came with additional ones. A 10-round magazine simply won’t cut it when the need arises. And even if that person had several 10-round magazines loaded, he probably won’t remember to grab them when the threat materializes.

Even though I’ve give some reasons why “high capacity” magazines shouldn’t be banned, really my whole argument is a moot point. The type of magazine used isn’t what is contributing to the mass murders in this country. The fact is that any object in the hands of a criminal is a weapon. People are killed with bare fists, bats, pipes, trophies, scissors, knives, 2-hole punches, arrows, saws, screwdrivers, hammers, nail guns, golf clubs, rocks, rope, water, razors, electricity, bricks, broomsticks, totem poles, cars, tire irons, pillows, drugs, explosives, fire, tree branches, poison, ice picks, shovels, machetes, swords, candlesticks, etc. But, we aren’t banning those devices, are we?

Besides all the reasons I mentioned above, the simple fact is that an AW ban still won’t work. Just yesterday there was a story about a kid who planned his killing for a year. The shooter didn’t use an AW to target his classmates. He used a shotgun. If not for the brave actions of completely unarmed faculty, the results still could have been deadly. The shooter had 20 more rounds in his pocket and it doesn’t take long to load a shotgun either.

Keep these things in mind the next time someone poses the ignorant question, “why do regular citizens need an AW anyway?” Then also remind them about what happened during the LA riots. I more shop owners wish they had one then.

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