Thursday, August 30, 2012

AP fails at gun rights reporting.

Today the GOP released a decently pro-gun, pro self-defense platform which the AP reports on here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/gop-calls-broader-gun-rights-unlimited-clips

Unfortunately, the AP writes in that "somewhat neutral report who doesn't know what s/he is talking about style" that is all to common to the mainstream media. So I'd like to comment on a few things.

First off, the whole calling magazines clips thing is RIGHT IN THE TITLE.

"But Scott," you say, "Who cares? Everyone calls magazines clips so just go with it!" Well sure, if "clips" was the "groundhog" to "magazine's" "woodchuck" I wouldn't care. But they are not. Clips merely clip (you don't say?) ammunition together to make it easier to load a magazine. Magazines actually feed ammunition into the gun. This is important, because ignorant law makers are constantly trying to ban these things! Terminology matters. Go ahead and pass a ban on clips that hold more than 10 rounds, I won't care. You try to touch my magazines and we'll have a problem though.

And while we're on the subject, can we stop calling 30 round magazines "high capacity"? They are not. They are standard capacity. To illustrate, let me tell you a personal story. When sighting in my AK after replacing the stock sights I found that with my standard 30 round magazines I could not fit it in my gun vice. So I set out to find a 10 round mag to make sighting it in easier. No store in town had one. I had to buy it online, where it cost more than I would have paid for two standard 30 round magazines. The point is 30 is standard, 10 is the exception.

Ok, now for the article.
The 2012 platform, approved this week by GOP convention-goers who nominated Mitt Romney for president, also endorses "stand your ground" rights for gun owners. That legal concept, which says gun bearers don't have to retreat if they feel threatened in a public place, drew national attention after February's fatal shooting of an unarmed Florida teenager by a neighborhood watch volunteer.
Two problems here: First, the collection of laws colloquially known as "stand your ground" do not pertain only to gun owners and gun bearers. The laws apply only to when one is justified in using deadly force, doesn't matter what type of force that is. Could be a knife, a baseball bat, or even just your fists.

Which brings us to problem two: The Zimmerman-Martin case is not, and has never been about, Florida's "stand your ground law." The defense decided not to use that law as part of the defense because it does not apply! One of two things happened, either Zimmerman initiated the use of force in which case he can't claim self defense at all, or Martin had Zimmerman pinned to the ground in which case Zimmerman could not have retreated and "stand your ground" is irrelevant. This doesn't fit into the media's narrative though, so go figure.

The shooters in Colorado and Arizona used large-capacity weapons capable of firing many rounds quickly.
That may be, but what AP fails to mention is that the weapons used were also the most common in America. The Glock is the most popular pistol in America and the AR-15 and its variants are the most popular rifles in America. These weapons are used every day for for sporting, for hunting and for self defense. They are ubiquitous, and yet they are rarely ever used in mass shootings. Extremely rarely. Focusing on the weapons is a failure to analyze the problem. You can ban mere things as much as you want, but that'll never solve the problem of evil and of violence.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said that, by making these changes, Republican leaders have "put themselves farther out of touch with their constituents."
Well no, this is another case of gun control advocates pretending that gun owners actually believe in gun control. Most of us do not. Why would we? Guns are an every day part of our lives. They aren't really all that different than our cars or our kitchen knives. They are objects that are useful and fun to own. They are hobbies, collections and heirlooms.

Remember 1994, Mr. Gross? That was a perfect example of the Democrats losing touch with their constituents. They passed the Clinton assault rifle ban and immediately lost the House in a landslide. Americans have only become more pro-gun since then. Gun ownership is exploding. In the midst of this recession the gun industry has continued to grow, mostly driven by the explosion of states legalizing concealed carry. I think the republicans are very much in touch on this issue.

His group supports bans on large-capacity weapons, which it says are "designed to shoot a lot of people quickly and efficiently."
You hear about the guy who attacked a cop and took 5 shots from a .45 before he stopped his attack? Bullets are not magic. Its not like in the movies when the hero shoots the bad guy and the bad guy falls over and never gets up. In real life is much messier, there are only three ways to stop a bad guy. One is psychological ("I've been shot!"), while fastest, this doesn't work in the case of a determined attacker. Two is to cause enough blood loss that the attacker loses consciousness. This still takes time, even a shot that destroys an attacker's heart will leave him nine seconds to act. Nine seconds is an eternity when you life is on the line. The third is to destroy the central nervous system. That means a head shot, which is very, very, very difficult under stress.

So, I don't carry a 16 round magazine because I want to kill a lot of people or because it makes me feel powerful, I carry a 16 round magazine because I want to be able to stop the threat! It may take 4-6 hits before the threat stops, and under stress I may miss! If I only had 10 rounds, that's not much margin for error and what if there is two attackers? Besides, having ammunition left over after a successful defensive gun use is never a bad thing! Demonizing standard capacity magazines just shows a lack of understanding of the realities of how guns work, how bullets cause damage and how an attacker is actually stopped.

So that's it. I wish the media would bother to learn a little more about firearms and the realities of armed self defense, but until they do I will be here to correct them on my little corner of the internet.

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