Sebastian makes a far more eloquent point than I about the appropriateness of openly carrying a rifle at a political event.
Many of you are reporting about a man in Phoenix who was openly carrying a rifle near a venue where President Obama was speaking.
Please note that the firearm carried was an AR-15 variant (it’s not possible to know the exact details without examining the specific rifle). It was not an M-16. It’s also not an “assault rifle” nor an “assault weapon”.
The “AR” part of the name comes from the original name of the rifle, the “Armalite model 15” — “Armalite” was the manufacturer.
While certain states, such as California and Massachusetts may define AR-15 variants as “assault weapons” and regulate their possession, such classifications have no legal meaning or standing outside of those states.
In Arizona, as well as most other states, AR-15 variants are considered to be ordinary, semi-automatic rifles. Indeed, they’re some of the most popular rifles owned by Americans due to their accuracy, ease of customization (a large aftermarket exists to supply a vast variety of parts and accessories), and the fact that the similar-looking M-16 is used by the military of the US and many other foreign nations.
It would be appropriate to refer to an AR-15 rifle in the media as “a rifle” if one doesn’t wish to describe the details (e.g. “a semi-automatic rifle”). As the AR-15 is neither an “assault rifle” nor an “assault weapon”, it is inappropriate to describe it as such.
As an analogy, my Toyota Camry can be referred to as an “automobile”, “car”, “vehicle”, “sedan”, and so on. It would be inappropriate to refer to it as a “sports car”, a “high-powered racing car”, “truck”, etc. even though it may have superficial similarities (e.g. four wheels, engine, etc.) to such vehicles.
Using such terminology reflects poorly on your reputation to provide accurate, truthful, and unbiased news.
I would again like to repeat my previous offer to the media: feel free to contact me with questions regarding firearms and I will, at no cost, provide accurate, reliable, and verifiable information relating to firearms, firearm-related terminology, and so forth. In the event that I am personally unable to do so I will, to the best of my ability, direct you to others who can.
No doubt people have read the article from the Arizona Republic about Obama’s speech at the VFW national convention.
Unfortunately, the story about the convention seems to be taking a back seat compared to the national health care debate and, unfortunately, a fellow that the Republic describes thusly:
A man, who decided not to give his name, was walking around the pro-health care reform rally at 3rd and Washington streets, with a pistol on his hip, and an AR-15 (a semi-automatic assault weapon) on a strap over his shoulder.
First off, can the health-care folks (on both sides) give it a bit of a rest? The president was speaking to the VFW. Your efforts would probably be better spent rallying your supporters and waiting for a better opportunity. Just saying…
Next, I’d like to address the folks who carry. I’m a strong advocate of carry, both concealed and open. I routinely open carry a pistol in public places, like the movie theater, grocery store, and so on. So far, I’ve had only positive interactions with people.
Now, while one certainly has the right to carry in public in Arizona, this right also comes with responsibility and common sense. It should be common sense that openly carrying a firearm, particularly a rifle, near a function where the President of the United States is speaking will cause a fair bit of alarm and attract attention (almost certainly unwanted) from the public, the news media, the police, and the Secret Service (( You know, the guys on the roof with rifles who are interested in keeping their principal alive and unpunctured. )).
One certainly can openly carry firearms, including rifles, at such events, but it’s probably a bad idea. The best response one can reasonably hope for is being portrayed poorly in the media. Most likely, one’s actions will also reflect poorly on other gun owners. If one is particularly foolish, one might get arrested. At worst, one might get shot.
Fortunately, the police in this situation recognized this individual as a person not presenting a credible threat and, while closely supervising him, let him go about his business. Major kudos to the police and Secret Service. I don’t think we’d see such a reasonable, measured reaction under Bush.
I don’t fault anyone for wanting to carry a gun at public events — tensions have been growing high and there’s been a lot of strong words exchanged at such events. I’d just rather see people do so in such a manner that doesn’t call attention to the fact that one is armed (e.g. concealed), nor reflects poorly on other gun owners.
We’re all familiar with the heavy-handed tactics of the music recording studios — suing people for hundreds of thousands of dollars for having downloaded a few songs off the internet.
Fortunately, it appears that at least some of them have gotten the memo that (a) the internet exists, (b) their content can be, for better or worse, easily distributed and copied on the internet and (c) suing people only alienates their customers.
Take, for example, this video:
Several years ago, I managed to find a WMV-encoded video of a bunch of people having fun shooting machine guns in Roanoka, VA. The video happened to have an audio track of “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band. I didn’t create the video, but figured that others might want to see it, so I uploaded it to YouTube. Since then, about 280,000 people have viewed it. Cool.
Rather than suing me for a video that had a copyrighted piece of music, BMG and YouTube have instead put a small, closable ad on the bottom of the video that allows one to purchase the song at iTunes or Amazon. Not a huge intrusion, and it makes them — in my view — look a lot better than if they had issued a DMCA complaint, taken the video down, or sued me.
I trust that other recording studios will follow in BMGs footsteps and recognize that essentially nobody makes money from YouTube videos, but that they (the recording studio) could use the popularity of some videos to promote their works. Win-win for everyone.
Today, when riding to work, I passed a Toyota Prius going the other direction.
Now, this is not an unusual occurrence — (plural form of Prius) are hardly rare cars, and one sees quite a few in Tucson.
This particular Prius, however, was completely decked out in “Obama 2012” livery. This didn’t appear to be the work of some guy with a white car and a few bumper stickers, but rather a professionally-done thing.
If this is some sort of official campaign vehicle, I think it’s a bit too bloody early: the President was inaugurated 6 months and 22 days ago and still has 3 years, 5 months, and 9 days until the next inauguration. He’s barely 14% through his term and people are already gearing up for the next election…that seems…crazy.
Why don’t we wait a bit to see how he’s been doing at, say, the 25% and 50% marks in his term, and then see if he should run for reelection. As far as I can tell, there hasn’t been any of the promised “change” he talked about — Washington seems to be conducting business as usual.
?This is going to be implemented in January, and there won’t be any bumps in the road,? said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, a Los Angeles Democrat who carried the legislation for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
?I remain confident,? Feuer continued, ?that it is in fact going to become not only the law in other states, but the law of the land.?
-Mike Feuer, in this article about microstamping in California.
The only other political entity to implement a microstamping law is the District of Columbia, which is about as anti-gun as it gets. I seriously doubt that such a law would ever be enacted in, say, Arizona. Mr. Feuer is clearly off his rocker if he thinks that the technology will (a) work, and (b) ever catch on outside of such bastions of gun control. Even then, the legal hurdles to implementing the technology will be great, few manufacturers will comply, everyone in saner regions of the country will laugh at them, and criminals will remain completely unaffected by such legislation.
The article continues with a rather telling quote:
Many firearms companies are struggling to comply with California’s 2006 mandate that all new handgun models include a loaded chamber indicator and a mechanism that prevents firing when a magazine is removed.
In the more than three years since, just one new semiautomatic model has been approved by the state. Two others are pending, Gasparac [the attorney general’s press secretary] said.
Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. is the only gun maker to date that has overcome that hurdle. The company’s general counsel said he has ?grave concerns? about whether microstamping is feasible.
?The problem I have with this is it can’t be done,? said Kevin Reid, Ruger’s general counsel. ?The legislation says it has to work 100 percent of the time and there is nobody, nobody including Todd Lizotte [inventor of the microstamping technology] himself, who would say it will always work.?
I’m pretty sure the Ruger MkIII .22LR pistol is the gun they’re referring to. Even so, it’s not as nice as the MkII. Granted, I have a MkIII because it was available at the shop here in Tucson when I was craving a .22 pistol, but I removed the magazine disconnect (I refuse to call it a “safety”) and have considered removing the loaded chamber indicator.
Having a California-specific line of handguns is going to be rather expensive for manufacturers, and I seriously doubt that any of the major manufacturers will bother complying with the law. Sucks to be Californians, but such is the way of things until they go to court.
The article concludes with this:
For Feuer, the time has come to move past the debate and implement the law.
?The bottom line is this technology is going to help put criminals behind bars,? he said. ?We should do it.?
No, Mr. Feuer, it won’t. Criminals are not going to buy their guns from retail stores, register them with the state, and then use them in a crime where they can be trivially traced back to them. Rather, criminals will continue to acquire their firearms illegally, be it from theft, straw purchasing, inter-state smuggling, international smuggling, or any of the other numerous sources they get them from.
There are hundreds of millions of handguns not equipped with microstamping features. If there’s a demand for non-microstamped guns in California, someone (quite possibly a criminal enterprise) will fill it.
Rather than passing silly laws that have no real effect on criminals but infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens, why don’t they simply enforce the already existing laws that they don’t presently prosecute criminals with?
According to the news, a suicidal man — said to be armed with a handgun — has barricaded himself inside his house three blocks from my apartment.
Of course, TPD decided to do a full SWAT callout, evacuate ~15 houses around the guy, and cordon off a few blocks around the house.
What the hell is wrong with people?
It’s one guy, suicidal, with a gun. Put a cop outside the front and back of the house in a concealed position and get a crisis counselor to call the guy on the phone. If he doesn’t come out, wait him out.
To me, SWAT seems more suited for a hostage situation, active shooter, or some other situation that requires (here it comes) Special Weapons And Tactics, not a lone suicidal guy. What the heck are they going to do against a suicidal guy, shoot him?
I guess they need to justify the expense, huh?
Wouldn’t a shotgun loaded with rock salt be a great slug gun? You know, for shooting slugs, the slimy things on the ground.
Evidently the Scotch whisky industry in Scotland isn’t doing so hot.
Fortunately, I’m doing my part to support a friendly nation by purchasing and consuming their tasty, tasty exports.
That, combined with this fantastic mold that allows one to cast one’s own shot glasses, made for any enjoyable weekend.
What are you doing to help out the Scots?