Stuart Hamilton

Stuart Hamilton
Warminster, Pennsylvania, United States
May 22
Currently Unemployed
Former Staff Moderator and Science Community Advocate at The Huffington Post:


Stuart Hamilton's Links
DECEMBER 19, 2012 10:34PM

Why You're Wrong About Guns, and I'm Right

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I find assault weapon logic interesting. For whatever reason there are a lot people out there who seem to have a lot of mixed up ideas on what exactly an assault weapon is and why they should somehow have them. So I will address their silly logic in four common errors in NRA thinking.


Let's start with the first error: An assault weapon is fully-automatic.

No, an assault weapon is not necessarily fully-automatic. An assault weapon is a firearm classified as being capable of prolonged and sustained fire. This is accomplished through an auto-loading mechanism which reduces the cycling time of the weapon to a mere fraction of a second, combined with a high capacity, quickly ejected and replaced, preloaded magazine. Whether this mechanism operates on each trigger pull (semi-automatic) or continuously on one trigger pull (fully-automatic) is irrelevant; the result is the same: Multiple rounds-per-second downrange with a rapid reloading magazine.

The classification changes from weapon to weapon. What we consider assault is different for rifles and pistols. A weapon firing pistol cartridges from a high capacity magazine goes by another name: Sub-machine gun, and has absolutely no business being in civilian hands what-so-ever, unlike say an assault "style" weapon with a small and fixed magazine that forces the shooter to manually load individual cartridges when it is empty. Pistols, that is to say stock pistols, unmodified, with their standard clips, are not considered assault weapons at all. Shotguns regardless for action with restricted magazines carrying 3 shells are not considered assault weapons, either. So, the focus is primarily on rifles.

The major factor here is primarily ammunition capacity and reload time. I don't want to take people's guns away, but I do want to force them to reload more often. Yes, that is an inconvenience, but it is a reasonable inconvenience that should be forced on gun owners.


The second error: These assault rifles protect my family.

No, they don't. Assault rifles are not good for home defense at all. They are long-arms, unwieldy around corners, and using them in close quarters requires special training. For a typical civilian trying to defend their house with an assault rifle, they're more likely to be disarmed considering the size of the weapon.

Pistols, specifically small caliber pistols, are far more effective for home defense. A 9mm pistol is easier to control than a massive .357 or god forbid a .50 caliber action express or .45 ACP. This is why law enforcement favors the 9mm caliber.


The third error: These assault rifles protect me from my government.

Charlton Heston hefted the flintlock and spoke, "From my cold dead hands." The reply comes from a 20 year old sitting behind a flat screen with a joystick: "OK!"

Your assault rifles aren't going to protect you from a drone at 10,000 feet with forward looking infrared and a Hellfire missile pod. Sorry.

The M1A2 has side-skirts with explosive reactive armor, so no your improvised sticky bombs aren't going to stop it either, and if it's carrying TUSK (Tank Urban Survival Kit) then it is carrying an electronic warfare package that can almost see through walls.

No, your guns will not protect you from your government, which has spent ten years fighting urbanized insurgency and has gotten damn good at it, and those people over there are willing to blow themselves up. What chance do you think you have?


The final error: It's my hobby!

Then you need to find a new hobby.



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There's nothing like knowledge to dispel ignorance. I'll spread this around, link from my latest. I grew up on hunting, shooting, served in the Army, don't own any guns. If you have the familiarity, you know the language. This is useful information for anyone who wants to converse intelligently about guns, gun control, gun culture, the NRA, the Second Amendment, and public safety.

I think that as the discourse about guns progresses that information like this will play an important role. As it stands now, gun nuts (a subset of gun owners, but not an insignificant one) control the debate because they control the language and the emotional thunder. The momentum is changing, and this will help.