Politics. Emotion. Indoctrination. Trends. Fads. Ideologies. Logical Fallacies.
NONE of these things should ever grow so powerful as to threaten your very life.
The disturbing fact in the United States today is that many of those items DO threaten the lives of many citizens.
So how did we get here?
A natural right is one that exists beyond human constructs like society, family, government, and religion.
Every human on earth has a list of things that they can do which no other human should be able to interfere with... from speaking freely without fear of physical danger (regardless of what was said) all the way down to simply existing. Every human has the right to be alive, to stay alive, and defend their life from anything that might threaten it, no matter from whence such a threat may come.
The Founding Fathers of the United States knew this.
They chose to codify the protection of those basic rights in the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights. The big mistake that a lot of people make is in thinking that the Constitution GRANTS those rights, and that to remove them, you need only violate the Constitution (or destroy it) in order to strip people of those rights. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Bill of Rights RECOGNIZES and PROTECTS those inherent rights... rights which have existed for as long as humans have walked the Earth.
During the original passing of the United States Constitution in 1787, many of the original signers demanded that their natural rights be protected through the Bill of Rights, being the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution. The wording of the Second Amendment is :
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the
security of a free state, the right of the people to
keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.
So what does that mean, exactly?
Language changes over time and as society changes new words are formed, old words are retired, and the meaning of some words change. One example is the word “terrific”. Most people today would want to have a terrific time over the weekend, as it normally means “wonderful” or “enjoyable” today; however, the original word meant “full of terror” or “causing terror” (basically terror-ific). Another word we use that also uses the latin “terrere” (to frighten) is the word “terrible”, which still has its negative connotation (causing great fear or alarm).
The original definitions of many of the words used in the Second Amendment have also changed over time, which leads to misconceptions about its original purpose.
The first two changes are actually the phrase “well-regulated”. The original definition is used to describe the property of something being in proper working order. Something that is directed according to rules. This was used to convey that the militia needed to be in proper working order, meaning well trained and equipped.
Next we have the source of most confusion... the word “militia”. The definition of “militia” originally denoted a “citizen army” as distinguished from a body of mercenaries or professional soldiers, according to the 1989 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (Page 768). The current online version defines “militia” to mean all able-bodied civilians. For those that claim that militia means the National Guard, consider that the creation and arming of a National Guard was mentioned specifically in the original Constitution, being a temporarily conscripted subset of the militia of the general populace. (Article I, Section 8, Clause 16)
Next we have the word “security”, which means “safe” today, but also meant “defense” (spelled ‘defence’ originally). This was used to convey the concept of defense and continued existence, free from danger.
Next we have the word “state”. This originally meant (and still means to the rest of the world) a sovereign nation. Today we use the word “country” to describe sovereign nations and “state” to mean a member of the United States. The bringing together of several sovereign nations for mutual benefit is the concept behind The United States. The closest equivalent today would be the European Union; however, they still essentially operate as stand-alone nations with bureaucratic oversight. Many of the member states of the E.U. do not share common language, culture, policies, politics, or even currency.
Next we have the phrase “the people”. This was the original term for the general populace of the several states comprising the United States. Today we would say “the United States populace” or “citizens of the United States”.
Next we have the word “keep”, which originally meant to own and maintain control of, such as in the keeping of livestock... to retain possession of an item. The modern equivalent would be “own” and/or “carry”.
Next we have the phrase “bear arms”, which originally meant to actively use weapons in service of self-defense or the protection of others. The modern usage of “bringing [item] to bear” means to implement the usage of that item. Today the simplest word is “use”. The word “arms” generally meant any weapon that can be carried by one person, which would include knives, swords, rifles, pistols, bats, staffs, etc., but would not include cannon, fighter aircraft, or battleships... which are considered “ordnance” or “artillery”. (The Second Amendment doesn’t preserve the right to own a piece of field artillery such as a Howitzer cannon.)
Lastly, the word “infringed” meant to limit, undermine, or encroach. Today that word is used almost exclusively in copyright cases where it essentially describes trespass on intellectual property, as in “copyright infringement”, where someone encroaches on the rights of the producer of the artistic work. A better term as applied to the Second Amendment would be “limited” or “interfered with”.
Exchanging archaic words with their modern replacements, the Second Amendment — if written today — would read:
A well-trained and armed citizenry,
being necessary to the safety and defense
of a free country, the right of the citizens
to own, carry, and use weapons, shall not be limited.
Even George Mason, one of the proponents of the Bill of Rights, stated the sentiment behind the Second Amendment as “A well-regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence [sic] of a free State”.
The landmark Supreme Court Decision on the “District of Columbia vs. Heller” case affirmed that the right to own weapons is a personal, individual liberty, and did NOT merely apply to the National Guard, nor was it ever intended to “protect hunting”.
Although the World War II Japanese Naval Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was misquoted as saying “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”, it is not beyond the realm of reason to think that a well-motivated and well armed citizenry would pose a significant threat to any invading army.
To illustrate the scale of gun ownership in the United States, consider this: On "Black Friday" of 2015, more guns were bought by U.S. Citizens than would be required to fully arm the entirety of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The modern world in which you live is a mutation, a monstrous aberration on the way that humans have lived for millennia. Many of the structures into which you were born not only curtail many of your natural rights, but so many people believe that this deviation IS normal, and therefore use pressure to brow-beat you into accepting these infractions and infringements.
I freed a thousand slaves, and I could have freed
a thousand more, if only they knew they were slaves
— Harriet Tubman, founder of the Underground Railroad
Indoctrination and conditioning have convinced otherwise rational people that irrational, destructive actions are “good”, “expected”, or even “honorable”.
A perfect example is the very concept of income tax.
Most modern cultures would agree that slavery (the forced labor of another human being) is bad, purely for the reason that the slave is doing all of the labor and the slave owner is reaping all of the benefits. (Abraham Lincoln said it as “You work and toil and earn bread, and I'll eat it.”.) The slave creates $1,000 worth of product, and gets to keep NONE of the fruits of their labor. This is — to the Western world, anyway — the most egregious infraction that any human could ever visit on another.
This is the exact same egregious infraction that many people today condone, endorse, support, and defend when they say things like “taxes pay for society” or “taxes are a part of the ‘social contract’”. They are literally pushing the idea that slavery is perfectly fine... or worse than that — MORALLY IMPERATIVE — so long as you let the slaves keep some of the fruits of their labor.
Not only is this position morally reprehensible, but it has no basis in fact. All of the items which comprise a modern society — and which are frequently used to defend involuntary taxes such as that on income — are actually paid mostly (if not entirely) through other means.
Whether it’s the roads, bridges, toll roads, tap water, sewers, trash pickup, electrical grid, police departments, fire departments, schools, hospitals, doctors, or emergency rooms... NONE of these things are solely funded by income tax, and ALL of them existed before 1913, when the 16th Amendment (creating the income tax) was ratified.
The only things federal income tax pays for are warfare, welfare, and presidential vacations.
The famous horror novelist H.P. Lovecraft said
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
The oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
This is true of anything of which you are unfamiliar... a dark hallway, a stranger staring at you, unfamiliar food or drinks, foreign cultures and practices, and technological machinery... all have the power to instill a sense of fear and dread for those unwilling to fearlessly expand their horizons.
When the slaves were freed, the former slave owners (black and white alike) were fearful of retribution from the newly freed slave population (as well they should have been). Their response to this unknown quantity? Establish controls to protect themselves. Seems like it makes sense... so the former slave owners pushed to prevent blacks from having the legal permission to obtain weaponry which might be used in revenge.
Gun control, which when first implemented in the United States ONLY applied to freed black slaves. The very origin of gun control has racist roots, and it still does even today. The NRA (founded to help ex-Civil War Veterans — from both sides — to maintain and improve their marksmanship skills) constantly stepped in to help protect and defend free blacks from the onslaught of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK)... founded by southern Democrats, and which soon sought to intimidate and kill their political opponents - namely abolitionist Republicans (both black and white).
Fast-forward 150 years.
Many of the artifices of a modern society have allowed people in the United States to live a sheltered, safe, and protected life whereby they haven’t had to constantly defend themselves from violence or murder. From pervasive police presence to social conditioning to religious indoctrination to relative geographic isolation to widespread ownership of firearms... people in the modern United States have never had to fight a war on domestic soil. Even during World Wars I and II, all of the fighting was “over there”, very far away from the shores of home.
The end result of this protected isolation is that several generations of United States citizens have never had the pressing NEED to own a firearm to defend their life from incursion, tyranny, or dangerous wildlife. Since about 2/3 of the United States has never seen, held, operated, cleaned, or even seen a firearm in operation in person... firearms fall into the “big, scary unknown” category for most.
Add to this the unrealistic portrayals of firearms in entertainment (that every “bad guy” in the United States has a fully-automatic machine gun with tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, or, more absurdly, guns that never need reloading) and it is easy to see how they have formed the following, non-factual opinions about guns:
1) Guns are bad,
2) Guns are only owned by bad people, and
3) Guns are only used to kill and commit crimes
Asking any “New York Liberal” their opinion about the average gun owner in the U.S. will handily reveal these opinions. (I define a “New York Liberal” — as related to guns — as someone who grew up in a draconian anti-self-defense atmosphere who has never seen an actual firearm in person.)
What is the cure for these misinformed opinions?
As with all ill effects arising out of ignorance and fear, the cure is education. Most people, if shown how a firearm works, is allowed to be fully experienced and trained in using one, and isn’t a mentally unstable lunatic, usually change their opinion on firearms to a more favorable one of “a gun is just an inert machine... it’s the human behind the trigger that is the danger”. Just listen to this woman explain her experience, which resulted in her changing her opinion on guns.
Firearms are equalizers of force... nothing more.
Most women cannot physically equal men in strength. This is a fact which drives the Duluth Model of domestic abuse (by default the woman is right and arrest the man, REGARDLESS of who was the aggressor). A 5-foot-nothing grandma who weighs 100 pounds will NEVER be able to defend her life against a 6-foot-11-inch bodybuilding linebacker who weighs 300 pounds of all muscle. Unless, that is, she has the ability to use a firearm. Such a tool allows her to be equally dangerous, and therefore, less likely to die at the hands of an attacker with superior strength.
The vast majority of firearms owners in the United States would never use their weapons to impose their will on other people; rather, they are fully prepared to ensure that others will not impose their will upon them. This is where the old adage of “an armed society is a polite society” comes from. If the course of a dispute cannot escalate to the point of using violent force to physically coerce someone into agreeing with you — because they are armed and would rather shoot you than be beaten to a pulp by you — then your only recourse is to have a calm, reasoned debate.
Yesterday, over a hundred million firearm owners in the United States killed nobody.
Invariably, someone ignorant of firearms will always bring up the fact that “guns were invented to kill, and for no other reason”, and proceed to strut around like they’ve already won the debate. The response to such a charge should always be “You are exactly right, and that’s why I own them, because if someone who is intent on killing me knows that I could do the same to them, they are far less likely to try!”.
Deterrence is a major reason for firearm ownership. According to this 1995 study by The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology at the Northwestern University School of Law, firearms are used in self-defense up to 2.5 million times per year, without ever firing a shot (something they call a “defensive display”). Since no perpetrators were shot, and the pending crime was circumvented, those instances normally go unreported.
Several mass shootings have been stopped by legal gun owners, and there are many other stories of self-defense showing the immense value of keeping and bearing a firearm.
Going back to the power of the fear response, we have many examples of such power asserting itself in our daily lives.
Many people are deathly afraid of air travel because they are fearful of dying in a plane crash. Why is this so? Air travel has been statistically proven over and over to be far safer than travel in a passenger automobile. It’s due to TWO factors. 1) “I’m not the one flying the plane”, and 2) The logical fallacy of Perceived Vividness.
The logical fallacy of perceived vividness speaks to the ability for humans to vividly imagine something happening, and if that “something” is being shredded apart by a combination of hard ground and falling airplane, they can vividly see themselves suffering such a horrible fate DESPITE the near-zero chance that it will actually happen.
Now extend this to the irrationally dreaded “mass shooting” phenomenon.
The two same factors are in play, because 1) “I’m not the one with a gun” which is (for most people) amplified by having no experience with firearms, and 2) The logical fallacy of perceived vividness where they can vividly imagine THEMSELVES being shot and dying, which is also amplified by the fact that in these extremely rare instances not only are they not the controller of the event but that someone with MALICIOUS INTENT is in control, compounded by the tens of thousands of times they’ve seen a character in a movie or on television be shot and killed.
This makes the perception of “I’m going to die because someone will shoot me” to seem FAR more realistic, vivid, and in the mind of many people ignorant of firearms, LIKELY to happen. Just as with the frightened ex-slave owners, they want to take measures to prevent their demise, which is understandable. What is NOT understandable is the fact that instead of confronting their fears by researching, being exposed to, training on, or even purchasing a firearm, they believe falsely that “if we ban guns, the problem will be solved” (a false belief amplified by all of the politicians — also utterly ignorant of firearms — constantly saying so throughout all media outlets).
The problem with this approach is that you cannot legislate morality. The fears, desires, and intentions of humans will NEVER be swayed by a ban, a regulation, or social dogma.
Facts, data, and evidence don’t lie... but people do. This is where we get the old adage “Statistics don’t lie... Statisticians do”.
So how dangerous are guns? How many people are being killed, and why? Are they the number one threat of me dying before my 100th birthday?
All great questions. Let’s examine them.
According to the FBI, the total homicides in 2016 across the entire United States was 15,070. Of that number, 11,004 were firearm-related. 65% were handguns, 3% were rifles (including the AR-15 that liberals want to ban), 2% were shotguns, with the remaining 30% not identified.
According to The Journal of Patient Safety, medical malpractice accounted for between 210,000 and 400,000 deaths in 2011. So going to the doctor is between 19 times and 36 times as deadly as guns.
According to The Centers for Disease Control, the influenza and pneumonia viruses were responsible for 57,062 deaths in 2016. So the flu and pneumonia were 5 times as deadly as guns. Also coronary heart disease was the cause of 633,842 deaths in the same year, making eating a cheeseburger
58 times as deadly as guns.
Even though there are far more likely ways to die, the statistic of 11,004 dead in 2016 because of firearms is a number that seems very high... but considering the entire population of the United States, that’s only 0.003% of the population. If you were in a crowd of 6,000 people, that means that 2 would be murdered because of a firearm... with another 3 being murdered by fists, feet, bricks, bats, or poison. (9 would die on the drive home, 15 would die of the flu or pneumonia, 108 would be killed by their incompetent doctors, and 174 would die of a heart attack.) Fists and feet were used to kill 656 people in 2016. By comparison, rifles (including everything from bolt-action antiques to hunting rifles to scary black “military-STYLE” ones) were used to kill 374 people in 2016. Fists and feet killed 75% more people than ALL rifles.
In 2016, going to the doctor was
3,252 times as deadly
as mass shootings.
In 2002, the United States was beaten by 10 other countries for murder rate by firearm. We don’t call driving a car “an epidemic of death”, nor do we — as a society — even RECOGNIZE the massive loss of life caused by those very same individuals charged with preserving it: doctors. If you took the total number of people killed in mass shootings in 2016 (one of the deadliest years on record at 123 slain), doctors are more than 3,252 times as deadly as mass shootings. We really don’t have as large a problem as the media would have you believe. By comparison, muslims murdered 21,245 and wounded 26,682 worldwide in 2016.
There’s a powerful concept called “Six Sigma”. It’s a statistical method of manufacturing improvement pioneered by Motorola, where the middle of the bell curve of manufacturing quality is “normal” or “average”. In most manufacturing, that peak is at the 50/50 line. There is also what’s called the “standard deviation”, which is the middle area that encompasses the majority of the area under the bell curve. Pushing that towards the perfection end of the curve changes the peak of the bell to a new location. The shift in that peak means the overall quality of the manufactured item is improving. When you hit a multiple of 6 sigma, that means the average quality of an item is so good, there’s only a 0.00034% chance it will be defective. Amazon called this their “five nines” quality goal, which was to be up 99.999% of the time.
Human beings are NOT manufactured, but applying this methodology to humans in regards to aberrant (and abhorrent) behavior, that means that if the average were statistically random, the mental stability and desire not to harm others would lie in the middle, and 1 out of 2 people would commit murder. Obviously, it’s not that high, so what is a six-sigma rating for mass shooters? If you expect a failure rate of 0.00034%, and the United States population was around 324 million at the end of 2016. That means we should have had 1,100 mass shootings that year. We have TWO orders of magnitude less than that... at from 0-6 per year. That puts us at an average sigma of 7.13, or one in a hundred-million chance of someone being a mass shooter. Applied to the Amazon downtime example, that would be ¼ of a second per year. Hardly an “epidemic”.
Let’s examine some of the “problem spots” for gun violence. If you take a look at the 11,004 gun murders in 2016, 765 of those 11,004 gun murders (7%) came from ONE city - Chicago. New York contributed 335 (3%), Baltimore contributed 318 (2.9%), Detroit contributed 303 (2.8%), Houston contributed 301 (2.7%), Los Angeles contributed 293 (2.7%), and St. Louis contributed 188 (1.7%). Those 7 cities alone are responsible for 22.7% of all gun murders. Removing those cities alone and the rating of the United States for gun murders moves 2 countries safer.
Let’s examine the number one killing ground in the United States, where the gun murder totals equal the 9/11 terrorist attacks every three to four years — Chicago.
Up until June 2010, Chicago had a total gun ban until it was deemed unconstitutional. In the previous year (2009), there were 373 gun murders in this city-wide gun-free zone.
The United Kingdom completely banned ALL guns of ANY type in January of 1997. Homicide rates steadily rose until its all-time-high in 2003. Eventually, it returned to the pre-ban levels... meaning that the ban had not only a net-zero effect on homicide rates, it likely caused homicide rates to actually INCREASE which means gun control actually COSTS lives instead of saving them.
The same thing happened to Ireland and Jamaica; HOWEVER, in those countries, the homicide rate has steadily risen and there seems to be no end to the loss of life created by the passage of a sweeping gun ban. The trend lines of the murder rates just keep going up, Up, UP! Please note that before the ban the average trend lines of BOTH countries were flat.
So knowing that gun control INCREASES homicides, does relaxing gun control have the opposite effect?
When the city of Kennesaw, Georgia (United States) heard about Chicago’s total gun ban — and knowing that gun control never decreases crime — they decided to take the opposite approach and in March of 1982 passed a city ordinance that REQUIRES all adult heads of households within the city to own and be proficient with a firearm.
It even garnered the town the nickname of “Gun Town USA” by irritated liberals who promised that Kennesaw “would soon become a place where routine disagreements between neighbors would be settled in shootouts”.
The actual result? 25 years murder-free, and the police have said “When the Kennesaw law was passed in 1982 there was a substantial drop in crime… and we have maintained a really low crime rate since then”.
Another case example is the country of Switzerland, who maintain the same kind of requirement of its citizens... namely to own and be proficient with firearms. In 2002, there were only 68 gun-related murders. The city of Chicago now has that many EVERY MONTH.
One little known fact about modern gun control in the United States is that the unconstitutional law — the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) — that has regulated all firearms (considered “infringement” by the Second Amendment, by the way) since its creation was written in direct response to the criminal exploits of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (“Bonnie and Clyde”). Their run from 1931-1934 claimed 11, perhaps 12 lives in total, all shot on separate occasions except for one instance where 2 men were shot. Clyde Barrow’s weapon of choice was a stolen Browning Automatic Rifle, a World War I era military machine gun.
In typical fashion for all emotionally reactionary legislation, the 1934 NFA would NOT have prevented the killings because the rifle used was stolen from a National Guard armory in Oklahoma. The only thing the 1934 NFA did was infringe on the Natural Rights protected by the Second Amendment. Before its passing, anyone could purchase a fully-automatic Thompson Submachine Gun at their local hardware store. Total number of “mass shootings” in the United States before the passage of the 1934 NFA? ZERO. (see next paragraph)
The infamous “Tommy Gun” was used by Al Capone’s gang in the infamous
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929. This does not count as a “mass shooting” because although the 7 men murdered exceeds the FBI threshold for victims to be considered a “mass shooting” at the time (4 or more fatalities), it is not considered as such because 1) there were 4 shooters, and 2) the victims were not randomly selected.
Foregoing all other information, and knowing that there is a problem with people using firearms to impose their will on others rather than being used exclusively to prevent others from doing the same, you always have to ask yourself this: What’s the worst that could happen if we just banned everything and forced every last gun owner to turn in every last pistol, rifle, and shotgun — and also forcibly confiscated all ammunition, magazines, clips, and all related reloading supplies?
EVERY SINGLE EXAMPLE of total civilian disarmament in an authoritarian / totalitarian state has resulted in mass democide (a genocide carried out by a government against its citizens), ethnic cleansing, and wholesale slaughter of the freshly disarmed populace. Over 262,000,000 (that's 262 MILLION) people have died at the hands of their own government in the 20th Century alone.
To put that in perspective, imagine that today there was a mass shooting in all 50 states of the United States, and each one had 50 victims. If this repeated EVERY SINGLE DAY for the next 286 YEARS, it STILL wouldn’t match the number of people murdered by their own governments! (The United States has only existed for 230 years.)
So this won't happen in the United States, because we're not a totalitarian / authoritarian state, right?
Ask yourself: Do the following facts point to the U.S. being an altruistic benefactor, or an authoritarian police state bordering on totalitarianism?
► In 1890, the U.S. Government massacred 300 men, women, and children during a campaign to completely disarm them of all weapons. (Wounded Knee, South Dakota)
► In World War II, the U.S. Government fire-bombed the city of Dresden, Germany. There were military targets in and around Dresden that were ignored. Only heavily populated civilian areas were bombed, resulting in between 35,000 and 135,000 dead.
► The U.S. Government has rounded up "undesirables" and sent them to domestic concentration camps.
(Japanese internment in WWII by Franklin D. Roosevelt)
"...but those things happened a long time ago", you say, continuing with "we've grown up since then!"
Well, then... consider this: The U.S. Government wanted to round up "undesirables" as recently as 2012. Below is a list of facts that illustrate the dangerous levels of power the government has achieved in recent years:
► The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has the "legal" authority to completely suspend all government, all elections, and implement nationwide martial law. Any sitting president would become a de facto dictator if this provision is ever activated.
► The U.S. Government has gone house to house, kicking doors down and confiscating ALL firearms. (This happened during hurricane Katrina in 2005.) Those resisting were beaten, handcuffed, and detained. Many valuable and irreplaceable firearms just went missing. (To my knowledge no search has been done of the homes of the police who confiscated them, so who knows where the weapons are now?)
► The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, while it was being considered, had a new provision requested by Obama, that eliminated protections for United States citizens, making them subject to warrantless searches and seizures, and being "disappeared" (taken away and held indefinitely without charges, without counsel, without trial, and without communication to the outside world). Thankfully the phrase excluding U.S. citizens from such atrocities remained and made it into the final law, but if Obama had his way, he would have had the same abilities as Josef Stalin and Adolf Hitler. Five years later; however, the indefinite detention clause is still on the books.
► During the Boston Marathon terrorist event, the police, armed with full military battlefield armor, fully automatic battlefield assault rifles (machine guns), and armored urban warfare tanks, locked down the surrounding area of Watertown in full martial law. They were recorded on video kicking down doors of citizens and dragging them, kicking and screaming, out of their houses then beating and handcuffing them while other police, WITHOUT A WARRANT, conducted an armed "sweep and clear" operation on their home where all guns were confiscated.
► Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (AKA Barry Seotoro) has used executive orders to dictate law without any level of the checks and balances built into the U.S. Constitution. (The very definition of a dictator.) He has done so many times with Obamacare, and has threatened to do so dozens of other times when Republicans try to reign in his tyranny. Executive Orders were created to allow a President to ENFORCE existing law... not to change existing laws, and certainly not to write new ones. Obama even called his own actions illegal with his executive order (DACA) which made headlines recently under President Trump. Obama had at least a dozen Supreme Court cases which determined he violated the U.S. Constitution in making his executive orders. In fact, he was the “most overturned” President in regards to illegal executive orders ever.
Before one can understand the issues regarding firearms, we need to do some basic education.
A “bullet” is the slug that travels down the barrel of a firearm becoming a high-speed projectile. This is the part that hits the target.
“Gunpowder” is a dry substance usually in flat flake format that provides the propellant to accelerate the bullet. When burned it creates a lot of exhaust gases, and this gas pressure is what actually drives the bullet down the barrel of a firearm.
A “shell” (or “shell casing”) is the brass bucket that holds the gunpowder and primer. It is usually made of brass, but can be made of aluminum or steel.
A “cartridge” is the combination of the shell casing, gunpowder, primer, and bullet. See the image below for reference:
Archaic firearms were always “build a cartridge when you need it”.
Old muskets had to be loaded down the barrel (essentially making the entire gun a single cartridge). First you loaded the gunpowder, then the wadding (to hold the gunpowder in place, and finally the bullet which was made of pure lead, which deformed and created a gas seal preventing gas from blowing by it and holding itself in place until fired. A percussion cap (essentially the same thing as the primer in a modern cartridge) would be placed over a nipple that had a hole drilled to allow the burning gas to reach the gunpowder charge, thus launching the lead projectile. Flint-lock muskets used a piece of (you guessed it) flint to scrape on a metal arm which would throw sparks into a small pan of gunpowder which would then ignite the main charge. (Trivia: The phrase “flash in the pan” comes from a misfire caused by the gunpowder in the priming pan failing to ignite the main charge within the gun.)
Modern firearms are much more convenient because you can load mass-produced self-contained cartridges into the weapon and fire them without having to basically go to “build-a-bullet” school. One of the simplest forms of modern firearms is the revolver. A cylinder holds several cartridges, usually six (hence the name “six-shooter”) but can be any number depending on bullet caliber and size of cylinder. Older revolvers were “single-action” meaning you first had to cock the weapon by bringing the hammer back before the weapon could fire. Later versions became “double-action” where you could pull the trigger from an un-cocked condition that would both cock and fire the weapon in one trigger pull. Most revolvers now operate in either mode; however, concealed-carry variants have done away with an external hammer altogether (to facilitate drawing the weapon without snagging it on clothing, etc.) and are thus “double-action only” weapons (sometimes referred to as “DAO” or “hammer-less” revolvers even though there is still a hammer contained internally).
When pistol designers were thinking of better ways to operate their weapons, they decided to use the reaction forces and excess gas production of the firing of the projectile to perform work. A modern handgun uses the recoil of firing to both eject the spent shell casing and strip the next cartridge from the magazine to load into “battery” (in the chamber ready to be fired). Then, when you are ready to fire again, you need only pull the trigger. This action is called “semi-automatic”, buy may as well be named “semi-manual”. No matter the label, the function is the same as a double-action revolver: one trigger pull produces one firing of a cartridge and one bullet leaves the barrel. Another source of confusion was the tendency to abbreviate “semi-automatic” to just “automatic”... despite pistols using this name still being only semi-automatic in nature.
Because of this harnessing of recoil and/or gas pressure, the forces that would go straight into your hand and arm are instead being redirected to do work, therefore the felt recoil on a semi-automatic pistol is MUCH LESS than that felt when firing a revolver. This fact alone means that most people prefer (and the ownership distribution figures bear this out) to own and use a semi-automatic pistol over a revolver.
Now, we talk about rifles.
A rifle is basically a pistol with a really long barrel and a really big handle. The oldest types of modern, cartridge-using rifles are called “bolt-action” because in order to load a cartridge, you had to operate a sliding bolt manually. Firing the cartridge is felt fully, because as in the revolver the recoil and/or excess propellant gases were NOT being harnessed to do work.
A slight refinement on the process was the “lever-action” rifle (think old TV westerns). Instead of rotating and sliding a bolt, you pulled a lever which did the shell ejection and cartridge loading. Again, firing the cartridge is felt fully because the recoil and/or excess propellant gases were NOT being harnessed to do work.
Naturally, rifles also moved into the semi-automatic realm in the same way that pistols did. In old battlefield rifles, like the M-1 rifle used by the United States during World War II, or the Lee Enfield rifle used by the British. They had an internal magazine which held 5 rounds of cartridge ammunition, which was loaded by something called a “stripper clip” that held 5 cartridges in single-file. The stripper clip was aligned with the top of the internal magazine (with the sliding bolt held open) and then pushing down on the stack of cartridges would load them into the magazine. On an M1 rifle, when the last cartridge was fired, that clip would be ejected with a loud ‘PING’ noise. Other rifles would not need the clip to remain in the magazine. Even these battlefield rifles — used by armed military forces in an active shooting war — were still just semi-automatic... one bullet per trigger pull.
After internal magazines were shown to be too limiting, the development of the detachable magazine was created. This allowed faster reloading by simply switching magazines instead of loading the internal magazine.
As soon as semi-automatic weapons were developed, the military decided that it might be a good idea if you could keep firing as long as the trigger were being held down (and you still had ammunition). Sure enough, this was developed and a fully-automatic weapon — the “machine gun” — was born. Because of the massive amount of ammunition needed to fire such a weapon, cartridges were loaded into a belt magazine so that the firing could continue for a much longer time. Original belted ammunition had belts made of cotton fabric, but today they use interlocking clips that snap onto each shell casing and link like a chain to the next shell casing. Because these machine guns were usually large and complicated, it took 2 or more soldiers to use it, creating a new type of weapon, “crew-served”.
There existed a need for a fully-automatic machine gun, but instead of mounting it on a heavy tripod or pole and requiring 2 or 3 people to operate, it would be made much lighter, operable by a single soldier, and which used detachable magazines. As there was already a name for a simple semi-automatic rifle, there needed to be a distinction between that and this new one-man beast weapon, so the phrase “assault rifle” was coined to denote the fully automatic nature of the new weapons. Later, another sub-category of weapons would be created for assault rifles that used pistol ammunition: the “sub-machine gun”.
So in 1992 there were “rifles” (semi-automatic rifles) and “assault rifles” (fully-automatic, battlefield-only, bullet-spraying death machines). The drafters of the ban on “military-STYLE” weapons needed a new term that would convey the implied danger of a battlefield-only weapon onto the innocuous over-sized pistols that were owned by the public... so they invented the phrase “assault weapon”.
Many people clamoring today for a sweeping ban on “assault weapons” are completely unaware that a ban on the AR-15 “scary black rifle” was in effect for a full decade.
On September 13, 1994, then President Bill Clinton signed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which contained the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. The bill was signed with a 10-year sunset, and the law was removed from the books on September 13, 2004.
The law was ridiculed, in part, because of 2 major factors: 1) The law stopped NO crimes for the decade it was in effect, and 2) The law regulated weapons entirely based on cosmetic appearance. Some of the ridiculous qualifiers to legally consider a weapon an “assault weapon” were as follows:
► Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
• Folding or telescoping stock
• Pistol grip
• Bayonet mount
• Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
• Grenade launcher
► Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
• Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
• Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
• Barrel shroud safety feature that prevents burns to the operator
• Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
• A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.
► Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:
• Folding or telescoping stock
• Pistol grip
• Detachable magazine.
In the middle of the ban there were more mass shooting deaths than at any time before the ban went into effect (see chart below). Also there were twice as many non-shooting years in the decade before the ban.
The 2015 attempt at an “Assault Weapons Ban” would have banned almost every semi-automatic rifle in existence, and would have banned almost every single pistol in existence except revolvers. Thankfully, it failed to pass. That attempted law was the closest thing to “total civilian disarmament” ever attempted in the United States.
Many politicians from all political parties strive to “do the right thing” by passing legislation. Unfortunately, much of the legislation on the books is useless. Either they take steps to address a non-issue, passed during a time of heated emotions, or passed without doing the tiniest modicum of research before passing it.
The result is that the consequences of the legislation are actually worse than the original problem that the legislation was supposed to address.
Obamacare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) was passed to supposedly, as the name suggests, protect patients and make healthcare affordable. The result? Patient data was endangered, most people lost their existing coverage despite 36 televised personal promises from Barack Obama, and healthcare costs are skyrocketing. The solution? Repeal the law. Get rid of it. The law made things far worse instead of making things better.
Gun control has been shown, over and over and over, to actually increase murders (including gun murders) as well as the overall violent crime rate. Cities with gun control have the highest murder rates (including murders using firearms), highest violent crime rates, and highest property crime rates. The laws, supposedly enacted to “protect the citizens” has not only failed miserably to do so, but have actually cost thousands of lives and millions in property damage and theft. The solution? Repeal the law. Get rid of it. The law made things far worse instead of making things better.
The current “war on drugs” was started, presumably, to reduce the number of deaths, crimes, and other ill effects of rampant drug use. Ingesting, injecting, snorting, or smoking drugs is a personal choice... an exercise in personal freedom. The war on drugs had to actually invent a nonsensical term — the “victimless crime” — to justify its existence. If there is no victim, THERE IS NO CRIME. The end result of the legislation? Drugs are more powerful, more plentiful, and cheaper than ever... addiction rates for all drugs is at or near an all-time high... and deaths from overdose plague every major city in the United States. The solution? Repeal the laws. Get rid of them. The laws made things far worse instead of making things better.
Knowing that gun control laws increase the murder rate, the murder rate with firearms, the violent crime rate, and property crime rate... it only makes sense to remove, redact, repeal, and nullify ALL gun control legislation, starting from the 1934 National Firearms Act and every local anti-gun, anti-self-defense law on the books in every State and every City.
Change Chicago from a “gun-free” zone into a “gun freedom” zone and watch the murder rate plummet.
NOTE: I strive for factual accuracy. If you find any errors in this content, or have found new compelling evidence to consider, please comment below and I will update it to reflect the new information.