88 Days

Big news today about the NRA.

A problem in America, one inextricably linked with the corruption of the NRA, is the “assault weapon.” This is a non-specific term sometimes used to describe a firearm having some characteristics of an assault-type military weapon. The assault rifle concept was developed by the Nazis (who else?) for use on the Russian front. It essentially gave the infantryman the option to use aimed semi-automatic fire out to several hundred yards or fire bursts of fully automatic fire like a light machine gun. This would allow a standard service weapon to replace heavier rifles and submachine guns and to a certain extent replace light machine guns. 77 years after it was invented the assault rifle is now the standard service weapon of all armies.


The AR-15, at under 8 pounds loaded, plus carrying six 30 round magazines in pouches and weighing an extra 6 pounds, adds up to a total weight about that of a heavy bag of groceries. A person who is a fair shot (they don’t kick much and are easy to shoot) who has practiced reloading can theoretically kill over 200 people in less than 5 minutes. Mass shooter Anders Breivik is an example of what these weapons allow any disturbed individual to do:

On 22 July 2011, Breivik detonated a fertilizer bomb outside the tower block housing the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo, resulting in eight deaths.[76]

Within a few hours of the explosion he travelled to Utøya island, the site of a camp for Worker’s Youth League, posing as a police officer in order to take the ferry to the island, and then fired intermittently for more than one hour, killing 69[77][78][79] with one murder victim as young as 14 years old.[80][81][82]

When the second amendment was written the standard military weapon was the muzzle loading musket with a rate of fire of about 3 shots per minute. So, theoretically, Breivik could have wandered around that island shooting 3 shots per minute and killed 60 people in only 20 minutes. But that is not reality and neither is the worn-out argument that armed Americans will prevent tyranny by rising up against the government if necessary. Which is what many NRA members claim is the correct interpretation of the second amendment- and why they hold to the insane idea that the unrestricted sale of military grade weapons should never be infringed upon.

Might as well allow anyone to buy hand grenades.

The related hot button issue in America is handguns. I once asked a former special forces guy what was the best handgun and he told me they are “mostly useless in combat and mainly used for executing prisoners.” Not useful for going to war against the government. The most infamous handgun is the Deringer used to assassinate Lincoln. It was, like the musket, also a muzzle-loaded single shot that took about a minute to load and a person in the early 1800’s, very concerned with protecting themselves from dangerous adversaries, might carry two of these little guns in their coat pockets- and were actually called “coat pistols” and sold in pairs.


For over a decade before Lincoln was assassinated Colt revolvers were available and the terrorist equivalents of those years carried four or five revolvers, giving them a couple dozen shots to rob banks and trains with. This was fairly accurately portrayed in the movie, “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, except the pair of that very large type of revolver the central character used were not typically carried on the person and were kept in holsters on the saddle.

Image: Amazon.com

Today the modern 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol has a magazine capacity of around 15 shots but smaller caliber weapons with higher capacities of up to 20 shots are becoming popular. Handguns are harder to shoot than assault rifles but at close range inside buildings, and with some practice, are also effective at killing dozens of people as the Virginia Tech shooter of 2007 proved when he killed 32 people. Why several thousand every year die of gunshot wounds in the United States is obvious; modern handguns are easy to conceal and carry, have up to half the number of shots an assault rifle does, and can be reloaded just as fast- about one and a half seconds.

Exactly how to lower the death rate with gun control laws that still allow people to defend themselves is the question. It is not an impossible challenge. Not rocket science, not like putting a man on the Moon. Even allowing a segment of the population to possess military grade weapons as some kind of police reserve militia is not that hard. What is hard is overcoming those using the second amendment as a political lever to further their agendas. With a diet of action movies conditioning males to prepare for the apocalypse it is easy for conservatives to inspire fear and get people to vote for them so as to prevent “the radical left” from coming and taking their AR-15’s away- and ending their Rambo fantasies.

One example of a possible solution is the Colt Single Action Army revolver of 1873. It is featured in all classic western movies. 6 shots. Slow to reload. The short barrel model is easy enough to carry concealed. If some maniac wants to kill a couple dozen people it would be much harder to accomplish this when having to go through a free background check, psychological evaluation, and safety certification. Free means nobody will have to worry about getting priced out of their second amendment right. The Colt SAA does not greatly facilitate shooting dozens of people in a short period of time. Neither does a bolt action hunting rifle that holds three or four shots. See how that works?


We limit the number of shells a shotgun can legally hold to 3 when hunting birds. Might make sense to limit the number of rounds to double that for concealed carry and the Colt design makes it almost impossible to instantly reload. The whole cylinder can theoretically be taken out and a new loaded one inserted but there are ways to modify the design to prevent that. Really.

So you see, it is not impossible.

Published by billgamesh

Revivable Cryopreservation Advocate

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