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Colt is ending production of AR-15s (americanmilitarynews.com)
125 points by smacktoward 27 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 260 comments



This is not surprising. Colt has been hanging by a thread ever since coming back out of Chapter 11 in 2015, but has been in all sorts of financial woes since the mid 1980s. They are just trying to survive at this point.

If labor relations interests you, it's a fascinating company. They had a long stand off with the union in the mid to late 80s. They replaced all Union staff who had striked. Four or five years later the union eventually won and all the existing staff, who were hired during the 5 year strike, were fired and the old union staff replaced them. Not only that but the union got given a significant chunk of the company.

The problem was that the old staff could not operate the updated machinery. The military unhappy with the quality canceled contracts. It was a disaster and ended up killing the company and they went into chapter 11 for the first time. That was the end of Colt.

https://www.nytimes.com/1990/04/01/nyregion/workers-rejoice-...


No lack of demand. People are just buying less expensive clones of the AR15, like the Springfield Saint. $650 vs the $1k real AR15.


Correct. There is no one brand of AR-15. It’s an interoperable platform (for the most part). You can buy a bare lower receiver from any manufacture (basically just a part with no moving parts milled from a single block of AL). Then just go and buy various parts kits or buy the parts individually to customize to you own needs. It’s what makes them so popular. You can customize them infinitely and they’re extremely affordable and very reliable, safe and accurate.

People who own them don’t think of them as the crazy “military style” weapons you hear them described as. Most who own then just think of them as “the most standard and obvious rifle you can possibly buy”. Like you go into most gun store and it’s just the platform that is everywhere. It’s “gun” in the dictionaries in heads of gun wonders. It’s nothing “crazy” to them.


That is an excellent description of the AR-15 platform. It is very much the PC of firearms.


What's funny is that a Mini14 ranch rifle would be more acceptable to anti-assault rifle people. Even though it's roughly the same thing.


People like to bring up the Mini-14 in gun arguments, and I never quite understand what they mean to prove. The Mini-14 is a tactical rifle (note caps). It's not a black rifle, but neither is a classic AK-47, which also features a wooden stock. The fact that it doesn't look like an AR-15 (or its successor, the M16) was a feature of the weapon, not because people in the 1970s were afraid of mass shooters, but because the M16 had acquired a reputation for unreliability.

Is your point that the Mini-14 should be regulated the same way as a Colt AR-15? Of course, you're right. Obviously, Mini-14 regulation isn't that much of a problem today, since the AR-15 platform became the default sporting rifle platform.


"Is your point that the Mini-14 should be regulated the same way as a Colt AR-15?"

Partially. It's allowed in some places where the AR-15 is banned. People tend to react to the tactical appearance. There's almost no functional difference.


There is a Canadian anti-firearms lobbying group that sprung up after a mass shooting occurred in 1989 with a Mini-14.

Roughly 10 years later, most historically interesting tactical rifles were banned or heavily restricted.

The Mini-14 remains at the lowest level of restriction, and its appearance is very likely the reason why that is. (Also ignorance; the H&K G11 rifle doesn't exist outside of perhaps 5 or so remaining prototypes, but it's on the ban list all the same.)


Not just the Mini-14 is unbanned -- virtually all assault rifles except the AR-15 (restricted) and the AK & FAL (banned) are considered "Unrestricted". This means you need the lowest level of gun permit.

In other words, I need a special restricted PAL permit in Canada to own an AR, but to own a Tavor, M-14 knockoff, Kel-Tec RDB, a Chinese Type 97 assault rifle, etc. needs the lowest level of permit. Bass-ackwards, but there it is.


30 years later and they still want the Mini-14 banned.

Anti’s aren’t stupid. They banned the G11 to set precedent. Now any mass market firearm that uses caseless ammunition is immediately on the chopping block. A powerful move - cheap caseless ammo would be a huge boost to the community and industry.


> They banned the G11 to set precedent. Now any mass market firearm that uses caseless ammunition is immediately on the chopping block.

Caseless ammo isn't a thing in any practical sense. It has serious technical short comings related to heat dispersion, transport, sourcing, and reloadability.

There are no mass market firearms, military or civilian, that use caseless ammo. There were never more than a 1000 G11s, and they were never for the community. Other casesless options simply aren't a thing -- has anyone ever heard of the Voere VEC-91? Or the Armtech C30R?


Perhaps I wasn’t clear. Antis are playing the long game. Caseless ammo will one day be practical and it will be revolutionary.

In Canada antis will use the existing G11 ban to ban caseless ammo. Bans beget more bans until complete disarmament is achieved. This is their playbook.


There's also the fact that outright bans on semi-automatic rifles are an untenable proposal, because they're too legitimately useful to some subsets of civilians, so maybe "you do the best you can" and clear out the mass-market military rifles and leave the sleeper parts known and loved by the people who actually need them. (I am just noodling here and know absolutely nothing about Canadian firearms policy).

I'm not saying that's good public policy (licensure --- in the US, probably presumptively issued licensure --- is the right answer here, not bans).


> There's also the fact that outright bans on semi-automatic rifles are an untenable proposal, because they're too legitimately useful to some subsets of civilians

I mean, they banned semi-auto rifles in Oz after a mass shooting. Farmers can still use bolt action .303 rifles for really gnarly beasts like giant hogs.


As someone who grew up in rural Louisiana in the southeastern US, if you're being charged by a hog, you're better off with a .45 semi-automatic handgun such as a Colt 1911 / clone. That will likely be the difference between "I just had a mild heart attack" and "I'm in the ICU". As far as hunting, sure, a bolt-action rifle in the .30-caliber range, such as a .308 or .30-06 is fine, since you have distance on your side, particularly distance that isn't rapidly decreasing with some tusks headed your way with your name on them.


Unfortunately handguns are very strictly controlled in Australia


People bring up the Mini-14 because the Mini-14 Ranch (5801) is specifically, by name, exempt from "Assault Weapon Ban" laws while the Mini-14 Tactical (5846) is banned because of its ergonomic features.


That's an eminently fair response. If the argument is simply that existing assault weapon bans are irrational, I concede fully that the Mini-14 is a great illustration. I remarked downthread about like, a gossamer-thin thread of rationalizing behind this kind of policymaking, but, I mean, yeah.

I just think that in general, firearms advocates are "high on their own supply" from these arguments: that the FAWB, for instance, is terrible legislation, but also, that all our discussions about firearms policy should be rooted in the definitions hammered out in the FAWB. And: no, of course not.

All I'd like to establish is that the real underlying issues are not that complicated, even if they're uncomfortable for firearms advocates, and can be grappled with by laypersons. When firearms advocates gotcha with FAWB definitions or weird counterexamples or appeals to rifle color or the fact that a belt buckle is a machine gun or whatever, that's an evasion, not a real argument, and should be called out as such.


Yes, they are irrational.

An AR Pattern rifle chambered in a rimfire cartridge such as 22 LR is legal under "Assault Weapon" ban laws. Rimfire rifles have been used in spree shootings.

What's the argument for why ergonomic features like an adjustable stocks should be banned?


They shouldn't. But you won't like what I have to say next: that's because the rational target for regulation should be any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine. And (I'm relating a fact here): that's what the original proposals were. We don't ban cosmetic features because legislators are stupid; we ban them because the firearms lobby is powerful, and scrambled the original proposals.

(Again: I think another problem with firearms regulations is that they've been based on bans, when what's in fact needed is licensure --- in the US, for historical reasons, probably presumptively-issued licenses).


I appreciate your honesty, it's rare in discussions like this. Do you want semi-automatic handguns to be regulated the same way as semi-automatic long guns?

Exactly what problem would licensure solve?


Keeping high-powered weaponry out of the hands of complete and total fuckups, who dominate the list of spree shooters with high casualty counts. And potentially mitigating (obviously not solving) proliferation.

Within Constitutional limits (and without wading into a protracted argument about what those limits might be; Heller was 5-4!), devolving this question back out to the states, so states that overwhelmingly support restrictions regain some knobs to accomplish that (through licensure requirements). Letting the Laboratories of Democracy do their thing.

I don't see a fundamental reason why we'd want to take most semi-automatic rifles away from most owners, because while I don't actually believe most owners derive any practical benefits from them (I think overwhelmingly they're a hobby, not a tool), I also don't see what the point of reclaiming a firearm from someone who simply isn't going to abuse it would be.


We can print these. It's only going to get better. You are ultimately making an argument for DRM.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20873414


I absolutely do not think the ability for people to manufacture their own guns has any bearing on any of this. Gun nerd forums are rife with people observing that a full-auto conversion isn't rocket science either, and the immediate responses are always "you'll go to prison for 10 years". "Printing" has nothing to do with it. Computer nerds didn't invent machining.


You can already build a gun with entirely legal machine shop tools - like the brit Philip Luty's submachine gun [1]

Luty was arrested with the gun and ammunition and -quelle surprise - jailed for possession of an illegal gun.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIhGCRIQnCA


Does a semi-automatic handgun qualify as "high-powered weaponry?"

The "Laboratories of Democracy" idea is unrealistic for firearms, and most issues. States don't control their borders. Though, it's against federal law to buy a handgun from an FFL out of state and a long gun can only be purchased out of state if said long gun is legal in a buyer's home state.

In general, do you think that gun crimes (e.g. possession of a firearm by a felon) are adequately prosecuted?

I'm not interested in talking about the US Constitution. We both already know each other's arguments. I'm not even interested in changing your opinion. I'm a lurker, but I've read your comments for years and respect you.

The logistics of your ideal scenario interest me. Canada gave up on registering long guns because it was infeasible.

Would you support a law requiring background checks for all purchase of firearms under the condition that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is made available for all citizens to use (not just FFLs), free of charge, using a driver's license number of the potential purchaser?

Do you think that the progression of low-cost CNC machines, such as the Ghost Gunner, is a hurdle for the gun control measures that you want implemented?

The serialized lower receiver is what is considered a firearm in America. Do you want to regulate all firearm components, such as barrels, handguards, etc?


No, semi-automatic handguns would not.

The idea that state-by-state (or, just as likely, county-by-county) gun regulations couldn't work flies against reality; they won't keep criminals from bringing guns in, of course, but no regulation will, and that's not the intent.

I'm less interested in the general crime argument. We're not having school shooting drills because of gang shootouts in Camden. Prosecution of gun crimes is unlikely to be the intervention that solves that problem.

I generally support all viable gun control proposals; background checks are fine, but won't really address the proliferation and mass casualty problems.

I absolutely do not believe, even a little bit, than amateur gunsmithing is a meaningful factor in gun policy.

I understand that the receiver is, legally, the important part of an assault rifle; I don't so much care about firearm components. As I've said elsewhere, I'm also not generally interested in confiscation of firearms; most people who own them should be able to keep them.

Ironically, with licensure, we could probably eliminate a lot of weird NFA regulation as well.


Canada has mandatory federal licensing.

Why do you want mandatory shall-issue licensing in America? Federal or state? I’d like to know your reasoning.


> The "Laboratories of Democracy" idea is unrealistic for firearms, and most issues. States don't control their borders.

The problem with this kind argument is always that, of course, people who want to do something that happens to be illegal, and are fine with doing illegal things, will just do it anyway. Well, yeah. If that weren't the case, all law enforcement officers could immediately retire.

Certainly you can't prevent people from bringing contraband of any kind into your state (especially when it's legal in the state next door), but you can set penalties high enough to deter most people, and aggressively enforce those penalties when someone is caught.

If we're talking about reducing the number of mass shootings, and we truly believe that keeping certain guns out of people's hands will do it (which is of course debatable), then outright bans will likely get us most of the way there. If your random potential mass shooter can't get hold of any useful-for-mass-shootings weapon legally in the state where they live, they probably just won't go that route. Or, they'll use much less effective weapons and cause much less harm.

If, on the other hand, we're talking about organized crime, gang violence, etc., then sure, those people will likely manage to get their hands on banned weapons. But (for better or worse), I don't think the US public is quite as worried about that right now.


As I said: the goal of new tactical rifle regulation would be to address spree shooters (who do not generally acquire weapons illegally) and proliferation. I don't believe you can address organized crime by starving it of weaponry.


Yes... I was agreeing with you.


I'm a Brit, so a complete outsider so bear with me.

It seems to me the mass shooting, and gun crime issue generally is the responsibility of the gun lobby to solve. If a constituency wants to have a certain set of rights, and those rights have negative consequences on the rest of the population, it's the responsibility of that constituency to come up with a workable way to regulate itself. If it abrogates that responsibility, it should be prepared to forfeit those rights.

So what is the US gun community's answer to shooting sprees and gun deaths in general? It's clearly a real problem, so what's the answer? I'm not interesting in hearing why this or that gun control legislation can't work or is unfair. It's up to you, it's your problem to fix. What's your solution?


I don’t think that’s generally true. To draw a comparison, are there other rights where the same thing plays out? What are other examples of rights where we expect the people exercising their rights to come up with a solution for people who abuse the right? Speech? Religion?

It seems pretty clear that society as a whole is responsible for finding a way to maintain safety and stability in combination with upholding the rights the society has established. We don’t demand that the solution to radical religious extremists be proposed by churches or else we ban churches.


Pretty much every law ever made was passed to stop people doing something they previously did. They are a restriction on freedoms, or 'rights'. That's pretty much what a law is, though sometimes they grant exceptions to other laws.

Plenty of religions have been banned and members arrested.

Nazis and such get arrested for hate speech from time to time.

Until laws were passed to prevent it, anyone had the 'right' to make and even sell alcohol.

Most sporting bodies have governance organisations that regulate themselves, in an effort to avoid regulations being imposed by law.

The same is true of many professional organisations. In the UK the Royal College of Nurses, a trade union, gets involved in regulation of the nursing profession and advises on legislation.

Every right comes with responsibilities. At a minimum one person't right is another person's responsibility to protect and uphold. They are impositions. If you have or want a right, and wish to retain it, that comes with a responsibility to the rest of society, or they will be entirely justified in taking it away.

It's entirely normal and common for a pressure group or representative body to have input into laws and regulations. The NRA does this. It's time IMHO that they took that seriously and, along with their supporters, accepted some actual responsibility like grown adults.


My point isn’t that rights can’t or shouldn’t be restricted. My point is that we don’t generally ask a specific group how to best restrict themselves. Sporting bodies don’t “regulate themselves in an effort to avoid regulations being imposed by law”, they generally work to make the most money by pushing the boundaries of the current law, and are eventually curtailed by more or different laws that they did not propose.


Ok, take brain injuries in American Football. Do you think the sports bodies have a responsibility to ensure their sport is safe to practice? After all, deliberately smashing someone on the head, with force and in circumstances known to reliably cause injury, is really assault.

What job do the football associations have that is more important, in the broader context, than this? It could destroy the sport.

Ideally a sporting body should set things up so that they don't have to spend much time on this, but it's a serious responsibility.

The NRA spends an inordinate amount of it's time trying to avoid legal restrictions on their member's activities. They spend huge resources on it. To me, that's a sign that they are not doing their job very well at all, or taking their responsibilities seriously as members of society. It's their problem to solve.

This is not something people who don't want to own guns should have to worry about. The fact that they have to is a clear abrogation of responsibility on the part of those that do.


There’s a couple threads here, so I’ll attempt to delineate my responses:

Regarding the football comparison: there isn’t generally speaking a right to play football, and I’d prefer if sports bodies were committed to ensuring the health of players of their sport, but no, I don’t think that sports bodies should be relied upon to enforce some arbitrary standard for safety in their sport, with the threat of banning football. The football example is interesting because smashing somebody in the head as part of a football game isn’t “really assault”. If you and I agree to play football, and during the course of the game we collide and I get injured, you didn’t assault me. The problem with sports bodies is that they have several incentives that don’t align with overall player long-term health, and the players typically (especially historically) don’t have a strong enough negotiating position to push for systematic change. So to your question: no, I don’t think we should expect sports industries to carry the weight of making their sports “safe”, I think society should agree on laws that restrict sports bodies behavior so that they’re forced to operate in ways that are safe. We don’t ask construction sites to please make worker conditions safe, we set up OSHA and equivalent orgs, with regulations to mandate safety.

Regarding the job that football associations have, that’s more important than long-term health, “profit” is the answer. The football organization isn’t a benevolent charity, they exist so as to ensure their own continued existence. They also don’t represent the players, nor the fans.

Switching gears to the NRA: the NRA has a similar job. They exist in order to perpetuate their lobbying influence and perpetuate their funding. They are not an accurate picture of the average American gun owner. They push for or against policies on the basis of continuing that power, more so than any intrinsic goal of “avoiding legal restrictions on their members”, except insofar as their members are “NRA large-scale donors”, which effectively amounts to “gun manufacturers”.

Regarding it being “their problem to solve”, you still haven’t addressed my critique of that premise. Gun ownership in America is a right, written into the foundation of US government. There’s a whole body of debate as to whether or not it should be a right, whether it should be written differently, etc, but at present, gun ownership in the US is written into the constitution at a similar level to freedom of speech or protest. We don’t tell free speech advocates to find ways to limit hate speech or we ban all free speech, why would we approach this any differently?


> there isn’t generally speaking a right to play football

Just curious, are you American? Because this comes across as a totally alien way of thinking - why would there be or why would you need a "right" to play football? Do I, generally speaking, have a right to stand on one leg? If I'm reading you correctly there's no right to perform any novel activity, because the right couldn't have been granted yet!


People don't, in the normal course of things, have a right to charge at and assault each other, with enough force to cause life changing injuries. That's the context of this discussion.

Before it was known that AF seems to consistently lead to these injuries this wasn't a problem, but now the evidence is amassing that it does, if the game doesn't get reformed there is a risk it could get sued and legislated out of existence. With that background, clearly the game doesn't have a legal right to exist, to stop that happening.


I am American, but the relevance of there being an explicit right in the US constitution isn’t as part of some hypothetical claim that one may only do things which are enumerated. The relevance is that in the US, removing a named right is more difficult than removing an unnamed right. In the absurd case, this is obviously not a risk, because an attempt to ban standing on one leg is obviously not reasonable. But if the 2nd amendment didn’t exist, gun regulation in the US would have looked very different over the past century.


> removing a named right is more difficult than removing an unnamed right.

That doesn't immediately strike me as obviously true. Many states attempted to remove the unnamed right to an abortion (by which I mean, abortion is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution); but that was struck down on 14th Amendment grounds. It wouldn't surprise me if an enterprising lawyer could contest a statewide firearm ban (assuming no second amendment) via the commerce clause, for example.


I think your point agrees with mine. In the US, the path to defending an unnamed right generally involves an “enterprising lawyer” drawing a line to try to bucket it as a part of a named right. Defending the named right directly requires strictly less mental gymnastics.


There are plenty of sports that have been made illegal, and plenty of sports that have been reformed to avid that fate. I can see we're not going to agree on regulation of sports and other activities, so ok. Not the main question anyway. And btw I appreciate your engagement on all of this.

Gun ownership is only a right because a law says so, and laws are made by people. Things change. People change. Technology changes. The US constitution has been amended 27 times, and amendments have been revised or revoked by other amendments. Just look at what happened to the 18th. If you want to keep the 2nd, you'll need a better argument than because it's an amendment.

>We don’t tell free speech advocates to find ways to limit hate speech or we ban all free speech, why would we approach this any differently?

What forms of speech are allowable or not is up for debate. There are plenty of things it is illegal to say or print, and even most free speech advocates will agree with many restrictions. Free speech advocates have to fight cases all the time though, it's a constant struggle as to what can or cannot be said. Why should firearms, which weapons can or cannot be owned or carried in public, be any different?

Nobody is talking about banning all guns. That's a complete straw man. I'm not talking about banning anything. I think most people campaigning for gun restrictions aren't trying to ban all guns, or even most guns. What I'm saying though, is this is a question for you.

What is your answer, and that of your community, to this problem?

Do you think the current rate of mass shootings in America and gun deaths in general is acceptable, and if not how does it get under control?


>Regarding the job that football associations have, that’s more important than long-term health, “profit” is the answer. The football organization isn’t a benevolent charity, they exist so as to ensure their own continued existence. They also don’t represent the players, nor the fans.

I will put forth the argument that profit is not be the sole motive for any organization. That is a relatively new and immature [1] way of thinking about economic activity which ignores the context and environment in which economic activity takes place. Profit above all else should be considered the false narrative that it is [2]. Even if we did consider profit to be a primary motivation for an organization, that ignores that the organization is composed of people who should care about their fellow man and work to reduce the chances and effects of injuries in the people who labor for them. I will go further and propose that putting profit above the long term health of players is short-termism, a disease that affects far too many today. In fact, this disease of thinking is so bad that the executives of some of the largest corporations now need to explicitly tell people to stop thinking like that [3]. Ignoring the dangers of traumatic brain injury could have negative consequences for the long-term profit of the NFL - through lawsuits, negative publicity, and less productivity from the players.

1: See more here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250185983

2: https://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/academics/clarke_business_...

3: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/business/business-roundta...


People routinely make those demands of mosques, though.


True. I wonder what the overlap of people is who make that demand of mosques, vs people who would make that demand of the gun lobby.

For what it’s worth, I think the gun lobby in the US does a disservice to the majority of lawful gun owners, as well as a disservice to victims of gun violence. Their primary goal as an organization seems to be remaining a large, powerful organization, and I find the majority of their policy positions and rhetoric to be fully detached from either lowering the rate of gun violence or protecting the rights of actual individual gun owners. See, for example, the waves of rhetoric leading up to each election cycle, warning that any liberal politician is going to “take our guns”. The impact here is a massive spike in gun sales and profit for gun manufacturers, despite the fact that liberal politicians haven’t had any substantial impact on individual gun ownership in a long time.


Canadian here.

Can you imagine how unreasonable this sounds for any other rights?

Try the right to protest: "It's the responsibility of the bandana industry to regulate all protests, and since they have abrogated that responsibility, protestors must forfeit those rights."


Rights are granted by society because they choose to do so. It's a deal. Anyway, answered in more detail elsewhere in the thread.


It’s not a “deal”. Society didn’t make a wager with some governmental body for free speech, contingent on free speech organizations policing undesirable speech.

The deal metaphor breaks down pretty clearly. If advocates of democracy don’t do enough to curtail voter fraud, society cancels the right to vote? If the auto lobby doesn’t figure out a solution for vehicle deaths, we stop building paved roads? Society as a whole is responsible for finding a way to respect granted rights and balance the risks of exercise of those rights; it’s not incumbent on specific groups to own that, just because they exercise that right.


Speech legislation, including the US constitution, was constructed as a result of deliberation and political horse trading. That’s particularly true of the amendments.

On free speech particularly, what constitutes free speech and what speech is controlled or banned is constantly under review. Free speech advocates exist precisely because of this. If there was no issue around free speech there would be no need for advocates.

Laws around voter fraud are constantly under review. Cancelling all voting is not the only way to address electoral problems. Similarly banning all guns doesn’t have to be the only way to prevent frequent mass shootings.

Or is it? I really don’t know. You tell me. Just as electoral reformers are constantly addressing issues of democracy. As free speech advocates are constantly fighting for open discourse, why shouldn’t gun owners have to argue for and justify their privileges?

So what solution to mass killings and gun deaths do you propose? Just like anyone else exercising a right, you can legitimately be expected to justify it. Please do so.


Please stop equating rights with privileges.


In the same way stabbings are not a UK knife community/constituency issue they need to solve. It's a problem bigger than that.


The US has a written constitution and list of amendments; one of the downsides of this (vs. the largely cobbled-together unwritten constitution that the UK operates under) is that you can make arguments that hew to the letter of the law, rather than its intent.

The current situation re: mass shootings and proliferation of guns is that the Supreme Court parsed the awkardly-phrased 2nd amendment as mandating that ownership and possession of weapons be completely unrestricted and unabridged.

Part of it is that the version of the 2A that was passed by the states differs from the one ratified by the first Congress.

The original text:

> 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.

The ratified text:

> 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.

The ultimate solution is to amend the 2nd amendment, but that would require substantial effort and consent of all states.


It’s worth noting that the Supreme Court did not parse the 2nd amendment to mean ownership of weapons must be “completely unrestricted and unabridged”, as evidenced by the variety of restrictions in place across the US, both at the federal and state level.

It’s pretty clear that we should be evaluating ways to adjust gun law in the US to prevent the kinds of violence that are occurring under the current set of rules, but we should accurately portray the current state of the world while we’re having that evaluation.


>The ultimate solution is to amend the 2nd amendment, but that would require substantial effort and consent of all states.

You're probably right, we can't have any serious gun control in the US as long as the 2nd Amendment remains as is, post Heller. But any state supporting the amending or repeal of the 2nd Amendment, despite that being a perfectly legal and Constitutionally approved process, will find itself turned into another Northern Ireland and any Senator or Congress person approving such a measure, should it pass, will spend the rest of their life avoiding sniper fire.

Which is why no serious attempt to touch the 2nd Amendment will ever happen. The best we can do is what we've been doing - regulate around it as much as possible, even if such attempts are doomed to be ineffective.


>The best we can do is what we've been doing - regulate around it as much as possible, even if such attempts are doomed to be ineffective.

We can do much better than that. We can take a deep look into our own society and address the underlying reasons why people are trying to hurt themselves and others in such large numbers.

For instance, we could try to figure out why over 20,000 people per year are killing themselves with firearms. Is some aspect of their lives making them despair? If so, let's take a serious look into the causes, and try to correct them.

There are parts of the country with extremely low rates of violence and near universal gun ownership. Let's figure out what's going on in those parts of the country, and try to make the rest of the country like that.

Are there any commonalities we can identify between people who attempt to commit mass atrocities? If so, let's figure out what they are, and see if there's anything we can do to reduce the incidence of those commonalities in the general population.

How does that sound?


>How does that sound?

Sounds fine, I support everything in your comment.

However, I believe keeping guns out of the hands of people who would harm themselves and others is also a legitimate part of the solution. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court and Constitution of my country disagree with me.


Everyone believes that trying to keep guns out of the hands of people that would harm themselves and others is a part of the solution. That's why there are laws against felons possessing them.


The problem is that we're beholden to a Constitution written in a time where personal possession of firearms was a much more practically relevant issue than it is now, and you take the good with the bad. And: there's a lot of good that comes from not cracking the Constitution back open and mucking with it.


That's the commonsensical position, but that assumes some kind of social responsibility that as far as I can tell doesn't exist in that part of America. A dozen children murdered in a school prompts a response of "what does that have to do with me?" The gun lobby does not see themselves as having any kind of real responsibility for addressing the problem. They may not even see it as a problem. Even the really wacky solutions (armed guards in every school! bunker architecture!) they don't want to actually pay for.

Then there's the part of the gun industry that sees gun crime as a means to sell more guns to people concerned about gun crime. Rather like the international arms trade, there's lots of money in provoking conflict so you can sell to both sides.


> devolving this question back out to the states, so states that overwhelmingly support restrictions regain some knobs to accomplish that (through licensure requirements)

The issue with this is that there are no border or customs checks between US states (with some rare, ad-hoc exceptions). The result of this is you get states like Indiana and Virginia selling weapons with relatively few restrictions that travel up an "iron pipeline" to cities with more restrictions like Chicago and New York.

The federal government is supposed to regulate interstate trade, but has decided that they won't regulate interstate transfer of guns _in this way_, so the most lax state law will de facto become the baseline for an entire region.


>Do you want semi-automatic handguns to be regulated the same way as semi-automatic long guns?

All fire arms should require a licensed operator.

>Exactly what problem would licensure solve?

It would keep guns in the hands of responsible, law-abiding people.

We've collectively decided that to be fit to drive a car you need to take classes on how to drive it and you have to have a valid license. Why this doesn't apply to guns is beyond me. People shouldn't be able to buy guns without knowing how they work, how to maintain, and how to operate them.


Notably with the drivers-license example is that it is really hard to not get a drivers-license. It is more a certificate of 'I am capable of passing a drivers-test' than an license that you are mentally fit to drive a car. As such, it is very rare and almost a punishment to lose / not get a drivers license.

If we would get something similar with firearms licenses, there would probably still be too many firearms to help stop the glut of firearms.


If all gun owners could at least pass "I am capable of passing a firearm safety test" then world would be a better place. Think of just how many children die each year because their parents don't know how to store a firearm safely. Same goes for spree shooters if they had to first go through licensing program their obvious mental health issues could be noticed before they execute on their plan.

Just because gun license wouldn't solve every single edge case doesn't make it a bad idea.

>If we would get something similar with firearms licenses, there would probably still be too many firearms to help stop the glut of firearms.

A tax and mandatory insurance for gun ownership could also be imposed like with cars. This would mean that people with licenses wouldn't want to deal guns to unlicensed people because they would still have to pay for the insurance and tax on every firearm they own.

Even if current gun owners were grandfathered in this would at least slowdown new gun ownership and obviously inherited guns would follow the new scheme.


This is federally mandated in Canada -- the PAL. Don't even have to be a resident to apply and get one, just pass the test and have somewhere in Canada to have it mailed.

How to load, clear, hold a gun; familiarity with different types of gun and ammo; laws and regs. I still see people doing dumb shit at the range, but generally less than when I lived in the US.

By law you don't need a PAL to get ammo or parts, but most stores around here (I'm in AB) require it for any sort of gun-related purchase.


>Why this doesn't apply to guns is beyond me.

Because people aren't concerned that in a decade or three, politicians are going to use the registry of motor vehicle licenses to help them in confiscating motor vehicles from normal people who want to keep them around in order to protect their families.


Which is of course irrational; motor vehicle licensure is far more powerfully coercive and has more public policy goals than firearms licensure.

The political psychology point is well taken, of course; the problem with all gun control proposals in the US is that they're perceived, with some validity, to be a slippery slope towards universal confiscation, the same way abortion regulation is perceived as a slippery slope to a universal ban.

But in the airless vacuum of a message board we should be able to discuss the proposals on their merits without being chained to partisan political analyses.


By suggesting their concerns are irrational, are you saying you think it's more likely that registries of vehicle licenses are going to be used to perform vehicle confiscations than that registries of firearm licenses are going to be used to perform firearm confiscations?


Yes. (Substituting "restrictions" for "confiscations", of course).


That's quite a substitution you've made there.


I don't agree. Suspending or revoking someone's driver's license is as coercive as the government needs to be, and state governments has already applied that power for non-driving purposes. "Confiscation" of firearms is wholly unrealistic; what would actually happen is that discovery of unlicensed firearms on private property (for instance, when responding to a police report) would become a criminal matter, just as driving without a valid license matters only when you get pulled over for something else.

But my broader point is just common sense: people are far more dependent on cars than on firearms; regulating access to driving privileges offers governments more tools than access to firearms does.


>what would actually happen is that discovery of unlicensed firearms on private property (for instance, when responding to a police report) would become a criminal matter

And do you think they're going to poke their noses equally around homes belonging to known gun owners as they do those of non gun owners?

>people are far more dependent on cars than on firearms

Sure, but some people benefit a lot more from the proliferation of firearms than other people do, and the people who are harmed by the proliferation of firearms have a much stronger motivation to remove them than do people that are harmed by the proliferation of cars.

No one is really concerned that the government is going to stop people from being able to drive cars without a viable alternative that works for the vast majority. There is concern that the government is going to stop normal people from owning guns, eventually. They don't need to confiscate them to do that, they just need to institute mandatory background checks so it's illegal to hand your guns down to your kids without government permission, and gradually make it more difficult to get a license, and then legal gun owners die off and all there are left are the lawbreakers.


If you really are concerned then why would things be different without the registry?

Unless you bought you gun and ammunition using cash there already is a paper trail leading straight to you.


If there are no mandatory background checks, then it's legal to buy/sell your guns without a paper trail. It is legally possible to have guns that the government doesn't know about, or to dispose of them without the government knowing about that.

That makes a registry of limited value. If they ban a gun you own, and they come looking for yours because it was in the registry, you can say "I don't have it any more", and that will not be a confession to a crime that is punishable by jail time and a lifetime ban on gun ownership.


In principle, I agree, but in the US, a blanket requirement for licensure of all firearms is unconstitutional. It is, on the other hand, unclear that licensure of tactical rifles would be.


The point is to show by contradiction that "assault weapons" regulations are not based in any systematic or factual threat assessment. There are better arguments in favor of the right to bear arms, this one is directed specifically at how the irrationialities of gun control betray its motivation.


If we where serious about gun deaths we would not be debating the emotional issue of mass shootings and black guns, rather we would be focused on the real tragedy of handgun deaths which does not just eclipse the rare and significantly smaller portion of mass shooting deaths by long-arms rather it statistically makes them almost null in comparison.

On average handguns kill 19 times as many people than all other guns combined.

The number of people killed in mass shootings is a even significantly smaller percentage of that 1 in 19.


> The Mini-14 is a tactical rifle (note caps)

I think I'm just overlooking something , but I'm not quite sure what you mean by "note caps"?


"Tactical Rifle" is also a model of Mini-14.


How is it a tactical rifle?

Its marketed as a "Ranch Rifle". It doesn't even have normal scope rails...


Isn't it in fact easier to fit a scope on a Mini-14 Ranch than on a "standard" Mini-14?

The Ranch Rifle is, as I understand it, simply a civilian branding for what was designed to be --- and has seen wide use professionally as --- a tactical rifle.

The big confusticator here is that tactical rifles --- and I'll keep calling them that, because that's what both the Mini-14 and the AR-15 were designed to be! --- turn out to be pretty well suited to sporting and some kinds of hunting, and have pretty much taken over those markets. So in observing that there's no meaningful difference between a Mini-14 ranch and a military tactical rifle, I'm not saying that a Ranch Rifle isn't intended for shooting coyotes or range shooting, or even that that's not what they're mostly used for.

But public policy should focus on the weapon's capabilities, not what their packaging suggests they be used for. The people that play the Ranch Rifle card in firearms debates seem to believe the packaging is dispositive --- or not? I never really understand what it is they're trying to prove. But of course, to regulators, there's no distinction to be made here.


Putting a scope on any Mini-14 requires a proprietary adaptor. Compared to an AR its a huge pain in the behind. Compared to any other proper tactical rifle, its terrible.

I saw the one they marketed as "tactical" and I'd def call it "tacti-cool" instead because it looks nonfunctional.

To compare the two, its Broccoli vs Potato.


I assume pretty much everything is a PITA compared to the AR-15 platform, but isn't the scope rail one of the defining features of the Ranch Rifle version of the Mini-14?


I don't believe so. The "Mini-14 Ranch Rifle" designation is well over 30-40 years old at this point. The fact that they now have a "Tactical" model is just marketing. The scope mounts clamp onto the receiver for all models BUT the "Tactical Model #5846" has some weaver rails on it.


Many AR15's have a fixed carry-handle mount that you also need a goofy adapter to mount a scope to


If you're going to buy an old-style rifle thats true, I rarely see A1 or A2 style uppers anymore. Its about as dated as the Mini-14 design as well and thankfully eliminated.


While I agree with you, the driving factor in most of these shootings is the fact that the AR is one of the cheapest platforms that one can purchase. You can get a functional AR for a little over $400, Mini-14's are closer to a grand.

The Columbine shooter used a Hi Point rifle which at the time where much cheaper than the AR-15 platforms offered. The driving factor in most of these are that the guns used are the cheaper platforms.

I have always said one of the deadliest firearm platforms for mass killings would be a Saiga-12 with a bag full of 20 round drums loaded with 3 inch 00 buck. But you don't see them being used because a decent one that has has the ports drilled and has been converted is over 3K and the drums run close to $100 each.

If the AR is eliminated the shootings will not stop they will transfer over to the next cheap platform, or handguns and honestly in a corridor setting, such as a school and unarmed civilians with no body armor, a handgun is going to be just as effective as far as body count is concerned. They just don't fit the image that these shooters want to portray. there is a reason that most of them wear a bunch of tactical gear when they commit these criminal acts.


This comment makes it seem like you think that people against high powered rifles are unaware of the technology and capabilities of weapon systems.

I also think you are wrong.


The .308 cartridge commonly used to hunt deer carries substantially more energy than the .223 or 5.56 used in a Mini-14 or AR-15. If not energy, by what metric could the latter be described as "high powered"?


> If not energy, by what metric could the latter be described as "high powered"?

Well the Browning Hi-Power was so named for it's large magazine capacity. But I agree with the substance of what you're saying. 5.56 is not a "high power" rifle if that term is meant to distinguish it from other sorts of rifles. For magazine capacity, you can find 22lr magazines with larger capacities than your typical AR mag, but calling one of those high powered would be a bit silly.


The technical term for 5.56 and similar rounds is intermediate cartridge and includes 7.62×39mm, 5.56×45mm NATO, 5.45×39mm & 7.62x35mm among other cartridges. The definite from wiki is 'An intermediate cartridge is a rifle/carbine cartridge that is shorter than typical full-power battle rifle cartridges, but still has greater length than pistol/personal defense weapon cartridges.'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intermediate_cartridge


.308 has 50% more energy than 5.56, but 5.56 has 4 times the energy of 9mm so it still has plenty of power.

Also .308 is far overkill if you hunt the common small deers, people use it to hunt big game deer, for example moose.


300BLK aka 7.62x35mm or 300 whisper are a much better caliber all around for hunting than 5.56 or .308. The penetration of a .30 caliber and at 210gr+ it's very nice to shoot suppressed so you don't have to wear ear protection. It's also nice to not annoy/scare any people out on hikes a mile away.


For the downvoter, it is a myth that you need bigger than 5.56 to hunt deer, looks like hunter associations are banning it just to motivate that they get to keep their even more power guns.

For example this requirement looks like it was explicitly made to forbid 5.56mm cartridges, they are not even mentioning energy:

> The cartridge must fire a bullet with a minimum diameter of .243 inches (same as 6 mm).

http://www.eregulations.com/indiana/hunting/deer/

But for example in Sweden you are allowed to hunt the same size of deers using weapons with half the power of 5.56: 800 Joule.

Only things you need bigger bullets than 5.56 are brown bear, moose and red deer which requires 2000 Joule.

And if you think it is inhumane to kill 50kg deers using 1600 joule bullets, how many joules would you require that people use on a 700kg moose?


What you say is about deer hunting in Sweden is true. But only for Roe deer. They are quite small deers that you are allowed to hunt with shotguns and Class 2 rifles, meaning 800j at 100m. That's typically a .222 Remington. The legality of this stands out when you take the rest of Swedish hunting laws into consideration. There reason is probably historic. There is a Swedish tradition to hunt Roe Deer these types of guns and so the lawmaker kept it.

Even though Class 2 rifles are legal it's my impression that they have become less and less popular. Most people tend to use something like a 6.5x55, .308 or 30-06 since that gives you more margin of error.

Roe deer is the also largest animal you're allowed to hunt with a Class 2 rifle. The next size deer (Fallow deer) is Class 1, meaning >2000J. You can use shotguns with slugs on boar and fallow deers, but not on Roe deer. This shows that it's not always clear how the lawmaker reasons.

Hunting laws in different countries often reflect tradition and might not always have a sound base in science. In the US you are allowed to hunt with falcons, muzzleloaders and bows. That's criminal in Sweden.


In the USA poachers take deer with .22 LR

It's quiet and works just fine to kill one. Hunter associations want to cut down on deer that aren't killed quickly so they require larger ammo


The metric is whether you can segment off a portion of the gun owning populace to push your gun control platform. It's a lot easier to accomplish if your hunting community doesn't join in the fight.

You know how it goes "First they came for the socialists..."


Highly accurate.


Velocity is a big part of the equation.


All* full sized rifle rounds are supersonic and cause the cavitation the 5.56 has become infamous for (e.g. bruh it goes so fast it's basically explosive! - overheard in a cafe). The terminal effects of 5.56 on flesh are severe, but not moreso than other rifle rounds. A full sized rifle round will cause more damage and can do it from much further away.

* excepting a few that are deliberately manufactured to be subsonic, because they are niche products.


IIUC many military 5.56mm rounds are designed to fragment upon impact (against the spirit if not the letter of the Geneva convention). 7.62mm rounds are (or at least used to be) designed to hold together in one piece.


The latest military 5.56 rounds are actually steel, and designed for penetration, not fragmentation. The US army is now using M855A1(Steel core, and steel penetrating tip), which replaces the M855(jacketed steel core) What you are thinking of is the 1899 Hague Convention, not the Geneva convention. Also, the USA was not a signing country. https://www.army.mil/article/41283/army_begins_shipping_impr...


A single soldier can also carry a heck of a lot more 5.56 than 7.62

Then there's the urban legend of 5.56 being chosen because injured troops are more of a liability than dead troops


If your equation is Energy=mass*velocity^2, the 3x mass difference is much more important than the 15% velocity difference. That's why a .308 has about twice the energy.


Only when dealing with body armor. It's the reason the 45 ACP and the 12 gauge slug are still powerhouses even at relatively slow velocities, when compared to modern high velocity rounds. When body armor is taken out of the equation these rounds do as much of not more than their high velocity counterparts. You can compensate for some loss of mass with velocity but not all of it.

It's similar the the differences between horsepower and torque. To paraphrase a popular meme, Horsepower is how fast you hit the wall, torque is how much of the wall you take with you.


energy takes into account both mass and velocity. you can check the relative energies (and velocities) of common rounds on wikipedia. .308/7.62 has more energy, as the projectiles generally mass more than twice as much, and go only slightly slower.


> This comment makes it seem like you think that people against high powered rifles are unaware of the technology and capabilities of weapon systems.

They have passed laws that demonstrate that they don't understand these things. The Federal Assault Weapons Ban, for example, only banned various cosmetic features and manufacturers simply adjusted their designs and were compliant overnight.

That legislation was put together by activists, lobbyists, researchers and politicians who were motivated to save lives. That entire effort failed to identify the functional aspects of the weapons systems they were trying to regulate.

There is a massive information asymmetry between pro-gun and anti-gun, and not just in technical matters, but the pro-gun people are also encyclopedic on the law; after all, they are looking at potential jail time if they screw up.


"I also think you are wrong"

No, I'm not. Various states with some sort of assault rifle ban allow the mini 14, including California.


If you attach the wrong knicknacks to the mini-14 it can be illegal in CA too (e.g. wrong muzzle device or the A-Team style stock)


If you consider an AR-15 rifle to be high powered, let me introduce you to the AR-10, FAL, and SCAR.


FN makes incredible weapons. I grew up shooting a FAL regularly and never had issues. And after four years in the Infantry I can attest to the quality of the 240B. Elegant engineering.


An interesting foot note of history, the FAL was nearly the US battle rifle:

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/the-fn-fal-was-almost-ameri...


Find a Remington 742 with a couple of the extended 10-round magazines. It's not too far off from an M1918 BAR.

Great deer rifle, although if you're walking around lugging it, you'll get a workout.


As my instructor in the TA here in the UK said, when a recruit asked if the 5.56 was weaker than the 7.62:

"Maybe so son, but if you catch one in the arse it won't half make you're eyes water".


I wouldn't want to catch a .32 ACP or even a .22 LR in the ass. That doesn't make either round "high powered" though.

Calling an AR-15 a "high power rifle" is simply wrong. As far as rifles are concerned, 5.56x45 NATO is on the weaker end of things. Such a term can only be reasonably applied to .50 BMG and the like, with rounds like .308 in between.


I think it depends on context. It's intended to kill people and clearly it's not a low power weapon. In the context of plinking and small game hunting versus military arms it's definitely on the serious end of the spectrum.

However in the context of strictly military weapons, sure it's at the low to medium end of the range. Infantry weapons are 'small arms' in military terms.

But if we're talking about civilian firearms, I think it's reasonable to put it, and anything else specifically designed to have the ability to reliably kill humans and bigger targets at long (rifle) range, up at the dangerous end of the spectrum.


> anything else specifically designed to have the ability to reliably kill humans and bigger targets at long (rifle) range, up at the dangerous end of the spectrum.

So this would include all weapons intended for hunting anything bigger than a rabbit?

Fair enough, but this isn’t typically the argument - usually it’s presented as the AR-15 being a “weapon of war” and not needed for hunting, eliding the fact that many common hunting rifles are more powerful.


No, as I said, human or larger.

I think there's a fair argument that bolt action single shot is adequate for hunting.


Not all hunting is the same, I would not use a bolt action single shot out duck hunting (I use a 10 gauge auto with 3 shot capacity) and I would not use an AR out hog hunting. But if my primary goal was vermin control like prairie dog hunting, Coyote hunting, etc. I would absolutely choose a AR (personally it would be an AK) with a high capacity mag. For hog hunting I use a Saga-12 with a 20 round drum with a mix of slug and buck shot, which is a hell of a lot of firepower far more than any of the school shooters has ever packed. A 3 inch 00 buck is 15 30 cal rounds in a single shot, that is 300 30 cal projectiles down range in 20 trigger pulls. This much firepower is absolutely necessary if you run into a pack of wild boar. All three of these are nuance species who populations have become out of control and need hunter eradication to keep them in check.

In fact the only hunting I can think of where a bolt action suffices is stand hunting large herbivores such as deer, elk or moose. Which is exactly what most people think of when they think hunting.

I certainly would not want to go into bear country with a single shot bolt action. Not that I would hunt bear, but I would certainly have a firearm for protection.

I am not going to link to it as it may be sensitive viewing to some people but if you are not bothered by it, take a look at the YouTube videos, where ranchers are doing hog eradication via helicopter, they almost all exclusively use either the Saiga-12 or the AR-12 to do such eradication. It will give you a good perspective on how rapid the pace of eradication is and why such high capacity firepower is needed.

Take a look at coyote and prairie dog eradication as well.


Ok, but you don't _need_ an AR or a semi-auto weapon for any of that.


OK and how would you surmise that from my text. As I said take a look at the videos, packs of feral hogs, and prairie dogs can number in the 50's or more. You certainly need some form of high capacity gun that fires with every trigger pull, as after the first shot you have to make multiple quick follow up shots to eradicate the ones that are now fleeing. OK so I don't need an AR, but what would you suggest, I certainly need a rifle with a high capacity magazine, which can fire a shot with every trigger pull? Are we saying that it just needs to not look like an AR. Because it certainly has to perform like one, a Browning Automatic Rifle would suffice with a FAL high capacity magazine, but they are fairly expensive and actually do more damage than an AR (AR's are actually an under-powered gun for feral hog eradication and cause unneeded suffering), but they don't look like an AR, and look like a hunting gun. so we are back to wanting to ban cosmetics. Because there certainly is a legitimate use for high capacity magazines and semi-automatic rifles in nuance eradication. Many ranchers use an AR-10 or AK-12 for hog eradication, because they are the perfect tool.

All of my firearms are semi-autos, all of them where purchased for a specific type of hunting that I do. I actually don't own or have a need for a bolt action single shot, as I do not hunt deer, elk any large herbivores. I would love to have a .338 Lapua bolt action, but the funny part is, it would be a vanity gun purchase, as I have absolutely no need for it other than plinking long range shots. the exact thing most people accuse AR owners of purchasing their AR for.

On a personal note, I do not like the AR platform and personally think it is inferior to both the FAL and AK platforms.


Fair enough, license them to people who can demonstrate a legitimate need.


one of those legitimate needs is self defense. Which pretty much includes everyone that wants a gun for self defense and they absolutely need to match the firepower that they may come up against so they have a legitimate need for high capacity magazines and semi-automatic weapons.

Don't get me wrong I am not against regulations, but I will say I am leary of them given the absolute ignorance of the people that want to implement them.

Here are some common sense regulations that I think would be effective.

Handguns should be the most restrictive class, they are the most deadly and kill far more people that the emotionally manipulative narrative of AR mass killings. I believe everyone with even a misdemeanor should have to prove some form of reform before they can gain ownership of a handgun.

I believe the age to purchase a gun should be raised to 25. You don't see many people over 25 committing mass shootings or participating in gang violence.

I believe felons caught with a firearm should get an mandatory minimum of 20 years. They know they are not supposed to have them, they are up to bad intent just given the fact that they have one and they are the most likely to use them.

I believe if you buy a gun and provide it to another person that is not eligible to have it, you should be charged with all crimes that person commits.

I believe the instant background check should be available via a web page, where you enter your serial number and once validated that it is a valid ATF gun, you enter the purchaser info and it give you a yes or no on transfer. I believe if this is available and you transfer a gun to a person that is not eligible, that you are liable for their crimes.

I believe that a medical professional or a consensus of family members should be able to suspend your right to bear arms for a set and predetermined amount of time. If they petition a court (not the local PD). I believe that the accused should have the right to a medical tribunal to challenge said suspension.

Finally I think we should repeal the ban on automatic weapons after instating the above mentioned regulations. It's a stupid law and short of nearly point blank shooting that the mob did in the 1930's a full auto weapon is sub par to a semi-auto. I thing a removal of this ban would show that the powers that be are not out to grab the guns. Which is a valid concern given Beto's recent comments on the subject.


Deer weigh 150 lbs or more, same as humans.

Logically a rifle sized to kill a deer or larger animal will also be excellent at killing humans.

Most proposals for banning assault weapons exempt “hunting rifles”, but if your proposal is to ban all semi auto rifles larger than .22 caliber, it’s consistent although not what politicians are currently pushing on any side in the USA.


I think he's right, the average anti-gun person has no experience with rifles (or guns in general) and is mostly spooked by a tactical appearance, not by any particular cartridge or capability.


The average "anti-gun person" relies on people who do know more about abuse potential to recommend policy.

Most lethal misuse is for suicide, but it is only in the US that suicides take out an honor guard on their way down.

It might be more effective to ridicule shooters ("Dumbass peppers crowd before disposing of self") than to restrict weapons.


We've got 2700 firearms homicides per year in the US right now, its low; That includes lawful shootings by police and DGU.

The average anti-gun person is hyped up by the news and by ableist rhetoric when suicides are reported as gun violence.

Only anti-violence work will lower the homicide rate, not bans.


Firearm homicides are not systematically reported--not even "lawful" ones by police--so 2700 is the absolute lower bound.


They are to the FBI, which is where this stat is from. You might want to educate yourself to the actual problems that we have.


Those reports are voluntary. Many states do not participate.

That is their behavior although, including laws passed in california against 'assault rifles'. It's an equivalent to banning body kits and spoilers on cars because it makes them look more scary.


Based on the assault weapons bans in place in states like Maryland, that’s exactly what I think.

The Maryland State Police maintains a buyers guide for helping you find an assault rifle that’s legal within the state: https://mdsp.maryland.gov/Organization/Pages/CriminalInvesti...

There are numerous great choices!


I'm not clear on what the argument here is. Are current assault rifle regulations bad? Yes, clearly. But they didn't start out that way; most centerfire semi-automatic rifles that accepted detachable magazines would have been (properly) considered assault rifles under the original 1980s proposals. (The AR-15 itself, of course, was designed by Eugene Stoner to be a standard-issue US military rifle.)

The only thing I think we can conclude about the incoherence of firearms legislation is that they have staunch and effective opposition from firearms advocates. I do not think it is at all valid to look at them and say "legislators don't know what an assault rifle is".


If you wanted to effectively ban assault rifles, you’d pattern a ban on the energy and firing rate of the gun. Instead, the bans are based on cosmetic characteristics such as the presence of a pistol grip. That’s true even of Feinstein’s new bill: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/209...

Maybe they do know what an assault rifle is and just assume that their voters don’t.


Anything Feinstein proposes is a reflection of perceived political reality given a history of opposition from firearms advocates. It doesn't tell you anything meaningful about public policy, but rather about the limits any one politician faces, both from the firearms lobby and from uncertainty about limitations --- which Scalia explicitly said exist! --- post-Heller. Or, to put it more directly: nobody should care what Feinstein says.

Again: the notion that a weapon is an "assault weapon" due to grips, sights, and flash suppressors is an artifact of a political fight from the 1980s, one the firearms lobby won handily. The original proposals had none of that silliness. They targeted tactical rifles: short to be light, portable, and effective indoors and at close quarters, with detachable magazines to maximize sustained ability to engage targets. That is: rifles optimized for taking down multiple human targets, and for effectively engaging with humans armed with similar weapons.

I'm not even arguing that we should ban assault rifles (and that is not something I actually believe). I just find discussions about firearms policy incredibly aggravating, because they rathole in these manipulatively constructed semantic arguments; I hate to see such an Orwellian maneuver (from the 1980s, not from you!) succeed so completely.


> The original proposals had none of that silliness. They targeted tactical rifles: short to be light, portable, and effective indoors and at close quarters, with detachable magazines to maximize sustained ability to engage targets.

This doesn't match up with my understanding of the history of assault weapon legislation. Roberti-Roos in California (1989) banned weapons by name, not by how light they were or how useful they'd be in close quarters combat. I can't find any early drafts of alternative proposals. By the time the Federal Assault Weapons ban came around in 1994, this approach was exposed as unworkable because manufacturers would make minor changes, change the model number, and get around the ban list. That's how you got the feature tests, which were added to Roberti-Roos in 1999.

If you know of any early assault weapon ban proposals that banned based on functionality, I'd really appreciate some citations. I've seen more recent proposals to ban all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, but nothing that dated to the 1980s.


According to Wikipedia the 1994 law banned both by name and by functionality: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban#...


The 1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban was the source of the irrational feature tests under discussion. These feature tests originated here because California's experience showed that name bans were easily subverted. The 1994 FAWB did not contain a functionality ban aside from the feature tests only applying to semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and semiautomatic shotguns. Semiautomatic pistols and rifles with detachable magazines and semiautomatic shotguns remained legal.


Will track down! It'll be somewhere in my pile of bookmarks.


Here you go:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/101st-congress/senate-bill/386...

This was Metzenbaum's reaction to the Stockton massacre; it was covered in the NYT (both at the time and in retrospectives about how we ended up with our batty FAWB). Note that in addition to definitionally regulating AR-15s, it also bans them outright by name.

(The definitional criteria here is --- this is from a skim and from memory, so correct me but don't jump on me if I have this wrong --- any semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine that accepts more than 10 rounds).


I understand your point about current legislation being proposed against the backdrop of prior fights. I’d point out two things:

1) Gun control advocates appear to believe that assault weapons are banned here in Maryland, based on the ban on “scary looking guns.”

2) A large segment of gun control advocates—indeed, the mainstream of Democrats until last month—seek to distinguish between sporting and hunting rifles and assault weapons. That drives these bans on cosmetic features. I’d assume they genuinely believe in that dividing line, or at least believe they’ve got the votes to ban assault weapons but not hunting weapons. Do these centrists (1) not understand how guns work, or (2) assume their constituents don’t understand how guns work?


My read is:

* Gun control advocates attempted in the mid-late 1980s to ban semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines, wholesale.

* They failed and the proposal got whittled down the FAWB.

* Democratic politicians (by the time the FAWB passed, the ideological sort had completed and they were all Democrats) have ever since tried to save face by fighting a rear-guard action over cosmetic features, tacitly acknowledging that real policy changes would require political capital they were unwilling to spend.

All I'd add to that is, since Heller's overreach and (especially) Sandy Hook, the political capital equation has changed, and I don't think the FAWB capitulation is determinative going forward. Which is refreshing, however this stuff sorts itself out; aren't you exhausted by how stupid the last 15 years of gun debates have been?

If we agree that FAWB-ish regulation is stupid, and we're discussing policy futures, what do FAWB definitions matter?


>Again: the notion that a weapon is an "assault weapon" due to grips, sights, and flash suppressors is an artifact of a political fight from the 1980s, one the firearms lobby won handily.

You might want to check your facts: the federal assault weapons ban was passed in 1994 (with a 10-year sunset clause) and prohibited guns based on grips, sights, and flash suppressors.

The firearms lobby certainly didn't "win" this one; though you could consider it one of their victories that the ban wasn't renewed (which it has been in perpetuity in certain states).

>given a history of opposition from firearms advocates.

You are aware that it's the opposition to firearms advocates that continue to parrot these definitions, correct? You'd think that if they were wrong (and they are) that they'd've wisened up in 30 years, but since fundamentally this is about what voters themselves think that "assault weapons" are rather than what they actually are, they have not.


I think you've misread me. I acknowledge that the FAWB was based on those irrelevant details. My point is, that's because the original proposals were beaten back by the firearms lobby.


So you've written, multiple times, with no citation (e.g. a bill number andvrev).


See upthread. Did you think I was just making that up?


You only mentioned the Metz bill, which never went anywhere (not even one committee), so your "gun lobby" claim is odd.


>Maybe they do know what an assault rifle is and just assume that their voters don’t.

They know what their voters think an assault rifle is.

And what their voters think assault rifles are is anything painted black and lacking a "traditional" appearance, which is why rifles identical in mechanical function to "assault rifles" tend not to be banned by the laws these politicians think their voters want.

Ignorance of this voting bloc about the way guns work (and the qualities that make one better suited to a particular task than another) acts in the favor of those who are against their prohibition. Being on national news and saying a barrel shroud is a "shoulder thing that goes up" does not help endear people who know that's false to your cause.


>The only thing I think we can conclude about the incoherence of firearms legislation is that they have staunch and effective opposition from firearms advocates. I do not think it is at all valid to look at them and say "legislators don't know what an assault rifle is".

Well, if we're calling AR-15s and centerfire semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines assault rifles, then we don't know what assault rifles are. The term has been in use since WW2 and refers to selective fire rifles with intermediate cartridges and detachable magazines.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean about the original 1980s proposals - afaik the only major 1980s attempts at legislation occurred after a school shooting in California, had limited opposition in California, and was enacted into law. It included classifying rifles as assault weapons if they had detachable magazines plus at least one of other relatively features, such as pistol grips, barrel shrouds, folding/telescoping stocks, etc. Most of those features have limited to no impact on the ability of the rifle to be a deadly weapon.

>(The AR-15 itself, of course, was designed by Eugene Stoner to be a standard-issue US military rifle.)

The ArmaLite AR-15 designed for the military was a select fire rifle that ultimately became the M16. The trademark was sold to Colt. Colt later used that trademark in producing the semi-automatic civilian version. An AR-15 or AR-15 clone a civilian can buy is not the same AR-15 that Eugene Stoner designed.

As best as I can tell, most legislators have no idea what assault weapons are, what assault rifles are, or much at all about guns in general. And this includes those on the conservative side. I'm pro gun control, if we can find a way to effectively do it, but if we're actually concerned about human life, assault weapons don't even make sense to be the focus. Over 60% of homicides committed with firearms are done with handguns. Rifles only make up about 4%. Mass shootings are scary, and make news, and are terrifying. But they're responsible for a tiny fraction of gun related homicides, and the focus on rifles (and particularly features that are more related to appearance than efficacy in being deadly weapons) screams to me that it is almost entirely a political play and less related to any real concern over the healthy and safety of those living in America.


One of the interesting things too is the fact that in WW1 & WW2, we had a thing called a "Battle Rifle" and these were higher calibers, such as .30-06, .303, .30-30, etc...

These "Battle Rifles" were able to reach out to thousand plus yards and still be effective for a regular grunt. These rifles and their calibers were meant for killing, taking body parts off, creating gaping wound channels.

I don't remember exactly when, yet sometime after WW2, the US Forces surveyed and found that they weren't engaging targets 800-1,000 yards out. Instead, they were engaging targets in the 50-300 range.

The US military decided that they wanted to carry more ammunition and bring the engagement zone down from the 800-1k to the 250ish. This resulted in a smaller cartridge (.223/5.56). The strategy moved to taking the enemy combatant out of the fight by injuring them instead of killing them. This had a huge advantage in their eyes... rather than the main goal of killing, they wanted to injure. By injuring, it took them out of the fight, but it also took precious resources away from the enemy, which now has to care for their injured comrade.

Why don't we hear anything about the larger calibers, which are meant to be truly destructive?

I loved your write up, cthalupa and i find it a shame that people, when discussing topics such as this, don't even know about the items they're arguing about.


This "5.56 is designed to injure not to kill" thing is another gun policy canard. What's true is that the Army concluded that the ability to carry more rounds was more important than the ability to hit at a long distance, and that in a military tactical situation, any non-trivial rifle injury is sufficient to neutralize. It is absolutely not in reality the case that an AR-15 is a less lethal weapon than a handgun.

And, of course, injuries from rifle rounds are not the same as injuries from handguns, as this trauma doctor ably explains:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/02/what-i-...

Unfortunately, that's not the only narrative you can get on rifle injuries from civilian trauma doctors; there's also the famous (and amazing, excellent) narrative from the doctor that coordinated an ER receiving mass numbers of patients in Las Vegas after the Mandalay shooting.


Not sure wounding vs. killing was the big differentiator. As tptacek mentions, any non-trivial rifle-calibre hit is incapacitating. What determines whether the victim dies immediately or has a chance to survive depends on where it hits.

The big things, as you mention, was that real life engagement ranges were considerably shorter, so you could sacrifice long-range performance and gain lighter weight (allowing the soldier to carry more rounds) and making the thing somewhat controllable on full auto for close-quarter fighting.

The Germans figured this out, and towards the end of WWII they fielded the "Sturmgewehr 44 (Stg 44)". This fired a shortened version of their standard rifle calibre round (7.92mm). The Soviets did the same with their Ak-47 family. The price of keeping the full rifle caliber but slow round (around 700 m/s muzzle velocity) was poor ballistics and armor penetration.

Later on the US went to the other extreme with a very small caliber firing at higher than usual rifle muzzle velocity (almost 1000 m/s).

Ironically there was research going back all the way to pre-WWII times suggesting the "optimal" infantry caliber would be somewhere in the 6-7mm range with muzzle velocity in the "standard" range for rifles (around 800-900 m/s).


You might find "The Gun" but CJ Chivers very interesting. It covers the history you're talking about accurately and in depth.


Incidentally, the National Firearms Act (1934) was originally meant to ban handguns. The current regulation on short barrel rifles and short barrel shotguns are vestigial remnants of this intent (if you ban handguns, it only makes sense to also ban somebody chopping up their shotgun to make it handgun-sized.)


Literally the one difference between the "official", Hitler-approved definition of "assault rifle" and an AR-15 is that the AR-15 doesn't support selective fire†. As, like, literally any time spent in gun and military nerd forums or "I was in combat ask me anything" AMAs will quickly inform you, the importance of more-than-semiautomatic fire in actual military operations is highly contested.

Do I concede that the AR-15 is thus not an according-to-Hoyle assault rifle? Sure, but only Hoyle cares.

The reason this debate exists at all is because of "assault weapons bans". But the semantic argument is, of course, circular: it matters if a weapon is an "assault weapon" because we might ban assault weapons, and a weapon is an "assault weapon" if we might ban it. To reasonably discuss them as they pertain to public policy --- which is what this subthread is doing --- you have to engage on the merits. The appeal to definitions is a smokescreen.

For the advanced Facebook version of this discussion, try making an argument about the legitimacy of binary triggers; is an AR-15 fitted with a binary trigger group an "assault rifle"? Well. Let me tell you something about fully automatic fire: it occurs only when you eject multiple rounds with a single depression of the trigger, and also, with a binary trigger, you have you depress the trigger a certain way to "select" rapid fire, which doesn't really count as "selection", so...


> Literally the one difference between the "official", Hitler-approved definition of "assault rifle" and an AR-15 is that the AR-15 doesn't support selective fire.

In case anybody isn't clear on what that means: one is a machine gun and the other is not.


I mean, sort of? If we're going this deep into the weeds on terminology, a machine gun is optimized for sustained fully automatic fire; in particular, it's heavier and doesn't become impossible to handle due to heat after prolonged firing. Automatic rifles are not generally machine guns.

"Selective fire" is the gun nerd way of saying "capable of fully automatic fire".


All automatic rifles fall into the categories under machine guns and are thus banned as machine guns. A select fire carbine battle rifle such as the Uzi or the MP5 are in fact classified as sub-machine guns. The term machine gun denotes a firearm that can fire more than a single round with a single trigger pull. There are pistols that are classified as machine guns.


  Automatic rifles are not generally machine guns.
Words no longer mean things, then.


I don't think we can conclude that at all. Firearms advocates have loudly and coherently pointed out just how nonsensical this all is to anyone who'd listen. It's your country's gun control activists who think these rules make sense. They're the ones who grab pictures of scary-looking black .22LR bolt-action rifles and write tweets about how terrible it is that 18 year olds can buy them, then get their media pals to smear their opponents for mocking this. They're the ones who contrast those scary guns with the old-fashioned wooden rifles their relatives used to use for hunting. They're the ones who blame the repeal of that nonsensical assault weapon ban for mass shootings. They're the ones who outright take pride in their ignorance about guns, to the point that I'm not sure it's possible to be accepted as pro-gun-control if you actually care about whether what you're saying is accurate. American gun control laws are the way they are because of the American gun control movement.


You're not really saying anything here. Is your point that we shouldn't regulate weapons based on their color or the material their stocks are made out of? I obviously agree with you.

The subtext here is yet another Firearms Policy Canard, which is that anyone who thinks semi-automatic rifles should be regulated must solely be reacting to the color of the weapon, and clearly doesn't know that there are farmers that rely on them to clear out smallish animals or whatever. Sorry, I get that most people don't take any time to research these topics, but they're in fact not that complicated (these are devices that were designed to be broken down and reassembled in a jungle during monsoon rains by teenagers), and I'm not cowed.


My point is that we shouldn't regulate weapons based on anything the US gun control movement ever says. Not because guns are too hard for anyone but gun nuts to understand, but because the whole shebang is built on a foundation of willful, weaponised ignorance.

I don't think it's possible to patch up those policy demands and make them sensible either. The whole case for why rifle regulation is more important than handgun regulation and should be stricter than it - one of the key pillars of the current US gun control movement - relies heavily on the imaginary distinction between good hunting rifles and evil human-hunting rifles. Without that distinction, it's hard to justify the position that those guns should be banned or tightly restricted but not the handguns used by the armed guards protecting all the Hollywood celebrities cheering on gun control as anything but urban-vs-rural cultural warfare. Handguns cause a huge amount of death and misery in the US right now compared to rifles. (Of course, there's also some constitutional issues with taking those away... but that's another problem entirely.)


I don't think it's reasonable to base public policy on a caricature of one faction. Issues are resolvable on their merits. You can find noisy factions on every issue saying stupid things; we can't freeze up as a result, generating a sort of inadvertent heckler's veto.

But actually none of this matters on HN. The interesting question HN is what the policy should be, not what the dumbest people in America advocating for that policy are saying. We're not actually going to impact gun policy at all here, so we might as well free ourselves to discuss it rationally.


If we were discussing it rationally, we would have to acknowledge that the firearms industry loves bans on features and accessories, because they get to increase sales through replacements, new innovations and fear.

Announce a ban on pink magazines to take effect at the beginning of next year, and sales of pink magazines will rise; American Rifleman will run articles comparing the effectiveness of various color choices; Guns and Ammo will have a feature on 20 pink magazines you should buy before the ban; and sales of colored tape will rise in two different ways: pink tape will be applied to drab magazines -- "less than 35% coverage, so it's legal!" -- and black tape will be applied to pink magazines -- "More than 80% coverage when inserted, so it's legal, but when we finally defeat the irrational ban, you can take it right off!"


I don't understand how the marketing goals of firearms manufacturers should influence firearms policy.


Should or does? I'm not arguing that they should, only that they do.


Legislators attempting to talk about banning "Assault Weapons" come across about as intelligent and informed as those who want to ban violent video games. Neanderthals to those who know whats going on, saints to those who are blindly stomaching hype and propaganda.

California has a notably terrible nitwit (Deleon) who has made hilarious public gaffes in his discriptions of firearm technology. Feinstein notably said -> “We have laws that prohibit hunting ducks with more than 3 rounds, yet it’s legal to hunt humans with 30 round magazines”.

These are not informed people, they're partisan politicians trying to pit people against eachother.


Ooh, I didn't know that revolving shotguns were a thing. Cool engineering.

https://www.alloutdoor.com/2019/02/26/becker-blow-forward-re...

I'd like to see these guns in more video games. Would be funny to have a game where "hard" mode is playing left handed, with shell being ejected into the FOV.


Many games already throw brass across the screen. To the extent that mirroring weapons or using lefty versions right handed is a thing. It "looks cool."


Those bans have been drastically watered down by the gun lobbies. Those advocating bans on assault style weapons want much, much more included in them.


> Armalite AR-10 Not Banned Not Regulated by Statute 10/1/2013

I have to say, that bit is pretty funny.

(The Armalite AR-15 is of course the gun that everyone seems to go crazy over, and the AR-10 is essentially an AR-15 in 7.62 instead of 5.56)


Are you sure AR-10 isn't .308 ? AK-47 and the SKS are 7.62x39


7.62x51mm NATO and .308 Winchester are essentially the same cartridge. [0] It's basically the same situation as 5.56×45mm NATO vs .223 Remington.

There's a lot of ~7.62mm cartridges out there, as a carryover from when people used imperial units. (It's basically .30 inches) [1]

0: https://www.shootingillustrated.com/articles/2018/8/19/308-w...

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7.62_mm_caliber


As a note when most people say 7.62 it is generally short hand for saying 7.62 NATO. They usually specify if it is one of the other 7.62 rounds. As well the .308 is a similarly cartridge round and 7.62 NATO rounds can be shot from a .308 gun but 7.62 NATO guns should not be used to shoot .308 rounds as the .308 has a slightly higher chamber pressure.


I believe that it might be you who is incorrect if you mistakenly believe that something chambered in .223 is a “high powered rifle”.


> There is no one brand of AR-15.

I see what you're saying but a better way of saying it would be: 'Armalite is the brand, but it's like IBM - there are many IBM-compatible models'


> Then just go and buy various parts kits or buy the parts individually to customize to you own needs.

OK curious: examples of what these, "needs" are?


Well for example, say you like to try shooting steel targets at 600 yards. That’s very hard to do. You might want a setup with a longer, say 20”, barrel. The scope you choose would likely be very heavy and expensive. You might select a very heavy bipod or simply use sand bags. You probably aren’t selecting a foregrip, accessory rails and flashlight attachments. Magazine capacity is moot. You’re likely going to want an actual high-powered caliber since the normal AR15 is NOT high powered despite what the news tells you and despite what your emotions tell you when you see one. In this case .308 would be much better but then the gun is termed an AR-10 but it’s basically the same thing.

Now on the other hand you like to enter 3-gun competitions where you’re running to different positions within an obstacle course like setup. (This is essentially just video gaming without the video). In this scenario you’re going to want a very light gun, so no big heavy optics. Instead people opt for these neat little red-dot sites. You may think they’re lasers like you see in the movies but that’s not it. It’s a tube you look through and there is a virtual red dot superimposed on the scene. They’re really neat.

Then you might choose between gas operated feeding and piston driven. Cost, cleaning requirements, reliability all come into play with this choice.

The list goes on and on really. These may not sound like “needs” and you’re right they’re not. This is just a hobby where go out an most commonly shoot paper or steel targets. But it’s a need in the same way women “need” a particular new shoe, or a gamer “needs” a new video card.

Also I hope this explains why people own many guns. Because once you build one for in particular style, you then start wanting one for a different style. Again, think women and shoes. Why do women have many pairs? For precisely the same reason people have many guns.


>Again, think women and shoes. Why do women have many pairs? For precisely the same reason people have many guns.

I understand the point you are making, but I think you could make a much better and less sexist analogy.


> Also I hope this explains why people own many guns. Because once you build one for in particular style, you then start wanting one for a different style. Again, think women and shoes. Why do women have many pairs? For precisely the same reason people have many guns.

It's true that women purchase many styles of shoes, car-heads collect different types of cars, computer nerds collect various laptops tablets desktops, etc. But no one buys three toasters or lawnmowers for different uses. What separates these? I'd suggest that there is an implicit status or power conveyed through these collectibles. In particular, gun owners often see guns as a proxy for protecting their own freedom, just like a watch collector may appreciate the status conveyed by a rare luxury. However, barring the zombie apocalypse, the connection between gun ownership and freedom is false.


I’d honestly have to go count to be sure, but I would guess I own between 15 and 20 ARs in various configurations.

> But no one buys three toasters or lawnmowers for different uses.

I don’t think that’s true at all, at least not for me.

A few years ago I took at interest in fountain pens. I have over 200 of them, and regularly rotate between a couple of dozen of my favorites.

Last year ukuleles piqued my interest. I have seven of them on the walls of my office.


> I would guess I own between 15 and 20 ARs in various configurations.

>> But no one buys three toasters or lawnmowers for different uses.

> I don’t think that’s true at all, at least not for me. A few years ago I took at interest in fountain pens.

You've made my point perfectly. Fountain pens are another good example of collectibles that convey some social value. A person who collects fountain pens is often perceived as someone who values writing and literature. Someone who collects musical instruments is often perceived as being musically literate.

Similarly, owning guns signals self-reliance and power.

The problem is that all of these social signifiers are pretty much false and made up. You can own hundreds of pens and be illiterate, you can own many instruments and no know a thing about music, just as you can own many guns and still be completely controlled by your government, bank, or even employer.

These social signals may all be false, but only the guns are actually harmful to others.



I sense an undercurrent of incredulity here. The AR-15 accessory market shares some similarities to the after market PC market. The kind of people who play dress-up with their guns remind me a lot of the people who customize their workstations. Sometimes it's for a "need", sometimes it's for a "personal aesthetic" and sometimes it's just a hobby.

One of these days I'll go through the process of getting a threaded barrel and suppressor for my AR so I can shoot on my rural land without ear protection. You need subsonic ammo to truly make it ear safe, and 5.56 is kind of a bad sub sonic round (not enough mass, has a tendency to key hole on earth), so maybe I get a .300BLK upper receiver.That means a new bolt carrier group. Maybe I'll get one of those slick nitrile ones, or the bronze coated one so it looks cooler.. I already have a 1911, so I'll probably get a .45ACP upper instead of the .300BLK. Ammo is also cheaper.

Maybe I get rich and buy a drop in auto sear so I can turn ammo into noise. Maybe I'm a weirdo nerd so I buy one of those rail mounted chainsaws to help me trim the hedges. I like the color purple so I'm probably going to get one of those acrylic transparent lower receivers. Those are cool. Giselle triggers are nice.

There's different barrel lengths for different applications. A home defense rifle might have a shorter barrel, maybe a folding stock, tactical light and a red dot sight. Do I use a holographic sight like an eotech, or do I use an aim-point? Aimpoints can last like eons on a single battery, but eotechs are really easy to use.. I could leave an aim-point ON next to my bed for 5 years and it wouldn't run out of juice. That's one less button to press if I needed to use it in the night.

I like a bipod, longer barrel, and a 2x optic if I want to use it for plinking. What style of sling do I get, if any? Single point, double point? Probably depends on my barrel length and what I've practiced with.

Maybe I need special magazines because of preferences or local ordinances. We could debate direct impingement vs. piston gas systems like you might hear two people discussing intel vs. AMD.

I've got these small boulders that have really been bugging me. I've hit them with a sledgehammer for a few hours, but they're indestructible! I could buy a rock drill, or maybe masonry disks for my angle grinder.. I'm trying to use this "problem" to justify purchasing a .50BMG upper receiver. Wholly impractical, yeah.. but I could blow up my boulders from the comfort of my deck a mile away. Kaboom!

If you're left handed/left-eye dominant you might want the ejection port on the left side and an ambidextrous safety. Once cool thing about the AR is that the charging handle is ambi by design.

I could go on, but does this add any context to what someone's "needs" might be?


Pardon my ignorance, but aren't suppressors illegal?


Suppressors are federally regulated by the NFA, but can be bought with a $200 tax stamp and some paperwork. Only a minority of states ban them.


“Safe”


Colt sells a model named 'Expanse' which is at the $600 pricepoint. It's the $350/400 rifles they are having trouble competing against


a 1k AR-15? The Smith&Wesson M&P Sport can be had for ~500 USD


$2500 is not uncommon.


turk73, you are shadowbanned. Your comments only only show up if someone is logged in, and has showdead enabled.


I could see his comment, logged out or logged in (i have showdead the default of off)

(maybe he got fixed in last 3 hours?)


It got fixed.


Does HN actually shadowban people?


yes, if logged in you can configure your settings to view shadowbanned comments.


I bought one Colt once. It ended up being a wobbly POS that I overpaid for based on the rollmark. It had that ridiculous metal block blind pinned into the lower so you couldn't install a sear or some such idea. I wasn't going to anyways, but if I was going to a milling machine would take care of it. Dumb. What it did do was make installing a decent aftermarket trigger nearly impossible. Sold it, never looked back.

The AR design is a commodity these days. Colt is and has been an also-ran in that market that had all the advantages going in and their management blew it royally time and time again. I'm sure their .gov contracts don't do any better. America is plagued with bad management in every single industry and vertical market. Horrible minds run this country.

Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but Colt has 'exited the civilian market' several times in the past only to 're-enter the civilian market' every time they ran out of military contracts. So don't imagine for a second that this is some great win for gun control or some kind of headwind when it is just Colt being Colt--utterly ineffective at their one job, which is to make money.

You want to know who the biggest risk is for getting guns into the wrong hands? It's not the American people, it is our own government!


I find all this talk of mass shootings and gun control pointless.

There are shootings only because shooting is currently most cost-effective. It is not that people want to shoot people, it's that they want to kill people. That is the problem, and banning one single way of killing can not solve this.

There are so many other ways. I sometimes wonder why all those shooters bother to walk and shoot instead of just blowing it all up or burning it all down.

That's what you'll get by banning guns - same idiots but using propane or anfo. Is that what you really want? An idiot with a gun can at least be stopped. You can't stop an explosion or a fire-induced panic.

Or maybe let's focus on why people start wanting to kill people?


The rebuttal to your argument is that it takes less effort to insert a magazine and pull a trigger than it does to craft explosives. For those who resort to blades because they can't access rifles, that's still a better outcome since projected fatalities will certainly be lower.

I agree that there is a deeper problem that should be addressed, but there's no reason you can't soften the current burden.


Takes less effort than chaining the doors and lighting the place on fire? That is the method du jour among the Mexican crime syndicates right now for mass killing other gangs in bars and safe houses. It's just not Tatic-cool, which is what these US kid mass shooters are going for.


This.

Propane is too hi-tech, my fault, sorry. It'll all burn and kill everyone quite nicely just with the air.

What the fuck is going on? Why no one ever tries to investigate the root causes?


If anything, it's simpler and cheaper than learning to operate a gun. But that's beside the point.

The point being that no one tries to fix the problem. Okay, ban guns all the way to Tannhäuser Gate, you'll just see some alternative creativity.


Are you serious? Using a gun is so simple it's become a catchphrase ("point and shoot") for trivially easy-to-operate things.

The thing is, people in their right mind don't often make considered decisions to kill people, but people sure as hell flip out and in that moment want to kill someone. If it takes more than 10 seconds to obtain the means to kill someone, the would-be murderer probably has time to calm down and rethink their plans.


If you would take some time to study how mass shootings come to be and, well, let's say, unweil, you will see that it takes a) a long period to mentally prepare for, b) a comparable period to prepare materiel for and c) a willingness to execute that is rooted in the above.

This misconception that mass shootings are in a big part something impulsive is a symptom of.. well.. ignorance.

Can someone at last investigate the actual problem? You can't control thoughts by administrative or legislative action, how hard can this be to grasp??

edit: tpyeos


There was a shooting in my neighborhood just 12 hours ago. 6 in the hospital, 2 in critical condition, 1 confirmed deceased. Outside of the 'psych-it-up-to-light-it-up' mentality the shooter(s) would've needed to garner in the minutes before, was this not impulsive?

https://www.popville.com/2019/09/confirmed-shooting-in-colum...


I'm sorry for whoever got shot there. Really.

But still I think it wasn't an impulse. Or, more likely the impulse was a manifestation of some deeper problem. The one everyone either couldn't see or chose to neglect. But it was there for a long long time.

All in all I wish everyone still alive would get out of this fine. Meanwhile, I have to go fetch a beretta 92fs so if such shit decides to happen to me, I at least will have a chance to do something. And do it in style.


There aren't mass murders around the world to the same extent.

So either something is fundamentally flawed with Americans as a people or maybe it's just that other countries make it hard to obtain automatic machine guns.

And no. Banning guns which we did in Australia does not result in people trying to kill you using propane.


> make it hard to obtain automatic machine guns.

We're not talking about automatic machine guns here. It's already pretty darn hard to get one here in the US. It takes about an 8-12 month federal background check and upwards of $10,000 to get one of those. The last time one was used in a major crime was in the 1997 North Hollywood Shootout (although those were illegally converted, and not legally obtained).

We're talking about semi-automatic "civilian" firearms. The truth of the matter is that the civilian AR-15 is no more deadly than any other semi-automatic rifle with a detachable magazine. You need to heavily restrict all such firearms to have any effect at all. Banning just the AR-15 simply because it is used the most is like trying to stop soda usage by banning Coke simply because it is the most widely drunk soda. Everybody will just drink Pepsi and nothing is solved.

Take as an example the 2011 Norway mass shooting. The perpetrator tried to get an AK-47 to commit his murders, but was denied because of the strict laws against "assault weapons" in Europe. So instead he bought a Mini-14 "ranch rifle" and killed 69 people with it.


Well, but do you believe you would have had more people trying to kill you if you didn't ban them? I seriously doubt this.


I agree, there is so much stupidity in banning guns (even more banning a single model). Those are not shootings, those are suicides. It's just that angry men prefer to die taking some people with them. They will find another way to kill themselves, maybe more dangerous.

They are not fixing the root causes, just the symptoms.


It might be just fixing the symptoms of the problem for the individual, but on a society level it can solve the problem. See e.g. decline in mass shootings in Australia after auto rifle ban, and relative scarcity of mass shootings in other developed countries


No need for propane. One can just use their massive SUV and drive into a crowd. Guess what? That's actually what happens in countries with less guns. But that also happens less frequently. Maybe that says something.


A SUV costs what? Tens of thousands of dollars likely. Besides the efficiency sucks.

A gun+ammo costs hundreds.

A propane can costs idk what, because they cost more to get rid of than to buy one. Its refill is what, 30 bucks for a 13 gal one maybe? 13 gal is quite enough to demolish a building.

Countries that have less killings have that not because they have ridiculous restrictions on guns. It's because people there _FOR_SOME_OTHER_REASON_ do not wish to kill other people.

If nothing is done about that and instead guns are just banned, then it would be something else that people will keep dying to.

This is what I was talking about.


> A SUV costs what? Tens of thousands of dollars likely.

A beat up one for less than $1000 works just as well as a new one for this purpose.


a) It was an incredibly rare event. Nothing like mass shootings in the USA.

b) Those have largely been stopped by cities putting up metal bollards.


Mass shootings are not exceptionally common in the US, contrary to unquantified media portrayal:

https://crimeresearch.org/2015/06/comparing-death-rates-from...


The point of making tools that efficiently kill humans restricted, illegal, or unavailable without demonstrating some level of intent like searching for explosive plans or components is not to 100% stop deaths.

But one cannot kill as many with a knife as they can with a firearm. Decreasing the impact of the attack goes a long way to preventing casualties.

However, we may gain more as a society by allowing the CDC to research gun related deaths, connections to mental illness or other behaviors, and properly enforcing or expanding the reach of existing regulations and systems.

Of course I'm forgetting which shootings but several were conducted by individuals who should not have had access to a firearm (poorly secured, stolen, taken from family, etc) or would have failed a background check if required (in addition to a waiting period) or if information was passed on as required by law would have failed the background check that was run (military failing to log domestic abuse and other complaints in the system per regulation).

We have many tools in place, they are just under funded, under utilized, not used at all in many places, or maliciously circumvented like blocking funding to the CDC for necessary research to educate policy.


> It is not that people want to shoot people, it's that they want to kill people. That is the problem, and banning one single way of killing can not solve this.

If there is one single way of killing people that is far-and-away more effective than the others and also far-and-away cheaper and more accessible than the others, then maybe, just MAYBE, controlling that one way will help a little in controlling the rate at which people kill people.


Like I said, shooting guns is neither the only one, nor even now the most effective way to kill people.

You have to address the root of the problem. Why people decide to kill people, not what tools they use for that.


False dichotomy. You need to do both. You guys have a mass shooting every week. Not a mass murder-by-whatever-means. A mass shooting. If it was harder to get a shooter then there would be less shooting and this is not a difficult concept to understand.


What is a difficult concept to understand is the point of shifting the mass killings to another method which is about as easy, unless you're just coming it from an exploitative gun control position.


What is the real significance here? They are a single manufacturer of a standardized style.

Is this part of a trend of lower sales? Some kind of non-business motivation (politics, pressure, etc.)? Or just a business with a product that doesn't compete?

I'm not sure there's a lot of intellectual content here either. The AR-15 itself isn't much different from other rifles except it looks scarier. Which is largely because it's made of modern, mass-producible materials rather than wood.


It's about as significant as IBM dropping out of the PC market because Dell,etc are preferred by consumers. The platform is standardized and the vast majority of AR-15s the public own have no Colt parts in them.

Colt are a big name, but from the perspective of the home consumer they are no longer significant.


Gun sales are up: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/gun-sa.... There has been a bit of a slump in 2017-2018 as the industry corrects for what was a huge boom during the Obama years, but gun sales are still up dramatically over the 21st century to date.


Demand for AR-15s is high. Demand for Colt AR-15s is not.

Colt makes a perfectly ok rifle, but the premium they charge is not justified, and buyers know it.


> Is this part of a trend of lower sales?

"Colt Firearms will be ending its production and sales of its AR-15 rifles due to lack of public demand amid excess market capacity."

It's the first thing on the page...


That's ambiguous about whether demand for all AR-15s is down, or just for Colt's AR-15. Seems like just Colt's, which means this doesn't seem to matter a lot.


That's ambiguous about whether demand for all AR-15s is down

Thanks to Robert Francis O’Rourke AR-15 sales overall are having another record month.


It was explained that Colt is too expensive on a competitive AR-15 market.


It's not Colt branded AR-15's most people are buying. It's the AR-15 platform that allows people to build a decent AR-15 for 300 bucks that is making them so prolific.


I keep hearing $300, where? This does not seem to exist outside of airsoft...


Prices have been slowly creeping back up over the last few months, but the usual suspects are companies like Palmetto State Armory (who recently had a $280 kit before shipping, tax and transfer fees) and Del-Ton.


Palmetto State Armory is specifically what I was referencing, but last time I looked was also 3 years ago


Buy an anderson lower and a cheap steel barrel palmetto arms upper. Getting it below $300 can usually only be done when parts go on sale, but it can be done.


Thats kinda my point, its not a gun, its parts. You can't walk into a store with $300 bucks and walk out with a useful thing.


No one said it was. This is Colt saying that the cheaper ones are in such high supply that their expensive ones are not worth producing for civilians.


Fair point. I was mostly anticipating people's reaction to it thinking people would correlate it with noticeably less AR-15's.


I expect they could lower price and remain profitable for the civilian market, however they would then be required to pass along that lower price to the government. Now they’re likely locked into government procurement contracts and they’re able to sell at a high margin. Net profit would decrease by lowering price.


I don't think they could compete in Civ market.

There are far too many AR-like specialty co's out there (DPMS Panther Arms, Rock River Arms etc). - and these have successfully filled both the consumer-grade AR, as well as govt. contracts to lesser agencies. [1,2]

E.g. I believe Rock River mfgr's the DEA's standard carbine, or did for a time.

1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DPMS_Panther_Arms

2 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_River_Arms


The DPMS prices are incredibly low. I’ve seen a DPMS AR for $399, almost 1/3 the cost of a Colt.


This is an interesting argument. I'd imagine in this field that gov contracts are more lucrative than civilian sales.


The government market has completely different requirements. They also don't purchase any ARs.


The govt doesn’t purchase ARs? Here’s a contract for a purchase of LE6945 http://documents.tempe.gov/sirepub/cache/1207/ytiv0db3do4thr...

A civilian (in most US states) can own one of these, but it does require a tax stamp as the barrel is below the standard length. There’s one for sale on gunbroker right now.


If you're going to drop $1k, you can probably do better than colt.


"Committed to the 2nd amendment"

No, you're committed to make money


Too bad. They make beautiful rifles.

Many people, like myself, bought a cheaper mass-market AR-15 instead. I spent the money I saved on ammunition. :)


Not particularly familiar with US market but the internet lead me to believe large chunks of it are 3D printable anyway?


The single part that the US Government considers the 'core' of the AR-15 rifle can be manufactured easily with a decent CNC machine out of aluminum. You could possibly print it with a very sophisticated 3D printer using advances materials.

Interestingly enough, depending on if a government-enforced "buy-back" scheme takes place it may be a wise investment to be able to manufacture this basic part in bulk.


There are a number of companies producing unfinished lower receivers that are then sold to consumers to complete the machining on. Lowers that are only 80% complete are not classified as “firearms” and thus require no FFL transfer. While a CNC machine is ideal, the kits can be completed using tools as rudimentary as a drill press or a router. Polymer lowers are also available and can be completed using a something as simple as a dremel tool. 80% Glock lowers are also available and are quite popular. Firearms made in this way are perfectly legal though they cannot be sold or transferred as they have no serial number.


You can register the receiver with the ATF and receive a transferable serial number. IIRC you have to have possessed the receiver for a certain amount of time and you can only transfer so many per year before they consider you to be a gun manufacturer.


3D printing the lower receiver for net gains in a government buy-back program is a hilarious idea.


You don't even need to do that for gun buybacks. People routinely make firearms with $10 of homedepot parts and turn them in. In theory you could turn in a "Zero Percent Lower" which are about $20 or so...


I suspect they'll fail to see the humour in it after you show up with the second box full


The only buy back I have to reference is Australia's and it wasn't very much money.


I read an article saying that Australia bought back almost 1 million guns and imported more than a million. That was a good waste of tax money, practically doing a refresh of the private owner gun stocks with tax money.


The part you’d want to print is the lower receiver - that’s the part that’s legally classed as a firearm, with a serial number and regulated transfer, rather than firearm parts.


In the US the lower receiver of the AR-15 platform is considered the firearm. You can buy 80% lowers for glocks, 1911's and ARs without having to do a Federal Firearms Transfer and then mill them yourself or if you want to be really fancy get a ghostgunner. https://ghostgunner.net/featured-products/


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