In an effort to be reassuring, gun control advocates promise us that they’re not coming for our guns.  They only want to ban “assault weapons” or “military style guns.”  But press them on the meaning of these terms, and you’ll find either ignorance about firearms or an agenda the activists want to keep hidden.

One infamous example of this is a tweet from Shannon Watts of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America declaring that an assault weapon “enables humans to shoot 10 rounds in one minute.”  This is an absurd claim, as anyone who has a minimum of experience with firearms or knowledge of their history will recognize.  Recall the Mad Minute challenge with bolt-action SMLE rifles, at least fifteen rounds on target at three hundred yards in sixty seconds.  The record was thirty-six shots in the period by Sergeant Major Jesse Wallingford, though Sergeant Instructor Alfred Snoxall may have bested that by two rounds.  Or if you think that these brass cartridge guns are a passing fad, carry some preloaded cylinders with you, and your cap-and-ball revolver will qualify as an assault weapon, according to Watts, as Clint Eastwood’s character demonstrates in Pale Rider.

But the disingenuous nature of the term “assault weapon” is well-known.  Perhaps, though, we can find a difference between firearms that ordinary citizens would use and the weapons appropriate to the military.

“The disingenuous nature of the term “assault weapon” is well-known”

Many nations have bans on calibers that are used by their militaries.  While this could be a standard that could work, at least with regard to offering a consistent definition, it’s easily circumvented.  Consider the 9x21mm IMI round used to get around bans on 9mm Luger in some European countries.  And here in the United States, such an effort would fight against the reality that civilians use a lot of rounds of .30-06 for hunting, among many other popular calibers, for all manner of legitimate applications.

What if “military style gun” means any model of firearm that’s been used by militaries?  I often ask gun control advocates to name any gun that hasn’t been used in war.  A innocuous .22 target pistol?  No, as the High Standard HD shows.  What was one name of those popular .38 Special Smith & Wesson revolvers?  Yes, the Military and Police model.  If you carry a .45-70 in bear country, you’re in trouble under this scheme, since the cartridge’s full name includes “Government” in the title and its history.

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