Thursday, May 6, 2010

More on terrorists and guns

Oh, for fuck's sake...

The Times Square "bomber"'s gun? The one Bloomberg is trying to inflate into a pressing need for more useless gun laws? It was a pistol carbine:

It is fearsome looking, a carbine hybrid of a pistol and a long gun with a mouthful of a name: the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000. Mr. Shahzad bought it, new, in March for about $400. It was found in the Isuzu Trooper that he drove to Kennedy International Airport on Monday, loaded, with multiple extra clips.

Because the Kel-Tec Sub Rifle 2000 is classified as a rifle, it required no permit, as pistols do in Connecticut. But with its folding stock, hand grip and appetite for pistol ammunition and not rifle ammunition, the Kel-Tec was about as close as one could get to a pistol that is not technically one.

They're trying to make this sound extra-scary, as if it's the best of both rifles and pistols. In fact, pistol carbines are easily the worst of both worlds. They have all the low power of handgun rounds with the lack of concealability (and legally mandated minimum barrel length) of rifles. They're niche guns primarily valuable to people who have trouble accurately aiming home-defense handguns. If we really want to try to rate guns on a scale of dangerousnessness, pistol carbines would be near the bottom, probably just over double-barreled shotguns.

The NYT is trying to imply that there's a "loophole" because this rifle uses handgun cartridges. This is not an advantage. The implication, insanely, is that this gun would be less dangerous if it used a rifle cartridge that's twice as powerful.


  1. I just hit this:
    I think the folding capability--note that it cannot be fired that way--makes them think of the infamous "shoulder thing that goes up."

  2. I have this idea (which I have NO intention of following up on, 'cause I like neither the taste of asphalt nor the probably high chance of Not Getting Away With It) of getting one of these and toting it around, unloaded, with a magazine handy. Technically legal, as an FOID flat-out allows possession of an unloaded longarm (outside of the grounds of an educational institution). Practically, of course, it would be a painful and expensive legal fight, with no guarantee that I wouldn't go to jail.

    Incidentally, as far as I had heard this guy *wasn't* on any watch lists prior to the timer going off... So he wouldn't have been prevented from purchase anyway.

  3. D.W, if you read some of the coverage, they're implying the key feature of the gun is that it "looks intimidating". The gun is so functionally mediocre that all they have to sensationalize is the appearance. Which, come to think of it, is kind of like taking a mulligan on the "assault weapons" ban and deciding to lie less.

    Ian, I think we discussed this in person, actually. I've also considered picking up a folding carbine to take advantage of that "exception". I'd probably stick to carrying it in a backpack while hiking. ;)

  4. A more-likely-to-succeed strategy would be to have it secured out of sight in the car, etc. Given that I'd have to be wearing my long coat to conceal the damn thing, it would have to be a backpack weapon if I carried it at all.

    I will admit, it's a scary black gun (and fairly high on the Ugly Stick meter as well). It's also nowhere close to the limits of the old federal AWB, apparently not on the NJ AWB "feature list" and with a bullet button it would pass CA's AWB test. (IANAL)