Friday, May 21, 2010

Oh, for the love of...

The Violence Policy Center's Josh Sugarmann thinks increased gun sales were a bubble that has burst. His editorial has some flaws, but I wanted to point out a meme that really needs to die:

What's that you say? You've never heard of "modern sporting rifles"? Well, actually you have--except you probably know them as assault rifles. "Modern sporting rifle" is just the gun industry's latest rebranding effort by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) for lethal, high-capacity, military-bred firearms like the AR-15 and AK-47.

Forget the deliberate misuse of "assault rifle" (which the rifles in question patently are not). Forget the silly "lethal" scare word (as opposed to what kind of gun, exactly?).


Look, I understand that one of the ways anti-gun advocates have gained traction in less enlightened areas is by calling some semiauto rifles "military-style". But honestly, the assumptions required to accept that line are so far removed from reality that it's a bit hard to remind myself that anybody could take it seriously.

_All_ civilian guns are military-bred, and all military guns are civilian-bred. Up until the world's military rifles went to select-fire in the mid 20th century, you would have been hard pressed to find many differences between soldiers' guns and house guns, except that the house gun would probably be better made. The two markets have always been intertwined.

Yes, the AR-15 and AK-47 are "military-bred--just like nearly every traditional bolt-action hunting rifle on the market.

[For the record, I think "modern sporting rifle" is inaccurate, too. Yes, they're sporting rifles. But they're _also_ ideal defensive rifles, which is easily half of the reason most are purchased. Pretending they're just for sport is disingenuous, and people can see that.]


  1. Every time someone gets arrested and the police find a Rem700 it automatically becomes a "military style sniper rifle".

    Cause the m24 and m40 are so incredibly different from every other rifle on the market....

  2. Yup. This gun is too big. That one's too small. That one's too powerful. That one's too weak. This one's too accurate. That one's only good for "spray-firing from the hip".

    When they have a scare phrase for every gun out there, it's not hard to see why folks don't buy their line about not supporting gun bans.