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Gun control, circa 1782

So, I was going through some of my great-great grandfather’s things, and I found this press release that was disseminated to all “Citizens of the Crown in the Colonies” back in the 1700’s.  Needless to say, I was quite surprised to find the Violence Policy Center (back then it was the “Victory Policy Centre) involved.  Enjoy!

Fifty calibre long rifles are an ideal tool for insurrectionists. They are a real and present danger to our forces in the colonies, yet are easily found even in the possession of farmers and other peasants. Fifty calibre long rifles are specifically designed to engage small targets with precise accuracy at ranges unheard of on the battlefield. These precision weapons combine long range and tremendous accuracy to create a weapon that has a range beyond anything that our infantrymen carry. Officers, messengers, cannon crews, even our daring cavalry are vulnerable to accurate fire from these deadly rifles at ranges exceeding 200 yards! The entire infrastructure of the colonies is threatened by these weapons, as they give the insurrectionist the ability to strike individual targets at distances normally reserved for cannon fire. A Citizen of the Crown would be shocked to learn that these “rifles” are so common amongst the colonials, that even small children are well versed in their use. These rifles are specifically designed for great accuracy against fast moving targets at extreme ranges beyond the reach of musket fire. They are “purpose-designed” and “purpose-built” weapons. This terminology is used in colonial literature to describe weapons that are made for a specific, narrow purpose, in this case for long range shooting—highly accurate firing at a target from a significant distance. Musket fire and civilized warfare is conducted at ranges of 50 yards, even our boys fine Brown Bess Musket does not fire accurately beyond that range. 50 yards is less than the distance across Trafalgar Square. These .50 calibre long rifles are accurate at ranges of up to 100 yards, and in the hands of an expert marksman, even 300! At 300 yards, a Colonial marksman could easily pick off our officers, leading to a wholly uncivilized engagement of infantry just “having it out” on the battlefield. 50 calibre rounds are one of the smaller and lighter bullets available, which allows the Colonial marksmen to carry more rounds and powder than one of our boys for the same amount of weight. The potential for these rifles to be abused by the insurrectionists in a manner inconsistent with civilized warfare is difficult to overstate. It is a known fact that the criminal known as The Swamp Fox has hundreds of these “long rifles” in his possession, and his men are well trained in their use. As recently noted at the Battle of Mingo Creek, our brave forces were barraged from all sides by fire from these deadly weapons, and their foe did not even have the courage to face them on an open field. England is in the midst of a Colonial Insurrection. The Colonial forces are arming themselves to the very teeth with these incredibly destructive weapons of war. It is time to regulate 50 calibre long rifles by bringing them under the control of the Crown, so that our soldiers can confiscate them from these Colonial criminals masquerading as soldiers.  By so doing, we will be able to bring a rapid end to this bloody insurrection that has divided the North American Colonies from their Sovereign.

So, needless to say, I was really surprised to read that, especially in the light of the modern incarnation of the VPC trying to ban 50 caliber rifles today.  I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.  ;-)

Crossposted at What Would John Wayne Do?

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