It’s been a while since I’ve done a good fisking, but the media has me in the mood to demonstrate their complete ignorance of this subject. I’m not sure where the Phoenix New Times do their research, but it sure isn’t thorough:
There isn’t much difference between a fully automatic M-16 machine gun and the semi-automatic AR-15 rifle, both of which are readily available for sale in Arizona.
Really? The entire trigger group is different. The bolt carrier is different. The receiver, which is the part ATF considers “the gun” is different. There are parts present in an M16 that are entirely missing from the AR-15, namely the auto sear. Can you guess what that does? You think just because it looks the same it isn’t different?
Both shoot the same, high-powered .223-caliber ammo and can be loaded with large-capacity magazines of 30 rounds or more. Except for different internal workings that allow the fully auto mode in the M-16, they’re the same gun.
Why yes, you seem to. Except the .223 isn’t “high-powered.” It’s a medium power cartridge, unsuitable for all but small game.
The semi-automatic version isn’t much less lethal, either — that much is made clear by the Army’s decision to use M-16s that fire semi-automatically in up to three-round bursts, rather than full-autos. Semi-auto fire can be more accurate than “spraying,” the Army found.
Guns are more accurate, and likely to hit a target, when you actually aim it. Holy crap. I mean, what a startling friggin’ revelation. I also never knew that burst fire was the same as “semi-automatic.” Burst fire is burst fire. Semi-automatic is one shot per trigger pull. Legally burst fire is no different than fully automatic fire.
The biggest difference, by far, is in the laws that apply to them.
First accurate thing you’ve said in the whole article.
The full-auto requires a federal firearm license and registration of the weapon.
I guess another sentence error free was too much to ask. It requires a tax stamp, technically. An Federal Firearms Licensee can’t possess a Title II firearm unless they are also a “Special Occupational Taxpayer”. But this is technical stuff that’s probably a little rough for a reporter. We can’t expect them to know too much about firearms laws when they are advocating for more of them, can we?
The machine-gun owner must notify the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau in writing if he or she changes residences, and the firearm can’t be sold privately.
Sold privately? If you inform the ATF that you just sold your machine gun privately, they’re going to bust down your door and shoot the family dog so you can be carted off to be charged with that felony.
The registration fee – as minimal as it compared to the overall price of the weapon – also seems to affect purchases, Mangan says. When ATF raised the fee, it saw a drop-off in the number of licenses purchased.
The fee has been 200 dollars for as long as the National Firearms Act has been in effect, which is to say since 1934; a princely sum back then. You’re confusing this with the fee to apply for an FFL, which has nothing to do with machine guns.
We think this comparison brings up some great questions: Is it logical to have such a dramatic difference in the law for such a relatively minor difference in a feature of guns? Are the requirements for machine guns too strict?
If you ask me, it makes no sense, and they are absolutely too strict. Mostly because people get hysterical about machine guns because they don’t realize a gun you’re spraying wildly around isn’t likely to hit much.
Or should AR-15 buyers (or, by extension, buyers of any high-powered, semi-automatic guns with high-capacity magazines) be held to the same high standards as M-16 buyers?
Until you can demonstrate you have a clue, which this article clearly demonstrates you don’t, you can go to hell on that one.
UPDATE: Reporter’s opinion here. I have struck the portion where I missed an “”t,” and apologize for the error.
26 Responses to “More Errors Than You Can Count”
- SayUncle » Layers of editorial oversight - [...] Getting it wrong on guns in the press. [...]