Blind Leading Blind

These are two people who should really pick topics to talk about where one of them actually has a friggin clue.  From Illinois:

Jeff Berkowitz: What about the state, should there be some state controls on the sale of guns?

Terri Ann Wintermute: I don’t have a problem with the waiting period. I don’t have a problem with registration.

Jeff Berkowitz: Would you like to see a ban on assault weapons?

Terri Ann Wintermute: It depends on what’s on the list?

Jeff Berkowitz: Semi-automatics. How about that? Do we need more semi-automatics out there?

Terri Ann Wintermute: I don’t know that we do.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you might want to restrict semi-automatics.

Terri Ann Wintermute: It depends—Is it used for hunting? Is it used for sport?

Jeff Berkowitz: Well, you can hunt people or you can hunt deer.

Terri Ann Wintermute: Exactly. Or is it used for hunting people.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, the same gun can be used for multiple things. Do people who hunt deer need semi-automatics? Is that the way it’s done, I don’t know. I am not a hunter.

Terri Ann Wintermute: I don’t know. I think you can—there’s a description of whether it goes into the chamber–

WTF? Seriously, do either of you have any idea what you’re talking about?  If not, do us all a favor: DON’T.  Yes, semi-automatics are used for hunting, they are used for shooting clay pigeons. Even scary looking “assault weapons” are used for service rifle competition, and numerous other recreational activities.  They are also damned useful for self-defense, as evidenced by the fact hat police are using them almost exclusively these days.   So go get a clue, or leave it to people who actually know this stuff.

It scares me that “there’s a description of whether it goes into the chamber” is making public policy.

4 thoughts on “Blind Leading Blind”

  1. I don’t get the logic of not allowing hunters to use semi-autos. Is it simply irrational (like most gun laws) or does it actually serve some purpose (other than make it possible to ban all semi-autos and still claim to be on the side of the sportsman)?

  2. Around here you can only hunt with shotgun and muzzle loading rifles. The idea, I think, is that heavy, slow moving slugs are effective on the types of game around here, but don’t have a lot of penetrating power. In other parts of the state, you can use center fire rifle.

    For states that ban semi-autos for hunting, I think the issue is that semi-auto encourages people to take wild shots. It’s probably a flawed notion, but hunters tend to be conservative. They don’t like change, and are slow to adopt new technology. State laws will reflect this.

    I’m not an expert on the subject of game law, though. I suspect the restrictions around here probably don’t really make sense, and are based more on paranoia on the part of bureaucrats.

  3. Sebastian, I think you’re right on the idea that some think hunters will take wild shots with semi-autos and hence the ban on their use in hunting in some jurisdictions. But if you think about it a little, it is basically a feel good restriction given how fast, with a little practice, you can cycle a bolt-action rifle and maintain accuracy. If you’re serious about a manual action, you can shoot it almost as fast as a semi-auto. The British had a standard that required 35 rapid aimed shots in one minute with their Lee Enfield rifle. And the troops could achieve it.

    If hunters resist semi-autos, I believe it has to do more with tradition. Cost might be a factor as well. Given the average hunter, from what I have heard, only fires around 20-30 shots in a given year, they aren’t terribly interesting in rapid follow-up. Since hunting ammo runs $25-35 for 20 rounds, I can see why they fire so little. Shooting for pleasure week in, week out versus a couple of trips a year into the woods where you might fire 2-3 shots plus 5-10 rounds at the range beforehand just to check sighting are two very different activities.

    Most hunters are older, using techniques and gear they were raised with. The younger generation seems to be more willing to adopt non-traditional black rifles for hunting rather than the more traditional rifle. Traditions change over time. Time will tell.

  4. I agree that’s it’s more about tradition. There’s probably also hunters that see it as unsporting to use a semi-auto. If we still hunted for survival, everyone would use semi autos, because being able to take a quick follow up shot might mean the difference between feeding your family some meat for a while, and feeding them gruel.

    I’ve never been impressed with bolt action repeaters for quick follow up shots. I know people can be trained to do it, but to me, if you want a repeater where you can do rapid, aimed fire, use a lever action. Someone with a lever action repeater can generally take as many well aimed shots as someone with a self-loading repeater.

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