While not scientific, I would appreciate it if you would participate in a little experiment.
Even if you've never fired a gun, it's likely you can recreate the movement of pulling the trigger. Now, get a watch or timer, and set it for some unit of time. I chose a minute, you may choose whatever you like. Start the clock and count the number of times you're able to pull the "air trigger" with your index finger.
What did you come up with?
In one minute, I was capable of pulling the "air trigger" 147 times.
If I was holding an assault weapon I could literally kill 100 of the 122 male inhabitants of Freedom, Oklahoma in just under a minute without reloading. In fact, it's likely, assuming I could convince the entire town to line up uniformly and stand still once I opened fire, that I could execute all 265 inhabitants of the town in just over two minutes. I would only have to change the clip twice. Impressive, huh?
It was announced late Wednesday night that congress would allow the assault weapon's ban to expire on Monday, September 13, 2004.
Bill Frist, Republican Senator from Tennessee told reporters that the expiration of the ban was "the will of the American people." Interesting considering polls found that two thirds of American's actually supported an extension of the assault weapons ban which was introduced by Bill Clinton in 1994.
At first, I questioned Mr. Frist's ability to speak on behalf of the American people. He is, after all, a politician and a Republican. Then I questioned his math skills, because, if only one third of American's support a sunset on the ban, was he really speaking for the majority? Of course, who am I to question Bill Frist? Before becoming a bigot senator, Bill Frist was a bigot surgeon and surgeon's are smart, or they're supposed to be. I tried to think about something else, but I just couldn't stop thinking that bigot senator doctor Frist's math was "fuzzy." So I tried to frame this little dilemma in a way that would make sense to me, bigot senator doctor Frist and the Michigan Militia.
If I have three Uzi's and the ATF takes away two, would I still possess the majority of my Uzi's?
If you answered no, you're correct. If you answered yes, don't fret, because doctor's and senators make good money. If you answered f*ck the ATF, you should save your next two paychecks from Pizza Hut so you can be the first in your militia to legally purchase an assault rifle. If you asked me to define the word "majority" then you're a conservative radio host and you should commit suicide.
To be fair, the polls that I referenced earlier were commissioned by the Consumer Federation of America and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Which means they're not only "anti-gun," but democrats and most likely in bed with Ralph Nader, "but that's speculation." So I decided to conduct my own informal poll.
I called Scottbo.
Me: I'm conducting an informal poll.
Scottbo: For what? The web site? People are going to think I'm a hick.
Me: No they won't, they love Scottbo.
Scottbo: Ask your questions?
Me: Are you a "rank and file" police officer?
Scottbo: I don't get it.
Me: I'm guessing it means you don't hold a position of management. I was watching Hardball last night and Wayne LaPierre, a big wig with the NRA said that "the rank and file think [the ban] is a cosmetic sham." Basically he was saying that the police chief's who supported an extension were serving a partisan political agenda in the name of real cops when, in fact, real cops want assault weapon's on the street.
Scottbo: I don't want assault weapon's on the street.
Me: So you support the ban. What about your partner?
Scottbo: He feels the same way.
Me: Great. What about the rest of the KCPD?
Scottbo: Tough to say because most of 'em think we should be carrying them.
Me: You may need to...
Scottbo: Sounds like it. I guess I would say the majority would be in favor of the ban.
Me: Majority? Perfect.
There you have it, the majority of "rank and file" cops in Kansas City support the ban on assault weapons. It's not scientific, but then again neither is the NRA or their Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre.
"These guns are not used in crimes," Wayne LaPierre.
In the early morning hours of February 23, 2004, Donin Wright was seen by neighbors carrying several yellow trash bags into the vacant property he owned at 9409 Grandview Road in Kansas City, MO. Construction debris littered the yard, a violation of city code for which Wright had previously been cited, fined and sentenced to ten days in jail. His sentence had been suspended with the understanding that Wright would remove the debris or obtain a conditional use permit. Wright never removed the debris, never obtained a permit and was expected to appear in court the next day, February 24, 2004.
Later that same morning Wright and live-in girlfriend Janet Clark gave their two vehicles to a neighbor, signing over the titles and giving explicit instructions that the vehicles must be moved from Wright's residence at 9400 Grandview Road - just across the street from the vacant property he was seen entering earlier that morning. When the neighbor inquired about Wright's impending court date Clark responded that "he's not going to court, we've made other plans."
At 1:30 PM, during a telephone conversation with what police will only refer to as "a witness," Wright stated that he was "getting ready to par-tay."
Approximately two-hours later Kansas City Fire battalion 107 and MAST paramedics responded to reports of an explosion and fire at 9409 Grandview Road - Wright's vacant property. Upon arrival firefighters found the house ravaged by flame.
One minute after reporting to dispatch that they were in "full defensive mode," the radio stirred again.
107: Everybody get back! Dispatch, we've got gunfire on the scene.
DISPATCH: Okay, Truck 15...We'll let them know on the scene. Can you go to TAC 2?
107: Send us lot's of police!
DISPATCH: Grandview Command, Truck 15's reporting, ah, gunshots going off inside the residence.
107: That's a negative. It's not in the residence. It's across the street. Yeah, dispatch, we got police on the scene. We got someone shooting.
DISPATCH: Copy Grandview Command. Grandview Command, are you gonna need HAZMAT out there?
107: That's not my worry right now. Everybody take cover! Has anybody been hit, this is 107, has anybody been hit? That's a negative so far.
"So far" would only last eight minutes. Mary Seymour, a MAST paramedic, was shot twice in the chest. The bullet's broke four ribs, collapsed a lung and grazed her heart. She collapsed in a ditch in front of Wright's residence at 9400 Grandview Road. Officers on the scene provide a shield of gunfire as five brave firemen carried Seymour out of the ditch and into safety. Miraculously, she would survive.
A second explosion at Wright's residence sent debris 1000 feet into the air, ignited thousands of ammunition rounds that were part of his extensive gun collection and threatened to ignite the many pipe bombs planted throughout the home.
Scottbo and his partner had just started their shift when a "code one" rang out through the police radio. They were among the last of nearly forty officers to join the fight.
The party ended for Donin Wright and Janet Clark at 4:09 PM, twenty-seven minutes after the first shots rang out. The fire, which had been set off by the first explosion at the residence had finally reached the stockpile of pipe bombs. Investigators would only find their charred skeletal remains.
"It was insane. One guy with a .50 caliber assault weapon held forty cops at bay for something like twenty-five minutes, " said Scottbo, "it's a wonder that paramedic survived."
That .50 caliber weapon was a Barret M82A1 with a ten round clip and a high powered scope. It's a close cousin to the M107, the rifle preferred by military snipers the world over. The M82A1 is a legal assault rifle.
"It's not an assault rifle," Wayne LaPierre.
On September 13, 1994, domestic gun manufacturers were required to stop production of semi-automatic assault weapons and ammunition clips holding more than ten rounds except for military or police use.
The 1994 law also prohibits manufacturers from producing firearms with more than one of the following assault rifle features:
- Folding/telescoping stock
- Protruding pistol grip
- Bayonet mount
- Threaded muzzle or flash suppressor
- Grenade launcher
Whoever thought of adding "grenade launcher" was really on to something.
Looking at this your probably thinking there isn't much to the law, that in truth, semi-automatic assault weapons have been legally bought and sold throughout the United States since 1994. If that's what you're thinking, you're correct. You'll never be elected to senate, and will likely never perform an appendectomy, but at least you can grasp the fundamental aspects of the assault weapon's ban.
To go even further, it's also a fact that any assault weapon built before September 13, 1994, even those equipped with grenade launcher's and bayonet's, were "grandfathered," making them perfectly legal. So, if you should ever find yourself in the market for a .50 caliber assault rifle, say for self-defense or deer hunting, and feel that an added grenade launcher would give it a "customized" look, then make damn certain it was built before September 13, 1994 or after September 13, 2004. Otherwise, you're in violation of federal law.
"They're mainstream. They've been around for 100 years," Wayne LaPierre.
Now, before you label me as a socialist, communist, liberal, democrat who hates gun's and hates America, I should point out that I own a gun. I actually own three guns - two .22 caliber handgun's and a .22 caliber rifle. The rifle and one of the handgun's are antique's passed down from one generation to the next, and the third is the only gun I've ever purchased.
I enjoy going to the indoor range with Scottbo and exercising my second amendment right to riddle a paper target with bullet holes. I do not hunt and will not hunt - not because I think hunter's are bad people - but because I could not shoot a defenseless animal. I just happen to love animals and I will never get over the robin I killed with a pellet gun one summer as a child. It was a life altering experience.
I do, however, take issue and draw the line at assault weapon's, or as my friend Top Secret call's them, "terrorist weapons," that threaten the safety of our nation's police, fire and medical personnel. I'll also include women, children, men, dog's, cat's, robin's and all of God's creatures in that threat. I think we've all earned the right not to have our head torn off by "the largest commercially available cartridge in the world, the .50 caliber."
My little brother is a cop. I don't hold any illusions regarding the relative safety of his chosen profession. I understand that on any given day, while serving and protecting the people of Kansas City, he may be asked to give his life. I can handle that because I have faith in his training, his partner and his judgment. I can handle that because what he is doing is right and just. I can handle that because he's Scottbo.
I can't handle Senate Majority Leader Tom DeLay calling the assault weapon's ban a "feel good piece of legislation" that did nothing to keep gun's out of the hands of criminals. There is nothing about making it easier for the Donin Wright's of the world to get their hands on a grenade launching assault rifle that feels good. Maybe there is, I don't know, I'm not a doctor or a senator, but I bet Mary Seymour thought otherwise when two .50 caliber bullets ripped into her chest.
Isn't it worth your time Mr. President, isn't it worth a vote ladies and gentlemen of the senate, if it keeps but one of these terrorist weapons off the street?
On Monday, September 13, 2004 the answer will be no.
Shame on you Democrats for being too chickensh*t to push for gun control legislation in an election year to avoid being labeled "sensitive."
Shame on you Republican's for pandering to the NRA's pocketbook rather than committing to the individual safety of the American public.
Shame on you Mr. President for being just as guilty, but on a much larger scale, as your Republican counterparts in the senate.
Shame on you all.