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Thu Jun 30, 2016, 08:42 AM

A question

Why do we see so few mass killings by fully automatic machine guns if legality doesn't stop criminal mass killers?

It would seem a fully automatic machine gun would be a preferable weapon to a criminal undeterred by laws.

24 replies, 1714 views

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Arrow 24 replies Author Time Post
Reply A question (Original post)
Shankapotomus Jun 2016 OP
jtx Jun 2016 #1
Shankapotomus Jun 2016 #2
jtx Jun 2016 #4
TeddyR Jun 2016 #13
krispos42 Jun 2016 #16
needledriver Jun 2016 #3
JonathanRackham Jun 2016 #6
needledriver Jun 2016 #7
JonathanRackham Jun 2016 #8
needledriver Jun 2016 #11
JonathanRackham Jun 2016 #5
Just reading posts Jun 2016 #9
Press Virginia Jun 2016 #10
Puha Ekapi Jun 2016 #12
gejohnston Jun 2016 #14
jtx Jun 2016 #15
Lurks Often Jun 2016 #17
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jun 2016 #18
Shankapotomus Jun 2016 #19
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jun 2016 #20
Shankapotomus Jun 2016 #21
discntnt_irny_srcsm Jul 2016 #24
Matrosov Jun 2016 #22
pablo_marmol Jul 2016 #23

Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 08:50 AM

1. They are legal

 

but regulated by the National Firearms Act. The NFA requires registration, fingerprinting, requires the owner to maintain control of the NFA item.

Instead of arguing for a ban, having something added to the NFA is doable and has passed constitutional challenge.

Having said that, full auto weapons are mostly banned in Europe, but were used in the Paris attacks.

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Response to jtx (Reply #1)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 08:57 AM

2. So they're highly regulated

But the argument typically is banning won't stop criminals from getting the weapons they want but here only increased regulation seems to be enough to stop most criminals from using automatic weapons.

So people who say that a ban wouldn't work, have to be wrong. That's proof they're wrong. A ban would work, as high regulation works for automatic weapons.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:04 AM

4. NFA

 

is a viable option.

This is why details matters.

Another easy first step is to require all transfers go through a federal firearms licensee.

The vast majority of homicide is commited with handguns rather than rifles by a ratio of 20:1.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 10:20 AM

13. But pretty much everyon agrees that the last assault weapons ban

 

Did not work. From a Guardian story last week:

They [Sandy Hook parents] learned that while assault weapons played a prominent part in many mass shootings, they play only a tiny role in America’s overall gun violence problem. The loophole-ridden 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, produced no clear evidence of reducing gun violence. An in-depth evaluation of the law concluded that the impact of even a more comprehensive ban would be “small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement”.

That was not a surprise to anyone who had been paying attention. In the early 1990s, even some gun control advocates criticized the push for an assault weapon ban as a “distraction” with little crime-fighting benefit. But the ban generated intense, visceral reactions from the public. A former Democratic staffer who helped craft the assault weapon ban said he had hoped passing it would give Democrats the political momentum they needed to pass the drier, more technical gun laws that might actually save more lives.

Instead, the push for a political victory backfired. President Bill Clinton later blamed the assault weapon ban for the 1994 midterm victories that allowed Republicans to take over both houses of Congress. Many prominent gun control groups have since moved away from an assault ban – “through hard, bitter experience”, said Matt Bennett, a gun policy expert who advised Sandy Hook Promise.

Democrats know the research behind the ban. While a ban on high-capacity magazines could help some, the assault weapons ban “does nothing”, a former senior Obama administration official said last year.


The rest is here - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/20/gun-control-orlando-attack-newtown-mass-shooting

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #2)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 12:07 PM

16. Not only highly regulated...

...but alternatives are vastly easier to get. Regular guns. Semiautos and manual-action guns. There are hundreds of millions of those, but only a few tens of thousands of privately-owned machine guns (many of which are actual machine guns, that is, very heavy and designed to be fired from a tripod or other fixed mounting).



And the people that can afford to buy NFA machine guns (think the price of a new sedan) can afford to live in really nice neighborhoods and own really nice gun safes.


So you have a situation where criminal demand for full-auto is very low due to scarcity and price, where the alternative is cheap and common and equally effective.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 08:59 AM

3. Fair question.

If it is so "easy" to illegally convert semi automatic detachable magazine fed long guns into fully automatic machine guns, why don't mass killers take advantage of this?

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Response to needledriver (Reply #3)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:09 AM

6. That's actually a classic gun control myth.

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Response to JonathanRackham (Reply #6)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:23 AM

7. No kidding.

Did you notice the "easy" in quotes? I have a friend (this was over 30 years ago and he no longer lives in the US) who converted a semi auto UZI into a full auto version. He had to have a slot milled in the bolt - which is not something you do in the garage with hand tools.

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Response to needledriver (Reply #7)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:30 AM

8. Needless to say potentially personally lethal if done incorrectly.

Then again some people do their own brake jobs at the curb with similar results.

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Response to JonathanRackham (Reply #8)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:54 AM

11. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it was done correctly.

As far as I know nobody was ever injured by this weapon.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:08 AM

5. Perverted ideology enables the murderer to engage in their action.

In their mind it justifies pushing the button, pulling the lever, swinging the blade or pulling the trigger. I know a psyche nurse from Attica, she's responsible for medicating the mentally violent. After years of treatment some people have not changed, the hope is they can be conditioned into not acting on their impulses and taking physical action against others.

It's not the implement, it's the individual and their life's programming.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:40 AM

9. An answer

 

Because such weapons are extraordinarily expensive ($20,000 and up) and take months of paperwork to obtain.

Now, some would argue: "Therefore, we need to make treat other weapons such as 'assault weapons' the same way".

The problem being, that would impact tens of millions of gun owners. unlike the 1934 NFA, which affected less than 1% of gun owners. The desirability of such a law aside, it's a political impossibility.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:41 AM

10. Lack of supply.

 

They'd have to be stolen from somewhere or smuggled into the country

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 10:06 AM

12. Full auto..

...weapons are just not readily available in this country, legally or illegally, without a LOT of money. Adding semi-auto firearms to the NFA would seriously infringe millions of lawful owners who have legitimate reasons for owning them. The rich and the elites would still have them, poor people would be screwed. Is that what you want?

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 11:10 AM

14. Why were guns almost never used in England

even when there were no gun control laws at all? There are more now than then? Why didn't Jack the Ripper use a gun? Part of it is you use what you can get, and part of it is culture. Full autos were never common in the US, even when they weren't as tightly regulated as they are now. The ones used by people like Dillinger were stolen from police and national guard armories, not purchased. After the first World War, Colt offered the BAR for sale to the general public. They sold zero. The company that made the Thompson was always near bankruptcy until WW2.

Illegal machine guns are inexpensive and easy to get in Europe. You can get a full auto in Belgium or France for half the price of a legal AR in the US. In Australia, you just make your own in the basement. The bright side of that is you can have over a hundred drive bys over two years without hitting anyone in Merrylands, a suburb of Sydney.
BTW, fully automatic and machine guns is redundant. How are you defining "effective"? If effective means wiping out a bunch of people with infinite ammo, you have been watching too many movies.

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Response to gejohnston (Reply #14)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 11:53 AM

15. Correct. Terrorists will always have access to weapons - even in the European model

 

“The fact that a Kalashnikov or a rocket launcher can be acquired for as little as 300 to 700 Euros in some parts of the EU indicates their ready availability for organized crime groups, street gangs or groups orchestrating high-profile attacks resulting in significant numbers of casualties,” Europol, the EU’s law-enforcement agency, explained in a policy brief.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/11/13/this-is-how-ak-47s-get-to-paris.html

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 02:11 PM

17. Because they are ridiculously expensive and there aren't many of them

 

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 06:40 PM

18. While you may not realize it, you've asked a two part question

You presume that mass killings often include an assault weapon, rifle. This is sometimes the case but never a requirement.

To make an accurate and complete characterization of the decision leading to choose an an assault weapon, rifle, you need to consider all of the possible reasons for that choice. Let me highlight the aspects of the decision of which I'm alluding. You see someone who plans a heinously evil act, choosing such a gun and you infer (based on that choice) that attributes of the weapon have determined his choice. The "assault weapon" line of thought, the BS ban ideas relating to their use in crime and especially mass shootings and singling semi-auto ARs and AKs, in particular, is wholly invalid, materially distracting and essentially works to undermine the idea of gun laws influencing crime at all.

It is entirely possible that some mass shooters (criminal, evil, and/or crazy) choose a rifle like an AR-15 for same reason lots of non-criminal, non-evil and non-crazy (regular) folks do. Rather than try to explain why regular choose the AR, I'll refer you to the thread that covers that: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1172196149

I mentioned that you asked a two part question and the beginning of my reply addressed the implied portion. The explicit question, (Why do we see so few mass killings by fully automatic machine guns if legality doesn't stop criminal mass killers?) has a simple answer. I have been told that generally there are two very useful functions of full-auto that can't be addressed as efficiently with a semi-auto. The first is suppressive fire. This is entirely useless to a mass shooter since just about all of them choose venues where folks are unarmed. If you choose a venue where no one is armed, there is no hostile fire needing suppression. Generally suppressive fire is employed by group. These gutless mall-ninjas tend to work alone. The second scenario where full-auto shines is in 'clear the room' tasks. This is where the task at hand is to neutralize a room full of hostiles who will return fire. As I already said, these cowards generally choose disarmed victims. A room full of disarmed victims means one can take his time shooting and killing them all.

Eventually these useless turds are confronted by armed resistance (usually police) at which time they are shot, shoot themselves or are captured. They mostly lack any exit strategy other than suicide (sometimes suicide by cop) or the hope fame and interviews by the BAU and the media.

Somewhere you mentioned that fertilizer access was now more restricted than it used to be. That's true but ammonium nitrate/fuel type explosives are only one of numerous combinations of readily available substances which could be used as explosive components or provide the raw materials for explosive components.

Guns were never as common in the UK as they were here but they have become even more scarce and some mass killers have moved on to arson as their means.

It is not the law or law enforcement that will by force mold society into a less violent image of itself. Education, alternatives, support and empowerment are the means to reduce violence.

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #18)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 08:19 PM

19. Thanks

This is consistent with rebuttals I've encountered elsewhere.

Still is there not one more regulated weapon that would be more effective than a semi-auto?

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #19)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 08:39 PM

20. While I'm sure the answer is yes, I not sure of the scope of the question

Could you elaborate about the direction you're taking with this line of questioning?

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Response to discntnt_irny_srcsm (Reply #20)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 09:52 PM

21. Because the general rebuttal to gun bans or more restrictions

is that criminals will get the banned or more regulated gun anyway.

But if I can show there is a more regulated weapon that would be more effective than a less regulated weapon like an AR-15, that mass killers would like to use but can't because of more regulations on that weapon, I could show that the rebuttal to banning or more regulation to be untrue.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Reply #21)

Fri Jul 1, 2016, 06:36 AM

24. For the sake of your idea...

...I would conjecture that the M72 LAW could be more effective. It is a single use munition so "reloading" would mean picking up a second one. Now an M134D would be decidedly lethal but not man portable/operable. Despite movies with Arnold and a few others, at 85 lbs (unloaded) it's a gun that would need to mounted on a vehicle a driven around. Technically it is also a full-auto machine gun.

Moving up in power, caliber and difficulty to acquire there are systems like mortars, howitzers and tanks. I guess this list ends with nuclear weapons.

I'm kind of sure I don't see the point to this line of reasoning. There will always be a more powerful and less accessible weapon. If it becomes too difficult to hijack a plane then you'd have to buy or lease one to crash it into a building.

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Response to Shankapotomus (Original post)

Thu Jun 30, 2016, 10:32 PM

22. Fully automatic weapons aren't preferable

 

They just waste a lot of ammo. On the battlefield, their only purpose is to throw so much lead down range as to have the enemies ducking for cover. They exist to provide 'suppressive fire.'

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Response to Matrosov (Reply #22)

Fri Jul 1, 2016, 03:49 AM

23. ^^ This.

There was only one time/place in modern U.S. history where gun violence could fairly be described as 'The Wild, Wild West'. The cocaine wars of Miami in the late '70's and early 80's. And even during this most gun violent time in our history, very few fully automatic weapons were recovered at shootout scenes. (My memory fails.....but the number could be as low as one or two) Why? Because 'spray and pray' is actually a very poor way to engage individual moving targets, as Matrosov points out.

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