Friday, October 29, 2010

The Truth Is What We Say It Is

Recently the NSSF launched a new campaign to try and rebrand assault rifles "modern sporting rifles." As in past rebranding efforts--let us not forget "black rifles," "tactical rifles," and longstanding industry efforts to conflate assault weapons with standard semiautomatic firearms--the real-world use of assault weapons, from mass shootings to attacks on law enforcement, has a way of undermining the NSSF's efforts.
Josh Sugarman, at it again. If you don't know who Josh is, he's the man who kicked off using the term 'Assault Rifle' incorrectly when referring to semi-automatic, civilian firearms.

Now anyone with an internet connection, or even a relatively up-to-date firearms reference library, could tell you that an 'assault weapon' is defined as a weapon capable of full-auto or selective fire, and firing a round heavier than a pistol cartridge but lighter than a main battle rifle cartridge. Anyone, that is, except Josh Sugarman, the Executive Director of the mis-named 'Violence Prevention Center.' 

Josh is, perhaps, the world's most mis-informed man about guns, the way guns work, how guns are used and what they can, and cannot, do. Or perhaps he's not. After all, Josh says things that are so bizarrely inaccurate, one has to wonder if he's really that unwilling to check a few simple facts, or whether his misstatements are less innocent. After all, it's Josh we've got to thank for the media describing every rifle as either a 'high-powered rifle' or an 'assault weapon.' So maybe he's not quite so naively uninformed, but rather a modern day master of the simple proposition that if you repeat something untruthful often and long enough, it becomes fact.

We can use the quote above to illustrate this. We all know what an 'assault weapon' is, right? It's...well, it's got a grip on the stock. And maybe a flash hider, or a bayonet mounting lug. And it holds big magazines-and usually, it's black. So the NSSF is trying to 're-brand' what Josh likes to call assault weapons-in direct contradiction to what the world has called assault weapons for fifty years-as something else.

Which they are. Something else, that is. And for proof, look at the weapons sold during the 'Assault Weapons Ban.' Functionally identical to those sold before and after that ill-fated gun-grab attempt, they demonstrate that, stripped of its rhetoric and inflammatory value, 'assault weapon' really means 'fully auto light rifle', and all the convoluted attempts to define them otherwise are exposed as undefinable. Even with folks genuinely dedicated to taking your AR-15 away from you working hard at it, they never could quite tell anyone how an AR differed from any other semi-automatic rifle.

Of course, words have power, even when they don't really have meaning. Maybe that's why Josh's 'Violence Prevention Council' doesn't really want to prevent violence, but rather is focused solely on banning guns. Calling it 'The Gun Banning Council', while decidedly more accurate and truthful, wouldn't be so visceral. And Josh would rather you didn't think too much about that, because when you pay attention to ALL the words, as well as what they actually mean, Josh's arguments start to fall apart.

No comments:

Post a Comment