‘Assault weapons’ vs. ‘Patrol rifles’

Not long ago, I mentioned an editorial* in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that advocated a new ban on so-called “assault weapons.” The media and the civilian disarmament advocacy groups (but perhaps I repeat myself) seem to be engaged in a blitz against these firearms (as has been pointed out at Snowflakes in Hell, Traction Control, Days of our Trailers, Captain of a Crew of One, and undoubtedly others that I’ve missed).

A reader and commenter (Straight Arrow) here at Armed and Safe pointed out something about the editorial that I had missed. Although I of course made note of the paper’s editorial board’s tyranny-enabling advocacy of a ban on “assault weapons” for civilians, while simultaneously claiming that “people shouldn’t be opposed to cops having these weapons,” I failed to spot the verbal gymnastics (despite their decided lack of subtlety) used a bit earlier in the editorial:

Understandably, officers in more South Florida police agencies have been arming themselves — at their own expense — with patrol rifles to be on more even footing with criminals — particularly gangs — they encounter.

Suddenly, what had been an “assault weapon” (or the even less honest use of the term “assault rifle“) has become a “patrol rifle”–presumably because it is now in the hands of a police officer.

Perhaps I should count this as progress. After all, we (as gun rights advocates) have been arguing all along that the outrage and loathing should be directed at the evil person who commits evil with a gun, rather than the gun he uses for that purpose. By referring to an AR-15 in the hands of a gang banger as an “assault weapon” (with all the menace that term is intended to convey) while calling an identical firearm in the hands of a police officer a “patrol rifle” (a much more noble-sounding designation), they seem to have come a bit closer to that understanding–it at least implies an understanding that the user of a weapon determines whether good or evil is done with it.

Still, it’s not enough. They refer to these firearms as “assault weapons,” whether they belong to criminals/psychopaths, or peaceable civilians who would never shoot someone who does not mean them harm, and who does not present a serious, credible threat. Likewise, I assume that to them, an AR-15 in a police cruiser’s trunk is a “patrol rifle,” whether the officer in the car is a courageous protector of his/her community, or a monster with a badge.

In the end, an “assault weapon” is a “patrol rifle,” is a homeland defense rifle, etc. To put it another way, “a rose by another name . . . .” To put it still another way, whether a gun is an instrument of evil, or a lifesaver, boils down to the intent and actions of the person holding it, rather than the cosmetic features or designation it bears.

*UPDATE: I notice that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel seems to have removed that op-ed piece from the archive, despite their usual practice being to keep articles freely available for thirty days (the article in question appeared on Sept. 22). Didn’t like the attention, you suppose? But, for those who would like to see the article, all is not lost–for the moment it’s available in Google’s cache. If that goes (I’m not sure if it’s kept around forever), I did a screen capture:

(click to enlarge)

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11 Responses to “‘Assault weapons’ vs. ‘Patrol rifles’”

  1. straightarrow Says:

    That just goes to prove that the law of averages still work.

    Even a blind horse will find a waterhole sooner or later.

    But thanks for the notice.

  2. Weer'd Beard Says:

    Makes a lot of sence. Have you noticed that the media will often refer to a cop’s gun as his/her “Service Revolver” (even if said gun is a Glock or other semi-auto) Possibly because it has a lot more of a positive and old-timey connotation, meanwhile “Gun” is now so connected to fear and violence that many gunnies won’t even refer to their implements as “guns” on the range, opting for “Pistol” “Rifle” “Firearm”, “Revolver” et al.

  3. opaww Says:

    One is a weapon and one is a gun, one is for killing and one is for fun

  4. LibertyPlease Says:

    Just more and more differentiation between the classes of citizens. You’re either doing the boot-stomping and receiving all the privileges, or you’re paying their salaries and being boot-stompted.

    The days of community-oriented peace officers are over. What we have instead is an occupying force. Just a matter of time (years? decades?) before the insurgency at home begins….

  5. illspirit Says:

    So let’s take their spin and use it against them. For now on, if anyone asks you if you have an “assault weapon,” tell them you have “patrol rifle” instead. The same kind the police use to help keep them safe. 😉

  6. crotalus Says:

    That’s just about the most blatant and despicable example of a double standard that I have ever seen!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    They love to call any Ak-47 a full auto assault weapon. This is a crock of s___. They are not allowed to sell, or ship into this country any full auto weapons, period.
    How about a difinitive punishment for those who use weapons in the commission of crimes? How about the mandatory death seantence, no plea bargains etc?
    They could extend this to those who deal drugs, what a concept!

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Better yet, How about difinitive punishments for all crimes? This would eliminate lawyers and unclog our legal system, IE: no plea bargains. It would also reduce crime because criminals would not do the crime if they didn’t want to do the time. This could also apply to illegal immegrants.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Hey LibertyPlease, you sleep at night under the blanket of protection the police provide you then you question how it is provided. I suggest you strap on a gun and do it yourself or just say thank you, either way I don’t give a damn what you think. Maby you should give out your home address so all the evil in this country can come to where you and your family live and you can hold their hands and sing kum bi ya with them. Of course the occupiers as you call them won’t be there to stand selflessly between you and them!

  10. 45superman Says:

    Hey LibertyPlease, you sleep at night under the blanket of protection the police provide you then you question how it is provided. I suggest you strap on a gun and do it yourself . . .

    Guess what, Mr. Bravely Anonymous in Houston, I think I can safely speak for most of us when I say that “strap(ping) on a gun and do(ing) it” ourselves, rather than relying on the government’s “blanket of protection” (I’m going to have to remember that one–that’s just too damned funny) is exactly what we have in mind.

    Care to try to stop us?

  11. Defender Says:

    My friend who works in media says that for every reporter and editor who employs this kind of bias, there are two or three employees in other capacities who have guns, like guns and understand guns trying to teach them that there are other kinds of diversity besides skin color and sexual orientation. It rarely sinks in, as in the case of a sports writer who columnized that since major league athletes were carrying handguns, getting shot with handguns, getting caught with handguns where handguns are prohibited, that handguns should be a LOT harder to get.
    Last week Mr. Take Our Handguns Please did a column on how much he enjoyed a round of sporting clays at the $600 a year private gun club. Anyone surprised?

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