The gun issue has been much on our minds lately, in the wake of several high-profile shootings and an even larger amount of bloviating on the part of our political “leaders.” One such, a sitting U.S. Senator, was on a national cable news show yesterday afternoon parading his ignorance on the topic of firearms for all to see.
Among his more idiotic comments: A call for a ban on “armor-piercing Teflon bullets and incendiary bullets.”
What. The. Fuck.
If I had a dollar for every ignoramus who saw a phony television cop saying something about “Teflon armor-piercing” bullets and thought that was a real problem, I’d be lighting cigars with blazing Andrew Jacksons. Are there handgun bullets available on the open market that may defeat a standard police-issue armor vest? Yes. Are some of them Teflon-coated? Almost none. Why not?
Because the Teflon coating put on the original models of these bullets was added to help the hardened, steel-core bullets engage the barrel’s rifling. The Teflon had nothing to do with the bullet’s ability to defeat a vest.
Were I in the studio with the Senator in question, I would have taken great joy in throwing a large stack of firearms and ammo supply catalogs in front of him and retorting “Senator (name), you idiot, look through those and find me some incendiary pistol bullets. Find me some armor-piercing pistol bullets.” (It’s important to note that tracers are not incendiary bullets.)
Another proposal fronted on the show was the “universal background check.” Now, it is already Federal law that in any firearm transferred by a licensed dealer, the purchaser would undergo a background check. Fine. But the good Senator proposes that the law should extend this to include all private sales – that is, a private transaction between two private individuals. Why is this a stupid idea? Two reasons: 1) This law would be utterly impossible to enforce, and B) passing a law that you know will be ignored reduces the respect in which all laws are held. And make no mistake about it – this law would be roundly ignored.
Another comment, not by the good Senator but one that has made the rounds of talk radio and television lately, states that the 5.56mm AR-15 is “not used for deer hunting because it’s much too powerful. It would blow a deer apart.” In actuality, the standard AR-15 round – known on the civilian side as the .223 Remington – is a fairly low-powered round. It’s true that most states prohibit this round for hunting deer-sized game, but that is for the opposite reason promoted above – it is prohibited because it is not powerful enough to guarantee a clean, humane kill. A typical big-game rifle uses a cartridge that is orders of magnitude more powerful than the 5.56mm/.223 Remington. My favorite hunting rifle is based on a 98 Mauser action made in Berlin around 1910, with a Douglas barrel, a Bell & Carlson Kevlar stock and a Simmons Aetec scope. Thunder Speaker fires the bone-crushing .338 Winchester Magnum cartridge, a round capable of making a quick, clean, humane kill on a 800-pound brown bear, a 900-pound bull elk or a 1,500-pound moose. Further, it can place a round accurately on target at 300 yards – a tad farther if conditions are good and I’m having a good shooting day. I carry the bruiser operating on the principle that you can kill little stuff with a big gun, but you can’t kill big stuff with a little gun.
Needless to say, Thunder Speaker is powerful enough to penetrate a dozen or more standard police-issue vests placed in line. How long before some pol discovers this fact and screams for a need to “control these horribly powerful weapons”?
Sadly, our Congressional representation seems of late to be a convocation of liars, fools, imbeciles, and nincompoops. Policy proposals on all subjects vary between the catastrophically ignorant and the amazingly stupid.