Assault weapons and the guys who love 'em (
by Steve Timmer
Feb 28, 2018, 10:30 AM

A rifle is a rifle, and a minnow and a shark are both fish

In a pre-session newser with legislative leaders and the governor, Sen. Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said, when asked about assault rifles, Well, a rifle is a rifle. I can’t find the link at the moment, mostly because the Strib search engine isn’t up to the task. (And Stribbers, I say that in the most loving way.)

Why yes, Paul, a Daisy air rifle, a Crossman pellet gun, a Remington single-shot .22 rifle (all of which I have owned; still own two out of three), and an AR-15 are exactly the same! Most people, including me, would not have understood that without your explanation. So thank you!

Really, though, we know that the AR-15 and its military antecedents were designed to shoot people, loads of them; experience shows they are really good at it. Tony Cornish tried to tell me once that they were sporting arms, really!

Tony, who will, now that he is out of the legislature, perhaps go back to his highest and best use: counting crappies in a bucket, was, naturally, all wet. If you need to machine gun a deer or a rabbit, you may be many things, but sportsman ain’t one of ‘em. Most of the “sportsmen” who love showing off the rapid-fire capabilities of their AR-15s on YouTube couldn’t walk a field without becoming winded or having a coronary. I despise them and have no congress with them as sportsmen.

I had occasion recently to run across the passionate defense of AR-15 rifles. The author said he particularly favored an AR-15 for shooting “varmints” on his “17-acre Texas estate.” I assume that means he has a double-wide. Okay, that was a cheap shot. I am trying to be better about this stuff, but I couldn’t resist that one. So shoot me, so to speak.

When I was a youngster, I used to hone my marksmanship skills with a Daisy air rifle shooting rats at the local landfill, which we called the “town dump.” There was an inexhaustible supply of rats. Now, the rats were vermin, not mere “varmints.” It wasn’t an especially edifying experience, but I felt it was a public service in kind of an adolescent way. True, I didn’t vaporize any rats, but I can assure you they didn’t see any difference.

I also spent many falls and winters of my youth walking the river bottom hunting small game with a .22 rifle.

The idea that you need a military rifle for tasks like this is ludicrous. And offensive.

You can vaporize a rat, or a rabbit, or a coyote, or even a human being, with an AR-15. I commend to you the chilling account of a Florida radiologist in the wake of the Parkland massacre – because that is what it was. When you hit an internal organ of a human being with a high-velocity bullet from an AR-15, it vaporizes. There is nothing left to fix. No heart, no lung, no liver, no whatever. Dead on the spot. Here’s a video of an FBI agent in Minnesota describing assault weapons.

People like Paul Gazelka have been so infected by the NRA and other gun-rights groups DNA that there no hope for them. The only thing we can do is divest Gazelka of his Senate leadership post. We probably can’t do that for a couple of years, but we ought to see what we can do with his sidekick, Kurt Daudt, in November. Oh, and let’s not forget Rep. Brian Johnson, the Cambridge Republican replacing Tony Cornish as House Public Safety chair. He said he doesn’t want to push forward anything that might violate the Second Amendment. Assault weapons bans, waiting periods, universal background checks, red flag laws, etc., and etc., are all clearly constitutional even under the Heller decision.

The DFL is hardly blameless on this stuff. But I think it’s trainable.

Guys like Gazelka, Daudt, and Johnson don’t really believe something like Parkland will happen in their hometown, but it surely might, more likely in fact, than in the ‘hood, if you look at the demographics of the shooters.

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