Malloy’s Faulty Logic On Military-Style Rifles

by Categorized: Commerce, Manufacturing, Politics Date:

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is pushing a plan to ban military-style rifles outright. Connecticut’s firearms industry executives will say it jeopardizes thousands of jobs and does nothing to improve safety.

Emotion is on Malloy’s side. Tighter registration and sales rules, which he also rolled out Thursday, are in order.

But where equipment bans are concerned, logic may well be on the industry’s side.

For now, everyone is doing a dance. Malloy is saying he wants to ban all “assault weapons,” which he says is an obvious definition akin to Supreme Court Potter Stewart’s “know-it-when-I-see-it” label for pornography.

What Malloy is not saying is that he wants to ban outright the firearm that represents 60 percent of all rifle sales, the gun design that is basically where rifle evolution has taken us, with perhaps 6 million in civilian hands.

As it happens, the military-style AR-15, not a brand but a type, is a Connecticut product. It was invented in California but developed in Hartford by Colt Firearms and Colt’s Manufacturing Co., as the company has been called at various times. It’s made by Colt’s and three other companies here, plus Smith & Wesson up the road in Springfield — along with about 60 other firms across the nation.

Malloy’s critics did not say Thursday that such a ban is illogical — not yet, anyway. Instead, Republican leaders in the legislature and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents manufacturers and retailers, said they were upset that Malloy upstaged his own handpicked commission and a bipartisan legislative task force with a laundry list of gun control measures on the day of Vice President Joe Biden’s visit.

Setting aside that purely political flap, Malloy argues that “assault weapons” should be banned.  Fair enough. He says the AR-15 is obviously an assault weapon, and that people who think otherwise “have a reason not to see it that way.”

Two problems with that: It’s not obvious that the AR-15 is an assault weapon, and even if it makes sense to ban it, the action ought to be national rather than state-by-state — especially in the very state that’s still the cradle of the firearms industry.

Malloy’s plan would ban any firearm that is semi-automatic, meaning it shoots a bullet with each pull of the trigger; takes detachable bullet magazines; and has at least one military-syle feature.

He calls these “assault rifles.”  The industry calls them “modern sporting rifles” and says assault rifles — which are virtually banned for civilians — are fully automatic machine guns that spray multiple bullets with a single trigger pull. The neutral term is “military-style rifles.”

Regardless of the words, the current Connecticut law, similar to the federal ban that was enacted in 1994 and expired in 2004, allows two of a list of features, including a pistol grip, removable flash-suppressor, bayonet mount, collapsible stock and grenade launcher.

My colleague Matthew Kauffman illustrated why it’s hard to define an assault rifle in a blog post Thursday.

Makers of the AR-15 have gotten around the ban by offering a model with a pistol grip but none of the other features. Those weapons still function more or less the same as any other AR-15 that’s excluded from Connecticut and a half-dozen other states that kept the ban.

Take away the pistol grip and it’s hard to imagine the AR-15 existing in any form. That may be fine with Malloy, but the industry will argue that there are weapons out there — many of them — that are not military-style, but which are just as deadly as an AR-15.  In fact, they will say, the pistol grip might even make the world safer because it’s easier to handle by someone defending him- or herself, while a determined assailant could do just as much damage without one.

Put another way, just because mass killers tend to use military-style weapons does not necessarily mean they must use those weapons to do the same damage. Banning all semi-automatic weapons that take detachable magazines, with or without pistol grips, might do the trick. But that would essentially take us back to the 19th century.

“Do you want to make the streets safer for the children? Arbitrary restrictions on features don’t do that,” said Mark Malkowski, founder and president of AR-15 maker Stag Arms of New Britain, at the state Capitol on Jan. 28.

Malkowski owns one of four factories within a 40-minute drive of Hartford that make versions of the AR-15. He and his fellow owners are in the sensitive position of appearing to put profits and jobs ahead of public safety. Not true; they’re only saying that bans don’t bring safety, and that by the way, we have thousands of jobs in Connecticut, including a web of suppliers from spring-makers to metal-coaters.

Access, sale and registration rules are one thing.  Malloy’s plan to require registration of ammunition purchases will bring the mother of all constitutional debates and I’m eager to witness it.  But if an equipment ban makes sense, it’s only logical as national legislation where borders matter — not in a state with three superhighways capable of bringing guns in, and jobs out.

“What does a factory like Mossberg do?” said Lawrence Keane, general counsel at NSSF, the industry group based in Newtown, referring to O.F. Mossberg & Sons of North Haven, which introduced a line of AR-15’s last year,

“Do they continue to invest in Connecticut or do they move jobs to Texas?”




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41 thoughts on “Malloy’s Faulty Logic On Military-Style Rifles

  1. P-E-Z

    Thank YOU for honest look at the issue. Under the website is video on the difference between “banned” and not banned magazines. One other thing many people have forgotten. The gun control act of 1968 had all handgun ammo including .22 long rifle registered. It was scrapped after about 30 years. Tracking and registering ammo was never used to solve or prevent a single crime in the entire nation. Just was just a massive amount of useless information.

  2. Time for Change!

    Why not move the jobs to Texas where they will be welcomed instead of demonized? Governor Rick Perry would welcome these gun manufacturers with open arms.

  3. Norm Scott

    Logic would dictate one immediate practical goal for the Governor. As rifles of all types combined comprise only a small percentage of arms used in gun crime, they make a nifty start on the slippery slope to a complete gun ban. Banning rifles may provide some feel good for some after Newtown, but it will do next to nothing to reduce violent crime in the State. Therefore banning rifles is just the beginning. It’s just commons sense.

    And don’t think the political masters will stop at 18th century muskets. The internet, phones, in fact, all digital content, will eventually come under government control or censorship. After all, just like semi-automatic firearms, none of them existed at the time the First Amendment was adopted.

  4. claymore

    Please use the correct term for assault rifles. They are DEFINITELY NOT “fully automatic”.

    They are “select fire” or “automatic firing”.

    If one had a “fully automatic” weapon one could put an empty magazine or a pile of links in a table with the weapon and some rounds.

    One could then say shoot that man and point him out.

    A “fully automatic” weapon would then by itself pick up the magazine or links, load them with rounds, insert them into the weapon, lock and load, turn the safety off, identify the targeted man shoot the correct person, stop firing, unload the weapon and return to the table.

        1. Kim

          that’s called ‘schooling the professor’, commonsense. Well done.

          If we’re lucky, this professor of black studies will be one of those let go by sequestration. No room for racist professors in the school system – there’s too many good teachers who have value that should be kept. Unfortunately, seniority probably will come into play.

          With luck and perserverance, the general public (me and others) will put enough pressure to bear on government to change all these wrongs so those like poopster can go the way of the dinosaur and try to find real work in the real world

  5. DP

    New York State has registered ammunition purchases for years and I never heard of a single arrest made due to the NY State having this infomation. Another worthless liberal idea.

  6. pete

    DANNY BOY is nothing more than an obama lap dog. He will do whatever obama tells him to do. Remember HE DANNY BOY eliminated the DEATH PENALTY. HE DANNY BOY legalized POT so his son can dealing freely. HE DANNY BOY pushed to let prisoners out EARLY ONE OF WHICH COMMITED MURDER. Hey DANNY BOY did that THUG have a REGISTERED WEAPON DANNY BOY. And remember that murdered can NOT fact the death penalty now thanks to DANNY BOY and the ‘RATS. Come lap dog I have more tricks for you to perform

  7. one little

    When are these publicity seeking politicians going to deal with the CRIMINALS? We need mandatory minimum sentencing that will put anyone convicted of using a firearm in the commission of a crime or convicted of being in possession of an ILLEGAL and/or STOLEN firearm, away for a minimum of 10 years, or more, without any possibility of parole. The age and/or sex of the criminal should not be taken into consideration when sentencing.

  8. Colon McEnroe

    Glad there is someone in the press who can see things for the way they are. Requiring registration for ammo sales is like requiring registration for sales of alcoholic beverages. More people are killed every year by drunk drivers than by firearms. What is being done about that?

    1. Mike

      Sorry “Colon” that is not even close to being true.

      2010 10,136 Drunk Driving releated deaths
      31,672 Firearm releated deaths.

      You do more harm that good by spreading bad information.

        1. Mike

          My numbers are not skewed, those are the numbers based on “Colon’s” comment. Making his comment false. Your comparason is skewed because you are comparing all alcohol deaths to homicides not all firearm deaths.
          Number from your linked CDC report.

          Firearm releated deaths 31,347
          Alcohol death 24,518 (as you stated)

  9. Mike

    Dan is awful. He is now putting a prison in my backyard in Rocky Hill and he wants to prevent me from protecting my family from these criminals? Criminals kill people, not guns. How detached from reality is he?

  10. susan

    These are evil things, and the people who own them are all evil, wicked people. That’s why they should be taken away. Doing right has no end.

  11. the pooka

    “Banning all semi-automatic weapons that take detachable magazines, with or without pistol grips, might do the trick. But that would essentially take us back to the 19th century.”

    Indeed it would — the Late 19th century — and so what? Hurrah for the Late 19th Century! Civilian-use reversion to revolvers, & bolt-, lever-, or pump-action long guns, would Definitely do the trick (the “trick” being, to seriously reduce the Body count from gun homicides).

    The pro-“assault”-riflemen’s technical Argument is essentially correct. It’s only their Conclusion that’s wrong. It’s true that ALL semi-auto firearms, long guns & handguns alike, regardless of their Aesthetics, fundamentally share the same Higher-lethality performance characteristics, compared to guns requiring some manual action by the gunner to advance the next round into the firing chamber or position. These characteristics are: more rapid rate of fire; and Much more rapid reload, assuming the shooter has remembered to pack pre-loaded spare magazines. (Many also permit a Larger ammo load via the high-capacity clip, thus reducing the Frequency of reloading.)

    Therefore, treat the semi-autos equally: Ban them All.

    We can hunt, targetshoot, & defend ourselves very adequately — and vindicate our 2nd Amendment rights — with lever- and bolt-action rifles & pump-action shotguns & double- (or single-, if you prefer) action revolvers (“Six for Sure”).

    As to the 19th Century: Bring It On. :)

    1. Fed up

      I agree with pooka, but why stop with guns. Using your same flawed logic and 19th century wish. We should eliminte all cars. This fixes drive by shootings,people speeding, talking on their cellphones, hit and run accidents. In fact there will never be another accident or automobile death again. After all cars kill people not the people driving them. Welcome to the 19th century indeed.

      1. the pooka

        Fed up (and I can’t say I Blame you for being so :))- motor vehicles, altogether unlike firearms, are not designed, manufactured, sold, purchased & utilized primarily for the Purpose of inflicting death upon human beings & other living species under certain Circumstances, e.g, on the Hunt or in Self-defense. (Even so, you’ll note that motor vehicles ARE heavily regulated, restricted, and Registered in government databases.) Almost all motor-vehicle deaths are accidental, unrelated to the machine’s purpose. Of course many firearm fatalities are accidental too; but these are tragically-unintended instances of exactly the function for which the weapon IS designed.

        Anyway, I don’t want to eliminate all guns (which the Constitution rightly prohibits) any more than I’d eliminate cars. Re-read my post. I’d keep Lots of guns. They’d just Shoot a little more slowly than all this semi-auto stuff we’re so Swamped with now — and Reload quite a bit more slowly. People would still get Murdered with them. Just Fewer people, that’s all. And that would be a Good thing.

        Pragmatically, I’m willing to defer my comprehensive all-Semi-autos Ban, provided I get a strict prohibition of on-the-person Carry (concealed or open) of any semi-automatic Pistol. You get an exception only for transport to & from the Range or the Gunsmith. Otherwise the ol’ Model 1911 stays in the house to deal with the Masked Marauder. / The majority of homicides by gun are committed outside the home with semi-automatic handguns. This would considerably reduce the numbers. I rest my case.

        But you’ll excuse me now, I gotta go take deliver of my Double-barrelled 12-gauge autographed by Joe Biden. :)

        1. Kim

          so as long as its’ not primarily designed to kill, it should be legal no matter how many are killed? Your logic is void.

          Also, you falsely imply that ‘masked marauders’ are not evident outside of one’s home – another ridiculous position without logic. (you call it ‘pragmatic’ but it is not that either). You wish innocent people to be defenseless the moment they leave their homes.

          Why don’t you live by your own words. give up your internet, electricity, running water and indoor plumbing. Why not? Because hypocrisy is a virtue to those who ‘think’ like you (and I use that term very loosely)

        2. Kim

          we obviously need to curtail the 1st amendment. I will volunteer to be on the board that reviews and rejects messages that don’t meet my standards. I will put myself and my own wishes above all others, just as you wish to do in this instance.

        3. Not the pooka, Thank God!

          If we are so swamped with semi-autos why is it that crime is declining?

          The so-called assault weapons ban expired in 2004 and yet crime has declined.

          Loving the 19th century, you surely wouldn’t stoop to using a chain saw. Perhaps that explain that axe you have to grind when it comes to firearms.

        4. Kim

          pooka: The recent Orange County shooting rampage by Ali Syed was carried out with a shotgun – not an ‘assault weapon’. o now what? Do we ban shotguns as well?

          This, people, is the real agenda of the 2nd amendment haters – every gun must go

        5. Jim

          Or we could just do the work and catch the criminals and disarm them thereby reducing crime. Yeah, that’d be too much hard work. Better to just disarm the law abiding since they’ll be the only ones to obey the law.

      1. the pooka

        hee hee! Verygood, Kim. / But then I could still send paper Letters to the Editor. Using my early-20th-century Typewriter. Or my 18th-century Quill pen. See, the Internet doesn’t write rationally. PEOPLE write rationally. :)

  12. Bogie

    “These are evil things, and the people who own them are all evil, wicked people. That’s why they should be taken away. Doing right has no end.”
    Yes! I completely agree.A PENIS has only one use…RAPE…and people who possess them should be dealt with accordingly.Enough is enough…….If we can save just one virgin………

  13. Vote them all out

    Is this state not a billion in the hole?? Malloy has been a disaster for the Middle Class in this state and is damaging the Democrat brand at this point. In 2014 those who supported this nonsense will regret it at the polls. I am a Independent and will NEVER vote for a liberal Democrat again. They have bankrupted the state and now want to take away rights of their citizens. I have a friend who works at Colt who will likely lose their job.

  14. Occupied Territory

    Every worthwhile able-bodied worker and successful company should leave the state. Give them their urban dependency-class cesspool utopia. Let it consume itself. We’ll see how well that works out for them.

  15. Olde Dude

    Both Malloy’s and your logic are flawed. Malloy’s as you state and your’s from the standpoint that the federal govt can resolve the issues.
    Did you ever stop to consider that more gun control regulations won’t address the underlying problem of irresponsible persons and psychopaths intent on doing harm?

    1. Jim

      Agreed. Why won’t the government pursue criminals? Because it actually takes work to go out and stop the criminal behavior that they are involved with. There is no work in demonizing law abiding gun owners. There is no work involved with jumping on the Obama band wagon and blaming inanimate objects for the evil that is inflicted by their users. Government is too lazy to address the real criminals so they set their sights on the people that should comply willingly. Unfortunately for us, this first step of disarming the population will only put us at risk of becoming another Chicago. The liberal utopia of unarmed citizens is now controlled by the will of the illegal firearm owning criminals. Obama’s home town, controlled by his lap dog Rahm Emanual.

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