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September 28, 2004

If you don't know what you are talking about...'s better to just shut up and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. (This may be a punishing post for you guys on dial-up, I apologize in advance)

How 'bout the Amazing Kerry? Another one of those 'searing' memories...

"My favorite gun is the M-16 that saved my life and that of my crew in Vietnam," said Mr. Kerry, a veteran, according to the October issue. [Of Outdoor Life] "I don't own one of those now, but one of my reminders of my service is a Communist Chinese assault rifle."

Guess he had to have that because he threw away his medals. Oh, wait, those were someone else's.

Mind you, this fellow is sponsoring an Assault Weapons Ban that would have been more strict than the late, unlamented one. So, we expect him to know something about the things he wishes to legislate and regulate, right? Or to rely upon the advice of those who do. And to have staff who understand these things. Is that unreasonable?

Well, out here in the 'sphere, we right wing gun nuts (and prolly some lefty gun nuts, too) had fun with and pointed out his cluelessness regarding a subject near and dear to many voters hearts - such as the shotgun he accepted (and later returned) which would have been illegal under the awful wording of his law (but he and his staff said, "No, it wouldn't." but which most people, on both sides of the issue said, "Yes, it would, Senator." Then there is the fact that the laws are labyrinthine enough now that the well-intentioned gift of the shotgun was illegal, though only those of us who are 'into' guns apparently knew that - but that doesn't stop the good junior Senator from Massachusetts from wanting to add more to the pile of badly-written, feel-good, ineffective law on the subject.

So, what does the Senator (or his staff, depending on which version of events the campaign is putting out now) think is an assault weapon? According to the New York Times:

Senator John Kerry's campaign said yesterday that Mr. Kerry did not own a Chinese assault rifle, as he was quoted as saying in Outdoor Life magazine, but a single-bolt-action military rifle, blaming aides who filled out the magazine's questionnaire on his behalf for the error.

Leaving aside that I don't know of any double/triple/quadruple-bolt action rifles (Department of Redundancy Department alert), we find the Senator, as is his wont when things break the wrong way - blaming subordinates. And, from this, we are to infer that subordinates made up and supplied the quote? Or is there a program the campaign uses, that strings together phrases from the Senator's past speech to generate plausible-sounding verbiage for campaign questionnaires? Who is this "Campaign," guy, anyway? Can we speak to him? Did he write the Senator's legislation regarding assault weapons? We're beginning to think he might have... Oops, we can - because it wasn't the campaign speaking (I know the artifice, I'm being Safire-ishly snarky here) because:

Michael Meehan, a spokesman for the campaign, said Mr. Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, owns two guns, a double-barreled 12-gauge shotgun and the rifle, which Mr. Meehan said Mr. Kerry "keeps as a relic" and had never fired. Mr. Meehan said the gun had no make or model markings on it and that Mr. Kerry "got it from a friend years ago," adding that such rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago and were used by the North Koreans and the Vietcong.

Okay, so which of you guys thinks that thing is an assault rifle? Five-shot bolt action rifles are now assault rifles? Well, in WWI and WWII they were, true enough- at least until true 'assault rifles' came along in the form of the German Maschinen Pistole/Sturm Gewher 44 (Sturm = Storm/Assault, Gewehr= weapon). So was the Springfield Model 1903 in the US Army. Sigh. And yet this gentleman and his underlings want to regulate this stuff. When they are clueless about it, other than "Guns are dangerous, and people can do bad things them... so we must regulate them, and, preferably, ban them altogether, because, well, like, you know, it's good for the kids and man-in-the-moon-marigolds, or something. And you people who want guns and stuff are too stupid to be allowed them, because, like, well, - you don't know anything about 'em and stuff, like, well, um, we do.

So, here's a primer, courtesy the Arsenal at Castle Argghhh!, to help you guys tell the difference.

Chinese (Bulgarian, Russian, Polish, fill-in-the-AK-blank) Assault Rifle. (Though even this isn't - it's a semi, and doesn't have a bayonet lug).

Not Assault Rifle. But, it *is* on of those "rifles were first manufactured in Russia more than 100 years ago" a 1895-dated Imperial Russian Mosin-Nagant Model of 1891, M91 for short. (And I bet, if you clueless dolts had brain cells that make contact, there's markings on it... they just don't say "Chinese Assault Rifle" in english - but unless it's been scrubbed, it'll tell ya who made it, when, and where. And as far as I know, there aren't that many of the 'scrubbed' rifles in the US - since the ones that were scrubbed for clandestine use had their S/Ns removed, too. But - pull that action, and I'll bet you find proofs on the tang.

Hi-res here.

Plus, it's just a bit longer than those AK's and SKS's.

Just a bit...

Unless of course, it is one of the younger siblings of this rifle, the M38, without a bayonet, or the M44, with a built-in bayonet. Lot of them floating around in Korea and Vietnam, too. In fact, this M38 came home with a soldier from the Korean War, and the M44 came home from Vietnam.

M38 hi-res here.

M44 hi-res here.

Remember your pals, the French? Who said yesterday they won't play with you either?

This is a French Assault Rifle. Post-WWII, notice how nice and clean and shiny and unused it is.

It even has one of those dreaded bayonet mount-cum-grenade launcher-cum-flash suppressor thingys you don't like.

Hi-res here.

But it's still pretty short, Senator.

Hi-res for the MAS 49/56 is here.

Okay, Senator (and your underlings). Here's a test. One of these is a Dreaded Assault Weapon. One is not. Can you tell?

Hi-res for the M1903 is here.

Hi-res for the L1A1 is here.