The Gun-Grabbers Don't Care About the AR-15 -- They Are After All Guns

The way the gun control activists work is akin to the story of the frog in the pot of water. If you toss him in hot water, he jumps out. If you put him in comfortable water and then turn the fire on, you can boil him to death.


The gun grabbers have gone after entire classes of weapons, like pistols and scary guns which they call “assault rifles,” and have generally lost. The assault rifle ban, itself, being the most ridiculous idea to come down the pike in a while. What we’re seeing in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is something more sophisticated. While they are superficially targeting the AR-15, they are, in reality, targeting 100% of all high-powered rifles. Because for the first time they aren’t after the pistol grip or the magazine or the way the AR-15 exudes violence from every molecule. They are going after the bullet, itself.

Let’s start with a couple of facts. Bullets (with the notable exception of wadcutters) are designed to kill things. Sure you can use them for target practice but the purpose is to kill. Period. In order to kill quickly, because you don’t want a deer or a burglar able to run around for a half-hour after you shoot them, the bullet has to be able to cause massive tissue damage. It does this by a combination of mass, velocity, and projectile design. By and large, the bigger and faster the projectile, the more lethal it is. That is generally considered to be a laudable characteristic in a bullet and is central to what follows.


From The Atlantic What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns. The author is a radiologist…but whatever.

Routine handgun injuries leave entry and exit wounds and linear tracks through the victim’s body that are roughly the size of the bullet. If the bullet does not directly hit something crucial like the heart or the aorta, and they do not bleed to death before being transported to our care at a trauma center, chances are, we can save the victim. The bullets fired by an AR-15 are different; they travel at higher velocity and are far more lethal. The damage they cause is a function of the energy they impart as they pass through the body. A typical AR-15 bullet leaves the barrel traveling almost three times faster than, and imparting more than three times the energy of, a typical 9mm bullet from a handgun. An AR-15 rifle outfitted with a magazine with 50 rounds allows many more lethal bullets to be delivered quickly without reloading.

I have seen a handful of AR-15 injuries in my career. I saw one from a man shot in the back by a SWAT team years ago. The injury along the path of the bullet from an AR-15 is vastly different from a low-velocity handgun injury. The bullet from an AR-15 passes through the body like a cigarette boat travelling at maximum speed through a tiny canal. The tissue next to the bullet is elastic—moving away from the bullet like waves of water displaced by the boat—and then returns and settles back. This process is called cavitation; it leaves the displaced tissue damaged or killed. The high-velocity bullet causes a swath of tissue damage that extends several inches from its path. It does not have to actually hit an artery to damage it and cause catastrophic bleeding. Exit wounds can be the size of an orange.

With an AR-15, the shooter does not have to be particularly accurate. The victim does not have to be unlucky. If a victim takes a direct hit to the liver from an AR-15, the damage is far graver than that of a simple handgun shot injury. Handgun injuries to the liver are generally survivable unless the bullet hits the main blood supply to the liver. An AR-15 bullet wound to the middle of the liver would cause so much bleeding that the patient would likely never make it to a trauma center to receive our care.


This is more or less true though the author makes wound ballistics seem a helluva lot more predictable than they are. A soldier in my company was hit in the wrist by the 62-grain M855 ball round used in the M16A1. The round hit the ulna, followed the bone without breaking it, and popped out just below his elbow. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the NATO 5.56mm round, which is a much hotter version of the Winchester .223, has been demonstrated to punch ice-pick-like wounds in the enemy and not incapacitate them. Part of this because the enemy tend to be pretty scrawny and the bullet doesn’t have time to fragment or tumble before exiting. During the fighting in Mosul in 2004, an insurgent was captured wearing a colostomy bag and his healed wounds showed he’d survived several previous 5.56mm wounds to the guts, been patched up, and was back in battle.

But the fact is that a  .223 fired from a single-shot, bolt-action rifle is going to perform very much the same was as that same round coming from the sexy and incredibly vicious AR-15.


So yes, the story the radiologist tells is horrifying but then you have to consider what was the bullet designed to do. And why would you want a bullet that couldn’t kill the target? Would that serve any purpose? No. The idea here is to make the wound caused by the bullet sound so horrific that we are repulsed and and get rid of the bullet. Because the Winchester .223 is a very popular round and though a little too light for deer hunting–though very legal in most states–it can be use to great effect on feral hogs and variety of smaller game than the Eastern whitetail. And it is popular because it does pretty much what the radiologist describes.

If we’re going to get rid of the .223, then Katy-bar-the-door. Because all of the larger rounds do what the .223 does and they do it much better. You want shattered bones and pulverized internal organs? Well, you’d better get rid of the .243 and the .270 and the .308 and heaven knows that .30-06 has to go, too.

This makes the AR-15 the frog in the kettle. If we let it be banned, rest assured they are coming after the .223. When that is gone, the larger rounds are next.


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