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GUNS Magazine August 2011 Digital Edition - Page 68

VNR RIGHTS WATCH Patrol Rifles Good, Assault Rifles Bad? Kurt Hofmann illustrated how such terminology is used to manipulate public opinion. Citing a South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial calling for a ban on “civilian” possession of semi-autos, Hofmann showed us how that works. “What makes this editorial special is the slick rhetorical gymnastics,” he wrote in “The Difference Between ‘Assault Weapons’ And ‘Patrol Rifles,’” showing how the Sun-Sentinel wordsmiths crafted their arguments. “[T]here is one unmistakable truth—the average person has absolutely no need for an assault rifle. They have one purpose—to hurt or kill people, namely cops,” the editorial began. ortarmen from Company C, M 1-506th Infantry, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Precision-Guided Mortar Rounds Arrive In Afghanistan NEWS “T wo police officers, training on patrol rifles… suffered injuries Wednesday morning when one of the firearms exploded,” a recent news account reports. Fortunately, the injuries were not life-threatening. It was reported the rifle in question is widely used by law enforcement. An initial inspection shows the gun was not defective. But here’s the thing about that rifle: It’s a semi-automatic rifle and includes features such as a pistol grip, a 30-round-capacity magazine, collapsible stock… the very features anti-gunners use to define an “assault rifle.” The very features the anti-gunners demand banning from private ownership. Something else the antis are counting on is media and public ignorance about the difference between a semi-auto so demonized, and a select-fire/full-auto weapon. Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center spelled out a strategy calculated to exploit that. “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully-automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons,” he wrote back in 1988, outlining a misdirection strategy that is still used to gin up such support. So when is an assault rifle not an assault rifle? The newspaper called the rifle involved a “patrol rifle.” Does anyone think it would have been referred to as anything but an “assault rifle” had just plain folks been involved in the mishap? Gun rights advocate and writer Division, Forward Operating Base Kushamond, Paktika Province, Afghanistan, fired a 120mm Precision Guided Mortar Munitions round for the first time last March 26, which hit within 4 meters of its target. A mortar is an indirect fire weapon system infantrymen at the battalion level use for immediate fire missions. Normally a mortar fires a “dumb” round—one that does not have an onboard guidance system. “[T]HeRe IS one unmISTAkAble TRuTH—THe AveRAGe peRSon HAS AbSoluTely no need foR An ASSAulT RIfle. THey HAve one puRpoSe—To HuRT oR kIll people, nAmely CopS,” “Understandably, officers in more South Florida police agencies have been arming themselves—at their own expense—with patrol rifles to be on more even footing with criminals—particularly gangs—they encounter,” it concluded. Words have meaning and power, and can be used especially insidiously when the intent is to prompt opinions from people who don’t even know they’re being manipulated—and that can include naïve journalists. Being aware of the “patrol rifle/assault rifle” sleight of mind is important, because it does just that, and carries with it the sense that citizens so armed are threats to public safety, and only the police can be trusted. Anyone spreading such a gospel of citizen untrustworthiness and authoritarian salvation has an agenda, and freedom isn’t on it. Due to the importance of this column, GUNS will begin posting “Rights Watch” at www. on the 1st of the month—long before it appears here.—Editor Visit David Codrea’s online journal “The War on Guns” at or visit to read his Examiner column. Spc. Nicholas Ketchen and Spc. Colt Corbin, mortarmen from Company C, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, achieved a first in US Army history by firing a 120mm Mortar Precision Guided Munition for the first time in Afghanistan, and hitting within four meters of the target, on Forward Operation Base Kushamond, Afghanistan, last March 26. Photo: Spc. Zachary Burke, 55th Combat Camera “The 120mm precision guided munitions will allow Task Force Red Currahee to provide even more effective fires with increased lethality,” said Lt. Col. David Womack, commander of the 1st Bn., 506th Inf. “The accuracy of the 120mm PGMM (Precision Guided Mortar Munition) also reduces the potential risk of any collateral damage, (and) as a commander I have another tool available to fight the enemy.” “A 120mm mortar is a fairly accurate weapons system (with the dumb round), it is however not as accurate as the Howitzers,” said Maj. Gary Pina, brigade fire support coordinator, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Div. “It was built for immediate fire suppression or support for the infantry battalions.” Pina said the Howitzers are a brigade-level asset. The 120mm PGMM mortar round offers a more capable weapon system at the battalion level. 68 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • AUGUST 2011

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