RANGER AGAINST WAR: A True Assault Rifle <

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A True Assault Rifle

Lies, lies in my history books
Lies, lies like they teach in class
Lies, lies, lies I catch on way too fast 
--Lies, Rolling Stones

There is so much misinformation in the media about assault rifles that it is a pleasure to write about a true assault rifle for a change.

By definition (but not by U.S. law), an assault rifle is fully automatic, shoulder-fired, air-cooled, selective fire and usually fires from the closed bolt.  It is magazine-fed and uses an intermeditae cartridge.  Such a weapon is the STG (MP) 44, and a woman last December turned one in to a police gun buy back:

"Just like a scene out of “Antiques Roadshow,” a woman in Hartford, Conn., turned in an old rifle to her local police station’s gun buy-back,  only to discover the gun was worth anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000. The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, inherited the gun from her father who had brought it home with him from Europe as a memento from World War II.

"The gun is called a Sturmgewehr 44, literally meaning “storm rifle,” and is the first “modern assault rifle ever made, eventually replaced by the AK 47 in 1947 by Russia, who copied the German design of the Sturmgewehr 44,” Officer Lewis Crabtree, one of the two officers who discovered the gun, told ABC News (Woman Turns in Valuable WWII Gun at Police Station Weapon Buy-Back.)"

But though the above statement is correct, Officer John Cavanna later incorrectly states,

“Her father passed away. The gun was in her closet,” Cavanna said. “She did not know it was a machine gun.
The STG 44 is NOT a Machine Gun (MG); it is simply an automatic rifle.  A MG fires from the open bolt, is belt-fed and is usually crew-served. A MG is not an individual weapon, as is an assault rifle.  Calling an assault rifle a MG makes it sound like it is in a large pool of ominous-sounding weapons, but the mistake only adds confusion to the issue.

The article continues, "This German-made machine gun can fire 500 rounds in minutes, according to Cavanna, who is also a gun range master."  The sustained rate of fire MAY be 500 rounds per minute IF you could change the magazine fast enough to achieve that high rate of fire: to achieve this feat would require the rifleman to have 16 1/2 magazines of 30 rounds each, and they would have to changed at the rate of one every five seconds. (The average German rifleman carried three magazines and one in the weapon -- a normal combat load.)

No fact-checking, here, and lack of knowledge on the "experts" behalf  -- par for the course, today:

"At the time the officers received the gun, it was in such disrepair that it was inoperable, unable to shoot a bullet even if the gun had been loaded. Cavanna said ammunition would have to be especially made for this gun."

A simple search shows that the Hornaday Company still makes commercial ammunition for this rifle.

The last paragraph gets real fuzzy, fast:

“'We did not take the gun in for the gun buy-back program,' Crabtree said. 'If we took it as part of the buy-back, we would have no choice but to destroy the gun. We don’t want to destroy that gun'.”

"The owner intends to sell the Sturmgewehr 44."

There is no legal avenue to sell an unregistered, non-amnestied full auto weapon.  Unless this rifle is donated to a museum, there is no legal way to sell the weapon on the open market.

Yet this article leads one to believe that auto weapons found in a closet can be legally transferred.  Contrary to the implication of this article, the gun laws of the United States are working.  One cannot sell automatic weapons casually to another person as this is a highly-regulated activity.

Unfortunately, the misinformation in reportage about guns today gives the feeling that it is the Wild West when it comes to gun transfers, and this is not the case.

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