How many times have you heard someone refer to magazines as clips? How about not differentiating between cartridges and bullets? Ok, not the biggest offenses ever committed, but not knowing the terms can sometimes be exactly what anti-gunners are looking for to create fear and disinformation. When people don’t know the proper terminology, it’s very easy to use what we don’t know against us.
A great example is the CA State Senator Kevin de Leon from Los Angeles who stood at a news conference showing the infamous “Ghost Gun”. He was actually talking about an AR-15 and how the lower was created by a 3D printer with no registration number. He went on to make the outrageous claim that it had a “.30 caliber magazine clip that could fire 30 rounds in a half-second.” To anyone who knows anything about firearms knows that a bolt in an AR-15 or its military counterparts the M-4 and M-16 can’t possibly go that quickly. Now, to a person who is either anti-gun or even simply not up to speed regarding gun terms, is going to hear that and think that it’s unreasonable to have such a weapon. And those of us who know our terms know that this is nonsense, but we end up looking somehow like fringe whackos for pointing out the inaccuracies of such uninformed statements.
Then there is the automatic weapons scare that we hear about in political debates. After any type of shooting, the gun-grabbers begin throwing around the term “automatic weapon” and “military assault rifle” liberally and quite inaccurately. For those who are new to firearms, an automatic weapon is essentially a machine gun. More simply, you pull the trigger and multiple rounds go off really fast. These folks would have you believe that every small town gun shop has such firearms available. Go to your local gun shop and try to buy an automatic weapon. Unless the dealer has a Class 3 Federal license, he or she won’t even be able to have them in the building. If you want to purchase one, it can take up to a year for the FBI screening and can cost a couple hundred dollars in fees. Not an easy process.
The scary guns like AR’s and AK’s only fire as quickly as your finger can pull the trigger, and in that way, it’s no different from a revolver. (Contrary to popular belief, “AR” does NOT stand for Assault Rifle.) I’m sure Jerry Miculek can fire a double action revolver a whole lot faster than most of us can fire an AR-15, so does that make a revolver an automatic weapon, too?
So, if you don’t know the terminology, you can be, let’s say, “swayed” easily by politicians and media talking heads who claim to have credibility on the subject, but in reality have either no idea what they’re talking about or are intentionally misleading people to push their agenda. In either case, the result is the same. It creates an irrational hatred of guns, and it paints gun owners as extremists.
If you are new to the firearms world, welcome! It’s a great family of people who want to be safe and knowledgeable about lawful use of firearms and about personal protection. Learn what types of guns are out there, what are common and how different ones function, especially the more common guns. The more you know, the less you can be led astray by people who use the improper terminology.