Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Utah SWAT Officer Forgets His M4

File this one under OOPS! Fox News reports that a “veteran member” of the Salt Lake County SWAT team accidentally left something behind, his M4 “assault rifle”. Apparently the weapon was left in the grass after a standoff while the officer was collecting other gear. The weapon was found by a homeowner and returned to authorities, and the officer is now facing disciplinary action (though most likely not termination).

So what is right and wrong with this article that it makes it worth blogging? Well the article is short, and it doesn’t make any glaring technical errors, but it does underscore some of the prevailing misconceptions that we as gun owners are going to have to fight in the coming months and years.

First, with all of the background checks and other hoops a law-abiding individual has to go through in order to purchase a firearm, the fact that a SWAT team member would leave behind a Class III weapon in unconscionable. If that weapon had fallen into the wrong hands, it could have done a LOT of damage.

Second, it refers to the M4 as an assault rifle. The good here is that it calls out the model of the rifle specifically (kudos to the author!). However, in the minds of many people, the fully automatic M4 is no different than the semi-automatic AR15, and where the term “assault rifle” can be somewhat accurately applied to the select fire M4, it can’t be accurately applied to the AR15. Yet the media applies that term on a regular basis, in a deliberate attempt to deceive through equivocation.

It falls to gun owners to work to educate the public on the differences between “assault rifles” and “semi-automatic rifles”. If you ask a random person on the street if they support the idea of an “assault weapon ban”, many people will say yes. However, if you then ask those who said “yes” what an assault weapon is, the overwhelming majority respond that they are fully automatic “machine guns”. That is the point where we must step up and inform them that the weapons covered under any such ban aren’t fully automatic at all, but rather semi automatic weapons including those sold to the people by the government (the M1 Carbine).

Education is ultimately the key to preserving our Second Amendment rights, and all concerned gun owners must act as patient teachers to undo the damage of decades of anti-firearm propaganda.

Until next time!!!

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