Dunning Kruger on Guns

Bertrand Russel said “One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid.

There is a similar quote by Charles Darwin “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

Almost a year ago I wrote about how Moms Demand Action were pushing a stupid idea called gunsplaining.

Well, the Washington Post jumped into this with their even dumber article The NRA and its allies use jargon to bully gun-control supporters.

It is a defense of ignorance.  The entire premise of it is “we may not know anything about guns but that shouldn’t stop us from making laws about them.”

Actually, it does.

The phenomenon isn’t new, but in the weeks since the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., a lot of gun-skeptical liberals are getting a taste of it for the first time: While debating the merits of various gun control proposals, Second Amendment enthusiasts often diminish, or outright dismiss their views if they use imprecise firearms terminology. Perhaps someone tweets about “assault-style” weapons, only to be told that there’s no such thing. Maybe they’re reprimanded that an AR-15 is neither an assault rifle nor “high-powered.” Or they say something about “machine guns” when they really mean semiautomatic rifles. Or they get sucked into an hours-long Facebook exchange over the difference between the terms clip and magazine.

Has this happened to you? If so, you’ve been gunsplained: harangued with the pedantry of the more-credible-than-thou firearms owner, admonished that your inferior knowledge of guns and their nomenclature puts an asterisk next to your opinion on gun control.

We don’t want to listen to you when you don’t know what the fuck you are talking about.

I wound’t trust some fuckwit from a DC think tank to make farm policy if the closest he’s ever gotten to a cow was aged beef at a Morton’s Steakhouse.  When a bunch of worthless environmentalists came up with California’s water use regulations, they dried up the farms of the Central Valley.  

Ignorant people make bad policy.

It can feel infuriating, being forced to sweat the finest taxonomic distinctions between our nation’s unlimited variety of lethal weapons. I know this feeling acutely, having covered gun violence critically for the better part of a decade and having just buried an old mentor, killed in the Parkland massacre.

The author had his feelings hurt.  Good, fuck him and his feelings.

The author is one Adam Weinstein.  According to his biography:

I’ve been in the Navy, worked for peace in Iraq, taught lefties to shoot, won on a game show, and watched my country find ever deeper crevasses to slide down.

I’ve written or edited for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Esquire, GQ, Guardian, Village Voice, Mother Jones, and Gawker, among others. Maybe you’re next.

It takes a lot of balls to put writing for Gawker, that shit rag, on a resume.  Also, that discredits his moral compass in every way.

If only these adversaries were a little more honest, I’ve often thought, and more precise in their language on the subject, we could have a serious debate on the finer points of a gun violence policy, instead of a bad-faith propaganda race.

We’re the one’s not being honest and argue in bad faith.  I’d assume that the people calling the NRA “a terrorist organization” and say that NRA political contributions are “blood money” are the ones arguing in bad faith.

Gunsplaining, though, is always done in bad faith. Like mansplaining, it’s less about adding to the discourse than smothering it — with self-appointed authority, and often the thinnest of connection to any real fact. (If gunsplaining had a motto, it might be Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher’s macabre old saw: “Your dead kids don’t trump my constitutional rights.”)

 For fuck’s sake, mansplaining?  That is something used by lefties to end conversations they are losing, it’s the feminist equivalent of pulling the race card.

Also, Joe the Plumber was right.  Forget the Second Amendment for a second.  Just look at the Fifth Amendment.  Some nut job shoots up a school and some asshole in the legislature wants me to have to turn in my 30 round mags.  I have just been deprived of my property without due process because of a crime some other person did.  Dead kids don’t trump my rights.

There, the mother of a teacher who died protecting his students from gunfire asked Loesch: How could she possibly believe the Founding Fathers, who ratified the Second Amendment in 1791, anticipated legal AR-15s?

“At the time,” Loesch replied, “there were fully automatic weapons that were available — the Belton gun and Puckle gun.”

Focus on her word choice, not her misremembered history. (I’m writing a book on the Belton gun and can safely say her argument was bunk.) Here was the NRA’s top voice in a time of tragedy, defending AR-15 ownership as a bedrock constitutional right by name-checking two 18th-century manually operated flintlocks — quite incorrectly — as “fully automatic weapons.”

The point is, out Constitution didn’t freeze time.  If it did, the police wouldn’t need a warrant to search through your computer files.  The principles enshrined in the Constitution are not dependent on technology.

I also severely doubt this guy is writing a book on the Belton Flintlock.  I don’t think there is a whole book worth of information on the (I think) one in existence.

More recently, Tomi Lahren, a Fox News personality with no obvious qualifications, preemptively tweet-lectured “Lefties” that the “AR” in AR-15 doesn’t stand for “assault rifle” but for the name of the gun’s original manufacturer, Armalite. She failed to note that the family of Eugene Stoner, Armalite’s onetime chief engineer and the brains behind the AR-15, insisted in 2016 that he would be “horrified and sickened” to see his military rifle pattern become so common in civilian households and school shootings.

So what that Eugene Stoner’s family don’t want civilians to own AR-15’s .  The great John Moses Browning designed the BAR when anybody could order a machine gun out of the Sears catalog.  I’d be unhappy if any of my designs were used in a mass shooting.  That doesn’t mean I believe civilians shouldn’t be able to buy them.

In this kind of war over words, both sides probably need to give a little. But the pro-gun side needs to give a lot more — not just because it’s been disingenuously gunsplaining to shut down discussions and close minds for years — but because the onus should be on those citizens who own the weapons technology, and purport to understand it, to share that understanding with the skeptical and less-informed. That’s a responsibility that goes along with the right to bear arms.

Fuck you sideways with a railroad spike.  The Left has brought up Australia more times than I can count yet side steps the mandatory buy back (confiscation by any other name) when pressed on it.  Yet you want me to give more?  Bullshit.

What bothers me is that there are some really meaningful gun-terminology discussions we could be having in the mainstream right now. Civil libertarians who worry about excessive force and police-involved shootings, for example, have a huge stake in understanding how seemingly technical options in police handguns — single action vs. double action, or hammer- vs. striker-fired — affect gun-discharge rates.

Bad police training means that I can’t own an AR?  Is that what you are saying.

And yes, a growing number of American gun owners, including me, find “assault weapons” easier to define, and harder to defend, with time. I know that an AR-15 is not a machine gun or an assault rifle, that its rounds are not high-powered, that it accepts magazines, not clips — any law that seeks to ban them should be written with precision.

Yep, which is why stupid people who know nothing shouldn’t write the laws.  They lack “precision”

But before any of that can happen, we need to take away the incentives for gunsplaining, for spurning conversation in favor of condescension. Can that happen anytime soon? I’m not optimistic — not as long as the pro-gun camp continues to suppress debate with heavy rhetorical firepower, instead of just shooting straight.

The Left spews condescension with every breath it takes.

But if you want us to shoot straight, here I go.  I’m not giving up a fucking thing.  No gun ban from the 1994 AWB to any state or local AWB or mag capacity ban has done a damn bit of difference to reduce crime.  The Left hates guns, gun owners, and gun culture.  They use every tragedy to push an agenda that won’t do fuck all to stop crime, but will stab gun culture in the heart.  We know it, and we won’t roll over and let you do it to us.  Fuck you.

There is more.
In the world of gun laws, details matter.  A fraction of an inch can be the difference between turning an old, worn out duck gun into a home defense shot gun or turning an old, worn out duck gun into a felony.

Most people have it basically right, that it is illegal to turn a semi auto into a machine gun.  What they don’t know is what the ATF considers a machine gun.

Here is a fun fact, and something that is completely true.  If you have a legal semi auto AR-15, and you drill a single hole in the receiver in the location  where the full auto sear pin goes, congratulations, you just won yourself a trip to prison.

Why?  Well what defines a receiver is actually not much more than making certain locating holes for machining.  You don’t need to fully machine an 80% lower to make it a receiver, you just need to drill a few pilot holes for the trigger group.  Take the next step and drill the locating hole for the full auto sear pin and you made a machine gun.

If you don’t understand what I just said, you shouldn’t be lecturing me on gun bans.  Your ignorance is the kind of stuff that turns millions of law abiding people into criminals overnight.  Some of us believe that is the point.  To turn unsuspecting gun owners into criminals through bans of rhetorical complexity.

We won’t let you do that to us.  Just leave us the fuck alone.

7 Replies to “Dunning Kruger on Guns”

  1. I have a better term for what happened in Australia: Partially compensated compulsory confiscation. There is no “voluntary” element to it and it never compensated for the value of the guns confiscated.

    1. Correct. But even if it did fully, or more than fully, compensate for the monetary value of the property confiscated, it would STILL be confiscation. A “buy” can only occur if there is a seller, and a seller is only a person who VOLUNTARILY agrees to part with an item in exchange for a consideration.

      What an amazing rant. A key part is that not only are the opposition ignorant, but they are willfully and proudly ignorant. They act as if ignorance is a virtue rather than a defect. Actually, that means they are stupid, not ignorant. (“The difference between stupidity and ignorance is that ignorance is curable” — Robert A. Heinlein)

      The “no ARs in 1790” argument comes up all the time. The simple answer is “if so, then you have no First Amendment protection when you write, because you don’t write with a goose quill, or print it on rag paper using hand-set type and a manual press”. And “you have no Fourth Amendment right against warrantless wiretaps, because telephones did not exist in 1790 either”.

  2. He also says “And yes, a growing number of American gun owners, including me, find “assault weapons” easier to define…”. Interesting. He claims to be a gun owner. I suspect he’s lying.
    But anyway, if “assault weapon” is so easy to define, how come that it’s never defined the same way twice running in any bill proposed in any legislature? The reality, as shown by those bills, is that “gun that looks scary enough to make Feinstein shit her panties” is about the most accurate definition you can find. Back in 1994 it was a rifle with two scary looking things on it. Now in Florida it’s a gun (rifle, handgun, shotgun) with just one scary looking thing on it. That includes such massively frightening things as screw thread at the end of the barrel. Wow. And this fucking moron claims that “assault weapon” is easy to define, and “gun owners” such as he claims to be intuitively know what it is and approve? If he actually is a gun owner, he clearly should not be, being disqualified by the “mentally defective” rule.

  3. I know that an AR-15 is not a machine gun or an assault rifle, that its rounds are not high-powered, that it accepts magazines, not clips — any law that seeks to ban them should be written with precision. […] But before any of that can happen, we need to take away the incentives for gunsplaining, for spurning conversation in favor of condescension.

    What I hear him saying is, “I know the differences, and any proposed laws must take into account those differences. But for that to happen, we have to discourage talking about those differences, so that any proposed laws don’t need to account for them.”

    IOW, he’s a disingenuous, hypocritical, anti-intellectual piece of s#!t, basically conceding that facts matter, and then immediately demanding facts be made to not matter in order to make law.

  4. Great article as usual, but I have one question. You said, “You don’t need to fully machine an 80% lower to make it a receiver.” Isn’t a RECEIVER the main part of an UPPER that houses the BARREL, BCG and CHARGING HANDLE?

    What did you mean to say here?

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