Friday, October 11, 2002

Sniper attacks: Just as I leave home and head out to D.C., some lunatic starts killing people at gas stations. Returning that rental car half-full and eating the exorbinant charges is starting to look pretty good. Here with a few comments from a shooter's perspective:

This is NOT a "high-powered" rifle. That term has no definition and is thus literally meaningless. Kudos to CNN which at least called it a "high-velocity" rifle, which it most likely is.

Concealed carry will not help. Some pro-gun types have pointed out that Maryland has strong anti-gun laws, and concealed carry of handguns is not legal. I'll admit that I wish I had my Glock with me. But frankly, that's irrational--handgun as security blanket. No combat handgun has the mechanical ability to place shots accurately at 100 yards. Handguns which do have this accuracy exist, but they aren't carry guns. Few if any shooters are accurate enough to make hits at that range (I'm not). The rifleman can aim faster and make quicker follow-up shots. And, of course, you can't hit what you can't see.

Gun Control will not help. Unless you want to ban all hunting rifles, you can't prevent someone from doing this. Even if you did ban all hunting rifles, the ban would likely be no more effective than current bans on, say, cocaine possension. Ballistic fingerprinting combined with registration is a joke--either someone can use a stolen gun, or will make simple modifications to the rifle which will make the fingerprint totally different. I could do it myself fairly quickly, and most gun owners know how (I won't be sharing this info, by the way).

This person has some training but doesn't look much better than the average varmint hunter. It might be an ex-military sniper, but it doesn't have to be. It certainly isn't a rank beginner. A local news station sent their bubble-head reporter out with a gunsmith, and she came back with the impression that anyone could do it. Sure--if they're handed an accurized, sighted-in, scoped rifle with high-quality loads, and set on a benchrest, they can hit the target. But the sniper probably has a lot more skill than that.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer agrees with me. He says almost the exact same things, but has lots of other good posts on this topic. If you're interested, check it out, and pay a visit to Armed Liberal as well.
I'm back...but only for today. Back permanently next monday. So to start out: Atrios has a really great post on gun control. I agree with him 100%, and I'm one of the raving hysterical anti-gun-control types.