Chris Matthews: ‘Outlaw Semi-Automatic Weapons’

On the December 18 broadcast of his MSNBC show, Hardball, Chris Matthews gave us a perfect example of the outright ignorance about how firearms work that the left media exhibits on a daily basis. Matthews thought he had a brilliant point when he said we should “outlaw semi-automatic weapons.”

In a discussion with a U.S. Senator, Matthews proposed his brilliant “solution” to the ills of the Second Amendment.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: It’s not hopeless, though. You talked about the Second Amendment. But, look, back in 1934 we had Machine Gun Kelly and all the guys out in Chicago. We had the whole Prohibition era encouraging a certain kind of crime; rum-running, etc. Here’s the question. Back then, the Congress had the guts to outlaw automatic weapons, machine guns, basically they did. They’re heavily regulated, heavily regulated, almost to the point of you don’t find them around. Here’s the question: why can’t Congress do the same thing to semi-automatics? I know we’ve got millions of them, whatever. Can’t we start to regulate? We don’t have to regulate a shotgun or a regular pistol with a revolver or anything. But if you go into the semi-automatic level, why don’t we say, that’s like the automatic weapon. Just go for that. Courts would have to approve it. Cause they approved the earlier one, didn’t they? Isn’t there a precedent?

The problem is, of course, that a “semi-automatic” weapon does not really make a gun more powerful or necessarily more dangerous than any other weapon. The thing is, a small caliber, less powerful weapon can be just as fully “semi-automatic” as a larger caliber weapon. It isn’t solely the mechanism that makes the gun more powerful.

A semi-automatic weapon is designed to eject an empty or fired shell casing and automatically load another cartridge into the firing chamber. But a semi-automatic also calls for the user to pull the trigger to fire it every time he wants to fire a shot. In other words, all it does is load the cartridge. It doesn’t fire the thing until the trigger is pulled again. Only a fully automatic weapon continues to fire with one pull of the trigger. A semi-automatic does not spew bullets everywhere with a single pull of a trigger.

A large number of the rifles and pistols now being manufactured today are semi-automatics. Heck, even a double action revolver is a sort of semi-automatic for even though it doesn’t eject the cartridge, with one pull of the trigger the mechanism rotates a new bullet to the firing pin to be immediately fired. How much automatic is too much automatic, Chris?

Of course, the point here is that Matthews is using the term “semi-automatic” but treating it as a if any gun so manufactured is somehow just as dangerous as a fully automatic weapon. They are not.

This is the same thing that the liberal media does when it uses the amorphous and ill-defined phrase “assault weapon.” Most of these ill-informed news folks are basing this definition on what a gun looks like not on what it does. The truth is many semi-automatic rifles can have different stocks and furniture attached. These different stocks can make the same gun appear as if it is a hunting rifle in one configuration or a military-appearing weapon in another. Regardless, the furniture surrounding the weapon does not an “assault weapon” make.

Few of these media folks know anything about firearms. They don’t know what they do, they don’t know how they are produced, and for what purposes. Yet they are “reporting” on them just the same regardless of their utter lack of knowledge.

If we are to have an informed public discussion about firearms, the Old Media establishment needs to stop misleading the public and become informed on the subject.

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  • Alan Perez

    Great post, but no liberal will ever take the time to learn about calibers, gas systems, actions, cosmetic furniture, or ballistics. They prefer the “OH GOD THAT’S SCARY” approuch to firearms.

    • JWH

      I’ve met plenty of liberals who understand firearms quite well, including at least one who’s a certified marksman.

      In my experience, the folks who understand firearms are even more cautious about them than folks who don’t understand them.

      • Conservachef

        I learned about gun safety long before I was allowed to shoot even a bb gun…

        • JWH

          Gun safety rule #1 is not to give it to me. I’m an awful, awful shot.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            A wise man knows his limitations. ;-)

            And works to overcome them….

  • Vagabond661

    I don’t think they really care. The objective is to get “X” outlawed and, after a period of time, when that obviously didn’t work then they say it’s handguns or rifles or whatever they think they can outlaw next. It’s incremental-ism on display.

  • LiberalNightmare

    We should outlaw semi automatic journalism first.

    • Conservachef

      I think Matthews went full-auto wacko years ago…

  • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

    Considering the inaccuracy of most automatic weapons when fired full-auto, I might support legislation requiring all semi-auto rifles sold to the public be select-fire – single and full auto. Your standard fucking asshole school shooter would select the full-auto, pull the trigger, and the unexpected recoil would waste most of his ammo on the wall and ceiling. And hopefully someone would tackle him while he’s going “Shit!” and fumbling with a new magazine.

    Not exactly a safety feature, sadly.

    • Commander_Chico

      Agreed. Nothing wastes ammo like full auto, which is why the M-4 and M-16 now only have three-round burst.

      Warner is wrong, though. Agree with Matthews or not (I don’t), if they did outlaw semi-autos, it would decrease the effectiveness and therefore the lethality of firearms.

      You’d be limited to bolt-action rifles and revolvers. That would necessarily slow a shooter down compared to a semi-auto handgun with a 15 round mag and a rifle with a 30 round mag. There is no doubt you can aim and shoot at more people quicker with a semi-auto than with a bolt action or revolver.

      Warner either does not know firearms himself of is just bullshitting. JLawson’s idea about allowing full auto makes more sense, just because full auto wastes ammo.

      • jim_m

        Pretending that slowing the reload rate (not the rate of fire except for the bolt action rifle) will satisfy the left is foolish. They want a complete and total ban on handguns and will be satisfied with nothing else. Once there is a shoot up with a revolver they will demand that they be outlawed. Oh, they may pause to ban speedloaders and moon clips but that is only a brief stop on the way to a total ban.

      • Conservachef

        Hey if they’re going to do it, ban them all the way back to flint-lock rifles. Those things have really slow reload times! Plus, accuracy out past 20-30 yards was iffy- especially for a musket.

        Besides, you hear it plenty from some lefty’s that the 2nd Amendment is referring only to muskets.

        • puhiawa

          Yeah. The entire Constitution evolves according to liberals….except what they don’t want to evolve.

      • LiberalNightmare

        Agreed. Nothing wastes ammo like full auto, which is why the M-4 and M-16 now only have three-round burst.

        My m16 A2 had semi, auto and 3 round burst

        • Commander_Chico

          Yeah the M-4 mostly used now has semi and 3 round only.

      • retired.military

        So they would carry more guns or speedloaders for revolvers.

        As for accuracy last time I checked JFK was in a moving car and shot in the head by a bolt action rifle 5 or 6 stories up with a wind. And Oswald was considered an average marksman at best.

      • MunDane68

        With some practice, one can put close to 20 aimed shots a minute out of a bolt action rifle. (Google: Mad Minute) And that was counting reloading of the SMLE with a clip of ammo. (Hey, Chrissie, that is the correct use of clip by the way…)

      • puhiawa

        Lever actions have up to 17 rounds.

    • Conservachef

      I blame violent video games that don’t take recoil into account… That, and Hollywood. Specifically, Michael Moore.

      /sarc

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  • 914

    Brainless liberalism should be outlawed.

    • http://twitter.com/jinx_mchue Severe Conservative

      Unfortunately, brainless liberalism gets Democrats elected, so it won’t be outlawed any time soon.

    • Hugh_G

      How’s all that wingnut political philosophy working for you?

      What I do know is it’s not working for the sane people in the country.

      • Vagabond661

        No you phrased that wrong. The sane people are working in this country. The wingnuts are not working but are fine because they can still suckle on the government teat.

  • jim_m

    Both Gallup and Rasmussen report that the American public is not sold on gun control. Rasmussen polling says that only 27% think that more gun control will prevent future shootings. Gallup shows that Americans think that police presence, arming teachers, better mental health screening and treatment are all more effective than gun control.

    And I can’t wait until the NRA starts pounding Sen Feinstein about why she has/had a Concealed Carry Permit. Let the left answer why their lives are more important than ours.

    They will have their little commission but I will bet that gun control dies in the House.

  • jim_m

    Pair any gun control legislation with a crackdown on violent imagery from Hollywood and the gaming industry and watch the dems vote it down en masse

    • 914

      Exactly! Every time they try this crap attach legislation that goes against their agenda’s..

  • 914

    “Few of these media folks know anything about firearms. They don’t know what they do, they don’t know how they are produced, and for what purposes”

    And they care even less about those weapons shipped to Mexican cartels to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

  • herddog505

    What else do we expect from a leading member of the left’s Brain Trust?

  • SteveCrickmore075

    lefty, liberal media tycoon (to wizbang) Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp, whose holdings include Fox News, tweeted on Friday,”Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy”.

    • Sky__Captain

      How about 1934?

      • jim_m

        Steve has been told this at least 3 times. He is invincibly ignorant on this issue. He honestly believes that he can walk into a gun store and get a fully automatic weapon.

        • SteveCrickmore075

          no not in gun store but anywhere else. How easy is it? no paperwork is needed no background checks nothing just cash, no questions asked just respond to online gun ads no easy answers, just easy access to getting semi-automatic assault rifles that’s wizbang line and preference.

          • jim_m

            Wow Steve you really are dumb. “Assault weapons” are not fully automatic and fully automatic weapons are not for sale legally anywhere. You must be an FFL to sell them and you must have a special license to purchase them. They must be registered.

            The story you link does not talk about purchasing fully automatic weapons. You are either just being obtuse or you are deliberately lying about this issue. You and I have already gone over it several times.

            You cannot legally purchase full automatic weapons. Just accept that fact. People have posted the relevant law multiple times. Don’t pretend that this point has not been made.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/ Baron Von Ottomatic

            Technically you can buy full auto weapons, but it requires a lot of paperwork, a lot of background check (invasive ones, not the quickies like most gun sales), participation of local law enforcement and depending on jurisdiction a cash bond. Plus, the weapon has to have been manufactured before a certain date. It’s irrelevant though since automatic weapons are, for all practical purposes, never used in gun crimes.

          • jim_m

            Yeah, but that s not what Steve has been alleging. He has repeatedly called them automatic weapons in error. He has repeatedly used Murdoch’s silly statement as some symbol that full auto weapons must be available.

          • 914

            I can get guns from wizbang?

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            Or from Gizmodo.com

            http://gizmodo.com/5927379/the-secret-online-weapons-store-thatll-sell-anyone-anything
            Trouble is, you gotta pay in bitcoins, and the prices for even street-legal stuff are 3-4 times list. I’m thinking of the folks advertising the blatantly illegal stuff, or trying to buy blatantly illegal stuff – about 2/3rds are ATF agents.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/ Baron Von Ottomatic

            Okay, so private firearm sales aren’t regulated. You can’t legally mail a firearm – except from one licensed dealer to another, and the one to whom it is mailed must perform a background check prior to completing the transaction – so if anyone is selling guns via the Internet it’s not different than if they advertised in the local paper.

          • retired.military

            Steve

            A knowledgeable person can easily convert a semiautomatic rifle into an automatic rifle. You only need the right tools and the knowledge and maybe some dollars.

            As with mass murder it is only having the means (if guns arent available any number of things will do), the knowledge of what to do and the willingness to do it.

          • jim_m

            The same could be said for making a bomb.

  • SteveCrickmore075

    How easy it to buy an assault rifle in the US. Dead easy, I need the money, and I have the rifle, and you have the cash!!

    • jim_m

      Your point? Many so-called assault rifles would still meet the criteria for sale under the Clinton Ban, In fact the Bushmaster used in Ct met those rules. The video you link does not show the sale of illegal weapons. It’s a lot of scare mongering.

      Were you trying to make a point or simply demonstrating how obtuse you can be?

      • SteveCrickmore075

        . The video you link does not show the sale of illegal weapons. that is just it, they are legal weapons, semi automatic assault rifles with detachable magazines, AR-15s the favored choice of weapons of the nerd mass murderer, guns which Mathews wants banned, that can be easily resold with no questions to any one: criminals, crazies you name it, and no fear of paperwork, obviously not at licensed gun shops but through online. ads as if they were baseball trading cards-

        • jim_m

          SO you are against the legal sale of legal weapons. At least we understand each other.

        • http://wizbangblog.com/ Baron Von Ottomatic

          Actually, the favored choice of mass shooters is a handgun. Handguns have been used in ~60% of all mass shootings – including the deadliest school shooting in US history.

          • jim_m

            He’s right. One of the reasons given that the assault weapons ban did not work was the fact that assault weapons were implicated in so few crimes to begin with.

    • retired.military

      Just because a rifle is classified as an assualt rifle doesnt make it “deadlier” than other weapons. For single shot action you can easily buy a .50 cal rifle or us a 500 magnum handgun or rifle.
      Either of those will do more damage than 2or 3 rounds from an AK-47 on full auto.

  • jim_m

    Best gun is the one that you don’t need to fire. If the criminal runs away without a shot being fired, you win. There is nothing untoward in what that says.

    • SteveCrickmore075

      agreed they can be intimidating looking, especially if a nut is carrying them and looks like he is going to shoot

      • SteveCrickmore075

        I don’t know why my previous comment is now suspended, it was basically a quotation and a hyperlink to bushmasters official site? Maybe wizbang didn’t understand or care for the source or there was a technical problem. In the past, if I have used a ‘radical’ or unusual link sometimes I couldn’t publish it.

        • jim_m

          I get occasional glitches. I doubt anyone is messing with you. You are always quite civil.

          • Brucehenry

            I wouldn’t put it past a certain fedora-wearing lurker.

          • jim_m

            No. He has said before that he does not have that capability. I believe that.

          • Brucehenry

            Not talking about Warner.

          • jim_m

            Nor was I

          • warnertoddhuston

            I have never once altered or deleted a message on this board. Not now that they have Disqus and not before. This is NOT my board. I just post here. I would not take such power on myself on a board I do not own. I can prove it. On MY blog, I delete and block EVERY liberal whether they are civil or not. I have no use for them. No liberal has anything to say that can add to a discussion. Ever.

          • SteveCrickmore075

            A little hard to take you seriously now after those last remarks, especially as you end your’ MY blog’ with a quotation from Dr.Johnson!

          • Commander_Chico

            On MY blog, I delete and block EVERY liberal whether they are civil or not.

            Figures, you are a fascist, can’t take any dissent. Rule your little world like Mussolini.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/ Baron Von Ottomatic

            Come on, Chico, liquidating and air-brushing from history is like Stalin. Get your similes straight.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            His blog, his rules. Me – I junk and block spammers without any qualms at all. They would probably think that hideously unfair and harmful to them.

          • herddog505

            I’m not so sure I’d brag about that…

        • Commander_Chico

          I think it is because “bu$hmaster” might appear to have a lewd meaning, and your link was mistaken as a pron site by some algorithm.

          For example, “Chico is a bu$hmaster.” But my mind’s always in the bushes.

          • retired.military

            Isnt that rule 32?

            Anything and everything can be related to sex.

      • jim_m

        Seriously? Any gun should look intimidating if someone is pointing it at you. The idea is that you could wait half an hour for the police to show (Assuming that you can get a call to 911) or you could defend yourself.

        • SteveCrickmore075

          and” seriously increase your fun factor” I inderstand Jim This is again from their bushmaster site.I won’t risk the hyperlink but I think they should be more responsible in marketing it for self defense, than as a toy. Of course they want to sell thousands of them.

          “Whether your idea of a good time is a Saturday afternoon at the sandpits or day at the range with your pals, a Bushmaster can seriously increase your fun factor. With its long-distance accuracy, unlimited adaptability, and semi-automatic firing capability, a Bushmaster can really get your adrenaline pumping. In fact, you’ll never look at a can or target the same way again.

          Who knew that practice could be this much fun?”

          • http://wizbangblog.com/ Baron Von Ottomatic

            The millions of Americans who shoot for fun every weekend?

          • SteveCrickmore075

            I guess. there are .no easy answers. we just have to get these “assault” rifles somehow away from the hands of these young male nerd loner homicidal suicidal AR 15 loving psycho wackos, that would solve a lot, because as both sides have said statiscally little crime is committed with these AR 15s, just the spectacular senseless rampages…

          • jim_m

            Finally. That is why we have been talking about doing something about the mental health system. Rasmussen polling shows that 86% of Americans think we should be doing something about the mental health system to identify, help and/or stop these people from going on these rampages.

            The only solution the left is offering is banning and confiscation of guns from law abiding people whose only offense is enjoying hunting and shooting sports.

          • Commander_Chico

            Agreed. I have seen these guys on the streets and in the courts. The jails are the mental health system now.

          • jim_m

            People actually do enjoy shooting sports. People generally do not purchase a gun for the purpose of killing other people. I understand that you don’t think this is true, but it is.

            Why do you find it so threatening and so offensive that people have fun doing something you don’t? They aren’t doing anything illegal. Wouldn’t you rather that people saw guns as something that you enjoy as a sport rather than something you use to kill your neighbor with?

          • SteveCrickmore075

            I am not going to be killjoy..but given all that we know Nancy Lanza should never have been left alone living with Adam Lanza with her gun collection and ammunition stockpile. None of these nerd massacre killers are satisfied with just one gun. or a handlful of bullets.So I would have a stricter hurdle to pass for multiple guns, including muliple ammunition, and /or or the assault rifle with the detachable magazine, without detering the sportsman or honest home defender, (maybe a passport for each AR15 I know that will be hard, )..but for those who are living with someone who could be considered dangerous or psychotic a stricter evaluation would be needed ,lets say with a home visit, to see where the rifles will be stored etc.. That is just a thought thrown out, not fully considerd but it may have snared Lanza.and other maniacs If we are going to have background checks let us have real background checks for the possession of assault rifles. I know you will think this is an infrigement but the TSA is far worse at airports, and ‘millions’ will still be able to enjoy AR15s as sport or for defense..

          • herddog505

            It IS a blast. Expensive given the cost of ammo these days, but it really is a lot of fun.

  • retired.military

    CNN’s Soledad Obrian wants to ban handguns as well. Maybe slingshots are next.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matt-hadro/2012/12/20/its-handguns-now-soledad-obrien-repeatedly-asks-democrats-about-limiting

    and an MSNBC host says the murder of children is good for the nRA and and that the NRA actually wants these things to happen.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jeffrey-meyer/2012/12/20/msnbc-host-do-we-expect-nra-really-not-want-crimes-mass-killing-child

    “So in a perverse way — they would never admit it this publicly — but in a perverse way, these moments are actually good for them. So then, how do we expect them to really not want these moments?

    And folks wonder why there is no intelligent conversation on this matter.

    Also remember that both CNN and MSNBC both claim to be nonbiased.

  • GarandFan

    The current buzz phrase is ‘military-style weapons’. The Remington 700 was a hunting rifle before the military turned it into a sniper rifle. “The Alaskan” was a civilian hunting scope, until the military purchased them for sniper use in WWII. The M16 was the AR15 until the military got hold of it.

    So just want is a ‘military-style weapon’? Probably defined the same way an ‘assault weapon’ weapon is defined. It’s anything a politician doesn’t like. The BOLT ACTION .50 cal rifle is as “assault weapon” here in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia. Weighs 37 pounds and is almost 6 feet in length. Hasn’t been used in a crime here………BUT IT MIGHT BE! So our wise and beneficial overlords in Sacramento banned it.

  • retired.military

    Hey Carl Here is another dem who is calling for confiscation

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2012/12/top-democrat-on-gun-control-confiscation-could-be-an-option-audio/

    Boy that last bastion of the right sure is getting a lot of play from dems calling for it.

  • Bill

    Respectfully disagree. I think his point which you completely ignored was that fully automatic weapons were banned at a time when they created a serious problem and we had politicians with a spine. I don’t agree with a ban on all semi’s but I think it is very reasonable to ban large caliber semis with with magazines larger than say 10 rounds. Now that is what they call compromise, will it be received as such or will I be labeled a liberal zealot for even suggesting it? If so, you have identified the real problem – our polarized extremist political culture.

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