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Going Off Half-Cocked

In Massachusetts, the state is considering a bill to make fully-automatic weapons even tougher to get. As part of an overarching gun control bill (which would also limit people to buying more than one gun a month), only police officers or the licensed owner of an automatic weapon could even hold them.

This is in response to a tragic accident back in 2008, when during a machine gun show this idiot of a father thought it would be fun to take pictures of his eight-year-old son firing a fully automatic Uzi -- in clear violation of existing laws, which prohibit anyone under 18 from firing such weapons. The recoil was too much for Christopher Bizilj, though -- when he pulled the trigger, the gun kicked up and he fatally shot himself in the head.

It must be noted that this has been the only incident involving a fully automatic weapon in Massachusetts in a very, very long time (I tried to find another, but couldn't).

Currently, there are a couple thousand fully-automatic weapons in private hands in the United States. Their most common use, I believe, is in fund-raising events -- pay some money, get to blast off a bunch of rounds at your target of choice. It's always popular, and the Westfield, Massachusetts tragedy is the only one I've ever heard of. And that's not surprising -- the owners of these weapons know they're under tremendous scrutiny, and tend to act exceptionally responsibly with their guns.

The only incident I can recall involving criminals using fully automatic weapons was the infamous North Hollywood shootout, where two career criminals with a predilection for knocking over armored cars were confronted by the police. They were eventually both brought down (one died from police wounds, the other took his own life), but a major factor in the police taking them down was one officer going to a gun store and commandeering several AR-15 rifles.

Quite frankly, automatic weapons in civilian hands are not a factor in crime or violence. So there is no reason for Massachusetts to enact new laws to control them. Especially since the incident that is prompting it -- the death of young Mr. Bizilj -- happened in spite of existing laws that prohibited him from firing the weapon.

But this is Massachusetts. The bluest of blue states. The solution to EVERYTHING is new laws and new taxes.

Just don't ever ask them to show how it will actually solve the problem. Or that there was a problem in the first place.


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Comments (29)

Jay,Gangs do use t... (Below threshold)


Gangs do use the but they are obtained illegally anyway.

So I am with you enforce the laws on the books.

RE: "The only incident I ca... (Below threshold)

RE: "The only incident I can recall involving criminals using fully automatic weapons was the infamous North Hollywood shootout."

There are examples of fully automatic weapons being used in crimes, from the St. Valentine's Day Massacre to the Miami drug gang shootings over turf of the 80's and early 90's. The key difference is that none of the automatic weapons were legally purchased or manufactured (including the North Hollywood shoutout, where the guns were illegally modified). If you look at weapons caches on display after a major drug dealer is taken down, an automatic weapon used to be fairly common, but it was not legally owned.

If smugglers can make money smuggling tons of drugs into the country and tens of thousands of illegal aliens, smuggling automatic weapons or parts to manufacture automatic weapons is easy.

BTW, several shooting ranges here in New Hampshire rent automatic weapons.

Is there a Darwin Award by ... (Below threshold)

Is there a Darwin Award by Proxy?

As an owner of a ATF regist... (Below threshold)

As an owner of a ATF registered Machine Gun I agree. Current Federal law is more than satisfactory.

I would actually be interested if anybody could cite any case where a person who owned a Registered Machine Gun commited a crime with it. The only caveat being it couldnt be a LEO. The Federal Law regarded them has been around since 1934 so you have over 75 years across the whole country to find something. Im personally unaware of any except a case from the 90's where an off duty police officer used one to kill a drug dealer he had a beef with.

As for the North Hollywood Shootout robbers, I feel pretty comfortable in stating that the Machine Guns they used were illegal and not registered ATF Machine Guns.

AR-15's also are not Machine Guns (a Machine Gun, by ATF standards, is any firearm that fires more than 1 round with every depression of the trigger).

One other thing to clarify.... (Below threshold)

One other thing to clarify. Criminals are NOT using registered Machine Guns to commit crimes.

They are buying, or manufacturing themselves, illegal ones.

For example, if you wanted to legally buy an AK-47 (full auto), it would probably cost north of $20,000 and then your personal information would have to be registered with the ATF (and not including having to actually find one for sale which isnt very easy).... or, if you are going to break the law anyway, buy an illegally imported one or rig a $400 single fire one to fire full auto. My guess is, criminals are going to go the cheaper, easier, and less traceable route. And 75+ years of history of this issue shows that I'm right.

So basically, to reinfornce what Jay Tea's point seems to be anyway. More laws that are only going to effect law abiding citizens, that in 75+ years of existing laws demonstrates isnt even a problem, doesnt make much sense.

I was under the impression ... (Below threshold)

I was under the impression that Mass. (or perhaps another state) was in the process of placing stringent controls on semi-automatic weapons. Anyone know if this is the case?

So another dumb gun control... (Below threshold)

So another dumb gun control bill becuase a man was stupid and carless about guns just like all typical liberal nit-wits with pea-sized brains

Last time I heard a number ... (Below threshold)

Last time I heard a number (maybe five years ago), there were over 28,000 firearms laws on the books, which is larger than the number of legally owned full auto weapons in the United States. As for the illegal ones, all it takes is to make the commission of a felony with a fully automatic weapon a federally guaranteed death penalty within 10 days of conviction, with absolutely no possibility of appeal.

My favorite is all the Kabuki theater hysteria about .50 caliber "sniper rifles". I try to imagine a 15 year old lugging a $6,000.00, 20 pound, five foot long, single shot benchrest rifle into the local 7-11, and I break out laughing.

The rhetoric does serve a purpose, though. It skeers the crap out of the suburban soccer moms, and this is one of the few remaining constituencies Obama can count on.

Typical liberal response. ... (Below threshold)

Typical liberal response. Someone broke the law, someone died. Ergo, pass ANOTHER law. Now don't we all feel good again?

Just don't ever as... (Below threshold)
Lee Ward:
Just don't ever ask them to show how it will actually solve the problem. Or that there was a problem in the first place.

right. No problem in the first place. Ask Christopher Bizilj.

You didn't even include his name in your post, Jay.

Libs, cant understand em' a... (Below threshold)

Libs, cant understand em' and you cant shoot em'.

lee, while the death of Chr... (Below threshold)

lee, while the death of Christopher is trajic, in no way does his death show that there was a problem with existing laws. since they were not actually following the existing law as it was.

so answer the question, lee. if people aren't following the existing laws, how are more laws going to change anything? wouldn't it make more sense to fully enforce existing laws first?

ke_future,Expectin... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:


Expecting Lee W to make sense is like expecting my cat to understand quantum mechanics.

Ain't. Gonna. Happen.

My money's on your cat, SYB... (Below threshold)

My money's on your cat, SYB.

Typical Lee Ward bullshit. ... (Below threshold)

Typical Lee Ward bullshit. Someone DISOBEYED, CHOSE TO IGNORE, DID NOT FOLLOW current law.

Lee's true liberal response. PASS ANOTHER LAW!

Maybe if his head weren't planted so far up his ass he'd be able to breathe and start thinking.

It's very difficult, if not... (Below threshold)

It's very difficult, if not impossible, to make a foolproof world. As the saying goes, Darwin continually breeds a better crop of fools. You make it pretty much impossible for people to own guns - and they're completely ignorant of common-sense safety rules, of what guns do and don't do.

As I've pointed out to the little guy numerous times, guns aren't evil. Guns are tools, designed to explosively propel pieces of metal very quickly in one direction. It doesn't think for you, it won't pull it's own trigger, it won't make any ethical judgements for you on whether you're using it for the correct purposes or not. It won't perforate the guilty and leave the innocent unharmed. And above all - there's NO substitute for common sense.

YOU are the brain operating the weapon, the weapon isn't operating YOUR brain.

But lots of people don't get that. It's comforting to think that by legislating this, that, and something else that they can control the world around them, and take away from themselves the need to be sensible, aware, and cautious about what they do.

In this case, you see the typical knee-jerk reaction to tragedy - pass a law so something exceedingly rare (one might almost say a singular event) can never happen again.

Will passing a law actually work? (Shrug.) At best, it'll be irrelevent - since it's not been shown this was a common occurance. What WAS missing was anything resembling common sense on the part of the father or the owner of the gun. Sucks mightily for the kid, too.

From the article Lee linked - the first paragraph is key.

With his father and a firearms instructor standing nearby, an 8-year-old Connecticut boy shot himself in the head with a submachine gun yesterday, killing himself in an accident some say should never have happened.
And it's right - it SHOULDN'T have happened. That instructor should have known how much recoil that gun had. That sorry excuse for a dad should have realized that giving his son a fully automatic weapon to play with was an absymally stupid thing.

I try to think what it'd be like for me if the little guy were to have something like this happen to him - it'd be devastating. (I've also pounded gun safety into his head since he was old enough to listen.)

But there's really no point in making illegal something that's only occured once, and isn't likely to happen again. That may give a feeling of 'doing something about the problem' - but in reality how much is it really accomplishing?

Lee, kindly re-read the las... (Below threshold)

Lee, kindly re-read the last sentence of the second paragraph.

Whoops, I'm sorry -- that would involve you 1) knowing how to count, and B) knowing what a paragraph is. Here, I'll reprint it:

The recoil was too much for Christopher Bizilj, though -- when he pulled the trigger, the gun kicked up and he fatally shot himself in the head.

You're welcome. When can I expect an apology?


Right after the other ones ... (Below threshold)

Right after the other ones you are waiting for.

Being Lee means never havin... (Below threshold)

Being Lee means never having to say you're sorry.

In retrospect, it probably ... (Below threshold)

In retrospect, it probably would have been clearer if I had said "young Christopher Bisilj." It would also have read better.

But it was there, Lee. I'd say any fool could have plainly see it, but you're not just any fool, are you? No, you're a very special kind of fool.


To recap, Lee:1) Y... (Below threshold)

To recap, Lee:

1) You berated me for not mentioning Christopher's full name. I did mention it.

B) You decried that there need to be tougher laws to prevent future tragedies like what befell him. The existing law at the time said that it was illegal to allow anyone under 18 to fire a fully automatic weapon. They ignored that law when they handed him the gun, and charges were brought against the responsible parties.

So, was there anything in your comment you got right?

OK, points for spelling the boy's name correctly. But that's about it.


So, if he'd let the eight y... (Below threshold)

So, if he'd let the eight year old behind the wheel of his sports car and the kid crashed and died, Massachusetts would then seek to make it hard to obtain automobiles?
It's a tragic story, but one caused by the father's stupidity, not the firearm.

You just know once the law ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

You just know once the law is passed a bunch of kids who never handled machine guns will start binging on full-auto firepower the day they turn 18. And predictably the legislature will then feel compelled to raise the shooting age to 21.

Another excellent title tha... (Below threshold)

Another excellent title that anticipated and would describe LW's responses, if only he had half a cock to go off with.

Hey, Lee, look what I found... (Below threshold)

Hey, Lee, look what I found in my 6th paragraph!

Especially since the incident that is prompting it -- the death of young Mr. Bizilj -- happened in spite of existing laws that prohibited him from firing the weapon.

Man, you just double down on teh stoopid at every opportunity, don't you?


Now, Jay Tea. It's not nice... (Below threshold)

Now, Jay Tea. It's not nice to make fun of the afflicted. The girl can't help it.

THIS JUST IN:A met... (Below threshold)


A meteorite struck and killed an Asian American youth who was fishing off the Santa Monica pier.

A non-observer was interviewed in Salem, Oregon had this to say: "This was a deliberate act of racism by extra-terrestials." After adjusting his aluminium custom designed foil hat, Lee Ward went on to explain how aliens had met with TEA party activists at Area 51 and brokered an agreement to cause chaos among the American population. He added that conservative, republican and independant representatives of the US had been planning this for some time, and that he fully expected DC to pass emergency legislation making it illegal to allow meteorites to enter the earths's atmosphere. Always a snappy dresser, Lee then excused himself to go home for lunch with mommy, and wandered off in his footies, hugging his Winnie The Pooh blanket.

BREAKING NEWS: Lee Ward warn of sky falling in Indiana.

If you think gun control is... (Below threshold)

If you think gun control is bad in mass, try buying a claritin sometime.

> The only incident I ca... (Below threshold)

> The only incident I can recall involving criminals using fully automatic weapons was the infamous North Hollywood shootout, where two career criminals with a predilection for knocking over armored cars ...

a major factor in the police taking them down was one officer going to a gun store and commandeering several AR-15 rifles.

They specialized in "takeover" bank robberies.

The commandeered rifles had NOTHING to do with the takedown of the guy who didn't commit suicide. The police took the rifles but those police didn't get to the guy in time. But it was a demonstration of how the police had inadequate arms.






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