Misdirected Frustrations

Let's Ban...
If you’re familiar with gun laws, this cartoon is laughable. If not, it might really make you frustrated and want to lash out at the GOP. Now, even as a registered Republican, I have to say I’m not re-registering with that party until they get their heads out of their asses. I may never register Republican again (women’s health, women’s rights, xenophobia, and on and on and on).

Let’s dissect this one panel at a time…
“Assault weapons?” Really? Still? You might as well say “climate change doesn’t exist” and “evolution is a theory.” If you think it’s by what the gun looks like (take a look at the Ruger Mini-14 in two different “models,” the tactical and ranch…this is the EXACT same gun except for what it “looks like”…yet the left would call the tactical an “assault weapon”…okay, and evolution is a theory, vaccines cause autism, and climate change is made up). It’s all bullshit and we all know it deep down.
Background checks…there’s the kicker, right? I mean, why not have better background checks; who could argue that? I’d love to see better background checks that cross state and federal agencies. One little problem that everyone overlooks, and that’s HIPAA privacy. Yikes…wait…that’s a HUGE problem. See, we can’t just access medical data anymore, and what’s next, are you going to limit the rest of the Bill of Rights to people you deem medically safe? First they came for the Communists…
The “gun show loophole”…doesn’t even exist. This is either the biggest or second biggest lie with regards to gun sales the media tells you. The way legal gun buying works is you buy through a dealer, they run a background check, and then you wait some period and get your gun (some states don’t have waiting periods on long guns). The US Government leaves it up to the states to decide whether citizens of that state can buy guns from other states (generally, the rule is you can’t). Here’s where the “loophole” comes in (spoiler alert; it’s not a loophole!): some states require you to do a private party gun sale through a Federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL holder). However, some states do not. Those same laws that allow a buyer to make a purchase from any legal individual allow buyers to make a purchase from private sellers at gun shows. For what it’s worth, in California, you must go through a dealer for every transaction, private party or not (it’s been that way for more than 20 years now). That means, that if you go to a gun show in California, you must get a background check. Anyone willing to sell you a gun at a gun show without going through an FFL holder is either stupid or undercover. Neither one will come out in your favor.
Ah, armor-piercing (AP) bullets…why would anyone need those?
Before we get into the “real life” lesson, let’s understand that AP rounds have been illegal for US civilians to use, import, or manufacture since 1986.
Well, let’s talk about ballistic (unfortunately…and incorrectly…often called bulletproof) armor. First, as the proper name states, this is armor to protect you against ballistic projectiles (it does not guarantee you survive or magically block bullets). The most important part of ballistic armor for this conversation is what’s known as the NIJ 0101.05 Standard; this is a rating system from the National Institute of Justice for soft body armor. There are three levels of protection for soft armor (common ballistic vests, ballistic protective clothing, etc.) as opposed to hard plate armor (we’ll get to that in a second). As with anything, there’s a cost/protection tradeoff (there’s a financial portion to the cost, and also a weight portion; adding a pound on Level II-A to get III-A armor might not be a big deal, but adding an additional 8 pounds for hard plate might be!). Here’s a handy table as to what kind of armor is good for protecting against what (this table was taken from BulletProofME.com’s website):
Level Tested For Comments
II-A 9mm FMJ at ~1,090 FPS (332 m/s); .40 S&W FMJ at 1,025 FPS (312 m/s) Absolute minimum recommended armor; not significant protection against the blunt trauma from the impact of the bullet against the armor. Generally a special-order item.
II 9mm FMJ at ~1,175 FPS (~358 m/s); .357 JSP at ~1,400 FPS (~427 m/s) A great balance between blunt trauma protection, cost, comfort, and concealment. Handles the blunt trauma of higher velocity rounds than II-A.
III-A 9mm FMJ at ~1,400 FPS (~427 m/s); .44 Magnum SJHP at ~1,400 FPS (~427 m/s) The highest blunt trauma protection available in soft armor. Minimizes blunt trauma injury, allowing more effective return fire. Recommended for use in high-risk areas.
Well, that’s interesting…do you know what’s missing from that table? Rifle rounds (or, less common, pistol rounds fired from a rifle or carbine). What this table tells us is that a 9mm FMJ (full metal jacket) fired at 1,400 fps will penetrate (defeat) Level II armor. Technically, that makes a 9mm round fired at that velocity armor-piercing for Level II armor (for that matter, a 44 Magnum round will also defeat Level II). So, all of you clamoring for an end to “armor piercing” ammo but “don’t want to take hunters’ guns away” need to get up to speed on physics and limitations of body armor in the real world.
Let’s just look at hard plate armor for shits and giggles:
Level Tested For Comment
III .308 Winchester FMJ/7.62x51mm NATO; 6 rounds at ~2,750 FPS (~838 m/s) 1/4″ (6mm) Ballistic Steel

1/2″ (13mm) Ceramic

1″ (25mm) Polyethylene

IV .30-06 Armor-Piercing/.30 M2 AP; 1 round at ~2,850 FPS (~869 m/s) The highest rating for body armor.

3/4″ (18mm) Ceramic

1/2″ (12mm) Ballistic Steel
(vehicle armor only; too heavy for body armor)

Well now…that’s not what we expected. What happened to bulletproof armor? Ballistic armor isn’t what it’s made out to be in the movies, and maybe we’re a little loco about our obsession with armor-piercing rounds (since they already are illegal, in the strictest form of the term).

You’re probably interested, if you’re still reading, what makes a round “armor piercing.” Generally, these bullets have very dense cores; steel, tungsten-carbide, or depleted uranium. By the way…if your barrel isn’t set up to use AP rounds, you won’t get very far with them.

Restricting power of a political lobby group. Hmm, are you sure you want to really start there? I mean, because there are so many lobby groups out there, and I can almost guarantee one of them will say something you believe in that I disagree with. If you want to decrease the NRA’s power, just be aware that those exact same rules need to apply to everyone…not just people you disagree with.

2 thoughts on “Misdirected Frustrations

  1. Thanks Mr. Big E!
    Very interesting and instructive. My reactions:
    “Assault weapons” should be defined by function, not by appearance. What do civilians need with weapons designed to spray rounds as fast as possible? Well OK, if I’m an old codger that can’t aim or even lift a heavy gun for very long and I’m suffering a home invasion, maybe I’d need something like that. Seems like a pretty rare scenario. Seems more likely the old codger will shoot his leg off rather than stop an attacker.
    What’s HIPPA? Never mind, I’ll look it up.
    Gun purchase laws: OK, so they’re strict in California, for damned good reasons, but what about nationwide?
    Yes, we do all agree that improving background checks and making them nationwide might help, so why isn’t congress working toward that, rather than against it? Three little letters. NRA. Of course there’s always a fine line between privacy and protecting the public, but that line has to be walked, even if means some Congressmen have to grow a pair.
    Your lesson on body armor was interesting, but misses the point. A 50 Cal machine gun will knock down a masonry wall, let alone pierce body armor, so it’s use should be restricted: to members of “a well regulated militia,” as the Second Amendment to our Constitution so clearly says. Same with assault weapons. Defined as weapons designed for military assault.
    PS – You’re not infecting my computer with a virus with this link, are you? I KNOW how tech talented you are!

    1. I’ll take these one at a time 🙂

      1. Most people can’t own guns that can spray rounds as fast as possible. Fully automatic weapons are difficult to obtain legally (I don’t know much about black market acquisitions).
      2. HIPAA is a set of laws dealing with medical privacy.
      3. It’s very much a state-by-state basis. CA, CT, NY, MA, and HI just off the top of my head are strict. There are more, but those are the ones that stick out.
      4. The body armor thing doesn’t miss the point at all…the fact is, the cartoon claims we haven’t banned AP rounds. The truth is, we have. It’s illegal for civilians to buy, import, or manufacture AP rounds. The cartoonist either A) has no clue what s/he is talking about (which I suspect), or B) is maliciously lying to purposely spread misinformation. Technically, there are lots of rounds that can pierce body armor, but the so-called “cop killer” rounds (like the Black Talon ammo from way back when) was actually not likely to pierce armor. They were particularly destructive rounds because they were segmented hollow-points, where the bullet was nearly guaranteed to flatten against a body, increasing the size of the wound channel (see FMJ vs HP rounds) and improve the potential for stopping an assailant. That’s not to say those won’t pack a helluva wallop from the kinetic energy transfer.
      5. Nope, I wouldn’t do that. 🙂

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