I recently read a Facebook post that was asking why do we need semi-automatic and automatic weapons. Well, the first thing we need is some education on the difference between those two types of weapons. Individuals that own and love guns as I do, know and understand the difference. There are three types of weapons and I will explain each one and show how they actually operate and why some are legal to own and others are not.
The three types of weapons/guns/firearms are: the revolver (pistol), the semi-automatic handgun/pistol and rifle and the automatic rifle. There are clear and distinct differences in each one which often goes unknown to those that aren’t informed on their function and use.
1- Revolver: The revolver has been around for several hundred years and is still very popular for those that determine it is their weapon of choice. Remember watching a good western movie and the guns the bad guys, cowboys and sheriffs used? They were revolvers. Instead of using a magazine (clip) to load their bullets in, they used a six chamber cylinder. You fire six rounds (bullets), remove the six spent (used bullets) casings and load six more. A slow process, but for many it is easier to load, unload and shoot than a semi-automatic. For the purpose of this editorial and I can’t stress this enough: one trigger pull fires one bullet. Let that sink in, one trigger pull results in one bullet being fired at a time.
2- Semi-Automatic Handgun: Mechanically, the semi-automatic handgun is more complex than the revolver and uses a magazine/clip to load the bullets in. Once loaded, the magazine (mag) is inserted into the gun, the slide/ejector is pulled back to insert a bullet from the mag into the chamber of the gun, then it is ready to fire. The mag in the vast majority of semi-automatic handguns have a bullet capacity of 7-8 rounds per mag. Since the mag has a rather strong tensioned spring in it to force the next bullet up to be inserted in the chamber, it takes some time to reload. Like the revolver, the semi-automatic handgun requires one trigger pull to fire one bullet. There is absolutely no difference.
3- Semi-Automatic Rifle: Like the semi-automatic handgun, the internal workings of the rifle are somewhat more involved and complex. The loading and operation are the same as the gun. The differences are the size of the bullets (vary) and the mag capacity. Capacities vary depending on the rifle and it’s difficult to go beyond minimum and maximums for those weapons. Semi-auto shotguns for example, can have as few as three in a mag, while other rifles may have 8-10 and can go as high as 25. There are a couple of mag’s that will hold considerably more, but they are a barrel-type and are outrageously expensive. Like the revolver and semi-automatic handgun: one trigger pull, one bullet is fired! (This applies to the much maligned AR-15 assault rifle). What you see as fact (everyone firing a fully automatic weapon) in the Hollywood movies is false and misleading. They are just props that are most likely plastic copies that couldn’t fire a rubber band.
4- Automatic Rifles: Defined, an automatic weapon will continually fire with a single trigger pull. In a word: Illegal, Illegal, Illegal! It is illegal buy or own an automatic weapon in this country, except under very limited and strict control. Automatic weapons are reserved for military and limited law enforcement use only. It is absolutely against the law to convert a semi-automatic rifle to automatic (if you could find the parts to do so). That said, high-end gun collectors and gun shops/firing ranges (for range rental only) with FFL licenses can get a very hard earned and very expensive permit to buy an automatic weapon, but it requires a great deal of paperwork, additional FBI background checks, a tax fee and a hefty checkbook to buy the weapon. I copied this explanation from Google:
Step 1-You must find a dealer with a Class III Federal Firearms License (FFL) as they’re the only ones who may deal in National Firearms Act (NFA) weapons (machine guns, silencers, etc.) and select a weapon that was registered in the NFA registry before 1986 (this only applies for full-auto, silencers and AOW can be brand new)
Step 2-You must make your application to both the federal gov’t and your local chief law enforcement officer, both must approve.
Step 3-Pay the $200 tax stamp
Step 4-Take possession of your weapon.
The largest impediment is that the NFA registry was closed to full-auto in 1986, therefore only Law Enforcement Officers or Class III FFL’s may legally posess a post-86 full auto. Because of this, the price of pre-86 full-autos is very high (typically $10K and up).”
Gun owners have guns for a variety of reasons: collect them, target practice, sport shooting, hunting, personal protection, etc. This country has tens of millions of gun owners and many times more guns, but they aren’t the ones killing people. It’s criminals, gang bangers, the mentally unstable, those looking for payback/revenge and those with a motivated agenda, etc. Less than .05% of the population.
Gun education, gun safety awareness training and respect for your fellow man is the most important thing. Like many of you, I own guns, but I haven’t had to put one of them in ‘timeout’ for firing itself when I didn’t pull the trigger. The gun is an instrument, a tool, just like a screwdriver, not the force that makes it work! Why don’t we blame the car when it runs a red light and plows into another car? The question remains, why do people still blame the gun instead of addressing the real problems? Until we do, it will continue to be the gun’s fault!