MIT Prof: Ban Semi-Automatic Firearms

Professor Christopher R. Knittel (courtesy web.mit.edu)

“An assault weapon ban is purely window dressing,” MIT applied economics professor Christopher Knittel asserts at huffingtonpost.com. “An assault weapon is merely a semi-automatic rifle that carries its bullets in a magazine and looks vicious. There is nothing, other than its looks, that necessarily differentiates an assault weapon from a semi-automatic rifle that also carries its bullets in a magazine but has a traditional looking stock and is used for big-game hunting.” Unfortunately, that’s Professor Knittel’s jumping off point for his editorial Time for Real Gun Control, Not Just Window Dressing . . .

The general thrust of the piece is a HuffPo talking point we’ve seen before: the second amendment protects Americans right to hunt and punch paper, rather than keep and bear arms for self-defense and defense against government tyranny.

Knittel wonders “how best to balance the enjoyment citizens get from owning and operating certain types of guns with the obvious real danger such weapons present.” And then answers the question:

Meaningful gun control starts with banning semi-automatic weapons that carry their ammunition in magazines. Such a ban would limit the speed in which prospective mass murderers could kill by: (a) requiring an additional action to be made before he or she shoots again, and (b) increasing the amount of time required to reload his or her killing device.

But, what about the legitimate uses for guns? Such a ban would still allow hunters to use bolt-action rifles and pump-action shotguns for hunting mammals and birds. These are the same weapons I used in the past to hunt deer, pheasants, ducks, doves, and more. A pump-action shotgun or a single-action revolver are also quite effective home-defense weapons.

Perhaps the professor  has spent a little too much time on YouTube watching Bob Munden demonstrations. Most people, would prefer other guns for self defense. As a former gun owner (a shotgun, a rifle, and a semi-automatic 9mm pistol), Knittel readily admits that his plan is no fun.

Such a ban, while reducing the ability for people to kill other people, does not come without costs. Millions of law-abiding citizens get more enjoyment out of carrying and shooting semi-automatic weapons than they do from their close cousins. Many also get enjoyment from of carrying vicious looking “assault weapons.” Again, this is the fundamental trade-off: lowering the enjoyment law-abiding citizens get from shooting semi-automatic weapons, while reducing the number of Newtown-like events.

Yada yada yada gun buyback funded by a tax on guns ‘n ammo. Clever readers will see right through the Prof’s polemic. In fact, the tenured killjoy’s rant is nothing more than a job application:

But, what about the semi-automatic weapons that currently exist? I do not, necessarily, propose to make owning such weapons illegal. Instead, I propose we adopt an aggressive buy-back program that is funded through a tax on gun and ammunition sales. While the level of taxes required would need to be worked out, policymakers could phase in such a program to minimize expenditures. For example, the first year of the program could pay $200 for such weapons. The next year could pay $300. And so on. While there is an incentive to wait for the higher levels, those that can use the money will choose to turn in their weapons sooner. I would be happy to volunteer my services to estimate how consumers would respond to such a buy-back program and the exact parameters that would be most cost-effective.

And I would be happy if Professor Knittel would go back to analyzing the risk to advertisers who hire sex-crazed celebrities to endorse their products. [h/t James]

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

104 Responses to MIT Prof: Ban Semi-Automatic Firearms

  1. avatarjwm says:

    All that education and dumb as a brick. What a waste.

    • avatarBrian S says:

      my thoughts exactly… the lyrics to “ziggy stardust” played in the back of my mind while reading this drivel

    • avatarChuck says:

      Don’t confuse dumb with evil. People like DiFi and Durbin and this guy know what they are doing. They just don’t want you to know.

      • avatarPyrotek85 says:

        Some people are genuinely out of touch with reality but I don’t think this is one of them. Like you said, it’s evil.

        • avatarWilliam says:

          Yep. Totally agree with both of you. When you’re up against people like this guy and DiFi, you’re making a serious mistake if you consider them stupid.

          They’re smart, conniving, COLD-BLOODED … I hate describing them as “people”, so I’ll just let it dangle.

      • avatarROger.45 says:

        +1

        The educated/political elite aren’t stupid. They want to create the master race that wil control the lives of the minions. It didn’t just start after Sandy Hook.

        • avatarWill says:

          Those higher up in the chain of power and money consider chumps like this as “useful tools.” (They won’t want to share any power they promised those tools.)

      • avatarChas says:

        Exactly. And when we start recognizing evil for what it is, then and only then can we begin to annihilate it.

      • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

        Guns are the big issue of the day. He may believe in their cause, but I would bet my last buck he’s doing this for publicity. Research funding is damn hard to come by right now, both from the government and the private sector.

        Unfortunately, we can’t ignore this, but take it for what it is.

    • avatarCliff says:

      Of course they have an agenda and will twist any facts in order to promote that agenda. They really do think they are smarter than we are and that we cannot be trusted to make our own decisions or run our own lives. READ THIS BOOK!
      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_15/191-6358904-4870846?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=liberal+fascism+by+jonah+goldberg&sprefix=liberal+fascism%2Cstripbooks%2C127

    • avatarjaykayd says:

      Yeah, it’s like he’s trying to impress some chick he knows that reads the Puffington Host. Hey buddy… little hint. Only way to get those girls is to have a real opinion based in reality, even if they disagree with it.

    • avatarDaniel Silverman says:

      Hey now lets, not call him dumb. Just because he is educated does not mean he is smart, but I will leave it at that.

      In a weird way he is right. Now before you jump all over me stick with my line of logic here.
      We need to understand what the citizen disarmament groups, and individuals are thinking. We need to apply some critical thinking skills here so stick with me.

      We all know folks like Piers Morgan, and Professor Knittel are focused not on violent crime, but gun violence. In their lack of critical thinking they apply a simple rule. If you take away guns then you have no or very little gun crime. This is very true, just like if we take away cars, we could reduce auto accidents and fatalities. Or we could make pools illegal and reduce or eliminate drownings.

      With this single focused line of thought, they are in fact very much correct. I am ignoring the whole Constitution, and our rights and freedoms as individual free men in order to do it, but hang with me….

      Now I said it lacks critical thought. Am I saying Professor Knittel, and Piers Morgan are are complete idiots. YOU BETCHA! And here is why.

      The Citizen Disarmament groups are focused on a single issue, not the problem. In there eyes the problem is the fact the people own guns, and some small fraction kill other people with guns. They fail in their logic to view the problem which is violent crime. There are many sources from which this stems, poverty, gangs, drugs.

      Rather than take on the challenge to try and create jobs, decrease gang activity, and actively go after the worst drugs pushers, it is easier to create a distraction and point to guns. If all the guns went away, would this solve our societies woes, heck no! We would simply see criminals use other means. I saw that in Israel. Terrorists hell bent on creating havoc and destruction used bombs not guns. In the UK we see people getting beaten with bats, and hammers, and home invasions have sky rocketed. Why? Because the bad guys can run a muck unopposed by your average citizen.

      They choose to ignore the blatant facts that simply taking away guns does not solve the problem. It may solve an issue, but any action has consequences. Critical thought demands that the consequences of proposed solutions be explored and fully understood. They also lack critical thought to explore and clearly define the problem, instead they are solely focused on a single issue.

      This type of thinking is dangerous and ill advised. Given that they both went to some higher form of learning it goes to show you that our educational system is not what it used to be. Unfortunately now we have a government full of non critical thinkers as well.

  2. avatarAsianMaverick88 says:

    Some people are just a lost cause. This guy is a former gun owner who sold us out. Talks about “fun”? What a joke. FOAD.

  3. avatarbluezdood says:

    Book smart, but no common sense.

  4. avatarEric S. says:

    Wow, not even double-action revolvers are safe from the grabbers.

    Here’s a section from a Foreign Policy article about the 10 thing President Obama would say if he were telling the truth in the State of the Union Address.

    2. To gun owners: You guys are absolutely right. There’s precious little new regulations are going to do to reduce crime if there are already 300 million guns in circulation. That’s why we have to take those guns out of circulation. We’re probably not going to come into your homes to get them — although we should. So here’s what we’re going to have to do: We’re going to outlaw your carrying them in public, trafficking them, and using them in a crime. Again, we’re not going to do this now. It’ll take a few more horrific tragedies to get there. But rest assured, we’ll get there. Guns really are the problem and getting rid of guns is the only way to solve it.

  5. avatarBrian S says:

    MIT solution to mass shootings… tire out the shooter with extra reloads and hope he slips in the lake of blood he’s creating while we pretend to be dead and wait for the cops.

    hopefully the cops don’t decide to just swiss cheese the building with automatic fire from the outside, like a certain blue toyota

    • avatarSixpack70 says:

      This is the problem, they act like a semi auto ban will solve the mass shootings. They don’t get that people will switch and adapt to the weapons that are available. If someone has a pump action shotgun and 1-2 revolvers they can still kill a great deal of people. Then what? Ban pump actions and revolvers? Then when someone uses a single shot shotgun or rifle do they come up with a new law that makes it so a tool has to be used to open the break action? Even then they won’t see the problem as people intent on doing evil but it’s still the guns. These mass shooters develop plans to create a great deal of casualties. Some of them plan for months like the Aurora shooter. It would have been easier to secure schools and remove the free fire zones instead.

  6. avatarRoss says:

    I vote we ban stupid, because that will work… trust me.

  7. So the longer you would wait to sell your gun back to the government, the more it would be worth?

    Funny, the same exact thing would be happening on the black market.

    Eventually you would have only those who would not ever sell so they could continue terrorizing those of us who sold our guns.

  8. avatarMichael B. says:

    My Neighbor: Don’t Ban Semi-Automatics

  9. avatarDrVino says:

    I just looooove it when economists try to opine on anything they have not studied (in the acquiring-foundational-knowledge sense), because, following the adage that “if you’re a hammer, the whole world is a nail”, their ideas apply to everything: from neurophysiology to constitutional law.

    Yaaawwwwnnnnn…

    If it wasn’t for their academic appointments, they’d be making french fries at a fast food franchise – and pontificating about THAT, too…

  10. avatarBill F says:

    ” I would be happy to volunteer my services to estimate how consumers would respond to such a buy-back program and the exact parameters that would be most cost-effective.”
    By “volunteer” I assume he means he’d be willing to accept some sort of grant money to come up with an “estimate” guaranteed to support the anti’s cause.

  11. avatarJackieO says:

    Educated beyond his intelligence.

  12. avatarFrank Williams says:

    1. What makes an economics professor such an expert on constitutional law, self-defense and firearms use as to tell me what kind of firearms I need and should be allowed to own?

    2. I’m no economics professor, but I can see the problem with a “buy-back program that is funded through a tax on gun and ammunition sales” once semi-automatic weapons are banned. Since no one will be able to buy semi-automatic weapons, gun and ammunition sales will plummet because no one will want to own more than one or two guns. This means there will be very little tax revenue generated. So just how many weapons do they think they can buy back on a few thousand tax dollars per year?

    • avatarHiPlanesDrifter says:

      Obviously, the ‘economics’ professor didn’t put as much thought into his idea as did you. After all, he’s probably tenured and thus, doesn’t have to think anymore.

    • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

      If sales plummet, they’d count that as a win too.

    • avatarYellow Devil says:

      It’s a similar line of “thinking” where politicians raise taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, gas, etc, thinking they will cash in on extra revenue, only to find out that they lose money anyways because people are buying less of said product due to overall price increase. This also applies to increased taxes on income.

    • avatarkevin rossfield says:

      clearly, not having enough money to spend on something hasn’t stopped the govt from spending it anyway, why should this be any different?

  13. avatarCrazed Java says:

    Trying to ban technological advancements never works. In the case of semi-autos, that is not recent technology. Semiautomatic firearms have been around since the late 1800′s as I recall. Somehow we’ve managed not to wipe ourselves out with them over a century later.

    These arguments don’t hold up under the slightest of scrutiny. I am really tired of intellectual laziness being offered up as “common sense” solutions.

  14. avatartdiinva says:

    Semiautomatic rifles were introduced to the civilian market in 1903 by the Winchester Repeating Arms Corporation. By 1908 both Remington and Winchester had introducted high power autoloaders aimed at the hunting and law enforment markets. It wasn’t until the 1930′s that the military got around to using the technology in military rifles. So let’s get away from this myth that autoloading rifies are derived from weapons of war. It’s just opposite. The two popular bolt action hunting rifles today are the Winchester model 70 and the Remington 700 both of which are direct descendents of the Mauser Gewher 98 and 1903 Springfield. Unlike an AR patterned autoloader, these hunting rifles are funtionally identical to “weapons of war.”

  15. avatarRockThisTown says:

    All that education and dumb as a brick. What a waste.
    Yep, he is obviously educated way beyond his intelligence.

    Instead, I propose we adopt an aggressive buy-back program that is funded through a tax on gun and ammunition sales.
    I would like to see some brave legislator(s) somewhere across our fruited plain file & pursue legislation that would eliminate (yes, eliminate!) sales tax on all firearms and ammo sales. Instead of letting liberals propose tax hikes, go on the offensive and propose laws that’ll preserve our 2A rights.

  16. avatarCarlosT says:

    Why are pump action shotguns the cuddly bunnies of the firearm world? Newtown could have easily been carried out with a pump action shotgun.

    • avatarMike S says:

      +1000. Whatever we do, we can’t let the grabbers see a video of someone who is well practiced at administrative loading of a pump shotgun. They’d be in hysterics.

    • avatarOld Ben turning in grave says:

      They don’t like pump shotgun either (not that most of them would really understand the differences among firearms). Modern rifles aren’t really at the top of their hit list either (they would love to ban handguns, and would if they thought there was anyway to get it done).

      People keep saying it, but it bears repeating: They want all guns banned. Many of them have openly stated this, and openly outlined an incremental strategy. They will take what they can from us, when they can.

      If they ban modern rifles, they’ll be back after handguns. If they get that done, pump action shotguns will suddenly become “trench clearing combat guns” or “swat-style assault shotguns.” Grandpa’s bolt action 30-06 will be a “sniper rifle” that shoots “armor-piercing, cop killer” bullets. It’s as predictable as the sun rising tomorrow.

    • avatarBeninMA says:

      Doesn’t the new California proposal outlaw pump action shotguns?

      • avatarMark N. says:

        No, just those with rotating cylinders (e.g. Taurus Judge) (which isn’t on the approved Roster anyway, but makes it into the state under certain exceptions–like sales to LEOs).

    • avataruncommon_sense says:

      Anyone who claims that a madman couldn’t kill dozens of children with a pump-action shotgun is either ignorant or lying. First of all, it would be exceedingly easy for a spree killer to carry two pump-action shotguns. That alone provides between 10 and 14 shots (depending on the tube magazine capacity) without reloading. And here’s the kicker. A sabot round with a .50 caliber, 300 grain bullet and a muzzle velocity of 2000 fps is going to punch through several people — especially young children — before stopping. So a spree killer could easily take out between 30 and 50 children with just two common pump-action shotguns and no reloading if he/she attacks a crowd.

      And there is another factor that increases the effectiveness of a pump-action shotgun. An operator can add new shells to the tubular magazine at any time without making the shotgun inoperable. In other words an operator wearing an ammunition bandolier could shoot twice and reload the magazine, shoot once and reload the magazine, shoot four times and reload the magazine … all the while being able to instantly shoot anyone rushing the operator.

      Make no mistake. Anyone who claims that an AR 15 rifle enables a scumbag criminal to shoot too many victims too quickly can make the same claim about a pump-action shotgun.

    • avatarJay Dunn says:

      Good question, since they are one of the few firearms that you can shoot and reload at the same time.
      I see Uncommon beat me to this one.

  17. avatarJim D says:

    Guy looks like a younger, even dumber Bill Maeher (sp). Man, Mass. has really given us lots of brilliance since the Ted Kennedy school of driving. Wish he lived in L.A., we’d borrow him a Nissan Titan or Toyota.

  18. avatarFred says:

    I stop taking anyone seriously when their premise is to stop something like Sandy Hook from ever happening again. You cannot legislate away evil. You cannot keep evil from happening by imposing harsh restrictions on everyone. You can only respond to evil and treat individuals before they decide to commit evil acts. Treating everyone like criminals doesn’t stop criminals either, it just makes the law-abiding citizens better targets. Before even making such arguments these gun control proponents should be informed there are weapons, guns, knives, bats, in prison. With almost 100% police presence and constant guard drugs, weapons, and other forbidden items are brought in and kept by criminals, how do they expect to enforce these measure on the street with no gun registry to check against? It’s not only impossible, but would be laughably ineffective and disastrously tragic in terms of private defense.

    That premise is just a slogan that allows emotion to overcome rationality, just like the slogan that led 16 million men to their deaths and disabled 20 million more and did not end all wars.

  19. avatarElJefe says:

    Ban liberals from owning guns.

  20. avatarAnon in CT says:

    I guess he’s never heard of the expression “a brace of pistols”? The BG will literally show up with a gym bag full of cheap revolvers. I mean, yuo’re going to die anyway, why not empty the bank account on a passel of Tuarus and Charter Arms wheelguns?

  21. avatarJohn says:

    Ban Christopher Knittel.

  22. avatarGreg Camp says:

    I’m all for old-fashioned guns, but does this guy work for the Massachusetts Institute for the Amish?

  23. avatarMerits says:

    …”obvious real danger that guns present….” The fact that guns are dangerous is why they are in high demand, and why they perform their task so well. Feature. Not bug.

  24. avatardwr says:

    “There is nothing so stupid as an educated man, if you get him off the thing he was educated in.” – Will Rogers

  25. avatarRalph says:

    Hey, Professor Knitwit, how’s about I teach your economics class for ya? ‘Cause I know more about economics than you do about the Second Amendment.

  26. This guy is from MIT? Sad commentary then on MIT, because his ideas are world-class moronic. I’m not trying to be incendiary for its own purpose, but truly his ideas are all tripe.

    Gun buyback? Scholarly peer-reviewed research – like from the British Journal of Criminology – concluded it didn’t have any effect in Australia. Would it work here? While not attempted at a national level, local level attempts have yielded poor results. By what reason do we conclude it’s likely to produce better results nation-wide? Then there’s the question of how to pay for it all. Estimates in 2009 held there were 310 million guns. There have been millions purchased since. CNN reported in December 2012 alone there were more than 2.8 million NICS checks. True not every NICS check results in a sale, but many checks result in more than one firearm purchased. Semi-automatic handguns and rifles have been around since 1903 according to the Wall Street Journal. They are widely popular. Perhaps at MIT they haven’t heard that the U.S. government is in fiscal crisis. Our soldiers overseas are only being fed lunch & dinner (no breakfast) because of our nation’s budget woes. So besides being ineffective historically it’s also likely infeasable fiscally.

    His real problem is the legal challenge. The Supreme Court ruled in U.S. vs Miller (1939) and in D.C. vs Heller (2008) that what is protected are weapons “in common use at the time” (not at the time of ratification, in the current time). The Supreme Court website has PDF for download of the decisions. In D.C. vs. Heller, pages 5, 6, 8, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26, 55 & 56 hold particularly relevant information to this problem’s with Knittel’s ideas. Hunting is not the primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment, per the Court; self-defense is. The Court ruled that weapons “in common use at the time” are protected, and in D.C. vs Heller stated prohibition of an entire class of arms “overwhelmingly” and “popularly chosen” for self-defense is unconstitutional. While the scope of the ruling in D.C. vs Heller is focused on semi-automatic handguns, the rationale would extend to semi-automatic rifles regarding prohibition of an entire class. Further, regardless of whether my last sentence is valid, semi-automatic rifles are “in common use”, upheld by both cases.

    The last challenge is idiocy of the policy from a solution standpoint. Assault weapons ban didn’t work before, or in Australia, or in the UK. Gun violence and homicides (both raw number and rate per 100,000) have dropped in half since 1991 according to the FBI uniform crime reports. Our homicide rate is less than it was in 1900. That’s not a typo…. since 1900. Mass shootings are not on the rise, according to James Alax Fox, a widely respected criminologist from Northeastern University in Boston. Fox says they have averaged 20 per year sinc 1976.

    In short, a guy with research and a passion for the truth (me) just decimated Mr-High-and-Mighty-I-work-at-MIT, Knittel’s arguments. So personal agenda and politics aside, Mr. Knittel, you don’t have a leg to stand on.

  27. avatarIn Memphis says:

    Maybe he could volunteer his services to figure out the following if a full on AWB was put in play at a federal level:

    1) Job losses and gun/accessory manufacturers shutting down
    2) Increase of poverty and welfare in areas gun/accessory manufacturers once were
    3) Increase in taxes to support 2
    4) Increase in crime as a result of 1 and 2
    5) The difference between the jobs Obama promised and the jobs he took

    I know many of you say that the grabbers are not as stupid as they make themselves appear but this guy? An MIT economics proffessor? I would think he would see the big picture

  28. avatarAharon says:

    “A pump-action shotgun or a single-action revolver are also quite effective home-defense weapons”

    A single action revolver effective for home defense by your average resident ? The boy has watched too many Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Westerns.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      Many of his ideas about practical firearms use are clearly derived from movies rather than actual knowledge.

      I’d like to see how Mr. Knitwit would effectively employ a single-action revolver while holding a screaming, flailing toddler with his left arm. He’d get off what, one shot before being disarmed? Maybe two?

      • avatarAharon says:

        Any gun owner who exclusively owns revolvers, pump and break-action shotguns, and bot actions is only fooling himself if he believes his guns will never be targeted by the gun grabbers.

      • avatarRopingdown says:

        MOST Americans’ views of guns are derived from the movies, which turn guns into fetish objects (see, e.g., the single-action revolver). Even two of my three brothers are like that. If anyone mentions the gun issue they start quoting Samuel L. Jackson, Clint Eastwood, or Al Pacino lines. They don’t even realize they are talking about movies, not guns and not reality.

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          I live in a state with the area and economy of a small nation, where a Grand Experiment has been afoot for the last 20 years. The hypothesis: if we make thousands of fictional movies in the southern part of the state which then become a dominant force in popular culture, it will therefore be appropriate and reasonable to make laws based on these movies in the northern part of the state, believing the created fiction to represent reality.

          It’s not working out so good, but maybe THIS year we’ll get enough movie-reality-based legislation passed to achieve the desired result. {/sarc}

  29. avatarGabriel says:

    Heller case. Knittel needs to read Supreme Court decision.

  30. avatarMIKE B says:

    maybe we need to make weapons education a mandatory part of the curriculum for grade school and colleges. The firearms connoisseur in me wants to raise hell over the gibberish these anti gunners lets fall from their faces but the sensible part of me remember when i was ignorant to pretty much everything about firearms.

  31. avatarcolby says:

    I have an excellent idea!
    You give me your money, and then I’ll give you back that money in exchange for your guns!
    You will then be less likely to die in your own home!

  32. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    he looks like Doogie Howser. . . . . or howdy doodie

  33. avatarRopingdown says:

    Knittel’s motivation for this blather is transparent, isn’t it? Some colleague from the Cambridge Stasi found out Knittel had actually owned a Wonder Nine pistol. Facing possible exile, instant shunning, and a certain declaration of anathema, Knittel is spewing this kind of BS to try and earn his PC credential back. “Good luck with that one, you gun freak. We know your true stripes. No PC credential for YOU!” Signed, Cambridge, MA.

  34. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    All you need to know about the “professor” . . . . https://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/detail.php?in_spseqno=51399

    “Knittel holds a BA in economics and political science from California State University, Stanislaus; an MA in economics from the University of California, Davis; and a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. ”

    He is a product of the people’s republic of Kalifornia. ’nuff said.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Yep. Bingo. Once you see Cal Berzerkley on someone’s CV… it’s almost a 1.0 likelihood you’re dealing with serious mental deficiencies unless they were from the engineering or hard sciences.

      I had engineering co-workers who described their times at UCB…. and the regular packs of loons who wandered the campus, trying to stir stuff up. The engineering students are too busy to get involved in saving trees, snails, whales, etc…

  35. avatarJohn Doe says:

    Academic smarts and intelligence are mutually exclusive: Thinking inside the box vs thinking outside the box.

  36. avatarWilliam says:

    HOLD THE PHONE! So this means we can all go full-auto?

    If not, DEMAND A BODYGUARD!

    • avatarIn Memphis says:

      If I get a body guard Obama has to pay for it, for the remainder of my life.

      Its only fair since I pay for multiple guards and armored transpirtation. I would assume he was planning to do something stupid in office since he overturned the limited protection when his term ended.

  37. avatarMister Fleas says:

    “But, what about the semi-automatic weapons that currently exist? I do not, necessarily, propose to make owning such weapons illegal. Instead, I propose we adopt an aggressive buy-back program that is funded through a tax on gun and ammunition sales.”
    Guns are a source of criminals, as well as other people, power. Even if they were offered a lot of money they are not going to give most of them up(except junk guns). But even if gun owners were willing to take the money, what is to stop them from making more? You don’t need a factory to make a functioning, modern firearm, and you won’t be confined to pipe guns either.
    http://www.amazon.com/Do—Yourself-Submachine-Gun-Durable-/dp/0873648404/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1360693601&sr=1-1&keywords=homemade+submachine+gun

  38. avatarGyufygy says:

    “Publish or Perish” doesn’t apply to opinion pieces.

  39. avatarNickS says:

    There’s nothing interesting or even surprising, much less controversial, about this man’s article. Why? Well… just read it through this filter:

    “Liberal economist from liberal state publicly supports objectively unconstitutional legislation, exposing true goal of liberal gun grabbers, on well-known liberal rag while offering services as textbook example of blatantly disregarding the scientific method.”

    Really? That’s what they’re swinging with now? Wouldn’t make it past the pitcher’s mound, much less the wall beyond left field. We should be celebrating this. Spread this man’s message far and wide. Let the fence sitters see the true face of the anti-2a movement.

    P.S. To anyone who feels like calling me out for my use of “liberal,” please don’t. All uses were appropriate, given the context, and not intended to be divisive.

  40. avatarDisThunder says:

    Well, it looks like at least SOMEbody looked at those clever Mini-14 comparisons…
    I’m hoping we hear a lot more of this kind of crap. At least it’s honest. And the last few dozen hunters in this country who think they’re somehow exempt from all this will have no choice but to throw in with the rest of us evil scary black gun owners.

  41. avatarLance says:

    Strange he says make them illegal but in every poll well over 50% of gun owners will not turn them in. And that bans in England show it didn’t work. Another dumb Fascist from Kalifornia!

    • avatarMister Fleas says:

      Lance, you are not kidding. Even in European countries with severe gun control laws like Germany and Belgium large numbers of people defy the gun control laws:

      “Regulations tightly control gun ownership in only a few European countries such as the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom. In much of the rest of the continent, public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones.’
      Here in Belgium where I live, according the Swiss research, in 2003 there were 458,000 legal firearms, and roughly two million illegal guns.
      In Germany those figures are 7.2m legal, and between 17 and 20m off-books guns (that is a German police union estimate).”

      http://synonblog.dailymail.co.uk/2013/02/gun-control-surprise-europeans-like-americans-resist-any-gun-ban.html

  42. avatarChuckN says:

    At the rate their going with professors, MIT is fast on its way
    to become nothing more than a joke and shell of its former
    self, just like Harvard.

  43. avatarAndrew says:

    You guys are being super harsh on this dude. While I agree that his wish to remove semi automatic weapons is ridiculous(and won’t happen), his approach is more clearly thought out than just about every other one that I’ve heard. He is correct in saying that “assault” rifles just look scary, something most idiots don’t see. He is correct that all semi-automatics cause the problems(when in the wrong hands), not just the rifles. And I don’t believe he said ban them, just offer financial incentives for people to get rid of them. I will gladly hold onto my guns while bangers who need a few hundred in cash give up theirs. Hell, I’d even buy it from them if it got them off the street.

    • avatarCarlosT says:

      Except the bangers won’t turn them in. It’s a “give a man a fish/teach him to fish” issue. A one time payment of a few hundred dollars isn’t going to be any incentive compared to the the thousands they earn from illegal activities, and the protection and power they get from the gun.

  44. avatarJMS says:

    WOW he wants gun owners’ own money, gathered from a tax on gun and ammo purchases, to pay for the buyback program?!?!?! This is an economics professor? You want them to have an indefinite tax on all future gun/ammo purchases just so they “get” $200 to turn in their gun? $200 that they pay for themselves, over and over and over, in a new tax? Wow. Does he really think people will be excited about getting $200 for their gun when it’s part of their own money just being given back to them? What the hell.

    Giving somebody $200 for a gun is one thing. You could call that a “buyback.” Taking $200 from somebody, then giving that same money right back to them in exchange their gun is confiscation. Period. They’re giving the gov’t the money with which to purchase the gun they already own…. wow it just boggles my mind how he thinks this makes sense.

    Yes, I realize that all gov’t funds come from tax payers. BUT, in this case he’s talking about a brand new tax specifically on gun owners in order to pay the exact same gun owners their money back. Circular logic at its finest.

  45. avatarJustAJ says:

    “An assault weapon ban is purely window dressing,”

    If he had stopped there I’d be all on his side.

  46. avatarJordan says:

    $200 buyback for an AR?
    good luck with that.

  47. avatarOkieRim says:

    Screw MIT applied economics professor Christopher Knittel and the jackass that thought we needed his holier than thou opinion on firearms…..

  48. avatarSpunkmeister says:

    Oh, so the 2nd Amendment is about hunting! I’m so glad he cleared that up.

  49. avatarMoonshine says:

    I am genuinely ashamed of the fvcking institvte.

  50. avatarJarhead1982 says:

    Here is Christophers contact info, feel free to send him some love.

    Christopher R. Knittel
    William Barton Rogers Professor of Energy Economics,
    Sloan School of Management

    Co-Director,
    Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, MIT
    Phone: 617.324.0015
    Fax: 617.258.6786
    Address: MIT
    Sloan School of Management
    100 Main Street
    E62-525
    Cambridge, MA 02142-1347
    E-mail: knittel@mit.edu

  51. avatarBlehtastic says:

    Has it been renamed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology we like?

  52. avatarHarold says:

    Yeah, I’m going to turn in my Colt SOCOM for $200. How about this: MOLON LABE. Further proof that the “elite” are out of touch with reality.

  53. avatarNEIOWA says:

    The bar to hang out a shingle as an “Economic Professor” is quite low. See also Krugman, Galbraith, Marx

  54. avatarpat says:

    Evil…yes. Libtard…yes. Let me say this though, it is refreshing that the SOB at least admits the ‘assault weapon’ term is bogus and nothing but a clever gun banning ploy. They are INDEED after the semiauto/magazine interface, as it would do great harm to the 2nd amendment and the citizens ability to wage asymetrical/guerrilla warfare.

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