Boston Marathon bombing (courtesy telegraph.co.uk)

Over the last few months two events have dominated the news cycle: Donald Trump’s candidacy and domestic terrorist attacks. Politicians in the United States have picked up on this pattern and responded by demanding that people suspected of being terrorists have their 2nd Amendment rights revoked, pointing to the “easy access to weapons of war” as something which needs to be changed in order to reduce the effectiveness of the attacks. But is that a realistic assumption?

My degree is in security and risk analysis. My first job out of college: taking information from subject matter experts regarding terrorism and transforming it into a probabilistic model which identified how well the different branches of the Department of Homeland Security could reduce the risk of death to American citizens.

One of the very first steps on that path: figuring out what kinds of weapons terrorists and other bad actors prefer to use. While you’d think that terrorists would want to select the weapon that would cause the most damage, the reality is that other factors such as availability and cost are much more important to them.

Here in the United States that means the AR-15 is the weapon of choice, primarily because it’s ubiquitous and relatively cheap to purchase. In other countries, that isn’t the case. Guns are much more tightly controlled overseas. That often that leads the bad guys to select weapons that are much more potent.

Bombs are one of the most common tools of terrorism, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorists have used the car bomb, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) in goverment-ese,  to great effect. One such attack on July 4th of this year killed 200 people and wounded hundreds more. Wikipedia lists seven such attacks in 2012 in Iraq, but that list is out of date and infrequently updated. And that’s in a country where weapons aren’t terribly difficult to acquire.

There are some significant differences between attacks using a VBIED’s and those using “assault weapons.” VBIED’s have some significant advantages.

Firearms such as the AR-15, in most cases, fire one round at a time, meaning an attacker needs to individually target each specific victim. (At this point, terrorists do not appear to utilize AR-15-style rifles that have been converted to fully-automatic fire.) Attackers need to identify each target, aim, fire the weapon, and repeat as quickly as possible.

For those attacks to be “successful” they need to take place in locations where the victims are contained in an area with limited exit points: schools, night clubs and the like. It takes time for the attack to successfully accumulate a body count, and quick intervention by law enforcement can bring an end to the carnage before it gets very high.

VBIED attacks, though, are instantaneous and can be remotely detonated. The carnage takes place in a split second; law enforcement is powerless to stop it once it has begun. Attacks can take place anywhere a large crowd has gathered such as parks and shopping areas, locations which are nearly impossible to secure and cannot be effectively defended. Victims are targeted simultaneously and indiscriminately with no means of escape or evasion.

Mass shootings also require a certain level of skill to pull off. Terrorists using firearms require at least some training in order to operate them properly, and malfunctions in the weapon system can slow down the attack and allow victims to escape. It’s also extremely important to be able to aim the firearm accurately, but this can be mitigated with the choice of location (keeping victims close to reduce the distance and the chance of missing).

VBIED attacks, on the other hand, require a certain level of skill to fabricate, but once complete, the weapon is easily detonated by the push of a single button. They require virtually no skill to target victims.

There are some significant hurdles when it comes to fabricating such a weapon. While the chemicals are readily available, getting the chemistry just right is a challenge. The bomb which blew off a tourist’s foot in Central Park this past 4th of July was created using household chemicals. Other substances like fireworks have been used domestically for terrorist attacks (like the Boston Marathon bombings).

The ability to create highly explosive devices in the United States certainly exists, but actual instances where terrorists have tried to use such devices are few and far between. The question: why?

It all comes back to weapon selection. Specifically, the availability and cost side of the equation. Even though a bomb can instantly kill hundreds of people (and even the use of a big truck with no explosives can kill more people than the biggest mass shooting in American history) the availability of “assault weapons” seems to have captured the attention of terrorists here in the America. Rather than trying to concoct bombs, terrorists here seem content to carry out mass shootings.

That’s both a positive and a negative. Attacks using “assault weapons” might have a significantly lower capacity to accumulate the same body counts compared to VBIED’s or other explosive devices, but the ease with which they can be obtained means that more of these attacks are possible. The unknown quantity in this case is whether there’s an increase in “competent initiations” (attacks, again that’s government-ese) due to the availability of these guns, and whether the lower body counts offsets any possible increase in initiations.

There’s no doubt that the end goal should be to prevent terrorist attacks, keep Americans safe. Eliminating the ability for known terrorists to acquire weapons of any kind should be the basis of that effort. (Incarceration is a particularly effective option.) But in a free society, that will always be a difficult proposition.

In the end, however, from a weapons selection perspective, the availability of “assault weapons” might actually be doing more good than harm. Yes, that very idea will no doubt make our gun-grabbing friends’ heads spin. But the ready availability of weapons that are desirable to attackers but ultimately incapable of producing large scale carnage as superior weapons could be working to your ultimate advantage.

More analysis is definitely needed to get to an answer, but there’s no doubt that the situation is a little more complicated than one might expect from watching the learned analysts on MSNBC, CNN and Fox.

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68 Responses to Does ‘Easy Access’ to Assault Rifles Actually Reduce Terrorists’ Body Count?

  1. …pursuant to this rationale, should we issue a free AR-15 to every terrorist–so that they will not use a more deadly and effective instrumentality?? DMD

    • Taking it to the logical extreme. Think of it more of supply and demand. Buying a gun is cheaper and simpler than learning to manufacture bombs. Kinda undercuts the murder market.

    • No. Citizens should get a tax break for buying AND carrying their own msr. Constitutional carry is the law nationwide. We just need to break some pols to restore that right to all.

      • “It’s the law of the land”
        I hate this quote. Liberals throw that out there regarding gay marriage and abortion to end the debate. Why do they never use that argument concerning gun control laws? Because they know that the 2nd amendment is the law of the land. Why aren’t we shouting that?

  2. Solid logic. I think terrorists also like the idea of going all “call of duty” it’s a much cooler and exciting proposition. In my experience middle eastern people love the “cool” factor. John Cena was a legend in the area we operated in. They also had no idea that TV wrestling was fake but they are it up and loved it. So they get to live out a power fantasy and are granted access to heaven. Bombs are cheap and boring.

    • What also factors into the equation is whether the snackbar wants to die or not during the carnage.

  3. 168 people died in Oklahoma City, which took place during the assault weapons ban. Nobody said ban trucks or fertilizer. Enough said.

    • A truck bomb was also used in the first World Trade Center attack. No attempt to ban rental trucks. There has been a change in the availability of the type of nitrogen fertilizer necessary for the construction of ANFO explosives, however, making it more difficult, but not impossible, for the average person to acquire the stuff.

      By the way, if you want to see how effective ANFO explosives can be, properly prepared, check out the Mythbsters final episode – 1,001 pounds of ANFO in a cement truck. The perfect terrorist weapon.

    • You sir are confused– they sure did ban ammonium nitrate fertilizer, though that ban may have predated Oklahoma City. Used to be $8 for a 50 lb. bag at Wal-Mart around here– perfect, because it’s alkaline and negates the pine straw acidity.

      But now one needs a license to buy the best, cheapest fertilizer available. Well, formerly available.

  4. Interesting proposition. Unintended consequences writ large.

    I do take offense to calling any rifle, or any other object, an assault weapon. It’s a term made-up by ignorant statists to make common firearms sound scary. For the statists, it’s a moving target so It has no useful meaning in describing kinds of firearms or weapons. So when you use the term “assault weapon”, I, one: have no idea what you’re talking about, and two: don’t trust the rest of your article to be truthful.

    • When someone mentions “assault weapons” I bring up assault eyeglasses, assault staplers, assault pencils, assault spoons, and assault nailclippers. Also, I’ve been saying this “terrorists and crazies being able to get semi-automatic small arms decreases casualties because then they won’t bother making bombs and going all Timothy McVeigh on us” thing for years.

      • I like to bring up Pill Violence when antis want to talk about suicides and Gun Violence. They don’t like that.

    • Nick Leghorn probably used the term “assault weapons” in quotations intentionally. He is quoting the “Assault Media” in their misrepresentation of our “Freedom Sticks” and for using inflammatory labels.

  5. Gun control is not about making anyone safe. It is people control. Just like many laws and would be legislation it is presented in a moral pretext that makes it seem plausible and palatable. The reality is gun control and gun bans are laws that directly effect a specific type of person. I would not be surprised to learn that many of the law makers that support these ideas publicly are either opposed to them or have no bias either way. It is matter of getting behind the politics of the moment to make a name for one’s self. The agendas of law makers and officials that push gun control require a society that is filled neutered cuckholds. Yeah d@mn right I said it.

  6. They will find a method to inflict death irregardless of the political conditions.

    If there are no guns they will turn to bombs. If bombs are too difficult they will turn to trucks. God only knows what else they will turn to.

    This the only sane and correct response is to arm every single citizen in the free world, preferable with similar style and caliber of guns to allow for cross training and sharing of supplies.

    There are more of us than there are of them. Let’s keep it that way.

    This should be a constitutional amendment; The mandatory keeping and bearing of arms.

    That would be common sense gun control.

      • It only worked the first time because people had the expectation that they would be held hostage and traded for something. That is a one time event. Now the expectation is that you are going to die so passangers right back. Terrorists have moved on to simply bringing the plane down.

        • No, it wasn’t a one-time event.

          Air cargo companies use airliners for their long-haul flight.

          One radicalized pilot or co-pilot and you have 9-11-2001 part 2…

    • To date, of the 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, only two, 18: Prohibition of alcohol, and 21: Repeal of prohibition, have dealt with ANYTHING other than restricting the power of the government (The Bill of Rights), or making adjustments to the original Articles defining what the government MAY do and how it should be done.

      And further note that the 18th Amendment is the ONLY amendment that has ever been repealed.

      The proper forum for legislating (mandating) what the people must do is through the Legislature; Congress, where the people themselves at least have the opportunity to tell the Senators and Congressmen to Fvck Off at the next election if they do something that stupid.

      The correct action for your hoped for result would be for the Second Amendment to be confirmed by SCOTUS, as written, to mean EXACTLY what it says and to repeal any and all federal, States and local laws that violate that Constitutional protection of the peopel to keep and bear arms. Those who do not want to bear arms, in a free society, should never be compelled to bear arms, whether as a free citizen or in a conscript army.

      • I know that, I was just trying to be illustrative of what common sense really means when it comes to arms, and the bearing of.

        All of what you say sounds pretty darn good, dudn’t it?

        So we can be certain as stink on shit that politicians ain’t gonna do it. Only way it would happen is if it was done to them (that is to say, the people make their consent known and implemented). Not sure how we do that…

  7. Something that is not addressed here is the intelligence of the person committing the attack and any support network they may or may not have.

    No matter how committed you are to building a serious bomb you need to have the knowledge of how to do it, the skill to pull it off and the patience to not blow yourself up in the process or you need to know a competent bomb maker. It takes a certain personality to work with explosives and IMHO, that’s not the personality most “front line” terrorists have.

    To be a truly effective terrorist you need to have certain attributes. One of them is that you have to be smart. Smart people don’t get on a bus and blow themselves up. Smart people sit back and watch their handiwork.

    Scary as it is, I would venture to say that the vast majority of terror attacks that we’ve seen in the past decade or two were executed by people who lacked intelligence or at least lacked a modicum of education. That’s why they die in the attack.

    Sure, some of them don’t care if they live or die but look at the way ISIS operates these days. People who don’t speak Arabic, are dumb or generally incompetent are selected for the “honor” of suicide missions while those with skills ISIS can really use are put into planning and coordination or other portions of the organization. You don’t send your PhD or MS chemists to pull a suicide bombing. You keep them in the rear making bombs that you strap to the retards or doing something else that’s useful.

    Self-radicalized people also tend not to be the brightest bulbs and they seem to be impulsive. Generally they’re some loner asshole watching beheading videos and getting hopped up on terror ideas. They’re not particularly smart, they’re not trained and they lack the critical thinking skills to be truly effective such as adapting to changing circumstances and in most cases really haven’t done their research. They simply have a basic plan that they follow and can’t handle curve balls. In my estimation they also lack patience. They’re not generally the type to spend weeks, months or a year planning out and executing an attack like 9/11. Just look at the guy in Dallas. He lost his patience and died before he could pull off whatever “larger” attacks he was planning.

    • A lot of that is probably true, but any idiot can buy a 5 gallon can of gas and a book of matches. Or, as demonstrated in paris and stillwater oklahoma, drive a vehicle through a crowd. Or bring an axe or a sword to a gun free zone. Or climb up in a tower with a bolt action rifle. None of those things take much intelligence.

      • They also don’t really cause a ton of casualties.

        I’m not going to say that causing 12 dead with a bolt gun in Texas is good, but it’s a lot less “bad” than detonating a bomb that kills hundreds. The point of the article is that guns may not be as effective as explosives at producing mass casualty events (in terms of body count).

        My contention is that the proper use of explosives requires some intelligence, knowledge of the topic and patience. One or more of which that majority of terrorists lack.

        • You missed my point. I understand that bombs are more deadly. I also understand that there is a lot more that goes into the logistics of an individual being able to detonate one. My point is only that there a whole lot of other ways to do the same thing that a bomb does with out the logistical backing that goes into a sophisticated bomb.

          assault rifle or no assault rifle. bomb or no bomb. A jihadI or other type of killer can inflict mass casualties with any of a wide variety of weapons.

        • Excellent point, strych9. The other side of that coin; every terrorist that uses a firearm to commit a terrorist act is giving more fuel to those in favor of citizen disarmament.

      • Umm, both Paris attacks were a combination of automatic weapons, both Bataclan, and the Charlie Edbo. Bataclan/Saint Denis also had explosive vests, Brussels was the same.

        You’re thinking about Nice, that’s a different place.

  8. Aslong as ISIS is limited to recruiting individual Americans through social media they are going to use guns because guns are easily obtained by individuals. Building a VBIED requires a support network. If ISIS can build an infrastructure then you are going to see bombs and other non-firearms methods to carry out attacks.

    In Europe, terrorists can easily circumvent European gun control regimes because they already have in place well organized and entrenched networks

    Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.

  9. Setting off bombs doesn’t set Americans against each other over the availability of ‘deadly assault weapons’. Setting off bombs doesn’t get kneejerk politicians to disarm yet more Americans and create more soft targets.

    They know what they’re doing.

  10. Why bother the terrorists are already in america and their name is the NRA.

    They already terrorize the population with threats of violence.

    They bribe our politicians.

    They’re committed to various brainwashing and propaganda campaigns and promote debunked studies and false statistics.

    They continue to promote lies and bullshit that the countries like europe, canada, australia and japan are orwellian hellholes due to strict gun control despite these four countries have very excellent economies, healthcare, lack of poverty, excellent education systems and very low violent crime.

    They’re care nothing about the american people. Only money.

    They are nothing but a treasonous threat to the rights and freedoms of america.

    States with strict gun control that havent fallen for the NRA’s bullshit have low murder, suicide and crime rates.

    Pro-gun states and states that relaxed gun laws have higher murder, crime and suicide rates. Pro gun states are even known to fudge their crime stats to make it look like it’s safe when it’s not.

    • So how much does George Soros pay you to troll. I am retired and can use the extra cash. I am also quite the sophist.

      By the way, in an earlier article someone posted the 10 states with lowest violent crime rates. All of them were gun friendly

      • Gun control does work.

        No mass shootings where firearms are heavily restricted.

        UK, Australia, Japan and Europe. They don’t get the 32,000 killed every year that the US get!!!

        More fringe dweller, totally uninformed nonsense!

        You may kid yourself, but never anyone from educated civilized counties.

        If ignorance is BLISS, you must be a very happy guy….

        • I see you don’t have access to newspapers where you are. Just last week there was a mass shooting in Munich! And France has had two mass shootings in the last 12 months. The second one had three times as many killed than the worst shooting in the US. And of course we just saw mass murder by truck in France. Do you support truck control?

          If you want to keep your job with George, you better step your game.

        • “They don’t get the 32,000 killed every year that the US get!!!”

          People would take this more seriously if 21K of those weren’t suicides…

        • Actually Japan, Hungary and Astria have ~2X the suicides of the US per capita and S. Korea almost 2.5X the suicides. All of which have strong gun control laws. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/suiciderate.html

          That’s the WaPo so it’s probably not those “biased NRA statistics” you claim.

          How do you explain that violent crime as a whole has gone down while the number of guns keeps going up? That’s pretty odd.

          The UK is also not a fair comparison in terms of murder, neither is the standard practice of using OCED countries. The UK only counts murders when a person is convicted which has obvious implications. Besides this the OCED thing is stupid because lower crime is part of the criteria of becoming an OCED nation. The comparisons that are being made are like talking about crime in your city but excluding the bad parts of town.

        • Anyone can cherry-pick.

          Other places with strict weapon laws / nonexistent weapon rights, and murder rates that would make Pol Pot blush:

          Venezuela, Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador, Brazil

          Why it’s almost like there’s no correlation between gun ownership and murder rate. (Because there is not)

        • You are correct only when examining the narrow and specific metric of the mass shooting. Oh wait, Cumbria. So you’re not even right there.

          The gun control argument to prevent public mass shootings died in Nice, France last week. If a terrorist can kill 84 people with a truck, what good is any of your ridiculous gun bans going to do.

          But public mass shootings are extremely rare events. The death rate is around .0015 to .002 per 100,000 persons depending on the year. Your chances of dying in one are basically zero. More people die from insect stings than in public mass shootings (using the definition used by the FBI and Mother Jones magazine.)

          The overall homicide rate also needs to be considered.

          Look at the UK, which I’m sure you see as a gun-free utopia. The overall murder rate went up following their imposition of draconian gun control and stayed up for a decade. Look it up. I would hardly call that a success.

          Australia? Their murder rate was heading down and continued to head down at pretty much the same rate after their gun ban. No one was able to conclude the gun ban had done any good.

          As for no mass shootings, true. (Though one attempted.) But at least three mass arsons with up to 21 fatalities in a single incident. (Since arson is harder to detect, authorities believe there have been many more of them.) Add to that an explosion in other forms of violent crime. So I suppose this means we need to put you in the pro-rape camp, right? Because there were a heck of a lot more of them in Australia once they enacted their firearms ban.

          And what about here in the good old US of A, run by those terrorists in the NRA? Well, most “gun deaths” are suicides. Yet our suicide rate is lower than Japan.

          The majority of the remaining gun deaths are homicides and nearly all of those are committed in poor, inner city minority communities where crime and the drug trade are rampant.

          Here’s where it gets really interesting. The social pathologies which make these communities such dangerous places are the result of liberal welfare policies which incentivized young women to have children out of wedlock. Research shows that male children raised in single parent households with an absentee father are far more likely to become criminals. Thus the liberal welfare state is far more responsible for the carnage occurring in certain neighborhoods of Baltimore, Chicago and on and on then the NRA. (Since I doubt any of these gangbangers are NRA members, I think we can pretty much hold the NRA blameless here.) Liberal welfare policies are responsible for wasting human capital on a grand scale. Liberal welfare policies have destroyed the black family in America and are working on the rest of them.

          Add to this the unknown death toll (because for some reason the feds won’t tell us the numbers on this particular issue) from widespread illegal immigration, another holy sacrament of the left, and we see where the real problems lie.

          The real problem is that leftists who run these big metro areas really don’t care about the people dying in the streets of their cities. Or if they do care, they have a funny way of showing it. Liberals have enslaved the poor in this nation – here’s a big fat check, all you have to do is keep voting for us. If that means you waste your human potential, fine. If that means the children you raise end up dead in a gang shooting, fine. As long as we’re still in power, it’s all good.

          If the NRA is a terrorist organization, then there are 5 million terrorists in this nation, heavily armed. And yet, not a single terrorist attacker or mass shooter has been an NRA member. You’d think at least one of those 5 million would act up. Yet nothing. (I have no idea what the overall murder rate among NRA members is, no one does, but I’d bet it’s pretty low.)

          Finally, there is no correlation between gun control and the murder rate. The US murder rate is at a 50 year low. Last time it was this low was in the late 1950s, early 1960s before most gun control legislation had been passed. You could buy a rifle mail order. The local hardware store sold shotguns. No background checks, no FFLs even. Yet a murder rate lower than todays.

          It’s not the guns, it’s the people.

        • Gun control does work.

          Gun control doesn’t work.

          No mass shootings where firearms are heavily restricted.

          Except people in France, Germany, Australia, etc, and “mass shootings” have transitioned to “mass killings” – as if that is any better. And while this transition continues, the good people in france, germany, australia, etc are left defenseless and reliant on a system that is not reliable for their safety.

          UK, Australia, Japan and Europe. They don’t get the 32,000 killed every year that the US get!!!

          21000 of those are suicides. Japan has a much higher rate of suicide than the United states. Plenty of places in europe have a similar homicide rate as the united stated. UK and Australia have low homicide rates but high rates of crime and rape – contingent with a country filled with people not permitted to defend themselves.

          More fringe dweller, totally uninformed nonsense!

          “ConcernedAmerican” is definitely a fringe dwelling hoplophobic fixated individual. Informed or not, it matters not to hoplophobic crazies who are satisfied being raped and stabbed to death, but deeply offended if they are murdered with a gun.

          You may kid yourself, but never anyone from educated civilized counties.

          Except Canada, Switzerland, the UK and many other people I have spoken to that believe gun control is nonsensical garbage. But those people don’t count. Also, only “civilized countries” matter, not intelligent, educated individuals from less civilized countries.

          If ignorance is BLISS, you must be a very happy guy….

          Ignorance is not bliss, that is why “ConcernedAmerican” is so upset.

    • Once again, C-A, thank you for supporting the right to keep and bear arms. Every click counts in the numbers game. Why do you think barry and company have been unable to pass any meaningful federal gun control?

      You can say with pride that you’re helping to restore civil rights to all Americans that own guns.

      • And thank you for me giving you a constant whipping in the arguments you start which you seemly lose at.

        You make me glad that seeing gun-nuts like you lose and throw tantrums gives me some faith in that humanity hasn’t been brainwashed by the gun lobby.

        • Cornered’s click doesn’t mean shit in the big scheme of things jwm. Stop posting nonsense.

        • Only “concerned American” would actually believe he/she was whipping anyone with the illogical nonsensical baby bird regurgitation he/she keeps spewing out.

      • blow me, marmot. His clicks and yours and mine, every time he makes a comment and gets rebuffed it adds to the numbers.

        It’s not just the NRA scaring senators and congress into doing the right thing. Show them the numbers at sites like these. The numbers that can’t be matched by groups like MDA.

        When paid shills like C-A show up here, and there’s not a doubt in my mind that he’s on the anti’s payroll, it shows a level of desperation and foolish waste of resources from the anti gun side.

        So while he and his handlers don’t intend it, he is in fact supporting gun rights by commenting here.

    • “countries like europe”

      Excuse me for just a minute while I wipe away the tears from laughing so hard.

    • The “concerned American” recipe:

      • 8 parts – unsubstantiated assertions pulled from the depths of hoplophobic delusional psychosis.
      • 1 part – cognitive dissonance
      • 1 part – low information voter

      Take contents and knead until soft, wrap contents in a long annoying spiel of mindless windbaggery and fry until golden brown.

    • Excellent. Please do tell do if you have an original thought or you working crib notes from the DNC. If you want to man up, a show you got a pair, anyone on this forum will get you trigger time. Your girlfriend or “partner” will regard you well knowing you could protect them.

    • Why bother the terrorists are already in america and their name is the NRA.

      NRA aren’t terrorists.

      They already terrorize the population with threats of violence.

      NRA doesn’t terrorize anyone with threats of violence.

      They bribe our politicians.

      NRA doesn’t bribe politicians.

      They’re committed to various brainwashing and propaganda campaigns and promote debunked studies and false statistics.

      The NRA tells it how it is. Their studies are only thought of as brainwashed to people who think that manufacturers of anything are responsible for how their products are used.

      They continue to promote lies and bullshit that the countries like europe, canada, australia and japan are orwellian hellholes due to strict gun control despite these four countries have very excellent economies, healthcare, lack of poverty, excellent education systems and very low violent crime.

      NRA isn’t lying and there is no bullshit. If you like these other countries so much – why don’t you move there? Instead of demanded we accept your opinionated demands in changing “our” culture – why don’t you leave us alone and move there. Please do so immediately and spare us both your endless bitching about how we live.

      They’re care nothing about the american people. Only money.

      The NRA is a grassroots organization made of millions of americans whose funding is fueled by millions of americans. Millions of americans also support manufacturers funding the NRA and support manufacturers who produce fine products that the american people enjoy. Manufacturers of firearms and american gun owners support capitalism and gun manufacturers profiting so the individuals of that company may provide for their families and produce a product they enjoy producing. Manufacturers of firearms and american gun owners support one another and have aligned ideologies. Telling the american gun owner that the NRA is only after money to support manufacturers is deserving of a hearty laugh and little more.

      They are nothing but a treasonous threat to the rights and freedoms of america.

      The NRA fights for the civil right of self defense and the freedom of America. NRA promotes firearms safety, training, the right of self defense, and the cultures continued deputation of self reliance and embracing of personal responsibility and self defense.

      States with strict gun control that havent fallen for the NRA’s bullshit have low murder, suicide and crime rates.

      Except in places like Chicago, Baltimore, Washington DC, and other liberal progressive marxist (democratic party) ruled areas with strict gun control.

      Pro-gun states and states that relaxed gun laws have higher murder, crime and suicide rates. Pro gun states are even known to fudge their crime stats to make it look like it’s safe when it’s not.

      Pro gun states don’t fudge their crime stats to look like they are safe. And pro gun states are not more dangerous than gun control regimes. Example: Pro gun state Vermont has virtually zero gun control whatsoever and have the lowest crime rate of all states. Clearly firearms aren’t the root problem.

  11. I’ve said this many times to people who think the only think between us and utopian safety are moar gun lawz:

    The attacks that really scare people usually have been planned for a while. If you make it harder or impossible for someone to get a scary black rifle, all you’ve done is taken someone with time and a desire to kill lots of people and forced them to get creative…

    If you’re out in a crowd and some maniac starts shooting, he still has to shoot people one at a time, even if its rapid succession. I’d take that scenario as opposed to being out somewhere and all of a sudden i’m exploded..

  12. Q: “Does “easy access” to “assault rifles” actually reduce terrorists’ body count?

    A: When someone 1.) actually has one on-hand at the moment it’s needed (and not arbitrarily disarmed by inane laws) and 2.) is in a position to engage said terrorist, yes. Yes, it does. Of course, this assumes that it’s a gun fight and not exclusively a bombing.

    Next question.

  13. I suspect the answer to this question will shift depending on details of the input data.

    Terrorists use what’s easiest as long as it works. That makes me wonder how they will adapt if several attacks using firearms are thwarted by armed defenders. Will they switch to other methods that are more difficult to defeat?

    I’m not surprised by the 18-wheeler attack in France. What does surprise me is how long it took for terrorists to realize its effectiveness and the difficulty in stopping it. If the accelerator pedal is wedged down, the truck will continue on until it runs into something immovable even after the driver has been incapacitated. There have been two automobile attacks in the US in the last year. The first was perpetrated by a mentally ill woman at the Oklahoma State homecoming. The second occurred on the Las Vegas strip. We don’t know the mental state of the driver in the latter attack. Expect more, not necessarily committed by terrorists.

    We have been very lucky about bombs. Several terrorists and malcontents have tried using them. The Columbine shooters resorted to firearms only after their home made bombs failed. James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado mass murderer, booby trapped his apartment with explosives. The only recent competent bomb makers have been Timothy McVeigh and the Tsarnaev brothers. We can be sure that others will figure it out. Dynamite can be stolen from construction sites. Bombs can be manufactured from everyday chemicals. If you have some imagination, you don’t even need the Anarchist’s Cookbook.

  14. The effectiveness of guns when used for suicide may also have a positive effect, as a number of spree killers had committed failed suicide attempts in the past.

  15. Yes. Full auto is useless for targets that aren’t shooting back, especially if you don’t have any allies. It’s just a waste of ammo. Given 100% of western terror attacks with firearms fit that profile we should repeal the NFA and let everyone have an M4 Carbine.

  16. I cannot agree with Nick on his thesis. As a former combat engineer I can relay bombs are the most cost effective killing tools available. You can knock a tank out with 50 bucks. What makes a jihadist terrorist effective is having the ideology of murder, and the will to die. This is why they’ll never be defeated no matter what tool they use.

    Per kill cost of 9-11 was approximately $83. (250K / 3000). Millions in damage & compensation. Now you have 10 dollar an hour drivers plowing through crowds. Cost per kill at $35. (3000 dollar rental / 85). What your seeing is cost and skill set reduction for mass murder and the west has absolutely no solution to the asymmetric warfare employed by Jihadist.

    As for the AR. With a combat load of 600-800 rounds, I can kill and wound a lot more people than the Orlando shooter in a gun free zone (disclaimer…I have no plans to murder). I suspect the count was not higher because escape routes were not blocked and wholesale large scale murdering does exhaust one mentally without a group dynamic. In addition most bleed out due to law enforcements reluctance to move in on the shooter.

    The Baton Rouge shooter was interesting in that he ambused three cops but then hung around. If he moved off site then most likely could have done more murdering. Rage prevented the former Marine from thinking tactically.

    As for making bombs, its humorous thinking one need special skills to make one. Trip to the garden dept of any big box will get the main component, empty 55 gallon drums, 50 gallons of diesel and time fuse. The logistics of assembly takes more effort than making it.

    Debating which tool is better, more cost effective or less damaging is moot. You cannot stop a terrorist, one can only minimize the damage by an armed citizens with courage to act immediately against the threat.

  17. Terrorists are human Kamikazes. While you can not stop an individual Kamikaze you can defeat the tactic. Just ask the Japanese.

  18. This is proving to be a very topical post.

    There has been another Islamist attack in Germany — a Syrian suicide bomber in Ansbach, near Nuremberg. The bomber is dead. Twelve casualties among the innocents have been reported.

  19. It will be interesting to see what happens when the terrorists just use pump gas and burn down older sections of a city where the buildings are close together and the wood is old and dry.
    Not Dresden scale, but a mighty intense bonfire none the less.

  20. Well, a gun is a better defensive choice *because* it is precise, individual, calibrated and intentional, just like a truck bomb is not. Also, a gun is passive until used on purpose. A truck bomb is way more likely to “go off” than even a locked and loaded gun. And a gun’s effectiveness when used depends a bit more on skill than pushing the boom button on a shrapnel projector. One reason the AK-47 family is so popular is their relative ease of use as “bullet hoses” by people with limited training, compared to other arms.

    The “anti’s” hate DGUs *because* using a gun defensively illustrates all the stuff at odds with their story about the world:

    * You having a gun when it’s needful says you thinking ahead might do some good.

    * You using only the force that’s needful says you may have the discretion to decide correctly.

    * You having the means to use force, says you might have the means to do that or more on your own. They hate discretion.

    * You protecting yourself says you are part of the solution vs. “You take the protection you get, and like it.”

    * You protecting yourself makes it clear that they’re failing at delivering safety.

    * You protecting yourself when they did not shows that they willing to sacrifice you, individually, to the group “safety.”

    Every time a person does the right thing on their own gives lie to the presumption that only the group has any perspective, wisdom, judgment, or skill. This is why stories of parents throwing their kids out of the way of a careening truck get a passing mention, while the kind of guns used to stop the killer get flogged for days. This is why the folks who shielded others, moved people to cover, gave first aid in Paris get fleeting mention, while “bad guns” gets flogged for weeks. This is why people with the presence of mind to get out, to hide, to call for help from a club under siege get passing mention, while how many guns the killer had gets flogged for days.

  21. Yes. In fact, if full autos were easily and legally availabe here, mass shootings would be even less deadly. The shooters would generally choose them to play soldier. During the act, they’d just spray and run out of ammo real quick.

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