SIG SAUER MCX (courtesy thetruthaboutguns.com)

That’s the question politifact.com seeks to answer after U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin called one of the firearms used in The Pulse nightclub slaughter a “weapon of war.” SPOILER ALERT: Politifact rate the Senator’s claim about the SIG SAUER MCX half-true. Here’s Sarah Hauer’s (no relation) reasoning:

The Sig Sauer MCX rifle Mateen carried is a civilian version of the MCX-MR, a gun designed for military use. The MCX-MR was designed to comply with a Department of Defense requirement for a weapon to be carried by special operations units with low visibility in terms of size and noise.

A backgrounder on the gun from the Violence Prevention Center sent to us by Baldwin’s team said, “there are no significant differences between them and military assault weapons.”

But Leigh Neville, a military researcher and author of the book “Guns of the Special Forces,” said the two versions differ “fundamentally.”

The civilian MCX lacks three key design attributes that make the MCX-MR suitable for special operations use.

1.  The civilian version is semiautomatic, rather than fully automatic. A semiautomatic gun fires one round of ammunition for every press of the trigger whereas a fully automatic gun fires a burst of rounds with every trigger press.

2.  The civilian weapon does not feature a silencer, though one can be purchased and attached with separate approval. A special operations soldier would be issued a silencer with the rifle.

3. The civilian version does not have all the options for differing barrel lengths and shoulder stocks as the military version to make the guns lighter and easier to carry. The shorter barrel options, which decrease the speed at which the ammunition is propelled, would be illegal or restricted for civilians under federal laws.

I know: all guns started as “weapons of war.” And who cares if Mateen’s SIG is, was, or could be a “weapon of war.” No one’s calling the responding SWAT team’s full-auto AR-style rifles “weapons of war.”

Come to think of it, if a bartender had used an AR-style rifle to take out Mateen, if that rifle had been capable of fully automatic fire (a.k.a., a machine gun), would that have been a “weapon of war”? If so, so what?

The Second Amendment has nothing to say about the type, caliber, barrel length, sound signature or firing rate of arms that citizens can keep and bear without government infringement. Anyway, here’s the really stupid bit you just knew would be in Politifact’s article:

“Civilian semiautomatic assault weapons incorporate all of the anti-personnel features of design and function that make assault weapons so deadly,” said Marty Langley, senior policy analyst with Violence Prevention Center.

Langley and others note that the weapon Mateen used is also very different from guns typically used for, say, hunting.

High-capacity ammunition magazines can be attached to guns like the MCX to hold extra rounds of ammunition. Additional grips like a forward grip or barrel shroud give shooters greater control for spray firing.

“Spray firing” from a semi-automatic rifle. ‘Cause that’s way worse than aimed fire. And we know that because . . . it sounds scarier than aimed fire. The really dumb thing? This:

Baldwin backed up her statement by showing that the gun Mateen had was originally designed for military use. But he had a civilian version of that gun that lacks key attributes of a military-style weapon. However, it’s also significantly different from weapons typically used by civilians for hunting.

The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details.

We rate the claim Half True.

Despite some useful truthful information about the SIG SAUER MCX (thanks for the link!), Senator Baldwin’s inaccurate and irrelevant characterization of the firearm as a “weapon of war” gets a pass because a “black rifle” doesn’t look like grandpa’s hunting gun. I rate the article half-*ssed, at best.

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50 Responses to “Was The Gun Used By The Orlando Shooter a ‘Weapon of War’?”

  1. The only reaponse is: Why does it matter? We need to look at the motivations, not the tools. Tools can be evidence of an act, but not a cause.

        • David is reputed to have killed Goliath in wartime using nothing more than a sling & stone projectiles.
          Is a slingshot to be considered a ‘weapon of war’?
          Rather than banning ‘weapons of war’, just ban war. That will work just as well.

        • In NY, certain slingshots are banned. When I was in elementary school I owned a slingshot with an arm brace, which is illegal in the state of New York. I’m not sure if it’s considered an assault weapon though.

      • On the show Marco Polo, grandpa Genghis tells young Kublai “nesting birds and well fed dogs always return home” before setting the Chinese Swallows aflame and letting them fly into an enemy city. Not sure about the historical accuracy but I’m pretty sure birds and bats have been weapons of war at some point too. That Weinstein Co sure likes them some violence even though being vehemently anti-gun.

  2. I tire of semantic bullshit and that’s exactly what this is.

    I’m done playing with the Left’s new catchphrases because all they are designed to do is scare people while simultaneously leading the rest of us down the rabbit hole of arguing about the definition of words instead of fighting the root issue which that the government has no business telling me what rifle I can or can’t buy and has no business licensing me to buy them either. Yes, I would extend that to NFA items as well but that’s a fight for another day.

    That’s all this is. It’s a new term that means nothing and is designed to bog us down fighting about the worlds being used. It’s no different than if they said we need to ban “shoobity-do-wop guns” because they’re too dangerous. It’s a nonsensical and made up term designed to distract from the actual substance of the argument.

    • Newspeak by the Ministry Of Truth.
      Terms and definitions shape the Proles opinion.
      Which is why the Caliphate In Chief can never say Islamic Terrorism.

  3. Everything in the hands of a militant Muslim is a weapon of war. Since we can’t get rid of everything, let’s just get rid of the militants.

    • The reason this government or any other do not get rid of militants is it would take work and effort. They serve anti gun legislators to further their cause. Easier to ink on paper, demonize a legal rifle, propagate flawed logic of magazine size and significantly limit armed citizens from lawfully protecting themselves.

    • +1, Stop infringing on the rights and freedoms of Americans because we welcomed in followers of a sick, foreign ideology that loves to kill women with rocks and throw gays off buildings.

  4. Uhhmmm….you could probably say that most gun designs have been sort of weapons of war at one time or another.

  5. “shall not be infringed”. What part of that phrase do people not understand? Semantic debates are just playing into the hand’s of the antis. Don’t indulge them.

    • The 2A to the Liberals is a collective right and guns in private hands is a privilege.
      Of course the Liberals will apply this thinking to all the other enumerated rights; and they are.
      The New Living Constitution.

  6. I mean, technically all guns at one point or another were/are weapons of war. More importantly that is exactly what the founding fathers wanted the citizenry to have access to, so being a weapon of war should not have any bearing on whether we should have to justify owning or wanting to own one.

    Getting into arguments over semantics is exactly what the antis want.

  7. My dad told me about when it got crazy in Korea he saw a American kill a North Korean with a large tree branch, so we will need to register trees, shrubs and glue down loose rocks.

  8. I have a rapier (sword) in my office. (I actually know how to use it properly, but that is a story for another time.) At one time, swords and knives were weapons of war. I have rocks around my house. At one time, rocks were considered a weapon of war. Frankly, I can make any gun, knife, arrow, rock, box of matches, and bottle of gasoline a weapon of war. But, this all does not matter. The 2nd amendment was meant to put weapons of war in the hands of We The People so that collectively the people are more powerful than the government. The 2nd amendment was meant to combat a corrupt, tyrannical government…and guess what, one is forming before our very eyes.

  9. Well let’s go with the idea that the Constitution says that the reason the people have the right to keep and bear arms is the ability to freely form a militia. Such an organization is made with the purpose of waging war if need be. To that end why wouldn’t they need weapons of war?

  10. If it wasn’t, then what good is it for the well regulated militia, aka the American people? And why do the police have them?

  11. Well, there’s a difference between #shootfirst, and #shootback. We’d prefer that the first be ineffective. How you do that by crippling the second, I don’t get.

    When a peaceful, responsible citizen protects themself with a firearm, some crazy, thug, predator, or terrorist is already all in to hurt them. A “weapon of war” seems the right choice for the defender at that point.

    Once Rambo-bambi comes at you bullet-spraying an(other) club, or 4 on one with a “baton” in the middle.of the night, or brass-knuckles sucker-punching from behind (all from today’s headlines) … well, maybe something like what the feds identified as an ideal defensive arm is a good choice. (Semi-auto M4 derivative.)

    Self defense is not about hunting. It turns out the reactionary, ham-handed “bans” sweep up actual hunting gear (in their claimed quest for weapons of war), because the proponents are ill-informed, indifferent to people not like them, or deliberate stealth banners, which makes the overreach a feature, not a bug.

    None of this bad lawmaking reflects well on them, but that’s not the point either. Abusing the “bitter clingers” with their shenanigans is another feature vs. bug.

  12. A Remington 700 is a weapon of war. For two years, it was my primary issued weapon. It fired a cartridge commonly used for hunting, with a bullet commonly used for sporting competition.

    Remind me again where they’re going to stop?

  13. Welllll…it was Omar the gay moose-lim terrorist’s “weapon of war”. But so was a plain ole’ GLOCK. NO-it was just a really nice semi-auto rifle…

  14. When i was a wee lad, i worked for a former marine.
    He was a baker and david always would say that he was a marine and he could kill you seven different ways with a blueberry muffin!

    Muffins of WAR!!

    Everyone should train for weapons of opportunity.
    I studied the way of the muffin….and a disciple of the .45 amongst other fine calibers.
    Weapons of war is exactly what is needed to fight back, tomahawk of war, k bar of war, M2 of war, m203 of war, m60 of war…..words of war.
    This is no time to sit down!

  15. No, it was designed to hold off mass attacks of deer and hogs, prairie dogs, and mutant poodles. It can be used to open cans and bottles of beer as well.

  16. Mateen was a soldier of Allah fighting for ISIS. There are more like him out there so it is appropriate for Americans to have a “weapon of war” when fighting the military forces of ISiS on American soil.

  17. You’re right Bobby, what’s the difference? You’re also right that the 2nd amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms that shouldn’t be infringed. That right should never be taken away. But like the article pointed out, you’re only half right. The preamble to the second amendment stipulates “a well REGULATED militia”. That part comes first in the amendment and presupposes the rest. As a constitutionalist you must read the amendment as a whole to derive meaning. What it says clearly, and which many choose to skip over, is that once you’ve satisfied the first part-well regulated-you then move to the second which means that once you’ve met the criteria of regulation, your right to bear arms cannot be infringed. It’s clearly so simple to interpret the intent that I’m dumbfounded by the argument that gun right should not be infringed at all while ignoring the well regulated start of the amendment. It’s just incontestable.

    • For the eleventy-billionth time, that isn’t how it works. As in this previous sentence (<— The one up there.) "That isn't how it works." does not depend on having eleventy-billion of anything.

      There are any number of scholars of English usage addressing that nonsense, much used in misrepresenting the 2A. (Google is your friend.) Or, for a lighter take, Penn & Teller did a video on this – funny, as you'd expect.

      Understood as written, or, the plain meaning to readers of regular English, the 2A reads more like: "A capable, self-organized citizenry at arms, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." If anything, 2nd Amendment means citizens should have access to "weapons of war", ranges, training, and whatever else they need, at their own discretion, with nobody's say-so, command, or monitoring.

      Any citizen may disagree with this policy, and say so. (This chartered government is constrained from shutting that up in the 1st amendment.) There's a process for adjusting the text, so the anti- folks should have at it. Trying to worm in some other notion through abuse of language is dishonest.

      How do we know this? To start, "regulated" doesn't mean that.

      – Regulated does not mean "subject to whatever the federal administrative apparatus decrees any given instant."

      – "Regulated" has the historically / contextually appropriate meaning of "ordered", as in "organized."

      – "Regulated" goes with "well" to together mean "capable" which suggests perhaps if the army has tanks, to be similarly capable, maybe the citizens should have tanks.

      – The phrase is "well regulated militia" a *militia* being the citizens self-organized with arms at need. A government directed "militia" is a non sequitur. The militia is there when the administration has corked up.

      – Simple internal consistency of document refutes the notion of "regulation" assigning constraints on the people, at the administrative discretion of the government. The US Constitution is all about the people "regulating" the government. (In both senses of the word. That fact is ironic, in this conversation.)

      Not that this, or any other facts or argument will convince The Z-Man (or, more likely "The Z-Astroturfing Troll"),

      BUT when you shut up after they spew nonsense, you're effectively Couric-ing yourself. There you sit in stupefied silence, because not only are they right, but you are so stupid you never thought of their (wrong) "obvious" concern. So, no, refute it every time. Directly. Point out how stupid they look by ignoring, or not knowing what they're arguing against.

      Or maybe The Z-Troll's regurgitation is just another useful idiot doing his / her / its part in Bloomie's Battalions' big lie strategy: "repeat a big lie enough and people come to believe it.". (Two interesting historical references there.)

      In any case, Z for "Zounds, Scooby, that's extra dumb." is free to propose an amendment that means, unequivocally, what he / she / it would prefer, and we'll all see what happens after that.

      • Pretty angry buddy. Hate to be near a vicious learned gun toting man like you

        reg·u·late
        ˈreɡyəˌlāt/
        verb
        past tense: regulated; past participle: regulated
        control or maintain the rate or speed of (a machine or process) so that it operates properly.
        “a hormone that regulates metabolism and organ function”
        synonyms: control, adjust, manage
        “the flow of the river has been regulated”
        control or supervise (something, especially a company or business activity) by means of rules and regulations.
        “the organization that regulates fishing in the region”
        synonyms: supervise, police, monitor, check, check up on, be responsible for; More
        set (a clock or other apparatus) according to an external standard.
        Feedback

  18. To my knowledge the MCX has never been used in a war ergo it cannot be described as a weapon of war.

    Moreover, I agree with the majority. Slings and arrows have been used in wars. So have spears, axes and knives. A thing may have utility even though it was used in a war. The use to which the thing may be put is the determinative factor.

    • Many pieces of equipment have been designed specifically for warfare and then never used, or never produced in quantity. Does that mean they are not weapons of war, just because they were never used as intended? (Google “wunderwaffen”.

      How many soldiers are issued weapons (Cliff H raises hand – M16) intended to be used in war, but never used as intended (thank goodness)? Does that mean the M16 they issued me was not a weapon of war?

      This rifle, while it may not satisfy the military procurement system as an ideal platform due to no full-auto feature, would still suffice as a weapon of war if the full auto version were not available. I’d be willing to bet that the SEALS and Delta and all the other operators could make good use of it without that feature.

      As stated above, and elsewhere, this is just semantics and another smoke-screen. The Anti 2A folks just want to redirect the argument away from the fact that EVERYTHING they are proposing is unconstitutional by getting us to argue about specific things they are trying to demonize rather than the fact they have no authority to regulate or infringe on those things to start with.

  19. I think we need to ban the GPS (of war), the Jeep (and many others) (of war), many modern medical techniques (of war), the internet (sort-of of war), and the jet engine (of war) as well!

  20. Yes…and weapons of war in civilian hands is the exact purpose of 2A. Its your handguns and hunting rifles that are unconstitutional (if anything is)

    • 2 thin recoil springs above a shortened bolt carrier

      No buffer tube shenanigans than can bend and break

      This is why i bought one

      Disappointed by the gas block tho

  21. That’s right people! We need to be hunting with grandpas rifle! Black rifles? No. Grandpas rifle? Yes!

  22. Just how many times?

    Guns are just that, guns

    How people use them is irrelevant

    By that train of thought, the Jeep started as weapons of war

    Let’s ban Jeeps.

  23. Their logic sounds like it’s based on video games and movies, not facts or experience. I expect nothing less.

  24. YES, it was a weapon or war. Good, now we’ve stipulated it, in America people need weapons of war to wage war against democrats when they take over the government and institute things like gun control because their next law will be conservative control, ie, conservative culling.

    And since we know that this is their plan, we have Bill Ayers on f$%king video debating how many of us need to be purged, why are we still worrying about NOT OFFENDING THEM? Why don’t we just play the game by their rules?

  25. tired of all the BS about assault weapons, a true assault weapon uses a Pistol cartridge, the rest are rifles, fast firing light weight, short barreled possibly have a selector switch!
    Time to Play VC by their rules! figure the odds, Hunters alone make up too 10 million arms users mobilize them! that’s a large voting block

  26. This particular SIG was a weapon at war as it was in hands of one of the barbarian cult that is at war with the civilized world.

  27. We need to unseat Tammy Baldwin, but it’s almost impossible with the ultimate liberal capital of Wisconsin in her district.

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