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So Gun Nation News host Brandy Vega told me she was heading out into the real world (a.k.a., Salt Lake City) to do some woman-on-the-street interviews. I suggested she ask the great unwashed to define an assault weapon.

Regular readers will remember we posted a list of definitions from a Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey on gun control. Those who’ve perused this fantastic of farrago of firearms fail will not be surprised at Ms. Vega’s edited result — save the fact that the interviewees rightly assumed that an assault weapon was any weapon you use to assault someone.

The montage also highlights the fact that support for gun control comes from people who have only a vague idea what that term means, both in general and in specific.

To paraphrase P. T. Barnum, no one ever lost support for a political position by underestimating the intelligence of the average American.

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  1. Everytime someone starts going on about “assault weapons” or “assault rifles” I ask them what an “assault weapons” is for the purposes of the topic. When they can’t answer it I point out that laws require definitions, and maybe they should learn a little about something they are proposing laws about.

    • +1000

      I utilize the “why why” method of problem solving. I keep asking “Why?” down to the most minute level of their proposal/argument, then deconstruct it from that basic level back up. It forces them to confront the fact that their premise is based on lies, disinformation, and ignorance. I don’t win many friends this way, but I also don’t lose many arguments either.

  2. Its hard to have faith in the intelligence of the average Amerikan when the average Amerikan is an idiot. Common sense in most topics is a thing of the past, I mean come on, if you cant tell the difference between an AK and an AR, or as is terribly prevalent with my generation, who Winston Churchill is, then there is no hope for you, and sadly, that’s a large chunk of the populace. Part of the reason I come to this site is to escape the rest of humanity on the internets like the people whose vocabulary is primarily mom jokes and shouting “penis” on every other forum or site. So the inability for most people to tell what an “assault weapon” is, or even that its a made up term, doesn’t surprise.

  3. I sat through a triple homicide trial in which the coroner testified that the socket wrench used in the murder weapon had left impressions such that you could see the toggle switch marks on the skull. Socket wrench + Three fatalities = assault weapon. Victims – a mom and two daughters.

  4. You know, I was a lot less disappointed than I expected. It seems like many of the respondents realized that a criminal could use any weapon to assault someone — which is entirely true of course. That being the case, they were not willing to let the mainstream media paint them into a corner on the definition of an assault weapon. I think that is a good thing.

    I expected a bunch of comments about “black”, “military”, “automatic”, “capacity”, and “kill people” and heard almost none of those references.

    • I thought the same thing, but then wondered what the full slate of unedited responses was. It’s hard to tell from a pro-2A video, just as it would be hard to tell from a mainstream media video. (Editorial bias and all)

      I hope the video was a good representation of peoples thoughts though.

  5. I was expecting to be upset by this, but only a couple really hurt my faith in humanity and the education system. Most were very reasonable. I wonder where this is at?

  6. As I’ve ranted on other threads: Most (51%+) of people in the US are stupid. Just as dumb as stumps.

    When I worked in Silly Valley, my then fiance’ had a friend (a physicist, doctorate, all that) who put it like this:

    “You live and work in a highly unusual environment, where most people around you have IQ’s of 120 and up. Way up. Want to see what suffices for intellect in America? Go to the DMV and stand in line. There you will see how horrifyingly stupid most people are.”

    He was, of course, correct.

    The problem is, there’s a bunch of people with IQ’s 120+ who think that credentials suffice for learning and education (eg, they think that someone with a PhD “must be” smart – when any engineer who has had to deal with science or public policy PhD’s knows otherwise), and there’s some absolutely silly ideas with a great number of high-IQ adherents – gun control is one of these issues.

    So is Marxism.

    • The higher the IQ combined with a whole lot of book knowledge,(not wisdom), gives the person a lot of resources to rationalize any thought; no matter how ultimately destructive it is to the people attempting to live “the Dream”, ie Nightmare.

      So we get Marxism, Communism and the horrendous mass slaughter and the complete and utter failure where ever it has been tried.

      And with the high IQ is a very big ego; so of course they can’t admit that what they believe IS a complete and utter failure.

  7. I don’t know Brandy, and I know very little of her, but I find it hard to believe those answers weren’t heavily edited. Five of the first six people said some variation of “anything you assault someone with can be an assault weapon.” Compare those pragmatic answers to the ones we publicized recently from a Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey. The only way I see 5 out of 6 people answering like the ones in the video is if the people being asked were walking out of an NRA convention.

    • Those answers weren’t heavily edited. I was surprised by their answers too. We interviewed random people…and that’s what they had to say. I didn’t prime them just said can I ask you a few questions and boom.

    • The video (according to RF, at least) was also shot in Salt Lake City, Utah, one of the more gun-friendly parts of the country. I wonder what the responses would be if the same questions were asked to people in San Francisco or New York City…

        • You’re about as “non-confrontational” as a honey badger. I’d be horrified that I’d make a grammatical error if you were interviewing me.

          • Real life vs. the internet. You can’t be confrontational in Florida, there are guns everywhere here, don’t ya know? It’s scary.

    • You have to remember that Salt Lake City is in the state of Utah. Almost half of Utah’s population are Mormons who believe that the Constitution was basically inspired by God.

      Also, Utah’s gun laws (i.e. lack of gun laws) are among the best in the nation, and the people who live there like it that way.

      • Yeah, I was unaware of that. Still, five out of six is an amazingly high number. For as free as Florida is about guns, it’s also got a huge gun-ignorant population, and I’d consider myself lucky to get that answer one out of ten times.

  8. Whoa. Some of those people actually had a clue. Where did Brandy find them?

    The rest would have less of a problem describing a triple half-caff soy latte, a bong or the latest Trojan Twister.

  9. So, I ask you all this (in your own words):

    1. What is an assault weapon?

    2. What is an assault rifle?

    My answer:

    #1 anything that can be used to do harm is an assault weapon.

    #2. No such thing. There are fully automatic rifles, semi-automatic rifles, bolt action rifles, modern sporting rifles, black powder rifles, etc. Once that one specific rifle is used to do to someone, not in self-defense, then it becomes an assault weapon and the person should be held accountable.

    • #2. There is absolutely such a thing. An assault rifle is a select-fire rifle shooting an intermediate cartridge with a detachable magazine. Unlike “assault weapon,” assault rifle isn’t just a made-up term, but a translation of the original German Sturmgewehr (literally, Storm Rifle).

        • I didn’t actually look it up this time, but I’ve read it enough that what I wrote is probably purt’ near word-for-word from Wikipedia, and that was sourced from some reference that I can’t recall atm.

    • I can give you the military answer:
      1. An assault weapon is an explosive device, often rocket-propelled, used primarily in the breaching of obstacles to facilitate offensive operations.
      2. An assault rifle is a select-fire rifle chambered for an intermediate cartridge and somewhat capable of being used as a battle rifle, sub-machine gun, or light machine gun.

  10. I thought of doing this a while ago… start by asking someone if they support the AWB, and if they say yes ask them what an assault weapon is. My guess is less than 5% of people would know, making the AWB look more like the dihydrogen monoxide esque hoax that it is.

    Dude in the red hat nailed it… for Josh Sugarman,

  11. Oh, and BTW: Why can’t I be accosted by pretty girls on the street and asked for my opinion on guns? Huh?

    There just ain’t no freakin’ justice in this world.

  12. Some people “get it”, in a round-about way. At least they can readily define an “assault weapon” as anything used as a weapon to assault someone, which is the literal definition.

    Still others know that it’s a complete misnomer. Kudos.

    Still, and quite sadly, a frighteningly large percentage of people are stuck on the liberal media’s “definition” of what is in reality nothing more than a persona non-grata.

    A bold-faced LIE to give sentience and super-natural powers to an inanimate object to cover up their own willful ignorance instead of coming face-to-face with the shortcomings of their own delusional, dystopian, narcissistic, elitist, sexist, and racist world-view and the indefensible, unsupported, unsupportable, and asinine beliefs they try (and fail) to prop it up with.

    In short, “assault weapons” don’t even exist in the first place, and neither does “gun violence” — violence is violence is violence, period.

    So, if the shoe was on the other foot and I was asked, here’s how it would likely go:

    Q: “What is an assault weapon?”

    A: “No such thing. It’s a made-up term coined by Sara Brady in the 90s to intentionally confuse low-information voters and obfuscate all debates over gun control.”

  13. A Bushmaster AR. Of course, the standard answer for every person who watches too much MSM and knows virtually nothing about guns.
    I expected this to be the first reply, how disappointing.

  14. “The Great Unwashed”? That is a bit harsh! Depending on who you ask you could get a million answer to the phrase “assault weapon”. Feinstein would define it one way, while someone in the Marine Corps would list it another way.

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