Cumberland Times-News

Columns

February 2, 2013

That rifle looks bad

Let’s try to figure out what we are all talking about when we speak of Senate Bill 281 and House Bill 294, which have been filed at the Maryland General Assembly. Those are the two pieces of legislation that would make certain firearms and clips (magazines) illegal.

You can read the bills online at megaleg@maryland.gov.

These bills are crossfiled, which means they say the same thing but are entered separately. Crossfiling is like fishing with two poles when you only need one catfish for dinner that night.

You toss one piece of cut bait to your left and one to your right and catch the first fish that bites and then you go home. Using two rods ups your chances of catching that fish.

I’ve owned and used firearms all my life and I will admit that when people start talking about the kinds of firearms they want to ban I have to stop to think what they mean.

We hear these terms: assault rifles, military style rifles, modern sporting rifles and black rifles.

I am getting the impression that some folks want to ban firearms because of the way they look, not because of what they can do.

For example, the rifles on the chopping block shoot one round per trigger pull, just the same as Delegate Wendell Beitzel’s Remington Model 742 Woodsmaster. The Remington, though, is styled in the sleek, linear fashion of hunting rifles that we have seen through the decades.

Beitzel said he likes his deer rifle of 30 years because it allows him to get off a fast second shot if he needs it to hit galloping backstraps.

Banning a rifle because it has a thumbhole or an extended pistol grip is like banning a cup holder from an automobile.

Thumbholes and pistol grips have no role in the velocity or direction of a projectile that comes out the barrel and a cupholder has nothing to do with how fast or in which direction a vehicle travels.

Banning black rifles is like forbidding the manufacture, sale or purchase of blue Ford pickup trucks.

Although I personally don’t believe it will make any difference in anybody’s safety, the one thing that I see in these bills that makes anything close to sense is the reduction in the number of rounds that can legally be held in a clip or magazine.

Maryland already limits clips to a capacity of 20 rounds. That would be changed to 10 rounds by these bills.

So... if we limit the number of rounds in a clip, why do we have to make illegal certain rifles that fire the bullets these clips hold; rifles that can accept a clip and that also have a thumbhole or an extended pistol grip or a folding/telescoping stock? I don’t get it.

Robin and Jim Wiegand own and operate the Bassin’ Box, a popular hunt-fish store in LaVale.

“All they want to ban are cosmetics because they think the rifles look bad,” Robin said Wednesday morning. “It’s like saying everybody with blond hair looks like a criminal.”

A flash suppressor on a semi-automatic rifle that accepts a clip would also make that firearm illegal.

“That’s a real gray area,” Jim said. “Browning makes rifles that have a muzzle-break and nobody has been able to define the difference between a muzzle-break and a flash suppressor. I mean I can sell somebody a legal firearm and they can go buy a different stock to put on it, say one with a thumbhole.”

Bassin’ Box doesn’t sell the rifles being considered for prohibition, sticking to the more traditionally styled long guns.

I have heard any number of gun control advocates say in print or on video (Maryland Sen. Brian E. Frosh of Montgomery County being one of them) that semi-automatic rifles of the military style are manufactured for one purpose only, that being the killing of as many people as possible in a short time.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

You can drive a car at the speed limit to church on a Sunday morning or you can drive it at 100 miles per hour into a crowd of pedestrians.

SB 281 is slated for a Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Columns
  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • You’ll never guess who the real hero was (He was six feet tall and bulletproof)

    Most folks know about the 20th Maine’s bayonet charge that repulsed the Rebels at Little Round Top because they watched the movie, “Gettysburg.”
    Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy post ourselves a hundred yards or so away from where it happened in real life. Tourists frequently ask us how to find it.

    April 13, 2014

  • Early morning lunar eclipse this Tuesday

    For the first time since 2011, our area may see a total lunar eclipse as the moon will pass through the Earth’s deep shadow.

    April 13, 2014

  • Big bucks How many deer on Green Ridge?

    A study completed in 2013 by a master’s degree candidate at the University of Delaware showed that there are 20 to 30 deer per square mile on the Green Ridge State Forest, including some pretty darn nice bucks.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Then again, he’s manager of the Yankees, and I’m not

    I went to bed confused Wednesday night, which in itself is nothing new. But having
    watched most of the Orioles-Yankees game, including the final three innings, earlier
    in the evening, then watching the late Baseball Tonight before I turned in, I was under the impression that the Yankees had won the game when I was pretty sure before watching the show that the Orioles had won.

    April 11, 2014

  • Who knows how many times she poisoned him?

    My dad used to say that if tobacco and coffee tasted as good as they smelled, the world would be a better place.

    April 5, 2014

  • Rusty writes about the nature of doghood

    I am a dog.
    Therefore I bark.
    I don’t understand why it is so hard for humans to understand this.
    I mean, there are certain things that come with the territory, right?

    April 5, 2014

  • Black bear biologist explains new hunt

    The Maryland Wildlife & Heritage Service has abandoned the bear harvest quota system in use for 10 hunting seasons and has set the next two hunts at four days apiece.

    April 5, 2014