Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Oh, the humanity...

Today, in the Philadelphia Examiner I came across this article about rationing gun purchases and other such nonsense. What gets me is the last line of the second paragraph. And I'll quote:

At the same time, the Assembly's calendar contains another smart gun-safety measure that would ban .50-caliber sniper rifles capable of targeting a plane.

ZOMG!!!1!!111!! It's the .50 caliber terror! I've read all the emotional, fear inspiring arguments from the banners. And I'd like to state as eloquently as possible... TTTTTHHHHHBBBPPPP!

First off, I'm going to look at this issue from a strictly historical and physical standpoint. The 2nd amendment, punishing the law abiding, and other arguments hold for any of the issues the anti's raise and while they apply here as well, there are others who have stated those positions much better than I ever could.

What I'm talking about is the cry that the .50 caliber rifle can shoot down airplanes. And then they point at the bolt action rifle that's for sale to enthusiasts in our country.

First off, yes, I'll admit that historically the .50 caliber was used by the US and other country's airforces as the dogfighting weapon. But please note that they were machine guns and generally grouped in sets of 6 or 8.

Fighter pilots of that era talk about weight of fire. That is to say that a skilled dogfight pilot could expect to have his sights on the enemy plane for times that were measured in fractions of seconds, and to have a good sight for longer than a second was to have all the time in the world. These experienced duelers KNEW that they had to put tens if not hundreds of rounds into the enemy to be guaranteed a "kill". That meant, machine guns with high cyclic rates of fire and several of those firing together to boot.

A person with A BOLT ACTION rifle to score a hit is remote at best and for a single hit to bring the airplane down is, well, if he can do it, he should be playing the lottery. The chances are vanishingly remote, to say the least.

The fact is, even at take off and landing when the airplanes are, arguable, at their most vulnerable, they're still doing better than 125 mph. Even light single engine general aviation planes are travelling faster then highway speeds. Anybody who has shot at a moving target can tell you how hard it is to hit. It's not a matter of point and shoot. Now, you're shooting at a moving target, but not at just anywhere. You've got to hit specific points to disable and even fewer points to bring the plane down immediately. In fact with today's modern jets, the amount of redundancy, I seriously doubt any single shot could bring a plane down in flames.

Finally, the US Air force abandoned the .50 caliber machine guns in the 1950's in favor of larger cannons because it just wasn't a guarantee that it would bring down an enemy plane.

So, please for Pete's sake. Don't bring that argument up. It doesn't even hold up to a weak light. Much less any reasoned examination.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Why Jim, 'obliviously' you have not watched enough movies... OF COURSE a .50 Barrett can knock down an airplane, it happens in the movies ALL the time... /snark off

Typical political BS, guess Ronnie Barrett will have another state without any support... sigh...