🔫 Firearms: Everything you wanted to know (and the opportunity to ask if you don't)

This is a fork of a conversation that emerged ~250 posts into a thread on the 2016 Jul 07 Dallas shooting. I’ve emphasized certain passages for ‘quick-scroll’ readability:

[quote=“Snowlark, post:258, topic:81122, full:true”]
I know a family—nice people, I’ve been to their home many times—the father of whom is a gun enthusiast. One time he showed me his collection—and what, to me, looked like an arsenal—of semis, singles, shot, and handguns stored in an offsite shed.

Still, I never understood why he owned so many. He lives in a somewhat secluded area, owns acres of land surrounding their home, all of this located in an already small town whose sole attraction is the square dancing place two miles down the road.

[…]why does he have all these guns?[/quote]

Please, please, let’s make this a productive thread. We’ll have many news-related gun threads to come (sadly) in which there’ll be lots of heckling, choir-preaching, browbeating, GIF-bombing, and other merriment. Let’s make this one different.


Hi, let’s do keep this friendly.

I have a variety of long guns. I have owned handguns, and I had a concealed permit in Utah until I let it lapse in 2013.

The “queen” of my collection would be a circa 1885 Mauser 7x57 rifle. It was built in Berlin for the War of the Pacific, but ended up going to the Boer Wars in Africa instead. Thus, it has two destination stamps from the factory and is a rarity.

I have very mixed feelings about all the crazy stuff going on these days, but please let’s keep that stuff in other threads.

Glad to answer any gun questions I have direct knowledge of.

(ETA - I’ve also taken Hunter Safety, fired various signal and smoke flares, fired a few different full-auto and other unusual weapons, and I’m a real pyrotechnician sometimes.)


My questions for enthusiasts/hobbyists who own an AR-15 style rifle, or something that’s functionally equivalent:

  1. In your opinion, are there important, plausible, non-hobby related uses for such a weapon that could not be accomplished with another type of weapon that’s less suited to killing large numbers of people? (For example, a weapon that does not have a large capacity or detachable magazine.)

  2. Weaponry types exist on a vast spectrum. Everyone draws the line somewhere for what they think should be available to the public without major restrictions, usually well short of anti-aircraft missiles or nukes. Regardless of exactly where you draw this line, what do you personally tell a fellow gun enthusiast who passionately argues for legalization of a weapon that you feel is just too dangerous and unnecessary for the general public to be allowed to own?

Thanks! These are questions that I rarely hear the answers to, since the two sides often tend to talk past each other.


**#1, I think you are asking the wrong question. You are starting with the assumption that AR rifles are more powerful or dangerous than other rifles. I do not think that is the case. WW2 vintage rifles pretty universally use more powerful rounds than Most AR types. And in my view, huge magazines are just awkward to drag around or conceal. It only takes a couple of seconds to change magazines, and If you shoot prone (lying down), you do not want a big magazine hanging down below your rifle. People carry ARs because they are popular and because you can accessorize them. People up here use them because they can be tossed into the back of a four-wheeler and ignored until needed. I personally do not like them. They make all sorts of clattering noises, and there are parts that just scrape together, where a better engineered gun would have roller bearings. So we get to one of the cliched talking points about the gun, which is that the scariness is mostly about cosmetics, and does not actually relate to power or actual danger. This is true, at least in my opinion. The shooter in Dallas did not use one of these, he used a surplus soviet block rifle, which is another similarity between him and Oswald in 1962.

To *kind of address #2, I know a lot of people who have class 3 weapons, which are full automatic guns, or what are called “destructive devices”. These things range from submachine guns to artillery. Those are very, very expensive, and there are a bunch of hoops to jump through to get them. When I first started dealing with that category of weapon, it seemed pretty surreal. But the people who can pass the checks required to own them, and the storage requirements, have always been super conscientious law abiding types. And nobody is going to knock over a liquor store with a $40,000 gun. But we are talking about a very small community of people, like the community of people that collect vintage military aircraft. And nobody who has gone through the approval process wants to risk losing it by breaking any sort of law. All of the Class 3 weapons that I have dealt with came in as war trophies during the world wars, and were registered during a short amnesty in 1968.
an example for sale- http://www.gunbroker.com/item/557638474
But if we want to be honest, people like Mexican cartel members or terrorists can get machine guns anywhere in the world. They are not terribly difficult to manufacture or smuggle. Brazil is full of homemade machine guns. So coming down on the class 3 people is not going to do anything about crime. But it is the concept that people out there own belt-fed machine guns that kind of gets to people. I just have to keep in mind that those people have used them to mow people down at about the same rate that people who own vintage bombers have carpet bombed neighborhoods. Which is never, as far as I know.


I am first just going to address the various kinds of gun owners. What most people actually use gun for, not the criminals who make the news.

First off, anyone who is big into any hobby looks like a weirdo to anyone not into that hobby. When I show people my Boba Fett collection they either reply “Sweet Jesus” in awe, or “Sweet Jesus” as in “we need to get this adult male help”.

When it comes to gun owners, lets first just break down the various levels:

  1. I have a gun. This person owns a gun. Maybe a couple. They don’t use it. They got it maybe from a relative or spouse (living or dead). Maybe they got it several years ago but never use it now. They don’t have a problem with owning it, it just isn’t their thing. Maybe its and old shot gun and once a year they will go on a skeet shoot with the boss or something.

  2. Casual Users. These people have one or more guns and they use them a few times a year. They would maybe do it more, but they have other things they are into and don’t want to take the time and money to really get into it.

  3. Hobbyists. These people have several guns. Maybe even a whole lot. They enjoy it as a main hobby. They may have a focus (hunting, collecting, competing, pure fun) or not. They like to go out as often as they can, even if that is only once a month or twice a month on a good month. They still like to read magazines and keep up on things and generally have a good general knowledge. They probably have more than one hobby that takes up their time.

  4. Enthusiasts. This is one step higher. You know that guy who likes pot, I mean really, really likes pot. Like has pot posters, pot hats, pot shirts, every movie would be better if he had pot, etc. That’s the level of a gun enthusiasts. Again, they may focus on a specific area of shooting, or be all over the place. They may have a lot of guns, or actually just a few, but those few have been painstakingly research and customized per their preferences.

So for each level of shooter, they may fall into one or more of the following types/genres/sub-genres:

Plinker/for fun - the most common kind, they like to just informally shoot. Maybe they have private land, maybe they go to a range, but basically they set up a can or water melon or a zombie or bullseye target and shoot at it. A hit is a hit, they are just enjoying casual shooting.

Target shooter - a step up from the plinker, they aren’t concerned with just hitting the target, they want to do so accurately. So they will use formal targets made for certain distances and then be able to track their score. Now there are MANY types of target shooting from one handed bullseye pistol shooting, to bench rest rifle shooting, to standing rifle, etc etc. But basically their goal is better marksmanship.

Hunters - obviously, people that hunt animals. Of course these vary WILDLY, from the poor farmer type with a old shot gun hunting quail on his land, to AR-15 using varmint shooters, to deer hunting, to feral hogs, to small game, to expensive Alaskan moose hunts, to African big game, and everything in between. They may use the latest technology available, or prefer old fashion stalking or scouting out game trails etc.

Action shooters - these sports are gaining in popularity, especially with the rise of the AR15 and modern pistols. Action sports typically have a course set up of cardboard and steel plate targets, and you have to shoot the course and are timed and scored. I shoot USPSA which is a pistol sport. That sport alone has like 8 different classes of shooters, from revolvers to single stack limited guns (like the old 1911) to $4000 race guns that hold 25+ rounds. There is also things like Cowboy Action Shooting, where they are all limited to old style revolvers, lever action rifles, and pump or break action shot guns. And 3 guns is getting popular, where run a course with a shot gun, rifle and pistol.

Reloader - A reloader loads his own ammo. Now for many things, factory ammo is fine. They make fancy ammo for hunting and competing. It is cheaper and you can custom tune ammo if you are reloader. A reloader is a subtype and can be applied to one more more of the other types. Some examples would be a bench rest target shooter trying to eek out accuracy on the bench rest rifle. Or a hunter using the newest hunting bullet and the recipe that works best in their rifle. Some like to just experiment, trying different recipes to see which one matches best to their gun. Competitors who shoot thousands of rounds a month will get fancy progressive systems that allows them to reload that much ammo per month. They can also tweak their loads so they have a little less recoil or more accuracy.

Collectors - These people are just like collectors of anything else. They can get obsessive about it. They can be very specific, or just basically get anything they catches their fancy. They may or may not shoot them. Many are history buffs. Some gun shows are “collectors” gun shows and will include displays. So you will see a large case with like 50 Walther P-38s. They all look the same to the average person, but each one has a different model number, year stamp, factory mark, or something that makes it unique. Of course some times collectors also just have a lot of junk. So they might have amassed dozens of guns with no real traditional collecting value, it’s just what they like.

Tactical/Defense - This genre has exploded in the last 20 years or so. I am sure the fact that we had a large pulse of veterans played a part. Interest in tactical stuff picked during and after the Assault Weapon ban was passed and set. This is less about the weapons used and more the mind set. The AR15 can fit into any of the above styles I already listed, for an example, but being a tactical shooter makes them different than the other users. Tactical shooting is taking a real world approach. It is more inline with what one would expect if you had military or police shooting. They do formal drills. They have systems like checking your surroundings after clearing a course. They typically are some of the safest shooters because they do so much formal drilling. They will be the ones in tactical cargo pants and ballistic plates. Now some of these people are ex-military, some are cops or security, some just want to learn practical skills - so it ranges from hardcore to hobbyist, but again it is more the mindset.

Defense/CCW - this is sort of a sub-genre of tactical, but there are those who maybe are less about formal tactics and more about practical personal defense. This includes both home defense and those who chose to carry a concealed weapon. Again, this can be someone who is more of a casual user who lives in a bad neighborhood and bought a gun for protection, to an ethuiests who train regularly, like one would for martial art self defense.

Competitor - These are people who like to match their skills against others. They can be of any of these types, from informal plinking “first guy to shoot that can off the post wins.” to formal target competition or action sports or clay shooting. It can range from hobbyists doing the best with what they have, to enthusiasts with high dollar guns and custom loaded ammo. Sort of like golf. People like to play and compete, but there are all sorts of levels of competition.

Skeet/Trap/Sporting Clays - The Clay shooters are those with a shot gun who enjoy shooting clay pigeons. Shooting a moving target requires a special set of skills. Anyone can do it, but it takes a lot of work to do it well. Trap and skeet are the two most popular games. Again this could include casual plinkers, hunters who want to practice, or serious competitors. Some highschools and colleges even have teams.

Long range shooters - A special sub genre, they are generally hunters or target shooters who may or may not compete. They are typically reloaders. Shooting out past 500 or so yards requires extra knowledge of your gun, ballistics, optics, and extra equipment. But again, they might only do it a few times a years, or are out every weeked trying to get better.

NFA Shooters - A special, elite breed. The NFA (National Firearms Act) of 1938 highly restricted things like supressors, short barreled rifles, and machine guns. Depending on the state, you can still OWN these items, but you have to go through the ATF, pay a $200 tax, and prepare for a long wait. While you can still buy suppressors and SBRs, an 1986 law closed the machine gun registry. So that means there is a very finite number of these guns and pretty much only rich people can afford them. This makes them HIGHLY collectable, though a lot of people still shoot them. But this is a sort of special genre because there are those, known as “Stamp Collectors” because of the tax stamp, who are sort of their own breed. None of them are using this hard ware to kill anyone, they are the most scrutinized of all gun owners.

I am sure my brain will think of more to add - so I will add them above this line.

As for “why does this guy have so many guns?” there are many possible answers. If he is a collector then that alone is the reason. If he is interested in a myriad of sports, that is the reason. Even if he focuses on one thing along, he may still have various kinds for specific reasons. Then there is also the fact that people just want to try things out, some different. Or if he’s old, there you go. You buy a gun every couple of years and they start to pile up. Another big reason - they came out with something new. Sure it may not be any better, but people get bored and want to try a new caliber or a new design out.

The quickest way to find out is to ask the guy, but prepare for your eyes to glaze over in under a minute, as mine did when you started talking tea.

Think of guns like golf clubs. Now even if you don’t play golf, you do know that you can’t really play with just 1 club. At the minimum you need three (driver, iron, and putter). But for the average player you need several kinds of clubs depending on where your ball is. So with that, let me just run down the basic kinds of guns and average uses.

One thing to remember is guns come in a variety of sizes called calibers or gauges. So that alone can be the reason to own 10 of the same type of gun, each one is a different caliber.

Gun Types:

Pistols - pistols come in two main types, revolvers and semi-automatics. Revolvers come in two main types, single and double action. Single action are like the old cowboy guns and have to be manually cocked with each shot. Double actions can be manually cocked or the long heavier double action trigger will cock and fire with one pull. Then there is another kind that is basically bolt action that fires rifle rounds (primarily used for hunters and target shooters). And finally the modern semi-auto magazine fed pistol, like the 1911 .45acp or the Glock.

Pistols have a wide range of uses including plinking, target shooting, competition, hunting, and defense. So there are guns specifically made for each of those categories with some overlap. So like a .22lr would make a great target or plinking gun, and you could hunt smal game, but it would be bad for defense. A small defense gun would be good for plinking, but probably not the best hunting gun. And of course these come in various calibers, some even shooting rifle rounds, as I mentioned above.

Shotguns - shot guns are the most versatile weapons out there. If I had to be stuck in the wilderness with just one gun, but access to ammo, it would be a shot gun. They shoot shot (pellets) which range in size from small ~1mm diameter bbs for hunting birds, to .32" diameter balls for hunting larger game (buck shot). They can also use slugs or sabots to hunt deer and such. They also make special rifled shot guns for these slugs and sabots, giving them added range and accuracy. They can be used for clay games, hunting all sorts of animals, or for defense. They range from $100 beaters you find in a pawn shop to $20000+ custom engraved Beretta over/unders. You can get pump guns, break action double bores, or semi autos. There are a few which are magazine fed.

Shot guns come made for a variety of purposes. You have sort of general purpose pump gun, but the they make guns specifically for trap shooting, and another kind specifically for skeet, both point and swing differently, and the trap guns are made to reach out a bit further. Then they also make shot guns for defense, with extended tubes and they forego the fancy walnut for synthetic stocks. And still more for other things like that 3-gun competition with different sights than traditionally used.

Rifles - Bolt Action - The bolt action is what one usually thinks of when they think “rifle”. Especially “hunting” rifle. Of course people forget what seems more benign because it looks like a familiar hunting rifle, their design and capability and original purpose were top of the line war rifles. The Mauser action from over 120 years ago is still used on many rifles today. These require one to work a bolt to load a bullet after each shot. They usually have an internal magazine of around 5 rounds. Some now have external magazines can be made to hold more. They used to be the most common sniper rifle as they generally are more accurate then semi-automatics, but that isn’t always the case.

Again they come in a very wide range of calibers, from .22lr, to .50BMG.(Ironically, the .50 cal military sniper rifle started life as a long range shooter enthusiast rifle. It took years to convince the Army that the rifle they developed for long range competitions would have military applications.) So there are hundreds of different kinds of bullets you can shoot from these types of guns. Usually there are around a dozen or so popular calibers. Indeed some older guns have such obscure sizes, that one is forced to reload their own ammo. But as far as application, they can be used for all the genres we talked about. Most are marketed for hunting or target shooting/competition, but they still have a tactical aspect as well.

Rifles - Semi Automatics - these are things like the AR-15. They shoot with each pull of the trigger. It also includes things like the old Garand rifle the US used in WWII. Most modern rifles like this use a magazine which can easily be removed and a new one added.

Again, LOTS of different uses, from the guy who bout an AR because it sounded cool and shoots it maybe once a year, to hobbyist who likes to shoot steel plates on the weekends, to target competition, to hunters, no tactical guys. With out a doubt, they are mostly marketed for tactical, but their actual USE is MOSTLY just plinking and informal target shooting. The people doing actual tactical training with them is a minority. They make special ones for competition (Both for target accuracy, and for action shooting), and for hunting. Now before you ask “Why do you need 30 rounds to hunt a deer.” Ugh. If you bough a Corvette that can drive 150mph, are you going to drive it 150mph all the time? Are you going to gun as fast as you can between every red light? No, of course not. Most hunters put 3-5 rounds in a magazine (just like they would in a bolt action), just in case they need a follow up shot or have a dud, etc. Good hunters still only use one round. Of course there is PEST control hunting where rapid follow up shots might mean you do have a full magazines, such as feral hogs or coyotes.

But while the AR is the most famous there are probably hundreds of models that fall into this category. And again there are collectors who want historical examples, such as a FAL from Rhodenisa, or an SKS from Vietnam. Or to collect an SKS from every country that made them. (SKS is the red headed step child that came before the AK-47 and used by Communist Bloc contries. It is a horrible gun, but since the 80s they started to import them super cheap. They actually are now harder to find that cheap.)

And again, there are dozens of calibers. .223/5.56mm and .308/7.62mm are the most popular, but there are tons more. 300 BLK is the new hot round because it is a big bullet that can go sub sonic and popular with the suppressor crowd. 6.5 Creedmore is the hot new round that can be used in an AR for longer distances. Again, these guns will look basically identical, but use different bullets.

So in a real world example of my dad, he has, I dunno, like 30 guns maybe? He was never a pistol guy really, but he has a .22 lr revolver that looks like a Cowboy gun that he uses for plinking once in awhile and probably shot a rabbit or two. He has a .357 magnum Ruger Redhawk, which also looks like a cowboy gun that he used to use in Alaska. Rarely shoots it now. Since I shoot more pistols than rifles, I have gotten him to take it out a few times, but his old eyes aren’t that great.

He has one family heirloom, a Winchester lever action in .44-40. It was his grandpas. He has a couple other lever actions, a .357 and a .30-30. Both of these I know he has hunted deer with. He also has a .44mag lever action that he accidentally won at an auction. He might have a .22 as well, I am not sure on that one. He has several shot guns, probably 3 break action 12 gauges and 1 20 gauge that he uses for clays and occasionally bird hunting. He has I think one pump action for the same reason. And a .410 pump action, which shoots a really small shot gun shell, and acts as a handicap (he is damn decent at skeet shooting).

Then he has several bolt action rifles. I can’t remember all of them. .223, .22-250, 6.5mm Swiss, .30-06, .308 - I am sure there are a few more I don’t know about. All I am sure have been used for hunting, and then he enjoys making bullets for them and shooting groups off of a bench.

And finally he has a few .22lr rifles for shooting rabbits in the back yard or fun plinking. So he is only involved in a handful of genres. He doesn’t really collect anything. He shoots everything he has. Anything he gets he would want to be able to carry into the woods.

Now he also has like 30 rods and reels too. I have no idea what they are all for, but he assures me each one is different. But he goes fishing multiple times a week, but doesn’t go shooting nearly that often.

I will try to answer any and all questions tomorrow, but I really wanted to work on my Stormtrooper armor tonight.


Well, I’ll get to the other stuff in a moment, but first, you need to understand the reason that the AR-15 is so popular. I’m not an expert- @Mister44 will probably correct me where I’m wrong here, lol.

Essentially, it boils down to the fact that the AR-15 is ubiquitous and extremely customizable. You can change the barrel length, put on nearly any kind of stock or sights or scope, use a variety of different clips, change the grips, and generally replace any functional or decorative part of it. Moreover, because of this, pretty much every gun shop, and every store that stocks ammo and accessories (like Cabella’s or Bass Pro Shops) will have a good supply of replacement parts and interchangeable components.

So, this brings us to your first question-

In many cases, no, but it would be faster, cheaper, and easier to do it with the AR-15. There’s also knowing that you’ll be able to get replacement parts anywhere, immediately, instead of having to order direct from the manufacturer, or go hunting down that specific piece from some specialty dealer.

As for your second question, I’m probably the wrong person to ask, since I’m likely to be arguing on the side of something unnecessarily dangerous.

For the record:
I do not own a firearm myself. While I have some experience shooting, and generally support the 2A, I also have a history of depression and at least one serious suicide attempt. I’m not sure I’m at the point where I trust myself to own a gun yet.


Very thorough. I fit into a bunch of those categories.


O/T, but I’d really like to see pics of your dad’s car collection if you can ever be bothered to make a thread.

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While the modern AR-15 does benefit from the customizeability and “barbie doll for grown ass men” phenomenon, they were still quite popular leading up to the federal assault weapons ban in 1994 (AWB), at this time accessorization was very very low. The post Y2K and post 9/11 world saw a revolution in training, handling tactics, accessory systems, and variety of AR-15s out there, but that is a relatively recent occurrence.

The core drivers behind the popularity of the AR-15, when stripped to its most basic elements are:
The ergonomic pistol grip.
The ergonomic placement of control levers.
The clean functioning detachable magazine.
Low recoil caliber.
The overall lightweight and handiness of the rifle.
Ease of use of high capacity magazines due to design and caliber.
It’s use by the US military.
Accurate with Iron sights to 300-600 yards in the hands of a well trained marksman.
(none of this will generally be mentioned by articles on why the AR is so popular today)

Back then having an optic was RARE and attaching optics and lights used a bunch of fairly expensive aftermarket kludges.

Now the AR is known for all the other whizbang shiznizzles which are icing on the cake. Before the fed AWB there were generally two flavors of the AR commonly sold, anything else was generally “custom”, both of these variants were based on the models used by the US armed forces. They were simply:

A2 - 20" barrelled rifle with fixed buttstock (Superceded the original A1 variant that had only minor cosmetic differences (shorter buttstock, different hand guard, different flash hider), standard issue to nearly all soldiers.

M4 - Military special forces modified carbine with 14.5" barrel and adjustable/collapsible buttstock. and later the railed flat top which eliminated the built in carry handle and iron sights, or made them detachable and optional. These days you can’t get a carry handle upper without having to seek one out as you only see high power shooters and replica builders using them generally.

In the late 90s there was a rapid development and popularization of sighting, lighting and other accessories for the AR-15 that began to spread.

Prior to the AR-15 the US fighting rifle was the M-1 Garand (mid 1930s-1970s, I’ll group the M14 as a Garand just because they are the same lineage and general design apart from the detachable magazine), and prior to that the reigning state of the art rifle in mass use throughout the world was the bolt action Mauser (1870s until superceded by self loading rifles)

Holding a Mauser or Garand is a completely different experience from holding an AR-15. With their heavy wooden traditionally shaped stocks, the weight and handling are the largest apparent difference. These large caliber rifles shooting larger heavier bullets are a very different experience to shoot compared to the AR, these rifles kick at both ends compared to the “mouse fart” of the AR-15 which has such a low recoil force that many categorize it as negligible.


Ok, this is an obvious point of disagreement, and I’d like to be clear that I understand your position, even if I’m unlikely to change your mind. A bolt-action rifle designed to take down a bull moose could clearly kill an individual human just as dead as an AR type, no disagreement there. But the specific context of my question was relating to killing “large numbers of people.” Is it your contention that the firing rate, capacity, and ease of reloading of a rifle has no relevance whatsoever to what kind of body count a typical mass-shooter could be expected to inflict before he’s either taken down by bystanders or the bystanders have had a chance to scatter or gain cover? I don’t have experience handing an AR, but I have shot pistols at a range, I’ve gone paintballing, and I’ve shot both bolt-action and lever-action bb guns. That experience, plus playing a few FPS video games, helps leads me to the (in my view, obvious) conclusion that a shooter who has to stop frequently to reload is going to have a more challenging time shooting a lot of bullets in a short amount of time. And the longer the reload time, the greater the opportunity for an appropriate “fight or flight” response for the intended victims.

Yes, that’s true! Adding extra legal hoops does make certain types of weapons harder to obtain! But it doesn’t answer the question I asked, or at least the one I meant to ask. Let me put it another way: say that you’ve got a friend who believes that fully-automatic, cheap Chinese-made TEC-9 pistols or something similar should be sold with no fewer restrictions than any other types of guns, and should be something you should be able to buy at Walmart without jumping through any hoops whatsoever. Or, if you don’t have any problem with that, imagine a new type of gun that DOES make you nervous. Say a handheld particle weapon that can cut a car in half at a range of 20 miles. What do you tell your friend about your reasoning for wanting legal restrictions on availability of such weapons?

I think comparing weapons with teapots rather minimizes those you would like to engage with.

Let’s compare guns to man eating tigers and other mammals capable of killing you. Or varieties of poison perhaps.

I have a hazardous materials collection. But I never. Ever. Ever. Open them.


I can’t speak for him, but I get the sense that was @Mister44’s point: that our tendency to find a particular hobby and collect according to that hobby can apply to just about anything—especially if that hobby is defined by collecting (e.g. stamps).

If the parallels between tea and firearms sound absurd, well…welcome to humankind. We’re a weird bunch.


The comparison does not sound absurd. It sounds insulting.

An inert gun, sure.

But one you can kill with… Nope. Don’t insult my intelligence.

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Such as a collection of important viruses. Of course, I only keep things like smallpox around for sentimental reasons and purposes of historical interest, It’s very rare, you know. And it’s the same strain that killed 4 out of 12 of my great-great grandmother’s children. Trust me, though. It’s perfectly safe. Viable? Of course it’s viable. What would be the point of not having a live culture…


The crazy thing is that some virologists reserve a similar strain (ha!) of awe for such former superbugs. It’s a part of history to them, albeit one they’d prefer to keep cryogenically frozen in high-security labs.


In better days, I worked for some of them. And if it sounds crazy, it’s a much better comparison than teapots, beanie babies or obscure blues records.

Exactly. Not the sort of thing people like me should be keeping in the fridge next to the sauerkraut. :slight_smile:


Ebola-kraut would not get many likes on the fermenting thread.

Anyway, I’ve my own value judgements on some of what’s been shared so far in this discussion but those judgements are outside the scope of this thread.

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Thank you.

FWIW, I agree the teapot comparison is insulting … and trivializing.

Possessing lots of guns is obviously different than possessing lots of teapots. For example, teapots are not listed in the federal sentencing guidelines as a criminal penalty enhancement.

No one else I’ve met grew up without a parent because someone else kept a teapot in their house.


Well, that’s the thing- Rate of fire for a semi-auto is going to be more or less as fast as someone can pull the trigger, regardless of whether it’s a 9mm handgun, an AR-15, or something you would clearly recognize as a perfectly legitimate hunting rifle like a Savage 64.

The other big thing for you seems to be capacity, and here’s where things break down a bit, because clips are somewhat standardized, and of all the parts of the gun, one of the easiest to fabricate- As in, give me a $30 Home Depot gift card and a couple hours in the average garage, and I’ll be able to make you a nice 30 round clip to replace the 10 round one that comes with your hunting rifle. A little bit of kludging, and I could probably whip up a drum magazine that will hold 100.

And this is one of the primary problems with gun control- That the average person who wants to see something done knows about as much about firearms as a republican senator does about women’s reproductive health. The end result is that we end up with legislation that creates huge hassles for everyone without actually fixing anything, laws that fail to pass a court challenge, or design changes or hacks that make a gun technically legal before the relevant legislation even takes effect.

Essentially, there are two ways to legislate firearms:

  • You can push for a constitutional amendment that includes whatever sweeping generalities you like. Personally, I favor the one adding “while serving in a state militia” to the 2A. Hell- Repeal the 2A entirely- I don’t exactly support that idea, but it’s a much more clearly defined non-technical position to take.

  • You can learn enough about the actual technical functions and issues that you are able to draft legislation that actually addresses them in an effective way.

Both of those are entirely legitimate options, and both could be highly effective. It’s just that I keep seeing the same thing over and over again with the anti-gun people throwing out ideas, and gun people facepalming and yelling “IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.”.

It’s not that the concerns aren’t legitimate, it’s that the remedies are physically impossible, and they aren’t bothering to learn why, so they can come up with something that works.


There seems to be a misunderstanding here, at least if I’m correct in inferring that your comment and AcerPlatonides’ are directed towards me and not towards @Mister44, @Max_Blancke, etc.

Comparison is not the same as equivalence. For starters, the latter is a conclusive statement while the former is a process by which equivalence is determined.

Equivalence means ‘no difference’ as in ‘there’s no difference between collecting teapots and collecting firearms’. Comparison does not assume equivalence and in fact is the process for determining equivalence. Already in this discussion, by testament of gun owners themselves, there are clear incongruences between teapot collecting and gun collecting. The teapot example was simply a springboard for this discussion.