What Sort of Dweeb Needs an AR15?

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Back in December of 2012, while America was reeling in shock over the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and mourning those lost in a volley of peacetime machine gun fire, I asked the question, “Who the Hell Hunts With a Machine Gun Anyway?” While the papers were rehashing the same questions they pose whenever a mass killing makes the news: “Why did this happen?” and “How can we prevent this kind of thing in the future?,” we did not hear any mention in the mainstream media of the leading role that sport hunting plays in promoting guns and perpetuating violence.

So, who the hell hunts with a machine gun? The shocking answer is, more people than ever before. Okay, for you hair splitters out there, assault rifles are not technically considered machine guns because you have to hit the hair-trigger with each shot—but they still send out bullets at a damn high rate. The .223 semi-automatic for example (the rifle used by school shooter, Adam Lanza, and the D.C. Beltway snipers, John Mohammad and John Malvo, can fire 6 rounds per second. But what makes it so deadly is the way the bullet reacts on impact: it’s designed to bounce around inside the body once it makes contact with bone.

Why is such a lethal attack rifle legal for non-military civilians to own? According to the manufacturer, they are intended to be used for hunting animals. As the NRA well knows, hunting has been used to justify the private ownership of some of the most destructive weapons ever invented.

Assault rifles are not big on accuracy—their sole purpose is to send out a rapid-fire hail of bullets in the general direction of whatever they’re pointed at. Those who mass murder coyotes seem to feel entitled to the deadliest of armaments they can

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2013. All Rights Reserved

get their hands on. A recent “contest hunt” offered up a free shotgun or a pair of semi-automatic rifles to whoever murdered the most canines. The terms of the competition were simple: hunters in New Mexico had two days to shoot and kill as many coyotes as they could; the winner got their choice of a Browning Maxus 12-gauge shotgun or two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. (The AR-15 is the civilian version of the military’s M16 that has been in production since Vietnam.) “Nothing’s gonna stop me,” said Mark Chavez, the hunt’s sponsor, and the owner of Gunhawk Firearms “This is my right to hunt and we’re not breaking any laws.”

Bushmaster describes their .223 as a “Varmint Rifle.” Oh really? That shines new light on what some of these politicians really mean when they say they only hunt “varmints.” I’ve never been an invited guest at George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford Texas; therefore I can only guess that this is the type of weapon the self-proclaimed “varmint” hunter uses when he goes up against a family of scary ground squirrels, marmots or a town of talkative prairie dogs.

Larger caliber Bushmaster models are categorized, ominously, as “Predator Rifles.”

Why are more and more people using military style weapons for hunting lately? I don’t know offhand, but I have a theory. If someone were to look into it, I’d bet they’d find a marked increase in assault rifles since Barack Obama was elected president. Not only are people trying to get themselves a semi-automatic or two before a feared government ban on assault weapons, but at the same time, they see wolves as a symbol of the government they fear and loath.

Now that the federal government has handed wolf “management” over to hostile states, we’re seeing a war on wolves, with AR 15s, .223 “Bushmasters” and the like being the new weapons of choice.

South Dakota Reclassifies Wolves as “Varmints”

 

Earlier today I posted an action alert to Urge Your Representative to Stand Up for Wolves. Well, here is an article by the AP and Mark Watson in the South Dakota’s Black Hills Pioneer (a newspaper that boasts being “local and independent since 1876”—and whose attitude toward wolves obviously has remained unchanged since then), titled, “Wolf bill likely signed into law today.” The “wolf bill” in question is actually a state anti-wolf bill which unintentionally underscores why wolves need to remain on the federal Endangered Species List…

SPEARFISH — Gov. Dennis Daugaard is expected to sign a bill today that would reclassify wolves from protected species in the state to predators or varmints in East River counties.

SB 205 received final Legislative action on Feb. 26 when the House approved it 60-9. It passed in the Senate unanimously 35-0.

The bill will classify wolves the same as coyotes, foxes, skunks, gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, jackrabbits, marmots, porcupines, crows, and prairie dogs, but only in Eastern South Dakota. They will still remain protected by federal and state law West River.

In 2012, wolves residing in the Great Lakes population, which includes Eastern South Dakota, were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act. Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working on plan that would delist the wolves West River as well.

Wolves don’t often roam across South Dakota, however there have been confirmed sightings. Wolves are occasionally killed by vehicles. One was killed in Harding County by a lethal trap set for coyotes and one was shot in 2012 near Custer. Olson said that one was seen just south of her Harding County ranch in February, however that sighting, like most others, lack physical evidence and are not confirmed.

The wolves that do traverse the state come from both the Rocky Mountain packs as well as the Great Lakes packs. They are typically younger males searching out mates and new territory.

Montana officials said that 255 wolves were killed in the 2012-2013 hunting and trapping season. Wyoming reported about 60 wolves killed. In Wisconsin, 117 were killed and in Minnesota, 395 were killed.

Scott Larson, a field supervisor with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Pierre, said a proposed rule by the service regarding the delisting wolves in West River should be issued this spring.

“It will be part of a larger effort,” Larson said. “The Rocky Mountain population and the Great Lakes populations have been delisted, but they are protected in most of the Lower 48 where we don’t have plans for any recovery efforts. … When you have a recovered population you have transients that move out into area where there is not suitable habitat. It doesn’t make any sense to have the protection status different.”

But dozens of U.S. House members don’t want that to happen.

A letter signed by 52 representatives [the good guys] urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to not drop wolves from the endangered species list in areas where it hasn’t already been done. The comeback of the wolf populations in the western Great Lakes and the Northern Rockies is “a wildlife success story in the making,” the lawmakers said in a letter distributed by Reps. Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, both Democrats. But it added that because of lingering human prejudice, “federal protection continues to be necessary to ensure that wolf recovery is allowed to proceed in additional parts of the country.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to return wolves to the Southwest, despite court battles and resistance from ranchers. It’s also reviewing the status of wolves and their potential habitat in the Pacific Northwest, where perhaps 100 of the animals are believed to roam, and in the Northeast, which has no established population although occasional sightings have been reported.

“The outcome of these reviews will identify which, if any, gray wolves should continue to receive protections under the Endangered Species Act outside of the boundaries of the recovered populations and the Southwest population,” agency spokesman Chris Tollefson said.

…And which wolves, by contrast, will be classified as “varmints,” the same as coyotes, foxes, skunks, gophers, ground squirrels, chipmunks, jackrabbits, marmots, porcupines, crows, and prairie dogs, as South Dakota has done.

Speaking of prairie dogs, please sign on to this pledge for that beleaguered cornerstone species:

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Who the Hell Hunts With a Machine Gun Anyway?

While America is reeling in shock over the senseless shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and mourning those lost in a volley of peacetime machine gun fire, the papers are rehashing the same questions posed whenever a mass killing makes the news: “Why did this happen?” and “How can we prevent this kind of thing in the future?”

Predictably, politicians from both sides of the fence are weighing in on gun control or the culpability shared by violent Hollywood movies (and even cartoons like Family Guy and American Dad—both of which were preempted by Fox this week because of the tragedy). What we’re not hearing in the mainstream media is any mention of the leading role that sport hunting plays in promoting guns and perpetuating violence.

The latest school shooter, Adam Lanza, and the D.C. Beltway snipers, John Mohammad and John Malvo, all used a Bushmaster .223 hunting/assault rifle to carry out their killings. It was also the weapon used in the Colorado theater shooting, and in a host of other homicidal meltdowns.

The .223 semi-automatic can fire 6 rounds per second (okay, if you want to split hairs, it’s not technically considered a machine gun because you have to hit the hair-trigger with each shot), but what makes it so deadly is the way the bullet reacts on impact: It’s designed to bounce around inside the body once it makes contact with bone.

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Why is such a lethal assault rifle legal for non-military civilians to own? According to the manufacturer, they are intended to be used for hunting animals. As the NRA well knows, hunting has been used to justify the private ownership of some of the most destructive weapons ever invented.

But who the Hell really hunts with a machine gun anyway? Unfortunately, some folks do. One thrill-killer describes his sport this way: “Prairie dog hunting is a blast, on both private and public lands. I like to start by clearing everything within 50 yards with an AR-15, then switch to my .223 Remington for anything out to about 150 and finally trade up to the bull barrel .22-250 for the longer shots.”

And those who mass murder coyotes seem to feel entitled to the deadliest of armaments as well. A recent “contest hunt” offered up a free shotgun or a pair of semi-automatic rifles to whoever murdered the most canines. The terms of the competition were simple: hunters in New Mexico had two days to shoot and kill as many coyotes as they could; the winner got their choice of a Browning Maxus 12-gauge shotgun or two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles. (The AR-15 is the civilian version of the military’s M16 that has been in production since Vietnam.) “Nothing’s gonna stop me,” said Mark Chavez, the hunt’s sponsor, and the owner of Gunhawk Firearms “This is my right to hunt and we’re not breaking any laws.”

Bushmaster describes their .223 as a “Varmint Rifle.” Oh really? That shines new light on what some of these politicians really mean when they say they only hunt “varmints.” I’ve never been an invited guest at George W. Bush’s ranch in Crawford Texas; therefore I can only guess that this is the type of weapon the self-proclaimed “varmint” hunter uses when he goes up against a family of scary ground squirrels, marmots or a town of talkative prairie dogs.

Larger caliber Bushmaster models are categorized as “Predator Rifles.”

90823_Pred_ATACS

Ironically, it was Lanza’s mother, Nancy, who taught young Adam how to shoot. She was an avid gun enthusiast who legally owned a Sig Sauer and a Glock (both handguns commonly used by police) and a military-style Bushmaster .223 M4 carbine, according to law enforcement officials. As it turns out, it was one of her guns that her son turned on her before using them in his attack on the students and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary…

See also, “Honor Thy Father and Mother, Except When They Misbehave.”

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2012. All Rights Reserved

Text and Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson, 2012. All Rights Reserved