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
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.