Monday, October 01, 2012

Ignorant Journalists, Guns and Disinformation

Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .38 five-shot revolver with genuine stag Grips from

Los Angeles, CA—There are those journalists who seem to think are experts on firearms.   At least that’s what they want their readers and viewers think.  For the most part they’ve never fired a gun and if they have it was not under the supervision of a professional trainer.
These folks write and speak words for a living, so they want to be colorful and use what they feel are the strongest terms and phrases.  Too often they don’t have a clue what they are talking about.  That’s when their ignorance is laid bare.
Here are the most misused terms:
1.    Assault Rifle
2.    High Powered Rifle
3.    Point Blank Range
4.    Execution Style
5.    Clip
Journalists for some reason believe cops are experts on firearms.  Some of them are but its rarely the police bosses or their department spokespeople.  Reporters  most often quote gibberish from their police sources.
Most readers think they know just what these terms mean.  Okay here are the answers:
An assault rifle is a long gun or carbine that fires more than a single round for each pull of the trigger.  Often the term Machine gun is used and that can be wrong too.  Then there is the sub-machine gun.  Confused?  Each term has a different meaning.  It may be time to do a little enterprising research!
High Powered Rifles.  Carbines like the M-4, M-16 or AK-47 or the semi-automatic look-alike cousins are a lot of things but high powered is never one of them.  When you say high-powered you are speaking of heavy ammunition with a lot of lead and gun powder.  .308, 30-06 or larger rounds can be considered high powered compared to smaller round fired by the aforementioned carbines or hand gun rounds. 
Point Blank Range. I have seen great defense attorneys embarrass seasoned cops who have used this term during court testimony.  Okay officer, would you please explain to the jury just what point blank range is?  Are you scratching your head now?  Don’t ever use a term you can’t easily define just because it sounds cool.
Execution Style.  Again this term is generally misused when a defenseless victim is shot, perhaps while on their knees.  However execution style is being tied to a stake, blindfolded and shot by riflemen.  That hopefully only happens after some Due Process.  Avoid this term except in actual executions by firing squads.
Clip.  A clip for firearms is a metal device that holds ammunition rounds together.  There are very few types of firearms that require clips.  People trying to describe ammunition magazines redundantly and ignorantly use the term clip.  Clip and magazine are not synonyms.
I ask every so -called journalist who reports crime stories; why not take a simple firearms course?  Why stay ignorant?

One last thing!  Gun store owners or salespeople are not NRA spokespeople!  The may know guns but they are the wrong people to ask about gun control.  Call the NRA and they will get you to the right local person for a really interesting soundbite.  



Mt Greenwood Hillbilly said...

The media no longer reports on news, they advocate for an agenda.

Anonymous said...

The New York Post is fond of "two hand combat style." Another of their favorites is more than one gun of any type......including bb guns are an arsenal.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I'm glad to see that you edited the part with the decimal point. I'm the guy who wrote you about that. I always enjoy...and mostly agree with your posts. Of course there are some similarities between you and I. Like you, I was on CPD ( 29 years, retired Nov 2011), was an army medic and I am a Life Member of the NRA. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

True assault rifles have several criteria that must be met:

1)fire and intermediate type cartridge like 5.56,7.92x33,7.62x39 or 5.45x39.

2)be a select fire weapon:safe, semi, full auto or a burst option.

3)large capacity box magazine:typically over 20 rounds

4)be a carbine type configuration,39 inches or 1 meter or less in length

Guns like G3,FN-FAL,Cetme,M-14 are not assault rifles,they are battle rifles.

Anonymous said...

A few things you missed:
Calling every pistol a Glock, calling a semi-auto pistol a revolver, using the term "assault weapon" which is an invention of the gun control crowd, every rifle is a sniper rifle, even assault weapons.

On the clips versus magazine terminology, clip and magazine may be used interchangeably. While an en bloc clip or a stripper clip is not a mag, a mag is certainly a clip in colloquial use.

The reason that the military is adamant about the word magazine is because when we trans-itioned from M1 to M14 we went from en bloc clips to mags. In order to halt confusion with regards to resupply, they strictly enforced the nomenclature. We no longer have the risk of wrong ammo resupply, but the term mag is now culturally embedded.

MoT said...

"High powered"... As opposed to what? It's all a matter of interpretation on the part of whomever wishes to use the words in the way they wish. A 22 is high-powered versus a thrown stone! Orwell always pointed out how words are manipulated by the politically motivated.

Anonymous said...

I have a little bit different definition for "high powered rifle", but I'm not going to claim here that my usage is any more correct. I interpret high-powered to equate to high-velocity, so rifles with a flat trajectory and longer range would in my opinion be "high powered". I tend to think of it as being based on the power to mass ratio of the cartridge, so I would consider .223 and .243 Remington as high-powered in spite of their diminutive bores. I would agree though that 7.62x39mm lacks the range or muzzle energy to be called high-powered. This is a great theme by the way, and you could probably base an entire website on the media's use of pejoratives to demonize arms. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

You forgot 'sniper'. They love that one. Anyone who shoots at someone from more that 20 feet away is a 'sniper'.

Anonymous said...

Although the firing squad is more well known, execution by pistol shot is the method authorized in more jurisdictions. Shooting a defenseless person could well be similar to such an execution, making the term "execution style" reasonably descriptive. For fun, ask the next wearer of a "Che" t-shirt their opinion of the death penalty...

Anonymous said...

The simple term "bullet" is also often misused, as somehow synonymous with "cartridge". Even firearms owners often make this mistake.

But don't get your hopes up. Reporters are no more accurate with anything they report on, than they are with guns. Most are ordinary propagandists.

Paul Huebl Crimefile News said...

Some of the comments are interesting but let me make it clear that I'm really trying to get journalists over to trainers. The last thing I want them to do is to rely on the written words. They need the experience of actually using the items they like to write about.