More Dem misinformation about guns and Gov. Christie doing the right thing

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed a badly flawed piece of anti-gun legislation this week and for very good reasons.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a ban on .50-caliber rifles that was vigorously opposed by firearms rights advocates and gutted a proposal overhauling the state’s gun permit law.

Christie said the permit changes adopted by lawmakers were impractical because they rely on technology that hasn’t been developed.

“None of the technology necessary for this system exists. … the smartcard called for by this bill cannot be implemented now or any time in the foreseeable future,” Christie said in his conditional veto message.

This is just a classic attempt by the gun-banners to make it impossible for law-abiding people to exercise their Constitutionally-protected rights: rely on technology and programs that don’t exist. The same people screaming about the immoral unfairness of requiring people to show a picture ID to vote – a technology that has existed for decades and is available to anyone who asks for it – consider it perfectly correct and acceptable to demand people show a specific smartcard in order to purchase a gun or ammunition so that such purchases can be tracked and approved even when the system they are demanding does not currently exist. Gov. Christie was completely correct to veto such a ridiculous attempt to violate people’s rights.

The nonsense being used to attempt to stir up enough hysteria to generate support for such drivel is just as ridiculous and what galls me are equal parts of Dem cluelessness about a topic they insist they are competent to legislate upon and of media collaboration in spreading said clueless commentary. Case in point:

Earlier Friday, gun control advocate Bryan Miller took a disabled .50-caliber sniper rifle to the Statehouse to demonstrate its destructive capacity.

“These are military weapons designed and manufactured to destroy material targets such as chemical plants, refineries, chemical and rail tanks and passenger aircraft, targets that abound in New Jersey,” he said. “A potential attack with a .50-caliber weapon could have a catastrophic environmental impact in the Garden State.”

First up, if the gun was disabled, he didn’t demonstrate jack – he held up a piece of metal and spun off a few ghost stories about how he’s scared enough of it that we should hunt them all down with pitchforks. Second, the notion that the .50 caliber gun – a caliber used in rifles dating back to the Civil War era and used by American citizens for at least that long – is a “weapon[s] designed and manufactured to destroy material targets such as chemical plants, refineries, and rail tanks and passenger aircraft” just demonstrates the clear and absolute lack of sufficient knowledge to even engage in conversation on the topic. And the media lets these ignorant charlatans get away with it! Seriously, people, a rifle with the power to destroy a chemical plant?!? Or a refinery? A .50 caliber bullet is big as bullets go, make no mistake, but it still weighs less than a half-pound and is smaller than the average man’s index finger. (The bullet that’s fired, mind, you, not the whole cartridge.) You’re going to destroy an entire factory with one of those? That’s just silly on its face.

Rail tanks are designed to withstand impacts with the ground and solid objects at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour – impacts that generate hundreds and thousands of tons of force. The hottest .50 caliber load I have ever heard of would barely scratch the outside of one of these tank cars, let alone destroy it. As for the notion that someone can bring down a passenger aircraft with one of these:

As for the commercial jet comment, I don’t need to rely on anyone’s expertise, here. I worked in the airline industry myself and I’m well familiar with the passenger aircraft in service today. The physics involved in shooting down a commercial jet with a rifle hit are simply too involved to be a credible threat. At the range suggested (a mile) being off-aim by a mere 2 degrees results in a miss by about 180 feet. While that could still impact a jet the size of a 747 or so, the average mid-range jet like a 737 isn’t even 180 feet long. If you were trying to hit the cockpit and missed by that margin even along the long axis of the aircraft you’d still shoot the air almost 50 feet behind the aircraft’s tail. And that all assumes you’ve lead the plane properly in the shot in the first place.

Aside from hitting the pilot with the shot, there’s actually very few places you could strike the aircraft to make it tumble out of the sky. Even a direct shot to the engine would, at best, cause the engine to cease operation. It’s so extremely unlikely that you’d hit anything capable of even causing a fire, let alone an explosion. The fuel tanks are all self-sealing and jet fuel is surprisingly difficult to get to explode. Hitting one of the hydraulic systems might make controlling the aircraft difficult, but every passenger aircraft flying in the US today has backup systems. Ditto for the electrical systems. Ditto for the pressure systems. The most likely event – once you get past the near impossibility of even hitting the plane with the shot to begin with – is that you’d likely punch a hole through the passenger compartment. Now before anyone screams, “explosive decompression!”, let me remind everyone that the maximum effective range we’re talking about is a mile. That’s 5280 feet. Even assuming you’re shooting at a plane flying at that altitude (directly over your head, no less) it’s well under the altitude required for an explosive decomp event. An aircraft needs to be over 15,000 feet for that to happen. I’ve personally been in a small plane at 14,000 and while I was on an air mask to avoid hypoxia and my ears popped a lot, the pressure at that altitude wasn’t dangerous to me. A plane popping a leak at 5000 feet wouldn’t even notice a pressure drop.

In case this whole topic sounded familiar to any regular readers, the above quote is from a post I wrote right here on HoodaThunk? – back in 2005. It’s absurd that this kind of reeking mendacity still makes it to print and, in this case, is actually used as a justification for the passage of laws. This Bryan Miller moron should be heckled and ridiculed every time he opens his mouth until he sees fit to educate himself on the topic he pretends to have enough expertise with to lecture to the rest of us. And other governors and lawmakers should see to Christie’s example at least as regards these points and follow suit when confronting similar efforts in their own states.

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