The rifle used by the Dallas sniper was an antique East Block rifle designed in the 1940's, an SKS. The SKS was considered obsolete by the Soviet military in 1956, 60 years ago. It is a simple semi-automatic design that does not use detachable magazines and holds 10 rounds of ammunition. It uses the intermediate powered 7.62 x 39 cartridge, about as powerful as the .30-30, a common deer cartridge in the United States for a hundred and twenty years. From nbcnews.com:
Dallas police said Friday that detectives found bomb making materials, ballistic vests, rifles, ammunition and "a personal journal of combat tactics" in Johnson's home. Johnson used a SKS rifle and a handgun in the attack, multiple law enforcement sources told NBC News.The SKS was imported to the U.S. by the millions as surplus from Russia, China, and other former East Block countries. Billions of rounds of ammunition were imported.
When relations with first China, then the former East Block countries were normalized, trade deals were struck. U.S. consumers got sturdy and simple utility rifles and inexpensive ammunition. China and the former East block got billions of desperately needed dollars.
The SKS is a reliable multi-purpose rifle that is used for hunting across the United States. In the law, it is treated the same as other rifles, even in the extremely restrictive state of California.
The rifle has a wood stock, no pistol grip, is not black, does not have a muzzle brake, or a threaded barrel. None of those things change the basic effectiveness of the rifle very much.
It is not the rifle, but the man that makes the greatest difference. Any hunting rifle could have been used to about the same effect by the Dallas sniper. Designs from the 1880's would have been as effective for the tactics employed.
He used basic military tactics and skills. Those skills are known to tens of millions of Americans. The military tactics can be leaned in a couple of weekends.
Marksmanship may take a little longer, but can be learned with a simple air rifle. The Chinese use air rifles to teach their school children the marksmanship skills required. Those air rifles are cheap, and have been imported into the United States in large numbers.
Only one sniper caused the damage in Dallas. From kolotv.com:
Authorities initially blamed multiple "snipers" for Thursday's attack, and at one point said three suspects were in custody. But by Thursday afternoon, all attention focused on Johnson, and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said the entire attack appeared to be the work of a single gunman.
None of the legislation contemplated by Congress would have had the slightest difference on the outcome in Dallas. Attorney General Loretta Lynch made remarks at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time yesterday. From time.com:A Texas law enforcement official identified the man killed in the parking garage as Johnson. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he said he was not authorized to release the information.
And we must take a hard look at the ease with which wrongdoers can get their hands on deadly weapons and the frequency with which they use them.Rifles are the least used firearms in homicides. Hands and feet are used twice as often as rifles are. There are about a hundred and thirty million rifles in private hands in the United States. The most common type of rifle is the semi-automatic. From the FBI UCR for 2014:
Murders committed with rifles : 248
Murders committed with (hands,fists,feet,etc.) 660
Murders committed with handguns: 5,562
Legislation involving guns is not the answer to these sort of attacks. Stopping the false narrative that police are the enemy is.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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