Obama On Guns II: Misinformed Automatic Semi-Automatic Prevaricator

A week ago I argued that all of  Obama’s comments on guns and gun control reveal him to be an “automatic semi-automatic prevaricator” — semi-automatic because “they happen only one at a time ever time he opens his mouth.”

Of course it’s possible I’m giving him too much credit. He may not be lying. He may really, truly not know the difference between and automatic and a semi-automatic weapon. He may really, truly believe that what the anti-gun crowd calls “assault weapons” sold to the public are identical to what he said were “weapons that were designed for soldiers in war theaters … automatic weapons that kill folks in amazing numbers.”

The more charitable view — that He doesn’t really know enough about guns to lie about them — was just reinforced, ironically enough, in his Meet The Press interview with David Gregory in which he reiterated his support for “banning these high capacity clips,” including the one that Gregory himself illegally possessed, demonstrated on TV, and thus subjected himself to arrest. (The law banning them in D.C. does not require any evil intent; it is illegal merely to possess them.) My point here, however, is not further ridicule of scofflaw Gregory; it is to point out that, like many anti-gun zealots, the president doesn’t even know what he wants to ban: high capacity magazines, not clips.

Magazines Are Not Clips

Good definitions showing the distinction are easy to find for anyone who cares, such as this one from a widely read firearms expert who points out that a magazine has as spring that pushes cartridges into a position to be loaded into the chamber; a clip does not, and in fact usually inserts the cartridges inside as magazine as on the Garand M-1.

A clip is different from a magazine and the terms are by no means interchangeable. Using “clip” when one means “magazine” is akin to saying “tires” when one actually means “wheels.” If it does get the speaker immediately corrected, often unkindly, in newsgroups and on Forums, then such a malaprop marks the user as a hopeless newbie.

Or as a very liberal president of the United States.





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  1. Guglielmo Boogliodemus January 4, 2013 at 10:39 am | | Reply

    Clips – magazines. Pistol – revolver. Rifle – carbine. The list goes on. I don’t recall the distinction being made between any of these nearly as often as the last 10 years or so. It usually is pointed out as some kind of way to show greater knowledge than the next guy, and it’s usually someone who is new to firearms. Who cares? It’s called ‘common usage’ and is acceptable communications in my opinion. When returning home from working overseas and some asks for your nationality, I just say “American”. The only time anyone acted like they didn’t understand was at a Canadair ticket counter giving me some guff over whether I meant ‘North American, Central American or South American’. If North American, did I mean US, Canada or Mexico? Had to school the cheesehead in common usage. Also, would it only be correct to say that Jerry Miculek is an expert in “Pistolry” and “Revolvery”? If someone calls a magazine a clip, I think it takes a real pinhead to correct their terms.

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