Let’s talk a little bit about the right tool for the job.
We all get caught up on terminology. So many discussions about firearms get derailed on the subject of nomenclature, what IS or IS NOT an “assault rifle” – so let’s all just be honest with one another for a bit and call it what it is at its core: a tool.
Growing up, I was taught that firearms are tools. Just as there are different tools in the box for different tasks, there are different types of firearms designed for different situations. A handgun can be used for personal protection as it is compact, lightweight, and can deter someone with bad intent as much as kill them. It’s easy to store and secure in the home and precise enough that you can use one in closed quarters without high risk of damage to people or property. There are rifles for hunting and sport that are appropriate when you need to bring down a target at a distance. There are shotguns that make sure you hit whatever is coming up at you at close range.
Then there are arms designed for combat superiority. Someone defined a problem with modern urban combat where it was difficult to sweep a building using a long-barrel weapon like a that pokes around a corner a foot before the soldier, exposing him to the enemy. Someone needed a better combat weapon that was small, light, reliable under variable and hostile conditions (like the desert) and could shoot faster, farther, and be able to interchange parts for different ammunition and even functions. This is how the SIG MCX was originally designed for the military. It is compact, reliable, and powerful. Opinions differ on where the MCX among similar designs, but if you go to the web site, you will read language that gun rights advocates typically avoid. The gun is manufactured to kill lots of people quickly and give the shooter every tactical advantage in a combat situation. This means, in part, building better, faster and more powerful guns than the ones already out there. It has been adopted by the armed forces in six countries.
The Sig MCX is just one example of a weapon of this type.
The military version of the MCX is a weapon made for battle. Marketing for the civilian version, however, calls it a “sporting rifle.”
The civilian version of the MCX was one of the weapons used in the Pulse nightclub massacre. While limited to semi-automatic functionality, the weapon retains its precision, ease of use, flexibility to use different types of ammunition, and reliability. I’ve watched civilians shoot this version of the MCX and it consistently impressed the hell out of shooters, not with its ability to kill people, of course, but with the ability to fire over 100 shots, mag changes included, in less than a minute without overheating the barrel, fumbling with reloads, or extra steps in chambering/firing. Shooters found the short-stroke gas piston system minimized the recoil and helped maintain a consistent pattern of fire without putting a lot of stress on the shooter. Every shooter has their favorite brand and some aren’t fond of the MCX or its variants for whatever reason (they prefer bigger booms, weapons with longer range capability, etc.) but the weapon clearly provides a user-friendly solution for throwing more downrange in a shorter period of time…whatever you’re aiming at.
At the Pulse Nightclub, it worked well enough that 102 people were dead or injured at the end of the assault, 103 if you count the attacker.
(Note: PLEASE don’t go to this post and harass this guy for sharing. He’s not the problem. If anything, he provided me some important information about the weapon.)
This is a tactical necessity when you have to assume that everyone in an unsecured area may be armed. In Dayton, police took down the shooter in less than thirty seconds from when he opened fire. That said, the shooter used the best tool to make sure he could murder or injure 37 people before trained and skilled shooters could take him down. A handgun with eight rounds wouldn’t be the right tool for that kind of work. You need something that makes a bigger boom, holds more ammunition and has the ability to throw crowds into a panic, increasing the potential cover for the shooter to use to his advantage. A crowd might dismiss the pop of a small handgun going off in a loud food court, but no one is going to mistake the booming echo of a .300 AAC round in an enclosed space. In Dayton, it was a “.223 caliber rifle with a 100 round drum magazine.”
And in El Paso, where the motive was clearly in response to the President of the United States’ fearmongering over immigration, the shooter went to a target-rich environment, armed himself with a WASR-10, and just unloaded on them. Literally. There was a man who had no fucks left to give, a motive, an opportunity, and the MEANS to carry out his mass killing. The right tool for the job. In the end, 46 people were killed or injured.
In Las Vegas, the shooter in the 2017 concert massacre chose weapons specifically based on ranged accuracy and chose a defensible position. For ten uncontested minutes, the killer utilized more than a dozen AR-15 rifles equipped with bump stocks that increased his rate of fire to murder people nearly 500 yards away. He used the proper tools for the job and managed to kill 58 people and cause injury (by gunshot or chaos) another 850. In TEN MINUTES. How? The tools he used in combination allowed him to fire 1,100 rounds in ten minutes.
A shooter picks the right weapon for the job. The job? Kill as many people as possible.
The question I’ve never resolved for myself is, if not killing people, what problem does this tool fix? I’ve been told that it’s the perfect weapon for a patriot who will have to protect themselves from tyrants. I’m also told that he Second Amendment of the Constitution makes the question irrelevant. It exists so someone has a right to it. My gun safety instructor tried to demystify firearms by saying,
“A firearm is a tool designed to stop something; a robbery, a rape, a murder. It is designed to stop a person with deadly force and if you ever find yourself in a situation where you choose to aim a firearm at a living person, you must be prepared to stop that person forever.”
So the problem this kind of tool solves is a lack of power over a situation, control over people.
Sometimes, power is an equalizer and sometimes, it is tyranny. Control one person, use a handgun, maybe a shotgun or a rifle. You can probably control a ROOM full of people that way, but if you need to dispose of them quickly before someone ends your life, you go for the weapon the fires fast and hard so, in case you miss or wing someone, there’s another round right behind it.
A man who hates LGBTQ+ people can enter a crowded nightclub and kill dozens before even an armed person could draw and potentially get a clean shot at the shooter.
A man in a Vegas hotel room with a cache of legally obtained firearms can take out dozens of people at a distance with impunity. No good guy with a gun in that situation has the right tool to defend themselves or others from a few hundred yards away.
A kid can walk into a crowded theater, toss a smoke grenade and carry out a massacre of people fleeing the chamber with their backs toward him.
And, yes, it can be used to stop “tyrants” like police, from invading someone’s home which is why police now wear military gear, drive armored vehicles, and deploy weapons designed to counter the firepower of today’s best firearms.
I don’t get why there’s a disconnect here. We build firearms to make sure our soldiers have the best chance in the field of willing the battle. We employ tactics to support that mission, but in the end, it’s the superiority of the weapon that prevails upon the enemy to surrender or die, right? If not the soldier, then the knife. If not the knife, then the rifle. If not the rifle, then the bomb. That’s how it works, right?
As with all weapons, there’s always a “next level” whether it be arms or tactics. So the discussion about how to stop mass killings should always include the weapons used which were designed specifically to be the best tool for that kind of job.