Joe Levi:
a cross-discipline, multi-dimensional problem solver who thinks outside the box – but within reality™

Gun Semantics: Using the correct words, and using words correctly

I’ve finally gotten to the point where I have to call on the carpet not only those that want to further restrict lawful firearms, but those who advocate against those restrictions as well.

We need to re-evaluate the semantics we use when talking about guns so they accurately reflect what they’re supposed to, not a vague, mass media definition.

It’s not “Gun Control,” it’s “Firearm Restriction”

Don’t use the term “gun control.” It’s not about controlling guns, it’s about restricting access to firearms by various members of the People: those who are mentally deficient and those with (felonious) criminal tendencies. The correct term is “Firearm Restriction” or “Firearm Access Restriction.”

It’s not an “Assault Rifle,” it’s a “Rifle”

The only time an rifle is an “assault rifle” is when it is being used to assault someone or something. The rest of the time it’s just a “rifle.”

Just because a gun “looks” scary, or shoots a “high caliber”

A black-powder musket is a type of rifle, but it can be used to assault someone. Is it an “assault rifle?” Of course not. An M-16 “Machine Gun” can be used to assault someone, is it an “assault rifle?” Again, no. It’s just a rifle.

It’s not a “high-caliber rifle,” it’s a “rifle”

People talk about caliber all the time. When the word is used correctly it simply means the diameter of the bullet (the part that comes out of the end of the gun).

Caliber is sometimes used to describe the power behind the bullet. That’s not right, that’s described in charts and statistics called its “ballistic capability.”

The round used by the military is a .223 or a 5.56, it’s not much bigger in caliber than the .22 that your great grandpa used to shoot at ground squirrels back on the homestead. It’s a very, very light caliber. In fact, pellet guns use a .177 (that’s just 0.023 inches in diameter smaller than the .22), but it’s far less powerful than a .22, which is far less powerful than a .223 (which is only 0.003 inches diameter bigger).

“High-caliber” has never been used correctly. It’s just the “caliber” and it really doesn’t tell the whole ballistics story. Unless you’re willing to describe grains, powder loads, pressure, muzzle-fps, penetration, etc., just call it a “rifle” and not a “high-caliber rifle.”

It’s not a “Machine Gun,” it’s a “Fully Automatic Rifle” or “Belt-Fed Rifle”

According to, a machine is “any mechanical or electrical device that transmits or modifies energy to perform or assist in the performance of human tasks” and a gun is “a weapon that discharges a missile at high velocity (especially from a metal tube or barrel).”

By definition, ANY gun is a “machine” gun because it’s a mechanical device that modifies energy (a trigger squeeze) to perform a task (discharging a bullet).

What’s meant by the term “machine gun” is a gun that is designed to fire more that one round per trigger pull. The better term is “Fully Automatic Rifle.”

It’s not a “high-capacity magazine,” it’s just a “magazine”

The term “high-capacity magazine” when used in the mass-media usually means any magazine capable of holding more than ten rounds. Ten seems to be the magic number here, ever since the “Assault Weapon’s Ban” from years ago that banned the sale of magazines that held more than ten rounds. Ironically, the average number of rounds held in the average firearm before the ban was 7.2. After the ban every gun maker found some way to make a 10-round magazine, increasing the number of rounds from 7.2 to 10. Smart.

The full-frame Glock’s held around 13-15 rounds of ammunition before the ban. Those are “standard capacity” magazines. They come standard with the firearm. Sure, you can buy 25 or 33 round magazines, but these are “extended capacity" magazines.”

A chain fed rifle (like the military uses) have thousands of rounds per box. That sounds much more like “high capacity” than 15 rounds does.

Please, call it a “standard capacity magazine” or just a “magazine.”

There is no “Gun Show Loophole”

There are gun shows, but there is no “gun show loophole.” It’s a fabrication by the media to demonize gunshows. Have you ever been to a gun show? Every show I’ve been to I’ve been surrounded by the friendliest, most polite people I’ve ever met. Ever.

When a federally licensed firearms dealer sells someone a firearm there is a boatload of paperwork to go through, including a background check of the purchaser. Go down to any gun store and try to buy a gun without giving them your name and id. Good luck. But gun shows are different, right? Can a gun dealer sell you a gun at a gun show? You betcha, yes. Can that gun dealer bypass the federally mandated background check? Nope, not without committing a felony.

If your friend or relative owns a firearm and you want to buy it, guess what? In most cases you can! And since the seller is a private citizen, and not encumbered by the restrictions that wrap around every sale a federally licensed firearms dealer, they don’t have to abide by those regulations, they’re not required to do so.

Look at your local newspaper’s classified ads. See anyone selling a gun? Ah-ha! There’s a classified ads loophole!

Does your Uncle Bob have an extra hunting rifle that he’s trying to sell? Ah-ha! There’s an Uncle Bob loophole!

Private sales have never been banned, whether from Uncle Bob, the classified ads, or from some guy at a gun show.

It’s not a “Gun-Free Zone,” it’s a “Sitting Duck Zone”

Virginia Tech was supposedly a “gun-free zone,” Trolley Square was supposedly a “gun-free zone,” Washington D.C. was supposedly a “gun-free zone,” Columbine was supposedly a “gun-free zone.”

What do all of these places have in common? They all prohibit (or severely restrict) responsible, law-abiding citizens from taking self-defense sidearms into those places. They did not prevent criminals from bringing weapons into the “zone” and committing atrocities. The individuals responsible for the assault on Columbine broke more than 19 Federal Firearms laws to carry out their assault.

All the “gun-free zone” policies did was prevent the law-abiding people in them from being able to effectively defend themselves.

Maybe the enactment of these “zones” has done one thing: they’ve advertised to criminals where to find easy pickings, making these zones more dangerous and at higher risk of criminal attack.

It’s not a “gun-free zone,” it’s a “Sitting Duck Zone.”


Make sure that in your conversations you’re using the correct words, and that you’re using your words correctly.


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