In which we contract out the argument about gun control

Well, if I were a tyrannical US Government, I\’d put Texas a square last on my list of states to take over. It has 25 million people and, quite probably, more than one gun per person. Even if you assume that gun ownership is concentrated, you\’re still looking at 5 million or more heavily armed and motivated citizens who know well the expansive lands of their state. Contrast this with a total of 1.4m active and 0.8m reserve personnel in the entire US Armed Forces and note that the actual gun-toting soldiery won\’t be even half of that. Unless you planned on levelling the entire state with high explosive, you\’d be nuts to try to take on Texas. Britain, by contrast, should be a walk-over.

Clearly a man of ineffable good taste. He used to drink in The Old Green Tree of course.

27 thoughts on “In which we contract out the argument about gun control”

  1. Daft. Infantry isn’t about riflemen in foxholes any more and nor is asymmetric warfare (if it ever was.) If Texas wanted to resist a federal army they would need plenty of RPGs, man-carried SAMs and explosives, and gun rights don’t seem to apply to any of those.

  2. It doesn’t really work for Britain because you can starve the country into surrender by blockade. Which is why you need trident weapons on submarines. If the Germans tried that shit again, we’d turn Berlin and Cologne into Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

  3. @Umacf24
    OK if you’re content to have your invading (liberating according to the press handouts, no doubt) army permanently buttoned up in its armour for ever more.
    The history of counter insurgency warfare shows even a lightly armed population can make prolonged occupation an extremely costly affair for the occupiers. Look at the effect of probably less than a hundred active players in Northern Ireland.

  4. Out of interest, anyone know what the kill ratio for the PIRA v Army was? I’d imagine something like 10-1. Entirely different rules of engagement, of course. But that is rather the point.

  5. BiS most PIRA fatalities were caused by the daft bog trotters inadvertently setting off their own devices.

    Umac, no one is suggesting Texans in foxholes, but Texans walking up behind squaddies with Glocks or taking them out at 200m with AR15s is entirely possible.

    In a place like Texas, the local support networks would be impressive too. For every gun man you need 200 sympathisers/armourers/fundraisers etc.

  6. A few well directed assassinations seem to work better thsn soi disant democratic voting.

  7. What is it with Guardianistas and their hatred of freedom? The majority of US armed forces would probably be on the side of it’s citizens rather than the government anyway.

  8. @Jonathan
    Don’t forget most of them would prefer to get rid of the armed forces as well. And find the concept of an armed police distasteful. They really want to disinvent the things altogether but would compromise on an armed secret police with impeccable socialist credentials.

  9. BiS most PIRA fatalities were caused by the daft bog trotters inadvertently setting off their own devices.

    Without wishing to go into conspiracy mode, is there not something very convenient about Provos blowing themselves up?

  10. Surreptitious Evil

    Without wishing to go into conspiracy mode, is there not something very convenient about Provos blowing themselves up?

    Particularly if you want to build a nice new set of holiday cottages and there is this grotty old farm steading in the way.

    But, well, building bombs is a dangerous thing. Untrained fanatics building bombs is a very dangerous thing. Especially if they’ve been given access to high grade explosives.

  11. Do wonder about Luke’s conspiracy theory, there. Have come across chemical synthesis instructions for explosives, on odd websites, that would almost certainly achieve detonation in the manufacturing process. One beaut was for a substance that becomes highly unstable on contact with metals, making handling an assembled device like playing Russian Roulette with a fully loaded automatic. But no mention of this interesting property whatsoever.
    One does wonder if one’s looking at a features rather than a bugs, in a Darwinian sense.

  12. “Killing for Britain” by John Black (presumably not his real name) claims one of the most high-profile “own-goals” in a pub was actually a British operation.

  13. I would get an enormous giggle out of that if it were true, Luke.

    But, sadly, I think it generally just was daft bog trotters.

    Most home made explosives are either not very explosive or highly unstable – it takes chemistry at a high level to get stability; chemistry at a low level leads to thinks which can be set off by being dropped, or via a spark (even static electricity) or just deterioration.

  14. I did hear that when the Provos were deploying radio-detonated bombs the Army had Land Rovers fitted with sweep frequency generators. They’d drive around the Bogside until they heard a big bang and then go in to peel the naughty Taigs off the kitchen ceiling where they’d inadvertently laminated themselves.

    As for regular armies in hostile urban territory, I’d take a look at the Russians’ rather exciting experiences in Grozny. A guy with a petrol bomb can kill an MBT if he can get up high enough to drop it near the air intakes for the engines.

  15. and the conventional forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing so so well, aren’t they, dear boys….

  16. Umacf24

    “If Texas wanted to resist a federal army they would need plenty of RPGs, man-carried SAMs and explosives, and gun rights don

  17. Umacf24

    “If Texas wanted to resist a federal army they would need plenty of RPGs, man-carried SAMs and explosives, and gun rights don’t seem to apply to any of those.”

    You will find that firearms are a useful tool in the acquisition of these things.

  18. “Umac, no one is suggesting Texans in foxholes, but Texans walking up behind squaddies with Glocks or taking them out at 200m with AR15s is entirely possible.”

    Given there is no shortage of .50 cal sniper rifles in civilian hands there, that would be 2000m.

  19. @David Moore

    2000 metres is a very good shot for a military sniper, never mind a weekend hunter. Plus it’s only an option from a static position in open country; chances are you would find fire returned quite effectively.

    I imagine most action would be sabotage/assassination or shoot and scoot FIBUA stuff for which a .50 cal eg one of the various Barretts is not a very good tactical option.

    Heavy, plus the round will go through your target and through several of the kids in the school across the street and then out the other side and through a house or two, which might turn locals against you!

  20. By the way, are there loads of .50 cals in civvie hands? It seems a bit hardcore for deer, unless the deer are in light armoured vehicles. Most hunters (I think?) use .30-06, which would be more usable in towns against human targets than .50 cal.

  21. Interested // May 7, 2013 at 6:56 am

    I wouldn’t say *loads*, as a Barret .50 cal is around $8,000 – not including optics and something like $4 per round – but they are available and popular among collectors.

    Except in California where they are banned by name (though other .50 cal firing rifles are not) unless you had one pre-law.

  22. “It seems a bit hardcore for deer, unless the deer are in light armoured vehicles.”

    Well, keep in mind that we don’t have the second amendment to protect hunting.

  23. @Agammamon

    I didn’t know that about Cali and Barrett.

    What a perfect example of bullshit politics, and an excellent cipher for the gun control debate generally (and in fact most wider politics).

    I highly doubt that many Californian or US-wide homicides involve Barretts, or any other long weapon, when compared with handguns. Are there any figures?

    I really, really do hate politicians, and this is a nexus for most of the reasons why.

  24. AFAIK there is no instance of a .50BMG rifle ever being used in the commission of a murder in the US (I seem to remember this came up in a similar discussion on another website a while ago.) Any criminality that attaches to them seems to stem from their illegal possession. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Rifles represent a tiny fraction of murder weapons. 50-cal rifles are very expensive, huge, and only advantageous at extreme range. They’re primarily anti-materiel weapons, and at the ranges at which they needed in order to still pack a lethal punch, the quality of the shooter is much more important than the weapon (that is to say, whereas to kill someone at a mile, a shooter would need a large calibre weapon like 50BMG or .338 Lapua, mere possession of such a weapon is very much a secondary factor in being able to make such a shot. Most people couldn’t hit a target much smaller than an ice cream van beyond 600m or so.)

  25. So Much For Subtlety

    According to Malcolm Sutton-s Index of Deaths from the Conflict in Ireland:[138]
    Of those killed by British security forces:
    187 (51.5%) were civilians
    145 (39.9%) were members of republican paramilitaries
    18 (4.9%) were members of loyalist paramilitaries
    13 (3.5%) were fellow members of the British security forces
    Of those killed by republican paramilitaries:
    1080 (52%) were members of the British security forces
    728 (35%) were civilians
    187 (9%) were members of republican paramilitaries
    56 (2.7%) were members of loyalist paramilitaries
    10 (0.4%) were members of the Irish security forces
    Of those killed by loyalist paramilitaries:
    868 (85.4%) were civilians
    93 (9%) were members of loyalist paramilitaries
    41 (4%) were members of republican paramilitaries
    14 (1.3%) were members of the British security forces

  26. So Much For Subtlety

    Interested – “I imagine most action would be sabotage/assassination or shoot and scoot FIBUA stuff for which a .50 cal eg one of the various Barretts is not a very good tactical option.”

    The PIRA was supposed to have had a unit use one. The point being that they were in the Republic of Ireland and shot at Squaddies patrolling the border. Limits the return of fire.

    “Heavy, plus the round will go through your target and through several of the kids in the school across the street and then out the other side and through a house or two, which might turn locals against you!”

    Might. Or not. Plus in the Northern Ireland countryside there was probably not that many children running around.

  27. @SMFS – PIRA had at least two, which were recovered.

    But Armagh in an insurgency is nothing like Texas in a civil war.

    If you think people would put up with their kids being shot (which would happen as soon as you start firing .50cal rounds into towns) you’re a bigger idiot than I thought, and I already thought you were a pretty big idiot.

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