Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crotchety Old Neighbor and HIS Machine Gun.

Well, there is a possible machine gun shoot coming up on the 7th, and my gunstore guy said he’d be sure to tote along an M3 Greasegun. Archie, the Crotchety WWII veteran neighbor I look in on, had been telling me he’d love to get a chance to get his hands on the GM Guide Lamp Division Submachineguns, and play with it one last time, so I’d thought I’d do him a treat and haul his crust butt to the range to shoot it.

He wasn’t as thrilled as I thought.

During the big war, Archie was in the Navy, delivering Marines to the beaches. While the Marines were at chow, they often left their Greasegun on their bunk. It was here that Archie familiarized himself. That and through Marines he was sorta buddies with.

Archie isn’t a gun guy, so shooting is no particular pleasure. And his years in a body shop has given him wicked tinnitus, and loud noises are particular bothersome to him even with lots of hearing protection. So he begged off the happy expedition. Ah well.

But he wouldn’t be remiss going to a gunstore to examine a Greasegun there. Well, heck, THAT’s easy. I’ll get that lined up. It’s a 5 minute drive instead of an hour, too. This should be fun.

All this talk about machine guns with Archie did reveal an interesting misconception. He assumes there are LOTS of machineguns out there on the streets, routinely used in crimes. I tried to explain that since 1986 and the Hughes Amendment, that the price on machineguns has skyrocketed, making them a bit too dear to just get tossed around and accessible for criminals. He countered with talking about news reports where criminal use AK-47s. He knows those are machine guns! I explained that that pattern of rifle LOOKS just like an AK-47, but isn’t a proper AK as it doesn’t actually have a full auto ‘switch’ on it. It can only fire one round at a time. He countered AGAIN citing a series of articles in the Washington Post this week. The articles are about how some gunstores sell guns that end up in crimes at a more prevalent rate than other gunstores. But HE cited how someone shot somebody 33 times. So THAT had to be a machine gun. I checked the article closely. Yes, it was 33 shots fired, but out of a Glock 17 with an extended magazine. NOT a full auto Glock 18.

I insisted that actual machineguns are not used in crime anymore. You don't need them. If Capone were alive today and sending out hit men to a 2010 version of the St. Valentines Day Massacre, they wouldn't use, or even need, a machine gun or guns. They are just rare. When an actual machine gun get's used in a shooting it makes bigger news. I can think of the North Hollywood bank robbery in 1997, Waco in 1993, maybe, The SLA stuff in the 1970s. There aren't that many instances. It rare enough to be a special event and notices, a machine gun deployed by bad guys.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe he is right. Maybe all those reports of AKs in the news are machine guns that bad guys got their hands on. Or other machine guns, beside AKs, as we know that the media has trouble accurately identifying weapons. And the news reports aren’t properly reporting the facts by saying something like, “the shooter used an AK-47, and NOT the semi-automatic variety so popular with gun enthusiasts, but an ACTUAL select fire weapon.”

Does anyone remember an actual confirmed machine gun used in a crime inside the US in the past 10 years or so? Not an ‘assault weapon’ but a real select fire weapon made to be a select fire weapon?


Me said...

There have only been one--maybe two--way back in the 1980's. Most criminals aren't too keen on walking into the local police department to have a background check done and get their fingerprints taken just so that they can be undeniably linked to a particular weapon for the rest of their lives.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Presumably criminal could have stolen their machine guns or illegally modified a semi-auto.

That's a thing non-gunnies routinely presume. That just about anyone with an instruction book and a file can make a safe (to the shooter) reliable machinegun with 5 minutes of modification. I've noticed it tends to be a bit more complicated than that.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Not to my knowledge, unless you count stray bullets coming over the Mexican Border. And if I remember, the SLA just used regular M1 Carbines and screwed with the sears. The guns used in Northridge were actually smuggled FROM Mexico because the thugs couldn't get full auto. Hope this helps.

Frozen said...

If you know the platform and have the naughty bits for an AK (naughty bits are NOT constructive intent since you must modify the receiver to put them in), you can turn a semi-auto AK in to "regular" select fire in the span of 15 or so minutes with nothing more fancy than a drill press and a dremel.

You simply need to drill the "naughty" hole in the receiver (templates are available online) that is 5mm on the right side of the receiver and 7mm on the left. This is the hole for the pin that holds the safety sear (the actual auto-sear is on the disconnector, but you won't have reliable full auto without the safety sear) and then remove part of the left hand rail so the safety sear clears and can be tripped by the bolt carrier.

I thought one of the north hollywood weapons was an AK modified in such a way or was built off a flat and modified...but I could be wrong.

Old NFO said...

NJT- here is actually a pretty good recap of the guns used in the NH shootout..