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February 11, 2019

I’ve resisted the urge to comment on the asinine law (I-1639) passed recently in the great state of Washington, for a couple of reasons. First, since I live in Texas, it doesn’t really apply to me. Second, it was clear it was going to be subject to immediate lawsuits. Still, at least one part of it is worth comment, even at this relatively late date. To wit, the definition the law uses for “assault rifle.”

“Any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge. “Semiautomatic assault rifle” does not include antique firearms, any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable, or any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action.”

Many years ago, on a very special Christmas, I received my very first “real” gun. It was a Marlin Model 60, much like the one shown here.


Over the years I used it for hunting rabbits and squirrels and for plinking. It brought a snot-nosed kid from North Carolina more hours of joy than anything else I have ever owned. “Okay, but what’s the point,” you ask. Simply this.

The rifle you see in the picture has now, through the magic of a specious and overly broad definition, achieved the status of being an “assault rifle,” at least in the state of Washington. Is it annoying? Yes. Irritating? Of course. It has also led to some amusement on my part. Consider, if you will, the following: Marlin has manufactured something in excess of 11 million of these beloved rifles. Ruger has produced over 5 million of its famous 10/22. Other manufacturers, including Browning, Remington and Savage, have also produced a lot of rifles. I am told there are multiple billions of .22 LR rounds manufactured every year. It is these things that lead me to chuckle. Think of it. Untold millions of suddenly assault rifles…in millions of hands…unregistered…locations unknown…billions of rounds of ammunition…all “somewhere out there” with many of them being fired every day of the week. It is, I suspect, enough to induce a case of the vapors sufficient to produce uncontrollable pearl clutching on the part of some gun control advocates. That can only be a good thing.

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