Sunday, January 4, 2009

Max Range

I don’t think the line of logic in this opinion piece about the proposed animal murder law in the Sun is particularly good:

You see, in addition to arbitrarily doubling the safety zone (more about that later), the proposal also would prohibit anyone from firing a gun "in the direction of any dwelling, house, residence or other building or camp designed for occupation by human beings which is within the maximum range of the gun being discharged."

Verbosity and grammatical error aside, there's the little matter of the last seven words. I'll repeat them: "maximum range of the gun being discharged."

Maximum range is as unknowable as the number of bubbles in a Coke.

What size Coke? Cold or warm? Diet or regular?

It's the same thing with shotguns, a fact that apparently escaped the Howard County lawyer who drafted the bill.

I don’t think that this fact escaped the writers of the bill at all. In fact, this is probably exactly why the bill was written as it is. If you could determine down to the inch the maximum range of any potential shot, then the bill would probably be written as such. But because the range of different firearms can vary (although probably within a tight standard deviation from the mean), the burden of being a safe distance away from sensitive areas is left in the hands of the animal murderer. Who has the best incentive to keep the public safe? Some bureaucrat who has never been in the woods in his or her life, or an animal murderer with some knowledge of firearms and who is legally liable for damages? Although you cannot know a maximum range down to the inch, you can know a safe distance. The evidence seems to support this, as animal murdering accidents such as the one that gave rise this "shock doctrine" legislation is very rare.

All this talk about types of shotgun ammo/ranges has caused me to re-examine what I am using in my home defense shotgun. I have upgraded to 00 Buck (pronounced "double ought buck" for all you Columbians). This is the type of shot recommended for deer and bear, so I think it will work nicely on an intruder. It is not legal to use on deer in Ho Co, because you must use a slug.