As I noted a couple days ago, Ruger just introduced a new rifle, the SR-22.
The SR-22 is simple. It’s essentially a Ruger 10/22 with the wood stock removed and black plastic stuff attached to it.
Pictures would help.
The rifle pictured above is your new Ruger SR-22 semi-automatic rifle. Chambered in .22 LR. Note the black plastic.
Let’s look at the text of the 1994 US Federal Assault Weapons ban. According to that, what makes something an “assault weapon”?
- The action is semi-automatic. So, a 100+ year old technology, using physics to increase efficiency.
- Must be able to accept detachable magazines.
- Must have two or more of the following:
- Folding or telescoping stock
- Pistol grip
- Bayonet mount
- Flash suppressor (or threaded barrel designed to accomodate one)
- Grenade launcher
Let’s look at the Ruger rifle here:
- Semi-automatic. Check.
- Accept detachable magazines. Check.
- Has telescoping stock. Sorta-check.
- Has pistol grip. Sorta-check.
Why sorta-check? Well, which rifle am I talking about? The 10/22 or the SR-22? The 10-22 — by definition — is not an assault weapon. The SR-22 — by definition — is an assault weapon.
Go back and refer to the pictures again. What’s different? Furniture. The 10/22 has wood in a “traditional” stock, the SR-22 has black plastic in a “modern” or “military” looking stock (let’s ignore how military stocks once looked rather “traditional”). That change in cosmetics scares some people. But the reality is:
The guns are the same.
In all ways that truly matter, the guns are the same. They use the same cartridge (bullet). They have the same action. Same triggers. Same mechanical safeties. Same barrel. Same just about everything that matters. The only thing that’s different is the ergonomic features: plastic can be fashioned to be lighter than wood, pistol grips put your wrists at more natural positions (darn that carpel tunnel syndrome), telescoping stocks help adjust the rifle to better fit people of different statures and arm lengths.
So really, the notion of “assault weapons” is really little more than ignorance. Banning something based upon how it looks… you know, like the color of your skin.
I’ve written about this before, in fact using the Ruger 10/22 as example. The twist here? I wonder if the SR-22 could become a political symbol. I’m sure Ruger’s primary motive was jumping on the “ammo’s expensive, .22 LR is relatively cheap, let’s make AR-style rifles in .22 LR so people can inexpensively practice” bandwagon. But given Ruger’s rocky political past and how they’ve been working to change that (e.g. the SR-556, and how it ships with 30-round magazines), you can’t help but wonder if the SR-22 could become a political symbol should unwise politicians attempt another round of anti-gun legislation.