Politics and Technology.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Meh, I dunno. Why'd you ask me?

So I saw a report on mycentraljersey.com about a couple of alleged stick-up men who were charged with possesion of an assault rifle. The picture in the article shows an AR-15 type of rifle, and helpfully labels it as a Colt. The problem is that it seems to look like any ol' AR-15 you can pick up in a gun shop in Jersey.

The article quotes the police as saying the rifle had two out of 5 characteristics that make it an assault weapon. So I was curious to see what that meant. A look at the State Police Firearms Information page states the following.

"Because the New Jersey State Police is not authorized to provide legal advice to private parties, you may wish to consult with independent legal counsel or conduct your own research."

It makes a reference to the office of the New Jersey State Attorney General as the source of "the" guidelines. So I went to the StAG site, and saw this.

Law enforcement officers should, whenever possible, attempt to be helpful and to respond to inquiries concerning particular firearms. Private citizens should also be encouraged to consult with their own attorneys and, where necessary, referred to the Firearms Unit of the Division of State Police.

Granted, the 5 characteristics of what the Executive Branch has decided makes a rifle "substantially identical" to an assault weapon are provided by the StAG, but it bugs me to see one state office point to another, who in turn merely shrugs its shoulders.

For reference, the StAG says the following about what makes a rifle "substantially identical" to an assault weapon.

A. semi-automatic rifle that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has at least 2 of the following:
a folding or telescoping stock;
a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon;
a bayonet mount;
a flash suppressor or threaded barrel designed to accommodate a flash suppressor; and
a grenade launcher;

If I had to guess looking at the photo, these knuckleheads had a long pistol grip and a flash suppressor.