Leave Black Powder Alone!

And any other gunpowder for that matter, but I’ll focus on black powder in this post as it is more topical. There are accusations that the Boston Bombers this past month used black powder as the charge in at least one of the bombs they used to kill several persons and injure well over 100. Whether this is true or not or what sort of charge was used is entirely irrelevant. I cover this fallacy in my “Dishonest Distinctions” post. However, it exists and I want to talk about this whole thing anyway.

Black powder is distinct from smokeless powders in a lot of ways but a big point is that smokeless powder is a propellant that burns relatively slowly. It acts kind of like an explosive only when observed at the non-molecular level and only if it is contained within a pressure vessel (such as the locked breech of a firearm or a safe, but not a car!). Black powder is an explosive in its own right. Partly due to metallurgy and design but also due to this fact, the period muzzle-loading firearm breech was pretty hefty in order to better contain the explosion. The difference expressed in chemistry terminology is much more precise and unnecessary for our purposes, but if anyone would like to give that a shot in the comments, it’d be pretty cool.

Moving forward, an uninformed person inclined to be easily frightened would conclude that black powder, therefore, is more “dangerous”. Further, they might conclude that since modern firearms and ammunition use smokeless powder, black powder is no longer “needed” and therefore serves no purpose. They might further conclude that this being the case, black powder must therefore be banned and destroyed.

Let’s fix this.

Even without getting into the efficacy or rather inefficacy of bans in general, the idea that black powder is some sort of evil, more dangerous thing than anything you got under the kitchen sink or in the garden is some grade A bull. The OKC Bomber used fertilizer and diesel fuel, among other things. Remember the recent Texas fertilizer plant explosion? Various forms of ammonia, likely not too many steps away from the cleaners we regularly use. What does black powder do by itself? The same as any of those other items: Jack squat. It requires heat in order to release the potential energy within and I don’t mean ambient heat of 150F. You gotta ignite it somehow.

Why not ban fire, or electricity, or embers and sparks (or pressure cookers)? If it’s hot enough to ignite black powder, it is hot enough to burn your house down. Fire (flame or electrical) has historically and even today been horrifically devastating in the destruction of property, nature, and lives just by itself! Remember that black powder needs to be ignited before it does anything so that already gives it a “leg up” in the safety department. Fire has also been extremely effective as a weapon, before the invention of explosives and after as well. The history of human warfare is long indeed…

Do you object? Because you use fire and heat to cook your food? To keep you warm? To help you see? Because everything you own runs on electricity? This is what I hear: “Don’t ban that stuff because I need that!” Yeah, I bet you do. You know what? So do I.

Everyone jumps on the “ban” wagon when it’s something they don’t personally use that’s under attack. The reason is two-fold. It doesn’t directly affect you, and you don’t know a damn thing about it. It’s like that with firearms for a lot of people and it’s like that with black powder. You can’t speak of crimes committed with black powder firearms because they’re practically non-existent. When’s the last time you heard of an incident like that, even in a media environment that relishes every death as more fuel for their cause?

Of course, it will never stop at background checks and it won’t stop at black powder. Like the mandates in Canada,  if gun-grabbers had their way, sellers wouldn’t be able to store enough at one time to meet demand. How long is it until ammunition companies can’t produce the amount of ammunition to meet demand because they wouldn’t be able to store the powder for efficient manufacturing? And then how long until reloaders can’t buy or store enough powder to assemble their own?

Today, the demand for ammunition is totally unprecedented. Ammo manufacturers already cannot hope to keep up with demand, even without the more restrictive gunpowder control laws. More shooters are turning to reloading their own ammunition and buying their own powder simply because they can’t get any of the more common rounds. More shooters are getting into black powder and sometimes it’s all they got. Introduction of foot-in-the-door legislation to control this is akin to killing the industry when it’s most over-extended and struggling just to meet demand, much less help us to fight against it. And that is what gun-grabbers are going for. It all comes full circle.

Not to mention, they keep saying that we should return to the unrifled muskets of the 18th century… Can’t do that without black powder, can we?



~ by demonhide on May 14, 2013.

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