July 28, 2009

The Guns of the Terrorists Next Door

As you may know, seven men in Willow Springs, NC have been detained on terrorism charges, and an eighth man is still at large.

It's a bit shocking that Islamic terrorists could be hiding in plain sight in a small Southerner town, but that appears to be exactly the case.

And for such a small cell of just eight men, they seemed to be working on a sizable cache of weaponry according to the indictment, including 8 intermediate-caliber semi-automatic rifles, 2 battle rifles, a bolt-action rifle, and a revolver.

I've categorized them by name, type, and date purchased below:

WeaponTypeDate Purchased
Bushmaster M4A3AR-type semi-automatic rifleNov. 9 2006
Ruger Mini-14Semi-automatic rifleMar. 13, 2007
Mossberg 100 ATRBolt-action rifleNov. 3, 2008
Llama Comanche III.357 RevolverNov. 3, 2008
Century Arms AK SporterAK-type semi-automatic rifleNov. 6, 2008
Ruger Mini-30Semi-automatic rifleNov. 11, 2008
Saiga .308Battle Rifle, Semi-automaticFeb. 11, 2009
Century Arms Polish TantalAK-type semi-automatic rifleMar. 2, 2009
Century Arms C91Battle Rifle, Semi-automaticMar. 31, 2009
Century Arms M70B1AK-type semi-automatic rifleApr. 3, 2009
Ruger Mini-14Semi-automatic rifleApr. 3, 2009
S&W M&P15AR-type semi-automatic rifleApr. 3, 2009

The M70B1, which was not linked, is just another run-of-the-mill fixed-stock AK-style rifle.

You may note that the AR- and AK style rifles are what our politicians have labeled "assault weapons," even though they are not assault rifles by any military definition. Prohibitionists may be quick to point out that the AK- and AR- rifles were some of those banned under the Joe Biden-authored abortion known as the 1994 Assault Weapons ban. This is the same ineffective law that our President and Attorney General would like to have reinstated.

The Saiga 308 purchased by Boyd is built upon the exact same AK action, fires a cartridge with the same rate of fire and having both far more range and power.

The two Ruger Mini-14s and Ruger Mini-30 in this arsenal use the same cartridges and have the same range and rate of fire as the AK- and AR- pattern rifles, and they were never subject in any way to restrictions of the so-called "ban."

Nearly identical relatives of the Bushmaster M4 A3 rifle were available during the entire life of the so-called ban, and that if the Smith & Wesson M&P had been around at the time, a variant of it, too, would have likely been legal for civilian sale.

If Boyd had been interested in the other AK-pattern rifles that he amassed he could have purchased those during the ban as well, though he would have paid a premium for them. While illegal to import, the thousands already in circulation were entirely legal to buy and sell.

Tell me again how gun control "works"...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at July 28, 2009 05:05 PM

I'd have to see more evidence personally before I believe these guys were any more than deluded fantasists and wannabes. Hell, if they were that determined to harm America they could have walked into any crowded suburban mall and cut loose with that impressive arsenal. I sure would not take the word of the US Justice Dept.

Posted by: Dr. Feelgood at July 28, 2009 09:14 PM

For 8 men that are supposedly serious about it that collection's a bit weak -- even compared to my (not unusual) casual collection of hunting arms and milsurps.

Posted by: dw at July 28, 2009 10:36 PM

I wondered if the jihadists would try a Mumbai-style attack in the USA. I don't think they (the jihadists) could coordinate such an attack in the USA, but possibly these wannabees were thinking along those lines.

Certainly some of our cities have succeeded in banning personal firearms--cited as one of the reasons for success in Mumbai for the jihadists.

Posted by: iconoclast at July 29, 2009 02:26 AM

For about two weeks after 9/11 I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Had I been in charge of planning I would have placed sleeper cells throughout the US with orders to space out their attacks. A shopping mall in Cleveland, a school in Sacramento, the DMV in Tampa... seemingly random targets intended to maximize panic and uncertainty, carried out by autonomous cells with no contact or knowledge of each other, separated enough that they would not interfere.

Eventually I concluded that al Qaida had used up their first string on 9/11 and just didn't have the resources for a follow up. I also concluded that for all their cleverness these people are irredeemiably stupid and wedded to largely symbolic gestures. Long range planning, strategic thinking, a realistic appreciation of your opponent's strengths and weaknesses - they don't got it. The mass murdering equivalent of a drive-by, accompanied by street dancing and ululating, and they call it a smashing victory.

If we ever see a Mumbai style attack it will likely be the result of a free lance cell, with no official AQ ties - much as these bozos appear to be. What they seem to have lacked was the will to die for Allah. I guess it doesn't look as appealing from within the US as it does from some goat herd in the wastes of Lower Wazootistan.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at July 29, 2009 05:07 AM

I have always considered the Mini 14 to be an assault rifle, as it was so effectively used by the A Team... though I suppose the guns never did any actual harm- perhaps it's not an assault rifle after all

Posted by: at July 29, 2009 07:28 AM

I'm mildly surprised that they didn't try to standardize the arsenal a little bit more. It looks like the guns mostly fire either 5.56 or 7.39 ammo, though, and standardizing parts might not have been an issue if they weren't expecting to have to repair them, like an army would, so maybe I shouldn't have been surprised. I wonder if the Mossberg bolt-action was the designated sniper rifle...

Posted by: Grey Fox at July 29, 2009 10:11 AM

What pray tell is a battle rifle and how does it differentiate between any other semi-auto rifle?

Posted by: Federale at July 29, 2009 12:08 PM

Definition of a battle rifle.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 29, 2009 12:29 PM

Technically AKs are battle rifles but so is my M-1 Garand and '03a3 (which is bolt action).

CY - I'm not sure I really agree with your "sizable cache of weaponry", for 8 people thats not that many rifles. Hell, I have more then that myself, no POS AR or AK clones though.

Posted by: Vivictius at July 29, 2009 12:39 PM

No way in Hell is a standard AK a battle rifle.

By definition, a battle rifle fires a full-power cartridge, and the AK fires--rather inaccurately--the intermediate 7.62x39, or in more modern variants, the intermediate 5.45x39.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at July 29, 2009 12:44 PM

"I have always considered the Mini 14 to be an assault rifle"

To be a real assault rifle it must fire a round intermediate to a pistol round and a full powered round, and must be select fire.

I have to admit, I have not read much on these guys. But if you walk into my home right now you will find five times that they found with these guys.

Posted by: Matt at July 29, 2009 04:45 PM

I know it's exiting for NYT to make stuff up out of thin air, but perhaps being accurate and boring like CY isn't such a bad thing.

Posted by: brando at July 29, 2009 07:20 PM

"Tell me again how gun control 'works'..."

Can we not use the same reasoning to say that enforcement of laws against heroin use, murder, and traffic violations are not "working," and therefore those laws should be eliminated?

Posted by: Doc Washboard at July 29, 2009 10:09 PM


Not really, since the proper analogy would be laws that made one color of heroin legal while making another color illegal.

Posted by: iconoclast at July 30, 2009 02:14 AM

Golly Doc, I was not aware that murder and traffic violations were Constitutionally protected rights. Where did you learn that, in one of Professor Obama's Constitutional Law courses?

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at July 30, 2009 05:06 AM

Well, Steve, since Constitutionality was not the focus of Bob's comment, but, rather, the efficacy of enforcement, your whip-smart sarcasm was all for naught. Please try to keep up.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at July 30, 2009 08:29 AM

Ah, Doc, so the Constitutionality of an activity is not relevant to efforts to prohibit it? You must not have gotten to that bit about "shall not be infringed." But don't sweat it, neither apparently has Professor Obama.

Sorry if I wandered off topic, distracted by your equating basic civil rights with criminal activity. Such nuance is obviously beyond me.

Are your goalposts self propelled, or do you have to move them yourslef?

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at July 30, 2009 10:37 AM

Again, since you seem to have some reading comprehension difficulties (this time with emphasis to increase your chances of understanding):

Well, Steve, since Constitutionality was not the focus of Bob's comment, but, rather, the efficacy of enforcement, your whip-smart sarcasm was all for naught. Please try to keep up.

I'm responding to what Bob actually wrote, Steve. You're responding to what you wish I'd written.

Posted by: Doc Washboard at July 30, 2009 11:15 AM

Get rid of all laws about heroin use, murder, and traffic violations?!


That's a really bad idea.

Posted by: brando at July 30, 2009 12:02 PM
Get rid of all laws about heroin use, murder, and traffic violations?!


That's a really bad idea.

But if enforcement of those laws isn't eliminating all violations...

Tell me again how laws against murder "work"...

Posted by: Doc Washboard at July 30, 2009 04:08 PM

If you actually believe that we should murder shouldn't be illegal, then.....jeez.


I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree.

I won't even try to talk you out of it, because if you're willing to say that, you probably won't change your mind.

But it's totally quotable, and a good frame of reference for future comments you make.

Wow. You made my day.

Posted by: brando at July 30, 2009 06:08 PM