One argument I have heard from proponents of gun control is that ‘we should ban things made after xxxx year.’
Usually, it is a year post WWII but before the ‘scary black rifles’ were invented. Usually, these people also think it would ban modern inventions, like machine guns and semi-automatic rifles.
Let’s say any new firearm design made after 1950 was made illegal, but any design basis that had existed prior to 1950 could be improved, just no radical new ideas invented.
Well, direct gas impingement would still exist, as it was first used in the French ENT 1901 Rossignol B1 rifle. But DI gas systems are small fry, how about whole firearms?
Well, the first known bullpup is the Thorneycroft carbine, made in 1901. Shorter than the current Lee-Enfield rifles, and also weighed 10% less. So bullpup weapons would still exist, since they aren’t new by many standards.
Machine guns might get banned, except machine guns existed all the way back to 1884 with the Maxim gun. So a completely self powered machine gun (where you simply hold a trigger and it fires until it is out of ammo) would still exist.
Even if they extended the ban back to 1880, machine guns would arguably still get to be legal, since their first ancestor was the Puckle gun made in 1718. In 1777, there was the Belton gun, from Joseph Belton which would fire 20 shots in five seconds automatically and was cartridge loaded. I think the founding fathers may have imagined a machine gun, since they would have been alive to see one of the very first automatic weapons.
Maybe it’s those repeating rifles that are a danger. The first multi-shot rifle that I know of usually fired only one shot per trigger pull (and had only one barrel) was the superimposed load gun made by H.W. Mortimer of London, 1800. Each load was ignited separately by a touch hole as the lock of the muzzleloader moved to the rear of the gun. So even repeaters aren’t new by any regular standard.
Even air guns aren’t new. The Giradoni Air Rifle has to be the most famous air rifle, being the only air rifle to have seem combat. Commonly used by the sharpshooters, it had great accuracy for the time, low noise, and a 22 round magazine. It served in the Austrian army from 1780 to 1815. Did I mention that Lewis and Clark used one on their expedition?
Of course, even with a total ban on firearms, other very effective weapons woudl exist. Arrows can be more dangerous than a bullet, and a bow like the heaviest Turkish war bows could propel an arrow 845.5 meters. or in other words, almost a thousand yards.
But archery takes weeks to get any sort of skill, and month of training to work your way up to a full power war bow. The very old saying is ‘if you want to train a great archer, start with his grandfather.’ And by very old I mean prior to 1200ce, as this saying is itself older then Feudalism.
Maybe there are other, easier things to learn. How about a sling? You see them in movies, where the child is about to set out on a journey and they get handed a sling, which they throw away almost as soon as they get a sword. Sure, we idolize the sword (despite the fact that it was the sidearm of its day) but many other effective weapons existed as well. A skilled sling user can send the sling bullet out to a bit over a quarter mile away, and can usually accurately hit small rapidly moving targets with it. Not at a quarter mile away, but at still impressive ranges.
China had invented a crossbow that all you do is pull a lever back to fire a bolt, and simply repeat that for each additional bolt. Yup, China invented the semi automatic crossbow-in the fourth century B.C.E. It could fire 10 bolts in 15 seconds before it needed to be reloaded. The bolts were also commonly coated in fast-acting poison, so people using it fought in small teams to reduce the danger, and it even allowed someone to back away while firing their weapon at advancing troops. The repeating crossbow was in use in the early 20th century as an anti-burgler device.
Congratulations, repeating crossbow, on being the longest continually used mechanical device in the world.
Time to end this here, seeing as it turned into a history lesson.