The 7.62 x 39 round is smaller in diameter, but the bullet has more mass and much more powder behind it making it much more menacing that the 9mm round. None-the-less, your comparison of the civilian AK-47 to other, every day hunting rifles is spot-on! The only major difference to that comparison is the use of a 30 round magazine (or greater) with the AK vs. 3 to 7 rounds in a hunting rifle. Other than that, no difference. The high capacity magazine and the more compact size of the AK makes it desirable to the the drug-thuggs and gangsta wanna-bees.
The real problem is, anything can be used as a weapon. You can kill with a pencil. As you noted, inciting hysteria over the use of a firearm is unwarranted. It is the people that use them you have to be concerned with. As long as the judges continue to allow violent criminals to walk among us, they will do whatever thay can to steal, rob, rape and pillage from the everyday citizen. This is why more and more law abiding citizens are getting qualified and licensed for their concealed carry permits. Things are changing in this world, we have to as well!
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