Repeating Falsehoods About Firearms Is Not Helpful

It’s impossible to have a productive conversation with people that reject even the simplest of facts.

The U.S. Department of Justice concluded, in 2004, that the assault weapons ban had little or no impact on crime.

The Columbine shooting happened in 1999 while the ban was in place.

The AR-15 (and similar rifles) is not particularly powerful.  It fires a cartridge that was essentially designed for hunting varmints and predators.  It is not new; it’s been available on the civilian market for over 50 years.  My readers may be surprised to hear this, but I don’t own one.  I hunt and target shoot primarily.  The AR-15 is too under powered to hunt with, in fact, it’s illegal to hunt anything but small game with it in my state.  It is not particularly accurate, and it has a rather limited effective range for my purposes.  Some may argue that I’ve made the point with the above statements that we don’t “need” AR-15s.  I don’t have a need for one.  I also don’t drink scotch but that doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.

A 12ga pump shotgun with a six round magazine will send 54 lead balls (00 buckshot) downrange in a matter of seconds.  The standard magazine capacity of the AR-15 is 20.

The military use of a given firearm is not particularly relevant.  The military uses rifles which are some variant of the original M16, this is true.  The military also uses shotguns, bolt action rifles, and semi-automatic handguns.

The AR-15 has been on the market for over 50 years, but the technology to build a semi or fully automatic rifle is over 100 years old.  Thompson started producing the infamous “Tommy gun” in about 1921, the Browning BAR entered service in 1918.  The current hyperventilating over “ghost guns” and 3D printed guns is evidence that they really aren’t all that hard to build.  A ban is not at all likely to make them unavailable (except of course to law abiding citizens).

TIME lays out some numbers on mass shootings since 1982 here.  I plugged the data from that article into this chart.

(There is no explanation in the Time article for the missing years in the data.)

The drastic increase in mass shootings is relatively new.  The Justice Department report noted and linked herein was from 2004.  None of this correlates with the 1994 assault weapons ban for a very simple reason, rifles of all kinds are used in about 2% of murders.  Apart from the 1994 – 2004 ban on certain rifles, availability has not changed much since the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968.  Maybe the relevant question to ask is “what has changed?”  Most mass shootings are carried out with handguns.  Most mass shootings occur in big cities which are under the control of Democrats.  Most mass shootings are carried out by people with a violent past and/or a criminal record (including past firearms violations) – and are still on the streets.

Joe Biden said yesterday (6/2/2022) that we need to eliminate straw purchases.  Straw purchases have been illegal for decades, and it is the responsibility of the folks working for Joe to enforce the law.  Why haven’t they?  When an illegal purchase is made by a prohibited person, why does the federal government make no effort to recover the firearm?  The federal government is not enforcing existing laws, but somehow we are supposed to believe that another law (or 10) will stop mass shootings.

The constant repetition of false claims is beyond tedious.

“The Second Amendment doesn’t guarantee an individual right to own a firearm.”  False, see Heller.

“The notion that the Second Amendment protected an individual right is a fairly new interpretation created by the NRA and was not widely held prior to Heller.” False, the mainstream interpretation has always been an individual right.

“Assault weapons are far too powerful to be in civilian hands.”  False – they are less powerful than most hunting rifles.

“The volume of fire that assault weapons are capable of makes them extraordinarily dangerous.”  False – the rate of fire is the same for all semi-automatic firearms including handguns.  Almost any semi-automatic firearm that uses a detachable box magazine can be fitted with magazines larger than standard capacity.

“The firearms industry is the only industry immune from product liability.”  False.  Firearms manufacturers are liable if their product malfunctions and causes harm.  They are not liable for the intentional misuse of their products, just as GM is not held liable if one of their cars is intentionally misused.

“Republicans are owned by the NRA and its money.”  False.  The NRA is far down on the list of major political contributors.  If the NRA didn’t exist, Republicans might have to replace about 5% of the contributions they receive.  Conservative politicians don’t fear the NRA, they fear voters.

And the “solutions” offered are ridiculous.

Defund the police.

Restrict access to firearms by law abiding citizens.

Refuse to enforce existing firearms laws.

Reject the idea of hardening schools.

Refuse to acknowledge that criminals, by definition, do not obey laws.

And in every case, place the blame on anyone and anything except the shooter.

To sum up, endlessly repeat falsehoods, and reject common sense.  Sounds like the makings of a hell of a productive conversation to me.  While we’re at it, keep screeching about how conservatives care more about guns than children, that’s helpful too.

It’s apparently too much to ask that we agree on some basic facts.  First among those should be, in my opinion, that these events are driven by many factors.  Thankfully, the lone nut 18 year old school shooter is rare.  The things we can do to address those cases are different from the proper response to the majority of cases.  Some of these are some sort of workplace revenge.  Many are driven by the drug trade.  Many are gang related.

Tom at Rucksack Radio just posted an excellent piece on school safety.  Please read it.  I can’t see how any reasonable person could argue against what he proposes.

I can’t see the argument against prosecuting straw purchasers.  I can’t see the argument against enforcing firearms laws such as illegal possession.  I can’t see the argument against taking violent criminals off the streets.  Could it be that prosecuting straw purchasers would involve sympathetic defendants such as wives and girlfriends?  Could it be that prosecuting illegal possession would frequently involve defendants that are black or brown?  Could it be that “social justice” is more important than saving lives? Hey – just asking.

You want to ban semi-automatic rifles?  You want to ban all firearms?  You want law-abiding citizens disarmed?  Fine – say so plainly then.  But don’t expect to be taken seriously when you attempt to back up your position with falsehoods – that’s getting really old.


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