Let’s get right to the meat of the matter. What are “assault weapons?” They are semi-automatic rifles, meaning one round is fired per trigger pull, and they use a detachable magazine. Usually, an “assault rifle” features a black synthetic stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount and a flash suppressor. Among the most popular are the ARs. Again, they are semi-automatic only, and should not be confused with the fully automatic military version.
While these weapons may look menacing, they are not. Most ARs are chambered in 5.56 NATO (223 Remington), which is used in the hunting world as a varmint round, and is considered by most to be inadequate for deer-sized game. The most popular load is a 55 grain .22-caliber bullet.
ARs are less deadly than most common hunting rifles, which use much larger and heavier bullets. They are not high-powered weaponry like a 30-06 or 300 Win Mag. Interestingly, “assault rifle” is a moniker bestowed upon these guns by the media, but they are simply semi-automatic rifles, no more dangerous or deadly than their walnut stocked, deeply blued brethren.
You will never see this reported by the mainstream media, but according to the FBI in 2011, there were 12,644 total murders in the United States. Of the 12,644 murders, only 323 were by rifle. That’s right, just 323 people were murdered by a rifle in 2011, and they were not all “assault rifles.” The FBI doesn’t keep statistics on which types of rifles were used, but I’m sure lever action, bolt action, and 22 rimfire rifles accounted for many of them.
Therefore, how many people were actually murdered by a so-called “assault rifles?” Apparently, the answer is very few. Hence, if you really want to do something about violence and murder and if you really care about our children, your time and efforts can be better spent.
Many years ago, after a tragic shooting, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA commented that certain politicians relish in these tragedies to push their anti-gun agenda. He was hammered by the Democratic Party and the mainstream media, but was LaPierre right?
It is hard to believe, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo now openly considers confiscation of our firearms. I don’t know who you think you are, Governor, but we are not your subjects. We are free men and women. If you want our guns, try taking them. There will be a fight.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the Journal News of Westchester County published the names and addresses of law-abiding pistol permit holders in downstate counties. Now, thanks to that newspaper, criminals and inmates know the home addresses of police and prison guards. Why in the world would the newspaper do this?
On the national scene, it seems as though the blood of Sandy Hook Elementary hadn’t had time to dry, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said, “On the first day of the new Congress, I intend to introduce a bill stopping the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of assault weapons as well as large ammunition magazines, strips and drums that hold more than 10 rounds.”
As with the previous Assault Weapons Ban from 1994-2004, the new proposed ban will also do nothing. Murders with firearms have been declining for over 25 years. That’s right! Murder rates have been declining before, during, and after the Assault Weapons Ban, and in fact, the ban had no effect at all on that steady decline.
Generally, “assault rifles” are not even used in these tragic shootings. For example, in the Paducah, Fort Hood, Columbine and Virginia Tech mass killings, the murderers used 12 gauge shotguns, explosive devices, a Hi-Point 9mm carbine, a Ruger, an Intratec, a Glock, an FN, and a Walther handgun. No “assault rifles” were used.
So, why all the fuss? Why are the politicians and media “experts” so focused on these rifles when they have so little to do with crime and killing? Does anyone think Sandy Hook would have been less deadly without a Bushmaster? We are fortunate Adam Lanza didn’t use a shotgun.
Don’t you see, it is the easy way out. Ban an inanimate object. It’s the gun’s fault! We lose a bit more of our freedom, because of the actions of an evil young man. It is so much easier than confronting that evil, trying to reinstate morals into our society, and instill values and the fear of God in our youth, but totally ineffective, because criminals and the violently insane do not obey the law.
Don’t be fooled, those favoring gun control do not care more about crime or our children, and the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting deer, Gov. Cuomo. They will never stop. “Assault rifles” are just their first target. Gun control is, simply and only, about power and control.
CHUCK PINKEY is a retired area businessman. He can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board, but the author thinks they ought to.