We expect anti-gun nonsense from people such as Bill Moyers and Little Big Gulp Bloomberg, but we might hope that Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly wouldn’t evoke an eye-rolling “Oh, really!” when discussing the subject. But as the crusty commentator further proved last night while arguing with a guest, Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), he still hasn’t done his homework on the firearms issue.
In full-fire mode while talking about the Aurora tragedy with Chaffetz, O’Reilly insisted that there should be special reporting to the FBI when people purchase, as he put it, “heavy weapons … mortars, howitzers, machine guns.” The ignorance displayed through that comment is profound.
First, if we instituted O’Reilly’s policy, obtaining a mortar, howitzer, or machine gun would be far easier than it currently is, as such weapons are tightly controlled under the National Firearms Act. In fact, the hoops one must jump through to purchase such weaponry include, but may not be limited to, filling out a National Firearms Act application; getting permission from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and having your weapon registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Moreover, you may have to satisfy local-government requirements as well. Anyway, the upshot is that it’s extremely difficult to obtain such a weapon legally, and possessing one that’s unregistered can land you in prison for 10 years.
Second, O’Reilly clearly doesn’t know what a “heavy weapon” is; in fact, he actually said, “If you sell heavy weaponry, alright, automatics, semi-automatics, ammunition,” and foolishly was taken aback when Congressman Chaffetz contradicted his notion that an AK-47 is “heavy armor.” But a heavy weapon is not a seven-pound AR-15, which was used in the Aurora shooting, or an AK-47; both are classified as “light” weapons. Because of this, even when they are configured to fire fully automatic, they aren’t called machine guns; they are known as sub-machine guns.
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Selwyn Duke (photo)