In the wake of the tragic Newtown massacre, we’re hearing all the usual lies and misconceptions about firearms. And since it’s wise to be educated on a topic before advocating policy on it, this is a good time to explode the gun myths being bandied about.
1. The issue is automatic weapons.
Boston mayor Thomas Menino and CNN’s Don Lemon both recently repeated the common mantra that we have to get “automatic weapons” off the streets. Automatic weapons, however, are machine guns, which, except for individuals who receive special permission from the federal government, have been illegal to own since the passage of The National Firearms Act in 1934. In addition, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 made it generally illegal for any civilian to own an automatic weapon manufactured after that year.
2. Assault Weapons
“Assault weapon” is certainly a menacing, rhetorically effective term, which is why the media use it so much. In reality, though, the guns in question (such as the AR-15-type rifles and AK-47s available to the public) are not machine guns but simply semi-automatic firearms; this means that one bullet is released with each trigger pull. And virtually every gun sold in America is semi-automatic.
A true “assault weapon” would be fully automatic or have a “special-fire” feature. What the guns incorrectly labeled assault weapons do have is a military appearance. But if looks are everything, we might as well put a Porsche body on a Yugo chassis and call it a race car.
3. The 1990s Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) got these weapons off the street.
After the Colorado movie-theater shooting, the Daily News wrote, “Once, federal law would have kept [shooter James] Holmes' hands off a superdeadly [sic] weapon like the AR-15. In 1994, under President Bill Clinton, Congress outlawed the manufacture and possession of assault weapons, but the statute had a 10-year expiration date.”
But media ignorance, it seems, has no expiration date. The AWB did nothing to eliminate weapons such as the one Holmes — or Newtown shooter Adam Lanza — used. It simply outlawed the sale of such firearms when they had certain combinations of relatively insignificant, superficial features, such as a bayonet mount and a pistol grip, or a folding stock and a flash suppressor. But the guns themselves were still readily available.
So, sorry, my liberal friends, but Bill Clinton and the rest of your leftist leadership conned you.
Click here to read the entire list of points by Selwyin Duke (photo).