As Mr. Chisholm has pointed out in his comments, there are numerous failures of fact in this article.
First: The Second Amendment not only protects an individual’s right to possess weapons, it also protects an individual’s right to bear weapons. This is something that the state of Hawaii learned last year when the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Judicial District ruled against it in the case of Young v. Hawaii.
In Hawaii, the only way to legally carry a gun is with a state-issued permit. The state decided it would no longer issue those permits, thus creating a de facto ban on carrying guns in the state.
The court ruled that Hawaii’s action was unconstitutional on the grounds that it prohibits infringement on the people’s right to bear arms.
Second: Assault rifles are not banned in the U.S. and never have been. Even the one that really are assault rifles. Assault rifles are defined as compact, selective-fire rifle chamber for a cartridge intermediate between a submachine gun and a battle rifle. A private citizen can legally possess an M16 as long as it was manufactured and registered before May 19, 1986, the effective date of the Firearm Owners Protection Act. Sales of such firearms have been heavily regulated since 1934, but they have not been banned.
Third: The Gun Violence Archive is very good at producing scary numbers but their stats don’t stand up well when one examines the details.
The “mass shootings” included in the 1,624 figure cited in the article include incidents like one in Sand City, California. Two wanted fugitives were spotted in a retail shopping center parking lot; police were alerted and two officers responded. When the officers approached the fugitives’ car, the felons opened fire, wounding the police. The officers, though wounded, returned fire and killed both offenders. Four casualties; firearms discharged and, Bingo! Another mass shooting for the Gun Violence Archive.
The events listed in the Gun Violence Archive database include gang-related shootings, familicides (murders of family members followed by the suicide of the killer) and cases of multiple, targeted homicides, none of which are considered mass shooting events by government officials.
In terms of what is more correctly termed a mass shooting or spree killing, there have been 134 since January 1, 1964 to February 15, 2019.
Moreover, as one can see by looking at the chart below, you will find that gun laws have no impact on the frequency or casualty rate and do not support a case for increased restrictions on firearms and firearm owners .
The chart was compiled from the 340 mass shooting incidents recorded by the Gun Violence Archive from January 1 to December 31, 2018 and U.S. Census Bureau estimates of each state’s population as of July 1, 2018.
California and Illinois tied for the most mass shooting incidents. California had the most homicides while Illinois had the most injuries. California received the high grade of any state from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (which shows just what a swell job they’re doing). Illinois also received high marks.
When it comes to the most notorious mass shootings, where there were three or more fatalities, not including the shooter, there were 101 between February 28, 1994 (the date the Brady Act became effective) and February 15, 2019. Of that total, the source of the weapons used was reported in 89 incidents. In more than 76% of those the source was a legal retail purchase from a federally licensed dealer that included a mandatory criminal background check.
I have always been puzzled by people who call for meaningful reform but push meaningless changes.
The cynic in me wonders if the most recent event, the murders of five people at a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, isn’t a bit embarrassing for gun control advocates, particularly those pushing the universal background check measures, because the Illinois State Police had issued the killer a firearm owners identification card despite the fact he had a prior felony conviction for domestic violence. The card allowed him to purchase the .40-caliber Smith & Wesson pistol he used in the killings.
Of the incidents from 2017, 2018 and thus far in 2019, where the source of the guns used was reported, 80% were legally purchased by the shooter from a retailer that performed the required background check.
Gun control advocates have created a boogeyman with the so-called assault weapons. In fact, there is no such thing as an assault weapon; the term was coined to make military rifles sound more scary. They are fond of making endless hyperbolic claims about the lethality and firepower of what is, in reality, a semi-automatic rifle chambered for a cartridge that isn’t really all that powerful compared to other common rifle calibers.
The Army selected the .223 cartridge because it was adequately powerful while being cheaper to acquire and lighter. This meant soldiers could carry roughly twice as many of the new cartridge as they could of the previous .308 round.
Functionally, an AR-15 is the same as the Remington Model 8 introduced in 1911 and marketed to American hunters. The Model 8 was the first American semi-automatic rifle that used a detachable magazine and magazines were available with capacities up to 20 rounds.
The original Assault Weapons Ban was allowed to expire because it could not be shown to have had an impact on violent crime. In fact, the average rate of rifle use in homicides was actually lower in the ten years following the end of the ban than it was during the ten years the ban was in effect.
Despite their origins a thousand years ago as military weapons in China, firearms are used for a variety of non-criminal purposes that are apparently beyond the author’s comprehension. I find it rather amusing that the author omitted kitchen knives from the comparison. Considering that the author is quite familiar with the United Kingdom, surely they know that kitchen knives are the most commonly used cutting or stabbing instrument involved in Britain’s growing violence problems.
In short, the thesis of the article is supported by popular memes that do not stand up under closer examination. Further, they reveal that the author did not actually perform such an examination, preferring to rely on the big lies that have been accepted as truths due to their relentless repetition.
Of all such lies, perhaps the biggest is that there has been a significant increase in gun violence in recent years.
In a NPR/PBS Newshour Marist poll of 880 individuals conducted from February 5 through 11, there was the expected strong support for popular gun control measures.
What was interesting about the results of the poll was the response to the final question, which asked participants if, based on what they had seen or heard, had the rate of gun murders risen, stayed the same or fallen over the past 25 years.
82% of those polled felt the rate had increased significantly or remained about the same.
Since the most recent government figures available are for 2017, this question would cover the period from 1993 to 2017, including both years in the span.
The reality is that the firearm-related homicide rate has fallen more than 36% in that period. In 2014, the gun murder rate dropped to a level not seen in the U.S. since 1958.
Articles like this merely promote the big lie and serve no useful purpose in a rational discussion of the rise in random killings in the U.S.