“Much more powerful weapons technology: we went from single-shot muskets to semi-automatic riffles (sic).”

Incorrect. At the time of the Revolutionary War, a repeating rifle was already in use. The British used the breech-loading Ferguson rifle during the war but it was too expensive for mass deployment.

Semi-automatic rifles aren’t new. In 1885, about 94 years after the ratification of the Second Amendment, Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher introduced the first successful semi-automatic rifle, the Model 85. That’s much closer to the ratification of the Bill of Rights than the 133 years since Mannlicher’s new rifle. The first semi-automatic rifle in the U.S. was made by Winchester and introduced for American hunters in 1903. The first magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle appeared in 1911 with the introduction of the Remington Model 8. The Model 8 could accept magazines with capacities of 5, 10, 15 or 20 rounds. The M1 Carbine was adopted by the U.S. Army 76 years ago. It was capable of accepting a 30-round magazine, a bayonet, a muzzle flash hider, a folding stock and a pistol grip. Sixty years ago, ArmaLite produced the AR-10 to compete for the Army’s contract to replace the M1 Garand battle rifle. A scaled-down version of the AR-10, the Colt AR-15, was introduced as a hunting rifle in 1964.

“Right now nearly anyone in the US can walk into a gun store, purchase an assault riffle (sic) and a silencer, walk onto the roof of a tall building and unload endless rounds of ammunition on countless innocent civilians.”

This one is not only incorrect, it’s a real howler. Please go into a gun store, ask to buy and assault rifle and a silencer. Assuming that the gun store has Class 3 federal firearms license (most don’t), the dealer will hand you a stack of paperwork. One stack will be for the assault rifle (which is classed as a Title II firearm because it is capable of fully-automatic fire); the other will be for the suppressor (which is also regulated as a Title II firearm). You will complete the paperwork; get the chief law enforcement officer with jurisdiction over your legal physical residence to sign off on it; send the forms with the required photographs and fingerprints to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), along with two $200 payments for the transfer stamps and wait 9–14 months for the ATF to complete an extensive background check. If you are successful in getting the transfer approved, you then go back to the original gun shop, where the dealer affixes the stamps to the transfer forms and takes your money for the gun and suppressor. Please note that as a private citizen, you cannot buy any fully automatic firearm manufactured after May 19, 1986.

In the 84 years since the National Firearms Act of 1934 went into effect, there has been exactly one case of a person using a legally possessed machine gun to commit a violent crime. That one case was a police officer using a department-issued gun.

“Right now nearly anyone in the US can walk into a gun store, purchase an assault riffle (sic) and a silencer, walk onto the roof of a tall building and unload endless rounds of ammunition on countless innocent civilians.”

“It is not unorthodox to suggest that we sacrifice a small amount of personal freedom to try and limit the degree of terror which terrorists are able to inflict on our society.”

It’s not unorthodox, but it is fairly useless. In 1966, Charles Whitman went to the top of the University of Texas tower in Austin. From the observation deck, he murdered 17 people, including an Austin police officer, with a bolt-action Remington 700ADL rifle. In 2014, Elliot Rodger used three California-approved handguns with restricted-capacity magazines to kill three people and wound seven others.

The currently proposed “restriction,” is the Assault Weapons Ban of 2018. Like the original AWB, it grandfathers in all of the “banned” firearms legally possessed before the effective date of the act. Such firearms would still be fully transferable so they could be bought and sold in private or retail transactions. Not only that, but the act is so poorly written (as was the previous AWB) that rifles that are actually more powerful than the banned weapons are exempted. So literally tens of millions of firearms and high-capacity magazines would be untouched.

Mass shootings have been carried out with .22-caliber handguns and rifles, including at least one case where the gun was a single-action, “cowboy-style” .22 revolver. They have also been carried out with shotguns. High body-count killings, such as Luby’s, Virginia Tech and Ft. Hood, have been carried out with handguns.

There is a fairly persuasive case to be made that the rise in the number of mass shootings involving an AR-15 in recent years has at least been partially driven by the notoriety that the media and gun control advocates have showered upon it. The virtual disappearance of other military-style rifles can’t be explained any other way. Add to this the deliberate scare tactics of describing the AR-15, which is functionally not different than any other semi-automatic rifles, as an “assault weapon” (which is a term deliberately created to inspire fear) or an “assault rifle” (which it is not) make a compelling argument that the rash of mass shootings with such rifles a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The comparison between the position that somehow limiting access to certain firearms is not different from the sweeping powers granted to the NSA is actually counterproductive. Those powers were largely a result of the passage of the still-controversial Patriot Act, another Washington scare tactic.

“It is illegal for the CDC to research gun statistics in the US, and many studies that attempt to make sense of the limited data that is available are inconclusive.”

Incorrect. Not only does the CDC have the authority to do gun violence research, it has done such research, most notably as the result of an executive order in 2013. Like the recently concluded Rand Corporation study, the CDC did not find conclusive proof one way or the other that gun control legislation is effective. What is prohibited by the Dickey Amendment is government funding of advocacy research — research designed to reach a predetermined conclusion. The other limitation is funding, which is up to Congress to approve. It should be noted that the CDC’s budget has been sharply cut in many areas far beyond gun studies.

The argument that gun control advocates want to take all guns is based on the very simple grounds that such a goal has been stated in the past. It is not at all rational to make any assumptions that this is untrue. The fact that this goal has been stated in spite of the virtual impossibility of either successfully imposing or successfully enforcing such a ban is simply further indication that this is the ultimate goal. The choice of incrementalism in imposing such a program on American citizens, through any of a variety of measures is not fooling anyone except possibly some of the gun control advocates and their fellow travelers.

What truly is irrational is the belief that what has failed before will succeed if only we do more of it. The background check system is a failure. Not only have most mass shooters breezed through one or more of them, failures within the data system and enforcement can be credited with the killings at Virginia Tech, Emanuel AME Church in Charlotte and the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs. Failures of other systems, including high school diversion policies and the failure of the FBI to give proper attention to advance information, enabled the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The response to the shooting, other than giving a free pass to the Broward County School District, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, has been calls to raise the age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21. Nikolas Cruz is the only person under the age of 21 to use a legally purchased AR-15 in a mass shooting in the 54 years the rifle has been on the market. The only other person under 21 to use a legally acquired military-style rifle in a mass shooting was Dean Mellburg, an ex-airman who used an AK-47 copy in a shooting spree at Fairchild AFB in 1994.

There are 12.7 million young American adults between the ages of 18 and 20. Depriving them of their constitutional right on the basis of a single person is irrationality raised to a fine art.

Perfecting the irrationality are the politicians in places like Maryland and New Jersey, which not only have very strict gun laws but have implemented even more restrictions. Yet, after a convicted felon used a gun to shoot up an art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, the mayor of Trenton and the governor of New Jersey cited the need for still more gun laws becaused the felon was able to obtain a firearm. Apparently the fact that criminals don’t obey the law hasn’t gotten through to folks in the Garden State. Maryland was the same way following the killings at the Capitol Gazette and those in Jacksonville, Florida (a resident of Maryland was the killer in the Jacksonville incident).

I have no idea who first said it, but a good definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The arguments against gun control, at least gun control as it’s currently promoted, are quite rational. They are based on solid evidence from reliable sources that tell us that the measures currently on the table don’t work. Every one of them has been tried in one form or another and none of them has had a measurable impact on crime.

How rational is it for Everytown for Gun Safety to continue to promote an agenda they promise will end or reduce mass shootings when even the group’s one former executive director said they wouldn’t?

How rational is it for the Giffords Law Center for Gun Violence to give an “A” to a state with one of the highest gun violence rates in the United States while giving an “F” to the state with the lowest rate of gun violence?

The author mentioned a “slippery slope.” One of the first steps to sliding down that slope is to give credence to irrationality. Popular crazy is still crazy.

Professional writer. Passionately interested in facts. Founder of onewordtexas.org

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