A few nights ago, Ben Shapiro from Breitbart.com was on with Piers Morgan to discuss the 2nd Amendment. I was not sure what to expect as although I enjoy and most often agree with Ben’s writings, I was not sure how well he would handle a live appearance like that. I must say, he handled himself phenomenally. That said, there were a couple of things I wish he would have addressed with Piers, because not only is Piers vehemently anti-gun, he is very vocal and unfortunately has a very large soapbox from which to preach his nonsense. Piers was quick to point out that the last 4 mass shootings (those he chose to address) were all perpetrated with AR-15 rifles, and while Ben did point out that one of those rifles was acquired illegally, he failed to mention that in actuality, 3 of those 4 rifles were obtained illegally, and as such, a ban would have had no effect on them. Additionally, he neglected to mention that all 4 of those incidents occurred in “gun free” zones, and that despite that fact, 1 of those incidents was ended by an armed civilian carrying a semi-auto, “high” capacity handgun.
Another often repeated, completely incorrect assertion of Piers is how easy it is to convert an AR-15 into a full-auto rifle (I’d like to point out that exactly NONE of the rifles used in the incidents he points out were full-auto, and the last incident I can recall where a full-auto AR was used was the North Hollywood shootout that stemmed from a botched bank robbery in 1997, during the Clinton Gun Ban). Piers insinuates that all one needs to do is put in a “high” (standard) capacity magazine, whack the gun with some magic hammer, and viola, full-auto “assault rifle capable of killing hundreds of people in seconds”. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are significant differences between a semi-auto and full-auto AR-15. Not only are a large number of internal parts different, but the machining of the receivers of a semi-auto version is done in such a way as to make them incapable of accepting the full-auto parts. Piers is either uneducated on the matter, or is intentionally misleading his viewers. Either way, it not unacceptable to base decisions on bad information.
Furthering the bad information flow, they are constantly calling for the banning of “assault weapons”, but what they are talking about banning are not really an assault weapons at all. The term assault weapon was created in the late 1940’s and was originally applied to the German Stg44, and later the Russian AK-47. The term was defined as a select-fire rifle that fired an intermediate cartridge. Select-fire means that it is capable of firing in both semi-auto and full-auto modes, and was later amended to include burst-fire modes. For those that do not know the difference, semi-auto means 1 bullet per pull of the trigger, full-auto means it continues to fire as long as the trigger is held or until it runs out of ammunition. An intermediate cartridge is a round that is less powerful than a full size rifle round, such as the .30-06, 7.62x54R and 8mm rifle rounds of the day, but larger than a .45ACP or 9mm handgun cartridge. Now, that distinction is very is important because what they want to ban are not actually assault rifles, but are in fact semi-auto only rifles that while they cosmetically resemble actual military assault rifles, they are in fact not the same gun. Select-fire weapons are already very heavily controlled in the US and require special licensing not only to possess, but also to produce, and none produced since 1986 can be legally owned by civilians. Select-fire and full-auto weapons are covered by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and by the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986.
The gun control lobby, and especially Piers Morgan, often likes to point to England as an example of gun bans that work. Unfortunately for them, those arguments have been repeatedly shown by multiple sources to be bad examples*. While in England, the gun murder rate has actually declined as they like to point out, the violent crime rate has skyrocketed and is currently more than 4 times higher than the violent crime rate in the US. In Australia, which is by far a better comparison to the US than England is, the gun crime rate initially rose after the ban, then leveled back out and has declined slightly, but the violent crime rate there rose significantly after the ban and has stayed far higher than it was prior.
Comparing the US to other countries is really not a fair comparison though. The US has always had significantly higher gun ownership rates that any of those countries, especially when compared to England, where civilian gun ownership was never high.
To look at the effectiveness a gun ban would have here in the US, one needs look no further than here in the US. From 1994-2004, there was an “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazine” ban in place. It was allowed to expire because every single independent study, including those done by our very own government, showed that it had no effect on gun crime. For that matter, the often referred to Columbine High School massacre occurred right smack in the middle of that gun ban. Then, for further examples of the inefficacy of gun bans in the US, look to the cities that have the toughest gun laws, Chicago, Detroit and New York City. They are perfect examples of how gun bans do not affect gun crimes. Chicago last year had more than 500 gun homicides, yet they have some of the strictest gun laws in the country.
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