Story updated Thursday, March 1, 6:30 p.m. PST
Gun reform has been the hot topic again these past couple weeks. Much has been said and proposed, but many people remain confused about what is what when it comes to gun control. These 10 gun-control-related points will fill you in on the details.
- AR-15s do not shoot 700 times a minute.
Turn on the news and you will hear things like, “AR-15 stands for assault rifle,” or “You can fire an AR-15 700 times a minute.” These statements, however, are misleading.
The “AR” in AR-15 is just the name of the manufacturer Armalite. They cannot shoot hundreds of rounds a minute like machine guns. AR-15s fire 45 rounds per minute, according to the Bushmaster AR-15 XM15-E2S operating manual.
If you would like to know more, The Daily Wire published a useful article debunking many myths about the AR-15.
- The story about the young man who purchased a gun without an ID is incomplete and therefore inaccurate.
A viral tweet has been going around referencing a two-year-old article about a 20-year-old man with an expired ID being able to buy an AR-15 in under 5 minutes. But the man never actually purchased the gun.
Chris Cuomo from CNN retweeted the article that tells the story and continued to push the inaccurate narrative. Chet Cannon pointed out the discrepancy.
Hey, @ChrisCuomo from CNN. Saw the article you retweeted: “I WAS ABLE TO BUY AN AR-15 IN 5 MINUTES”
Did you see the part where he admits to neither filling out the necessary paperwork (which would initiate the background check) NOR purchasing the AR-15? Weird. pic.twitter.com/wLfaiKCqaM
— Chet Cannon (@Chet_Cannon) February 21, 2018
In the article, the young man said, “After [the clerk] walked me through the paperwork, all five pages of it, I told him I changed my mind and wanted to think more before I bought an AR-15. He told me it wasn’t a problem and listed the store hours if I wanted to come back. I then said thank you and walked back to my car.”
So Cuomo’s point is incomplete and therefore inaccurate. The man never went through the entire purchasing process, meaning he was never subjected to a background check requiring ID per federal law and didn’t at any point leave with a gun.
- Banning semi-automatic weapons basically means banning every gun.
During CNN’s town hall meeting, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., mentioned banning AR-15s. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., responded that a ban on AR-15s means a ban on every semi-automatic weapon in America. And that seems to be what Democrats want.
In further response to the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Fla., House Democrats have now introduced a bill that would ban semi-automatic firearms. The problem is that this categorization includes most modern firearms out there.
A semi-automatic weapon is any firearm that fires one shot after pulling the trigger and reloads automatically in the gun chamber with another round from a magazine or cartridge so the firearm can be fired again immediately.
This is basically every handgun, military-style assault weapon, and most hunting rifles. American citizens would be left with guns like bolt-and-lever-action hunting rifles, revolvers or muskets.
- 98 percent of all mass shootings have occurred in “gun free zones.”
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, 98 percent of all mass shootings from 1950 to 2016 happened in gun free zones. In other words, gun free zones do not appear to be actually working. In fact, research shows that shooters, burglars, and criminals will go out of their way to avoid areas they know are armed and target gun free zones instead.
- Trump never said we should arm every teacher with a gun.
Some are pushing a narrative that Trump wants to arm every single teacher with a pistol as a solution to school shootings.
However, if you watch the video of Trump speaking on this at the listening session he hosted with the Parkland, Fla. shooting victims, he makes it very clear that he was referring to “adept” and “trained” teachers only. This obviously is not every teacher.
If we do not arm teachers, then the idea of having more armed guards on school campuses should be a serious consideration. I agree with what Elizabeth Schultz, a member of the Fairfax County, Virginia school board, said. We should be protecting our children as we protect our banks.
- There were four armed sheriffs outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting and they did nothing.
A day after the shooting, CNN reported that four armed sheriffs were present during the shooting. They had their pistols drawn and were behind their vehicles while a lunatic mowed down 17 students.
They. Did. Nothing.
In addition, the Miami Herald reported that in November a tipster had called the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to report that Nikolas Cruz “could be a school shooter in the making.”
Government authorities capable of preventing this shooting failed to do so, and yet the pervasive argument is to further limit Americans’ gun ownership rights. If the government can’t protect us, why should we give up ways to do so ourselves?
- The NRA does not buy politicians any more so than Planned Parenthood does.
Word choice is everything. Journalists know this in full. Consistency of logic is important as well. When someone says something like, “The NRA buys politicians and that’s why Marco Rubio can’t denounce them!”, we must apply that same logic to every other lobbying organization.
Let’s take Planned Parenthood (PP) as an example. PP devoted $33.9 million to “outside spending mostly related to electing Democrats” from the 2012 election cycle through the 2016 election cycle.
“Planned Parenthood buys politicians and that’s why Democrats can’t denounce them!”
Does the logic ring true when we put the shoe on the other foot?
The NRA has contributed about $13 million to candidates and parties between 1998 and 2016, according to Politifact.
- Both sides care about mass shootings, so we need to stop demonizing each other.
During a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Dana Loesch made a claim that “many in legacy media love mass shootings.” This came after Loesch was called a “child murderer” on live television during a CNN segment hosted by Alisyn Camerota.
At CNN’s town hall meeting, Jake Tapper allowed survivor Cameron Kasky to compare Sen. Marco Rubio to a mass child murderer.
Is this really the kind of rhetoric we want to allow?
There will never be a useful political discussion about guns and gun control if Democrats and Republicans continue to demonize people they do not agree with on policy.
Loesch and Rubio are both parents themselves, and to suggest that they don’t care about children, that they are child murderers is preposterous. Also, Loesch should not be saying the media loves mass shootings. Regardless of the point she intended to make, such a statement is just as demonizing.
- Some media outlets claim there have been 18 school shootings in 2018, but the categorization of these shootings is inconsistent.
The problem is that the category of “school shootings” includes a variety of incidents, so saying there have been 18 school shootings since Jan. 1 is “not an accurate reflection of reality.” These incidents include a man shooting himself in a former school’s parking lot on Jan. 3, a teen who killed himself in an Arizona elementary school bathroom on Jan. 10 and a bullet being fired through a school dorm window on Jan. 4.
See for yourself the statistics cited by ABC News, New York Daily News and WUSA9.
- Trump is actually doing something about gun violence.
On Feb. 22, Trump tweeted his plan for gun control:
I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health. Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
We cannot ignore the fact that President Trump is actually taking action after the recent tragedy. He first hosted a listening session with the shooting survivors and their families, and not just with those from Parkland, Fla., but some from Sandy Hook as well.
“We’re fighting hard for you and we will not stop. I just grieve for you, I feel so — to me, there could be nothing worse than what you’ve gone through,” Trump said. “Thank you for pouring out your hearts, because the world is watching and we’re going to come up with a solution.”
Some of Trump’s proposed plan as described in his tweet already has bipartisan support. For instance, when it comes to comprehensive backgrounds checks, both Democrats and Republicans are in favor of this. And after the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, even Republicans were open to banning bump stocks.
We have to give credit where credit is due.