Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Gun and Gun Control Facts Test - Answers
1) If the assault weapons ban had remained in effect, including its’ restrictions on magazine capacity, the shootings in Arizona, Colorado, and Connecticut would have been prevented or at least lives would have been saved .
None of these shootings required the use of anything more than a semi-automatic handgun with 10 round interchangeable magazines. So called assault weapons – a very imprecise term – are not any more lethal at the ranges involved and magazine can be changed so quickly that capacity is nearly irrelevant. It should also be noted that the Supreme Court has ruled that these weapons are protected by the 2nd Amendment and cannot be banned.
2) The Federal Assault Weapons ban, in effect from 1994 to 2004, banned “assault weapons” and large capacity magazines. This law:
a) Reduced Crime and Mass Shootings
b) Increased Crime and Mass Shootings
c) Had no measurable effect upon crime and mass shootings
This ban, which was intentionally written to sunset after 10 years in order to determine if it would have an effect, had no effect on either crime or mass shootings. It did not even reduce the number of times victims were shot.
3) The NRA has opposed all gun control laws.
The NRA supported both the federal background check system (the original Brady bill in its’ final form) and the “fix” after Virginia Tech that added mental health commitments to the background check database. The NRA has also supported state laws that require permits in order to carry a loaded firearm. These actions have drawn criticism from other gun rights groups and has cost the organization both members and support.
4) Since the 2nd Amendment refers only to the National Guard, it presents no obstacles to gun control laws.
Although this was a widely held opinion in the past, the Supreme Court never established this. Given that the National Guard was not established until the early 1900s, this is not possible. Although it does refer to a militia, in the past this included all able bodied males and today legally includes all able bodied males between 18 and 45.
The operative clause in the 2nd Amendment (“the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”) has been established by the Supreme Court to protect a personal, individual right to own firearms covered by the Amendment. (Heller 2008). Furthermore, in the McDonald decision (2010) the high court found that this right also restricted state and local governments, and held that it was “fundamental to our system of ordered liberty” – placing it on the same level has our other basic freedoms such as freedom of press, speech and religion. The court did hold that laws prohibiting possession by felons and carrying in ‘sensitive places” do not violate the 2nd Amendment.
5) Assault Weapons are likely not protected by the 2nd Amendment.
Because of the relationship of the 2nd Amendment to the militia, in 1939 the Supreme Court held that a firearm was not covered by the 2nd Amendment unless it had military value. Justice Blackman, in a dissenting opinion in the Heller case (2008), stated that because the intent of the 2nd Amendment was to permit the average citizen to own the basic individual weapon of the soldier, rifles such as the AR15 are likely protected because they are the current basic weapon of the individual soldier. Furthermore, in the Heller case, the majority held that firearms are protected by the 2nd Amendment if large numbers of Americans choose to own them. The AR15 is the highest selling rifle in America. It is therefore likely that banning such weapons would be prohibited by the 2nd Amendment. We all await a test case and decision from the high court.
6) The 2nd Amendment probably doesn’t prohibit gun registration.
Since one of the reasons that the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights was to enable the citizens to be called upon in an emergency, as a citizen militia, it only makes sense they need to know who has them. In the past, militia members had to report, or muster, at least once a year. Basically, this was every adult male in the community. At the muster, the privately owned guns were inspected by an agent of the state government and the type and ownership was recorded. If this was permissible, than registration likely is too. The state governments cannot call these weapons into service if they do not know who has them.
7) Since we live in a modern age, with modern weapons, the militia purpose of the 2nd Amendment is irrelevant.
Under current US law, every adult male between 18 and 45 is part of the “unorganized militia”, subject to being called upon in the event of a grave emergency. The US has never had to call upon the unorganized militia – but the UK has. During WW2, after Dunkirk, under threat of invasion, the UK called up ordinary citizens and formed the “Home Guard”. Their biggest problem was a lack of weapons. Many had nothing more than pitchforks or broomsticks. The Army needed all the output of the weapons factories to re-equip the army that had lost almost everything at Dunkirk. Initially, the only guns the Home Guard had were a few shotguns and civilian guns donated by the American gun owners via an NRA program. Although there was not any invasion, the Home Guard had to hunt down shot down German crews who were better armed than they were. Given these facts, it is not impossible that the US might need to call up the citizen militia.
8) “Assault Weapons” are machine guns.
Although “real” assault weapons are in fact machine guns, when used in the context of US gun laws, it always refers to a semi-automatic weapon, usually a rifle. Gun control advocates often use the fact that they look nearly identical to the military versions to promote the misconception that they actually are the fully automatic, military only versions – sometimes going so far as to show the fully automatic version firing and then cutting to the semi-auto version with no explanation of the difference.
9) “Assault Weapons” have significantly more firepower than other semi-automatic firearms.
Setting aside that matter of magazine capacity, since both can accept magazines with a variety of capacities, semi-automatic rifles and pistols classed as “assault weapons” fire no more quickly than semi-automatics that are not classed as “assault weapons”. The difference is purely cosmetic.
10) Semi-auto weapons can be fired accurately much more quickly than other guns available to the public.
Although a semiautomatic rifles and shotguns can fire additional shots very quickly, other types of guns can be fired almost as quickly. A pump action can be fired very quickly – at nearly the same speed as a semi-auto (experts have fired 5 rounds in one second), and lever actions are not far behind. The reason no one is talking about banning these weapons (yet) is because they have been used as hunting weapons for over 150 years. However, if semi-automatics are banned, they will be next because they already have been used in mass shootings and have proven very nearly as deadly.
11) Limits on magazine capacity are probably constitutional if the limits are reasonable.
It would be hard for a gun rights advocate to convince the court that there is a Constitutional right to a 30 to 100 round magazine. After all, the firearm is still fully functional with a smaller magazine. The real question the courts would have to decide is at what point does restricting magazine capacity so cripple a firearm that it is a 2nd Amendment violation. My guess is that gun control advocates would have a hard time convincing the courts that a limit below 10 rounds is reasonable.
12) Banning large capacity magazines will reduce the firepower of criminals and mass murderers.
The problem with a magazine capacity limit is two fold. First, every one that has been proposed or actually implemented has left millions of “pre-ban” full capacity magazines in circulation. It is simply legally, politically and physically impossible to confiscate them. Second, modern firearms are designed to enable rapid magazine changes. In many cases a button is simply pushed, the empty magazine drops and you can insert the new magazine. With practice, it can be done in less than one second. As someone who lives in a state with a current ten round limit, I can confirm this. This is the reason why previous Federal 10 round limit, which ended in 1994 had no measurable effect on murders, mass murders. Or even the number of times victims were shot.
13) Assault rifles are used as murder weapons:
c) Less often than bare hands
FBI statistics do not distinguish between types of rifles used in murders. Everything from single shot .22s to semi-auto high-powered rifles are put into one category. Even counting every time any kind of rifle was used in a homicide, rifles are used less often than handguns, knives, blunt objects and even bare hands.
14) The United States is the only modern, Western nation in which military style semi-automatic firearms may legally owned by civilians. The United States is also has the highest percentage of homes in which firearms are present.
The United States does have the highest rate of firearms ownership in the world. However, another nation has a higher percentage of households in which a firearm is present, and a far higher percentage of households in which a military semi or fully automatic firearm is physically present. That nation is Switzerland. Yes, Switzerland.
Switzerland ranks 2nd in the percentage of firearms owning households, only slightly behind the US. However, there is something that makes the difference: Members of the massive Swiss reserve military, are permitted – and in fact encouraged – to take their personal military weapons (which are fully automatic and comparable to our M-16) home with them. In addition, when they have fully completed their time in the reserves, they are offered the opportunity to buy and keep that same rifle (after it is converted to semi-automatic). Most Swiss homes have several rifles, all ex-military. Their laws regarding private sales and ownership are less restrictive than most US states.
In spite of all those guns, or perhaps partly because of them, Switzerland has one of the lowest rates of violent crime and crime period. Number of mass shootings in their entire history: Exactly one.
15) Rifles with magazine capacities greater than 15 rounds have been around for 150 years.
Lever and pump action rifles made as far back as the 1860s would be classified as having “hi-capacity” magazines if made today. Without special exemptions, they would be classed as assault weapons under California law.
16) Most gun owners are hunters – the 2nd amendment is about protecting their rights.
Today the vast majority of gun owners are not hunters. The most common firearms activity is target shooting and more people target shoot with handguns than long guns. While hunting was extremely important when the 2nd Amendment was ratified, as noted in other answers, the 2nd Amendment was drafted to ensure that the states would be able to call on a citizen militia in time of need and to ensure that any attempt by a tyrannical central government to pervert the constitution would not succeed. While we rightfully feel much more secure than we did then, both from outside threats and any attempted coup, the 2nd Amendment still serves the same purpose.
17) Most mass shootings take place in places where screened, trained, and licensed citizens and off duty police are forbidden to carry firearms.
There is strong evidence that killers intentionally choose places where legally carried firearms are prohibited. Almost all mass shootings happen in the phony “gun free zones” where only criminals and mass murderers are allowed to carry, because they do not care about signs. These areas are frequently established on the advice of, and under pressure by, gun control groups. In recent years the only mass shooting that took place outside of a “gun free zone” was the Giffords shooting – and that took place outside. All the other recent high profile shootings – and many lower profile ones – took place in these zones where the murderer knew there was little chance of anyone stopping them before they killed a lot of people.
18) The vast majority of mass shootings are ended when:
a) The shooter runs out of ammunition
b) The shooter runs out of people to kill
c) The shooter is tackled by a bystander
d) The shooter is confronted with armed opposition
The reality is that all of the above are reasons why these shootings end, but in the vast majority of these cases, the shooting and dying stops when someone else confronts the shooter with their own gun. Sadly, it took an analysis of the Columbine massacre to learn that one person – obviously usually a cop – to end these incidents. Since then, we have learned that it doesn’t have to be a cop. It can be a teacher who runs to his off campus car to get his gun, or the church security guard (CCW permit holder), who confronts the shooter. The result is still usually the same. It ends.
Why is this? Simple, the shooter has premeditated his or her attack. They have planned it – including how it will end. As soon as they are confronted with armed opposition, they almost always carry out that plan. Usually its’ suicide – including pointing their gun at the armed opposition and getting shot as a result. Once in a while it’s surrender. Very rarely will they shoot it out. Therefore, the most effective way to limit the death toll is to assure that mass shooters are confronted with armed opposition as quickly as possible.
19) Other countries, with much tighter gun control laws, do not experience mass shootings.
The mass shooting with the highest death toll took place in Norway – a country with very tight gun control laws. The next highest took place in Germany – another nation with very tight laws. Recently the in UK – a gun control paradise, with a ban on all handguns and all semiautomatic high powered rifles and very tight controls on all other guns – a man killed twelve people with double barreled shotgun and a .22 rifle.
20) The rate of legal firearms ownership in a state or city is related to violent crime in that:
a) The more guns are legally owned, the higher the crime rate
b) The more guns are legally owned, the lower the crime rate
One of the closest correlations with the crime rate is the rate of legal gun ownership. The more guns are legally owned in a community, the lower the rate of violent crime.
21) It is easy for prohibited persons to buy firearms from a dealer in the US.
Every sale by a dealer requires an FBI background check. Identification is required and the buyer must certify that he or she is not a prohibited person. Attempting such purchases is a felony, and the process provides everything need for prosecution.
The shooter in the Connecticut shooting inquired at two different gun stores about buying firearms. He was deterred by the fact that there would be a background check, a waiting period and probably the fact that at age 20, he could not buy a handgun – only a rifle or shotgun.
22) Connecticut’s loose gun laws contributed to the recent school shooting there.
According to the Brady gun control group, which rates state laws, rates Connecticut’s laws as the fourth tightest in the nation.
23) States with more restrictive gun laws experience:
a) More mass shootings
b) Fewer mass shootings
c) About the same number of mass shootings
Looking at the three states with the highest populations (CA, NY, TX), all three have approximately the same rate of mass shootings. California and New York have some of the most restrictive laws in the nation – including the assault weapons ban now being proposed, while Texas has some of the least restrictive. It appears that these differences have no effect on the rate or severity of mass shootings.
24) The AR15 rifle is the most popular rifle in the US and is widely used in target shooting, competitive shooting, self-defense and even hunting.
Gun control advocates promote the lie that rifles they class as assault weapons have “no sporting purpose” and are owned by a small number of “gun nuts”. In reality, these are mainstream recreational and defensive firearms. It is common for gun control advocates to state that “no one needs these firearms for self defense”. Those living in rural areas along our border with Mexico, who face threat from cartel member armed with military grade weapons, are but one group that might beg to differ.
25) Leading gun control groups only want to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines.
Gun control groups want to ban much more than hi-cap magazines and so called assault weapons. Every major gun control group supported the 100% ban on handguns in both Washington DC and Chicago. The former name of one of the major gun control groups is “The National Committee to Ban Handguns”. Every major group constantly praises gun laws in the UK, where most guns available in the US are banned, gun ownership is generally restricted to the rich, and several successive gun confiscations have taken place. Their real agenda is very clear to those who take the time to look.
Furthermore, the experience in the UK is very instructive as to how these groups operate. First, only “military” type guns were banned and confiscated. When that didn’t stop the mass shootings, handguns were banned and confiscated. Now that a mass shooting has taken place involving a shotgun and a .22 rifle, guess what they now want to ban?
The tactic is simple: Propose a “reasonable” ban, when that doesn’t “work”, propose another ban, and so on until all guns are banned. After that, they start pushing for knife bans – yes, this has happened in the UK.
Sadly, these deceptive tactics by gun control groups encourage gun rights groups to “not give an inch”.