Obama just finished his press conference on guns. It was completely insane and uninformed, as anyone with a background in firearms or the criminology can attest. He proposed everything from over 20 executive orders to requests for all-out bans on some guns. He wants to ban “assault weapons”, ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, force all gun sellers to require a background check, and he even is trying to use Obamacare to tackle gun rights.
The entire move is one huge volley on the constitution, common sense, and essentially anyone who knows anything about how our gun laws currently work. This means Obama is either completely illiterate about guns, is lying, or — more likely — both.
For the sake of education, I want to set some things straight about Obama’s press conference. He does not understand much of anything with regard to how guns work:
1) Civilians are already not allowed to purchase “military style assault rifles.”
Civilians can only purchase semi-auto rifles. These rifles lack key features of assault rifles, including the ability to “select fire.” As with any other modern gun that citizens are legally allowed to own, you pull the trigger one time and a bullet comes out. This is not an assault rifle ban — this is just a ban on regular rifles that Obama thinks look scary.
2) A “high-capacity magazine” is not a magazine that has more than 10 rounds.
This is a completely arbitrary and political definition of a “high-capacity” magazine. High capacity magazines are those that contain more rounds than are designed for the gun. This means that if your handgun is designed for magazines that hold 19 rounds (such as a Springfield 9mm XDM), a high capacity magazine would be a magazine that holds more than 19 rounds. This means that if your AR-15 is designed for a 20-30 round clip (newsflash: it is), then a high-capacity magazine would hold more than 30 rounds.
3) There are at least five reasons to own semi-automatic rifles:
- First, to prepare against the possibility of foreign invasion. Unlikely, but legitimate.
- Second, to prepare against government tyranny. Again, unlikely, but legitimate.
- Third, to prepare against the possibility of aggressive mobs/riots. Much more likely than the first two scenarios. When the police ran away, the store owners in Koreatown during the LA riots defended their businesses by taking position on the rooftops of their shops while armed with various types of guns, including semi-automatic rifles.
- Fourth, for home defense. While there is a legitimate and robust debate to be had about which type of gun is ideal for home defense, it is completely unreasonable to rule out by law a semi-automatic rifle as a home defense weapon.
- Fifth, for hunting. The AR-10 rifle, for example, is a popular platform for a semi-automatic rifle that is often used for hunting.
4) Restricting arbitrary “high-capacity” magazines won’t stop mass shootings.
First of all, criminals would get their hands on outlawed “high-capacity magazines” anyway. Second, with enough practice, magazine reload time is completely unrelated to the ability to continue shooting a handgun or rifle at a rapid pace. Any individual who practices enough can train themselves to release and reload a mag in a split second with almost no break in the rate of fire.
5) Gun control legislation has been empirically demonstrated to be ineffective.
The United States, despite having the highest gun ownership rate in the world (88 guns per 100 people), has 2.97 gun homicides per 100,000 people.
However, when gun control is instituted, such as in Chicago, and Washington D.C., it is always accompanied by an increase in violent crime. In the UK, handgun crime doubled after they banned guns.
Please share this, particularly with individuals who are unaware of the facts about how guns work and about how ineffective gun control legislation is. It is only through reasonable education (and not sanctimonious appeals to letters written by children) that we can come to a rational position on this issue.